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.
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Special Topic Courses
E181A1 -- First Year Symposium
Tim Amidon, Pamela Coke, Gerry Delahunty, and Ashley Davies
Please join us for the English Department’s new class designed to introduce students to the wide variety and wild surmise inherent in English Studies. The symposium gathers together to consider a pressing theme—Justice, Love, War, etc.—by working with, and through, the inherently interdisciplinary ways of thinking and making that comprise our field. We’ll meet twice a week in large groups to learn how linguists, creative writers, scholars, educators, and rhetoricians might approach the topic at hand, and gather in small groups on Fridays to discuss our thoughts and questions. Your professors will sit next to you and learn with you—that is, when they aren’t the one presenting. The hope is to create in each student an enthusiastic sense of how the different disciplines in English Studies can combine and refract and reflect on one another to provide a unique means by which to address any question it is you want to ask—and, of course, the encouragement is to ask those very questions in the years to come.
E311B.001 – Intermediate Creative Writing - Poetry
The poet’s task is not to talk about experience, but to make it happen.” ~John Ciardi
The poem is not merely a discussion of a past experience, but an experience itself, albeit one that arises out of the particular memories, circumstances, background, and intellect of the poet. Emily Dickinson famously declared, “I know a good poem when it takes off the top of my head.” When we feel a poem, we know it is a good poem. How can we write poems that our readers will feel physiologically? How can we resist the tendency to merely record experience? How can various poetic techniques and forms assist us in our endeavor to create experiences?
When Ciardi talks about poetry as a “language act,” he is addressing the fact that poems are art objects that employ formal techniques as part of the process of meaning-making. Our job as developing poets is to study and practice the poetic devices and forms available to us as we strive to make experience happen. Thus, this class will serve both as an introduction to the poetic techniques used to write poetry (such as imagery and metaphor) and as an introduction to poetic forms. We will explore the Japanese renku and haiku, the Malaysian pantoum, and the ghazal (an Arabian form which spread to Southern India and Africa). We will consider the performative nature of poetry, paying particular attention to the ways in which poetry is typically performed in the countries we visit and learning how to perform our own work. We will also study strategies for articulating questions of place, identity, life and death, perception, etc.
Because we become better poets by studying and practicing, this course will be reading and writing intensive. On one hand, you will become familiar with the terminology associated with poetry; on the other hand, you will improve as a poet as you receive feedback from both me and your peers. This two- fold approach will ensure that you have the tools you need to read, discuss, and write poetry with increasing sophistication. Students will have an opportunity to write poems, both in the forms studied and in free verse.
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.
This is a required core course in the Linguistics and Culture Interdisciplinary Minor and strongly advised for students with the Language concentration.
E342.001 – Shakespeare I
3 credits Lynn Shutters
The study of Shakespeare would seem to be a straightforward endeavor: read, think, and write about some selection of plays. This is certainly what we’ll be doing in Shakespeare I, as we’ll be studying 7 plays from the first half of Shakespeare’s career. However, in this course, we’ll be attempting to divorce Shakespeare from his status as a singular genius to consider both what materials and cultural concepts Shakespeare was adapting and revising as he wrote his plays and how we ourselves continue to adapt and revise Shakespeare through scholarship and performance. Through different interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays, scholars have created conservative Shakespeare, radical Shakespeare, feminist Shakespeare, queer Shakespeare and postcolonial Shakespeare, among others. In this class we’ll sample different versions of Shakespeare not to try to arrive at the right one, but rather to consider the benefits and drawbacks of these approaches as well as the cultural agenda to which they respond. In our quest to think about how we continually re-create Shakespeare, both inside and outside the classroom, we’ll also study film adaptations of Shakespearean plays.
This course fulfills a Category 1 and 4 elective requirement for English majors.
E343.001 – Shakespeare II
Theatre historians estimate that 25,000 people per week attended performances in and around London, totaling 50 million visits between 1576 and 1640. Shakespeare remains the most familiar of those who wrote for this flourishing institution. This course will sample work from the second half of his career, exploring how different plays recast important issues in the playwright’s culture and his oeuvre. Shakespeare's era was one of rapid change and, for many of his contemporaries, a time of disruptive upheaval in the social order and cultural values. How do Shakespeare's plays register and intervene in debates about politics, religion, gender, family, and other social conflicts? We will read the plays historically, and we will consider them in terms of performance (then and now), as well as how they’ve inspired later writers and audiences to adapt and appropriate them. We will study six plays, one of which will be selected by students.
