Disclaimer: We provide the following information to give a sense of what the English department has to offer, to show a sampling of courses available but not a complete listing. The information here is not intended to replace the support and knowledge of an advisor, especially in the case of choosing the courses necessary to complete your degree or minor. A full list of courses is available through the CSU online course catalog.
Upper Division Courses
E305.001 Principles of Writing and Rhetoric
This course offers a humanities-based exploration of central principles of writing and other forms of rhetoric. Students will explore critical concepts in ancient and contemporary readings – everything from Plato to Nietzche to Foucault. We’ll ask questions like, what is rhetoric? What is writing? How has our understanding of them changed over time? Do rhetoric and writing create or merely reflect reality? How do writing and rhetoric reinforce and challenge power? And why should we care?
E310: Researching and Writing Literary Criticism
Writing, Research, and the Problem of Race in American Literature
This class is designed to help students learn to do literary research and write literary criticism—skills that will facilitate your success in upper-division literature courses. We’ll practice those skills by reading the work of three celebrated American authors and investigating the problem of race in American literature. The poems of Phillis Wheatley, short stories of Herman Melville, and Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel, Gone with the Wind, will prompt our investigations into slavery, racism, and the aftermath of the Civil War—a conflict that continues to inform present politics, as last summer’s riots in Charlottesville demonstrated.
E320.001 – Introduction to the Study of Language
E320 introduces the basic concepts and theories that linguists/applied linguists adopt in trying to understand how language works and how language is used. Language is studied from a structural perspective, with emphasis on morphology, phonetics and phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Additional topics of interest include language variation and language change. This course is recommended for, but not limited to, students interested in language description and its applications, such as TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), language documentation, computational linguistics, foreign language teaching and teaching in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.
E324: Teaching English as a Second Language
This course addresses the general principles of how second language (L2) learners acquire a new language, and focuses on methods and approaches (both traditional and current) appropriate for diverse teaching situations. The course will provide the participants with knowledge, strategies, and skills to work with adult learners at various levels of L2 proficiency on the development of receptive and productive L2 abilities.
E337.001 – Western Mythology
The gods who emerged from the timelessness of pre-creation, the cannibal gods and the cosmic gods who with war shaped the order of existence, and the gods who loved sacrifice, ruled in discord, and had ado with mortals in the guises of human-and-animal-kind : These are the personified inscrutables that “western
myth” built a coherent core of narration around, and to this narration attached plots and characters in endless variety. Even the story-telling itself, like creation, began in time immemorial. Its main cycles coalesced in spite of migrations and the wrack of civilizations, long even before the advent of writing and literature. But literature, when it came, changed everything. No longer was hieratic myth, the mythology of priests, to be solely the property of cult. This course is about how poets in the age of writing reshaped the potential of the gods. We will track the gods’ wanderings from their cultic origins in magic and hymn to their fluorescence in Sumerian and Greek creation myth, Indic and Germanic dragon slaying, Greek siege epic around the war for Helen of Troy, up to the point of the Roman de-sacralization of the gods in a modern kind of erudite, humane irony. We shall discover furthermore how myth first prompted literary criticism, when readers asked if what Homer said about the immortal gods was true? So the course will also cover the history of reading myth from classical antiquity to the present, develop this history into a set of critical perspectives, and apply these as hermeneutic tools to the myths as we read them.
E339.001 – Literature of the Earth
Literature and Earth, text and soil, literary gardens and textual ecologies. How might we thread these "things" together? For that matter, how might all writing necessarily be "of the earth?" This course will seek out the literatures of the earth by examining, on the one hand different ways of defining the term, and on the other, various places where that writing occurs. By pairing mode and place, attention and environment, we'll see that all writing occurs in situ, in the field, and we'll practice some of that. More specifically, we'll read four distinct books of fiction, nonfiction, history and poetry–as well as various reserve materials. All of these writers are highly accomplished, and yet their “profile,” academic or otherwise, is quite varied. My hope is to suggest that there are many ways to write the “literatures of the earth.” By comparing near and far, now and then, the familiar and the foreign, we will tune our senses to the inter-connective body of earth, and the complexities of how we represent it. Issues to be explored include ecology, climate, watersheds, the local, memory, humans and more-than-humans, activism and ethics. You’ll learn the critical vocabulary of environmental writing, and take some quizzes. You'll go on some hikes and keep a field journal. You’ll compose a culminating personal and/or critical essay.