This course fulfills a Category 1 and 4 elective requirement for English majors.
Through current events, discussion, film and young adult literature, students will explore the formation, growth, and currency of social movements and forms of collective action through an in- depth exploration of contemporary issues of race, gender, immigration, and sexuality.
This course is open to all College of Liberal Arts Students, for English majors this course fulfills a Category 2 and 3 elective requirement.
E422.001 African American Literature
This course provides a historical overview of major developments in African American writing. Beginning with writings from the era of slavery and culminating in an analysis of contemporary African American writing, we will read autobiographies, essays, poetry, drama, and fiction as well as discussing oral and musical cultural production. We will read texts from the eras of slavery, reconstruction, the Harlem renaissance, the Black Arts movement, and the present.
We will also be working with critical accounts of African American literature that have theorized this area of cultural expression through its relationship to vernacular African American culture with a primary emphasis frequently falling on oral and musical expression. Our readings all participate in this larger discussion about the relationship between African Americans, writing, and music. This will lead us into fraught debates among artists and critics about what constitutes an authentic African American culture and whether or not it is possible to define such a thing. Our readings will be supplemented by examples of musical performances including folk songs, spirituals, jazz, blues, funk, rock, reggae, afrobeat, hip hop, and techno.
This course fulfills a Category 3 elective requirement for English majors.
E443.001 English Renaissance Drama
Theatre historians estimate that 25,000 people per week attended performances in and around London, totaling 50 million visits between 1576 and 1640. Although Shakespeare’s name is more familiar now, many amazing writers created plays for this flourishing institution—Marlowe, Kyd, Jonson, Middleton, Dekker, Webster, Beaumont, Fletcher, among others. Audiences were varied, as were the plays that they flocked to hear and see. This course will explore why stage plays were at once so popular and so controversial. How did dramatists engage their various enemies, whether crown-appointed censors, London city officials, rival poets and playing companies, or radical Puritan reformers who succeeded in shutting down the playhouses in the early 1640s? What were these enemies so afraid of? How do these fears compare to current popular culture controversies? What cultural and emotional energies fueled the villainous plotters and ambitious “over-reachers” whom audiences loved and loved to hate? How do they still speak to us? How did poets hone their craft in writing for the stage? We’ll study the interplay of dramatic form and cultural context, considering how plays and the theatre in general promoted and challenged dominant ideologies, contributing to cultural debates about work, identity, gender, sexuality, social order, religious duty, and family life. We will study six or seven plays from English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology.
This course fulfills a Category 1 and 4 elective requirement for English majors.
E465.001 – Topics in Literature and Language –Discourse and Identity – Seeing Others, Seeing Ourselves
The idea that a speaker or writer’s identity matters is perhaps one of our most fundamental assumptions about language. From Aristotle’s notion of ethos to Quintilian’s and Cicero’s images of “the good [person] speaking well,” character matters when we are trying to persuade. Indeed, the idea that “the personal is political” is baked into our public discourse. In this class, we will explore the ways in which identities (both group and individual) shape and are in turn shaped by discourse, with consequences both social and individual. We’ll ask questions like, how does discourse constitute, perform and transform identities? Is it possible to interpret discourse separate from those to whom it is attributed? Do we want it to be? We will also explore the dangers and tradeoffs of identity in discourse, from tribalism to epistemological insiderism. Students will emerge with a set of complex and conflicting perspectives on how identities shape and are shaped by discourse. This knowledge can transform how we write and speak in many contexts: professional, political, personal, and others.
This course fulfills the capstone requirement for all majors. English majors who already have the capstone can count it as a Category 3 elective.