E340: Literature and Film Studies
This course pairs literary works and films to examine narrative authority, objectivity, and realism across media. We will analyze the formal strategies of novels, short stories, films, and documentaries to ask: What is an “objective” or “subjective” point of view? What conventions define “realism” for certain historical moments and media? We will investigate how writers and filmmakers attempt to depict multiple perspectives or critique the project of realism through the form itself. We will consider pairings such as The Orchid Thief (1998) with the film Adaptation (2002) and the cinema verité documentary Grey Gardens (1975) alongside its Broadway adaptation.
E342: Shakespeare I
This course covers the first half of Shakespeare’s career. For many of his contemporaries, Shakespeare’s era was a time of disruptive upheaval in the social order and cultural values. How were Shakespeare's plays in dialogue with the debates, anxieties, passions, and struggles beyond the walls of the theater? In addition to reading the plays through this historicist lens, the course will engage the following critical practices: formalist and genre criticism exploring how plays follow, adapt, or openly challenge inherited literary traditions; performance-oriented criticism; appropriation studies, exploring how Shakespeare serves as inspiration for later creative and critical work.
LB 393: Seminar in Arts, Humanities, and Social Science
Cultural Extraction: Energy in the Humanities
Lynn Badia (English) and Erika Osborne (Art and Art History)
For most of us, “energy” is an abstract term we encounter during momentary experiences – when we light a fire or hear about an oil spill. This course provides an introduction to “Energy Humanities” by examining the relationship between energy and our daily lives through literature, art, film, and theory. Additionally, students will embark on field trips to witness infrastructures of oil, solar, and natural gas. Drawing on these experiences, students will co-create an exhibition, “A Museum of the Twenty-First Century Energy Transition,” examining our current energy transition as if looking back from the future.
E401: Teaching Reading
This course is designed to prepare middle and high school teachers to teach reading in English language arts classrooms. It will focus on the processes, principles, and practices of developing both struggling and proficient readers to be better able to negotiate with and respond to texts. Upon completion of this course, students will be more able to implement best practices in reading and enter into professional conversations about literacy. The course is designed in an experiential way, and the students will be afforded opportunities to practice teaching reading strategies they might use in their future classrooms.
CO402.001 Principles of Digital Rhetoric and Design
In CO402 students engage in experiments where we question what it means to enact literacy with image, audio, and video and practice composing digital texts using open-source and proprietary tools as well as languages like HTML.5 and CSS3. Students do not need technological proficiencies or prior experience with web-based writing tools. This course is an opportunity to design fun and creative digital compositions such as short-movies or documentaries, digital storytelling pieces, mashups, photo-essays, digital poetry, visual arguments, podcasts, websites, literal videos. We predominantly use classroom time to discuss and explore digital design principles and rhetorics, engage in collaborative design and feedback activities, and experiment with authoring, editing, and design software and hardware to develop applied practical strategies and competencies necessary for creating web-based texts. Most broadly, this course explores contexts and practices where people consume and produce meaning through digital means. You’ll think and read about the way concepts like ownership, copyright, remix, usability, accessibility, and multimodality impact the ways that people enact literacies and rhetorics in a digital age.
E403: Environmental Writing
Through literature we access our environmental imaginations. In this class we will consider the role of the human animal in the fight with and for the earth. We will study the land and what grows from it. We will learn what it means to write fluidly about oceans and rivers, to write beautifully about mulch and informatively about ecosystems. How do we convey the urgency of this moment? Through careful reading, critical and creative responses, and discussion, we will approach some of the many things “nature” can teach us, and ways these lessons can serve our own writing.
E405: Adolescents’ Literature
This course is designed to focus on the reading, analysis, and understanding of young adult literature. The reading for the course will be intense and rewarding with approximately one core novel per week and also 3,000 pages of students' choice reading. The course is designed primarily for future English teachers to prepare them to examine issues of adolescents/ce and to guide them with supportive practices for teaching young adult texts critically in the classroom. However, students from all majors are invited to enroll. Themes explored include: culture, (dis)ability, gender, identity, immigration, intersectionality, mental health, race, sexuality, and social class.
E426: British Romanticism
The writing we call Romanticism (1790-1830) challenged the ways people thought about the enslaved, the poor, women, children, animals, and the natural world. It also veered along psychological, sometimes darker trajectories: exploring experiences of the supernatural, dangerous reaches of the imagination, and irrational states of drug addiction, criminality, torture, and madness. This course will explore these poles of Romantic writing in works such as Wordsworth/Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads; Keats, selected odes and romances; Austen, Sense and Sensibility; John Clare, poems; Shelley’s Frankenstein; DeQuincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
E460.001 – Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400) was a writer with a laborious day-job who nevertheless managed to light up a new horizon for English poetry. Alas, he died before he finished his magnum opus (a warning to us all!), but the fragment he left behind stands as a monument to a love-of-reading and acting upon that reading like no one had before. The Canterbury Tales are lyrical, funny, edifying, and outright bizarre. Moreover they offer a profound schooling in irony and erudition. We will read The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, and draw on Chaucer’s sources to recover a sense of his creative reading and writerly vision.
EDUC 463: Teaching Language Arts
This course is designed to help you combine theory, research, and practice into sound strategies for teaching English in middle, junior, and senior high schools. You will begin to develop a philosophy of secondary English teaching and learn how to plan instruction that is consistent with that philosophy and with various national, state, and district guidelines. Content includes examination of and attention to Common Core State Standards; planning of lessons and units; discussion of issues involving professional educators; development of means to assess learning; and discussion of methods to teach English language arts, including journalism and communication studies.
E465: Topics in Literature and Language - Workplace Literacies
This course considers the ways in which contexts of workplaces shape the literate practices of those workplaces and how “workers” (broadly defined) adapt and adopt, form and inform, literate behaviors in the workplace. Through inquiry into expanded definitions of literacy, students will analyze workplace literacies important to their immediate and long-term professional goals, rhetorically analyze genres and activities associated with workplaces, and engage in applied research on a workplace site that they aspire to understand and perhaps join. Readings will include selections from Deborah Brandt, Mike Rose, David Barton and Mary Hamilton, Peter Smagorinsky, Clay Spinuzzi, Glynda Hull, Uta Papen, and Beatrice Quarshie-Smith.
E478: Modern Poetry
The Modernist Crisis
Our class will examine major poets from the Modernist era, examining not only poems, but the poetic theories of the time, and accompanying movements in visual art and music. Our interest will veer from Dadaism and Duchamp, from Cubism and Picasso, Surrealism and Breton, to sustained attention to important writers: Stein, Pound, H.D., Eliot, Stevens, and George Oppen. Avoiding anthology, we will instead delve into single books, seeking immersion in the sustained poetic experiment of a single volume. Such reading will be supplemented with glimpses of other writers, both predecessors to the objects of our attention and those who carry the experiment into the 21st century.
E501: Theories of Composition
An introduction to and survey of contemporary theories of composition. Intended for writing teachers, writers, and editors, the course prepares students to apply theoretical principles to the practical concerns of writing pedagogy, the act of writing, or editorial work. E501 offers ba rief historical overview of the rhetorical tradition out of which contemporary composition theory emerges; a survey of the major theoretical approaches of composing (e.g., expressive, socio-cognitive, social epistemic, genre-focused, feminist, critical, cultural studies, post-process, etc.); and case studies in specific contexts (e.g., writing for the workplace; writing in community settings; writing for academic publication; etc.).
E507: Special Topics in Linguistics - Corpus Linguistics
Corpus linguistics is the study of language as expressed in large collections of digitalized text (i.e., corpora). This course focuses on applying corpus methods to large databases of language used in natural communicative settings to supplement more traditional linguistic analysis. As part of this course, students will: (a) understand the aims and methods used to analyze corpora, (b) use different types of commercially-available corpora and corpus software to analyze language, and (c) gain a better sense of the uses of text corpora in language research and language teaching. Students from all English concentrations are welcome.
E513C: Form & Technique in Nonfiction - The Contemporary Memoir
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
“Writing is a second chance at life,” says memoirist Jane Taylor McDonnell. “We can never change the past, but we can re-experience, interpret, and make peace with our past selves.” This intensive reading and writing course examines how contemporary memoirists do just that. Through seminar-style discussions, imitations and workshop critique, we will examine the elements of reflective voice, turning one’s self into a character, memory and imagination, form, theme, structure and confronting emotionally difficult material. We will also delve into the ethical considerations of writing about others as we transform personal experience into art.
E514: Phonology/Morphology: ESL/EFL
ESL/EFL teachers must know the major patterns of English phonology, morphology, word formation, and vocabulary and their relevance to classroom materials. E514 introduces basic linguistic assumptions then focuses on English phonetics/phonology and morphology/word formation in ways that connect with EFL/ESL coursework and teaching. Students will learn to recognize and use linguistic concepts in ESL/EFL pedagogical materials and in SLA research, become proficient in basic linguistic analysis, and be able to apply analytic techniques to learner data.
E522: Semantics, Pragmatics, and Discourse Analysis
E522 introduces linguistic meaning and how it is communicated via a selection of topics central to the field: language and its use; word and sentence meanings; principles for interpreting language in context; spoken/written relationships; textual cohesion and coherence; rhetorical analysis; technologically mediated discourse; speech acts; implicit and explicit communication; (im)politeness; discourses of gender, racism, politics, media, law, medicine, and education; inter- and intra-cultural communication. Topics will be based on student preferences.
E526: Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language
This course provides an overview of second language (L2) methods and materials, focusing on the teaching and learning of four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Additional attention will be given to vocabulary and grammar. The goal of the course is to guide participants in developing the knowledge and skills needed to effectively design and implement language instruction for a diverse group of English language learners. This course is also designed to incorporate classroom observation.
E600A Research Methods/Theory: Literary Scholarship
An introduction to producing graduate-level literary scholarship. We will study the history of English as a discipline in the U.S. and also survey contemporary critical methodologies; learn about the culture of graduate literary study and recognize our place within it; gain an understanding of what constitutes a meaningful research question in literary studies today; discuss what it means to do “original” scholarship; and learn how to gauge the scope of a project. By following your own curiosity and interests, you will grow proficient in advanced research techniques and become familiar with typical challenges, patterns, and rewards of this kind of intellectual exploration.
E600B Research Methods: Theory & Design
This course introduces the research methods used in English to study the creation, circulation and reception of discourse, in both classroom and public spaces. Students will craft research questions, learn information-gathering techniques (such as critical incident interviewing) and begin to collect sources and data for their own projects. We will also comment on early drafts of published scholars’ work. Traditions covered include: discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis, ethnographic methods, and many others. Students from all concentrations welcome.
E603.001 Critical Digital Rhetorics
Critical Digital Rhetorics, has been designed as a graduate-level seminar that deals critically with topics, issues, and practices from the field of digital rhetoric. Our exploration will emphasize theories, pedagogies, and methodologies that inform the study, teaching, and practice of computer mediated and digitally networked writing and composing, but we’ll also consider how digital and computer literacies impact, displace, and relate to analog, broadcast, and embodied literacies. That is, we’ll apply a socio-cultural lens to composing to glean insights on the ways individuals and social-aggregates leverage technologies to read, write, communicate, and engage in mediational activity. We’ll also focus on five concept-clusters have received significant critical attention within computers and composition:
- remix and recomposition
- participatory and user centered design
E607B: Teaching Creative Writing
E607B is designed to help graduate students in the MFA program become confident, effective teachers of Beginning College Creative Writing (E210). Students will explore various teaching philosophies, techniques, materials, and the basic elements of craft for writing poetry and fiction. Students will also explore writing exercises, and practice teaching. Upon successful completion of the course, MFA students will become eligible to teach E210, Beginning Creative Writing, for compensation.
E615.001 Reading Literature – Recent Theories
This course is a graduate level introduction to literary and cultural theory since the 1970s. We will be studying material roughly in the chronological order of its academic reception in the United States, from semiotics and deconstruction (which displaced the hegemony of New Criticism with its formalist and aestheticist approach to reading literary texts) through various forms of historicism and cultural materialism. Finally, we will study more recent developments in critical studies ranging from neo-psychoanalysis to affect theory, aesthetic materialism, speculative realism, eliminative nihilism, and object- and process-oriented ontologies. On the way, we cover various feminisms, transcendental empiricism, lesbian and gay studies, gender and somatic criticisms, postcolonialism, and cultural studies generally. The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with the critical rhetorics that inform literary/language study, and to explain the conceptual antagonisms that have emerged between various approaches to literature and culture since the end of the 20th century up to the present. Requirements: assigned readings; 1 or 2 critical papers (topics to be decided on an individual basis); attendance.
E630A.001 Imperial Fictions and Postcolonial Ventures
This class on colonial and postcolonial literatures will have a special focus on environmental issues in postcolonial literature from Africa, South Asia, South America, Australia, and the Caribbean. How writers (and filmmakers) represent colonial and postcolonial environments, their exploitation, and offer alternative visions of community, justice, and sustainability – and how literary and filmic form, voice, point-of-view, and style foreground these subjects – are the guiding questions of this course. We will situate the literature and films in the contexts of colonization, decolonization, global tourism, biological citizenship, and environmental justice, since many global social and environmental crises are linked to capitalist expansion, colonialism, neocolonialism, and contemporary neoliberalism. Texts will be literary and theoretical. In addition to our weekly readings and discussions, one 20 pg. or two 10pg. critical research essay(s) comprise the primary workload for this course.
E630B.001 – Special Topics in Literature: Word and Image
“What’s the use of a book…without pictures?” thinks Alice before she tumbles into her adventures in Wonderland. This course hopes to explore the multi-faceted implications of that indignant query. Pictures and words co-exist on the same page in works as different as medieval illuminated books, seventeenth-century emblem books, children’s picture books, and comics. The course will explore the boundaries between word and image in printed or manuscript books of different genres and historical periods within the context of recent theory about text-image relations. Expect the first few weeks of the course to be theory-heavy; this is meant to introduce you to the various concepts and approaches needed for analyzing the primary works in the course.
Some of the questions we will be considering in this course are: how does the dynamic of the text-image juxtaposition function? What is the relationship between word and pictures – do they reinforce each other’s meaning, qualify it, or contradict it? Do words often seem to colonize and dominate images? And can images function as a subversive, carnivalesque element in the book? Do images have a ‘language’ and can the text sometimes cross the line and function as an image? To what extent does the different mode of perception and comprehension required by words and images determine the meaning of a work? We will not only study text-image interactions as they appear on the surface of the page, but consider the page itself, as well as the book it belongs to -- thus the materiality of books and the features of their printed pages will be an important part of the discussion. The course will take a roughly chronological trajectory, beginning with a study of Medieval works such as The Book of Kells, and ending with contemporary graphic novels such as Watchmen and Fun Home.
E632: Professional Concerns in English - Graphic Narratives
Graphic narratives/comics are both popular and controversial in secondary and college classrooms. Through shared discussion of eight to ten primary texts as well as supplemental texts, we will explore the values and pedagogical affordances of narratives in comics mode. Topics include theoretical and critical approaches, selection/censorship, and multimedia adaptation to develop readers’ understanding and an informed rationale for teaching. Selected titles include Maus, Persepolis, and Black Panther. Likely assignments include responses to the reading, two major papers/projects, and an exam. This course is primarily for students in English Education, but students from all programs are encouraged to register.