E465.002 – Topics in Literature and Language – Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most important poets, wrote almost 2000 poems, but published just a handful during her lifetime. She understood that her poems, radical as they were, would not be well received by nineteenth-century editors and readers. In a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, one of the few readers she herself sought, Dickinson wrote, “If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her; if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase, and the approbation of my dog would forsake me then. My barefoot rank is better.” In the early twenty-first century, fame cannot escape her, but between her life and ours, Dickinson’s work became a site of much controversy. Over the past 120 years, Dickinson’s poems have appeared in various altered versions. What is it about Dickinson’s work that invites such disagreement? In this seminar, we will consider the editing and publishing history of Dickinson’s manuscripts. We will begin by studying some of Dickinson’s must important influences— including writers such as Robert and Elizabeth Browning and John Keats, as well as crucial texts, such as the King James Bible and Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. In addition, we will read work by many of her contemporaries—Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman. We will look at her legacy, considering more recent poets who have been influenced by Dickinson’s work, poets like Elizabeth Bishop and Susan Howe. Most importantly, we will read her poems and letters intensely. We will follow words back to their Biblical usage; we will ponder Dickinson’s often idiosyncratic spellings; we will linger over her strangely beautiful images; we will mediate on her early preference for the exclamation point and her later adoption of the dash. In short, this semester, we will “dwell in Possibility / a fairer House than Prose/ More numerous of Windows—/Superior—for Doors—”
This course will require a presentation, several short reading response papers, a midterm and a final research paper (15-20 pages).
This course fulfills the capstone requirement for all majors. English majors who already have the capstone can count it as a Category 1 or 4 elective.
E505A – Major Authors – English - Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur
Before there was a “Europe” of independent states as we know it, there was total catastrophe. The Roman Empire in the West finally gave way after 4 centuries of militarizing its borders along the Rhine and Danube fronts, and the peoples of unknown Germania came forth by nations and tribes to destroy and/or settle in the wreckage of “Rome” that was. The international authority of the Caesars and their military machine broke into pieces from which barbarian kings and chieftains forged brutal lordships of their own. Then at some point in the story there came France, and from it, “romance.” That point came about 700 years after the chaos of the Migration Age, when story-telling in Europe turned radically back to legends of that pre-European murk. Poets mined ancient quarries for new ore, and they found riches like nothing the Romans had ever heard of. They found kingdoms forgotten by chronicle, chivalry, enchantresses, swords of power, the most Holy Grail, and apocalypse. This was far and away more evocative to them of life and tragedy than what their medieval schoolmasters had got from the Latins.
So from the historical collapse of Roman authority in the north arose the literary “Matter of Britain,” i.e. the epic and romance of King Arthur. It affected every vogue of elite culture. In England, at the dawn of the age of printing, Sir Thomas Malory took in hand this material that had undergone furious growth and revision for the last 400 years. Knight, criminal, captain & prison-breaker extraordinaire, had leisure time to attend to this work, as he spent a good part of the Wars of the Roses incarcerated by powerful enemies. The resulting Le Morte D’Arthur became a massive tome that spanned the arc of King Arthur’s rise and fall, and a masterwork of English prose. Nothing had matched it, nor would ever match it, in the history of English literature. We shall read all 950 pages of it in this course, and ponder its wonders.
E507.001 Special Topics in Linguistics — Sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics is the study of the interactions between linguistic variation and a very broad range of social factors. Regional dialects are probably the most familiar sociolinguistic phenomenon: linguistic variants correlate with geographically defined groups of people. But language variation correlates also with groups defined according to social class, ethnicity, race, gender, age—in fact, any group of people, however defined, will exhibit some linguistic idiosyncrasies.
In addition to investigating the associations between language variation and groups of people, we will investigate the ways in which linguistic variation is a resource for the construction, maintenance, and evolution of personal, social, gendered, and cultural identities; of social networks; of power structures and relationships; and of the ideologies—especially those derived from language standardization—that underlie identities and power relations. And we will also investigate how language variation is a resource for challenges to all these.
Language varies also with factors deriving from its mode, medium, and context of use: whether it is spoken or written (or written as if spoken or spoken as if written); whether mediated electronically; whether formal or informal or anywhere in between; whether the interlocutors are related by (a)symmetries of power or solidarity; and whether they intend to be polite or impolite to each other. Sociolinguistics is concerned also with the distribution of, and interactions among, languages and their speakers. Most modern states include multiple languages, with consequent implications for social and educational policy; many, if not most, of the people in the world are bi- or multi-lingual, with implications for language choice, language change, language planning, pidginization and creolization, and language survival or death.
In this course we will critically assess the notions of “language,” “dialect,” “language variety,” “Standard English,” “computer mediated communication,” “style,” “(im)politeness,” “pidgin,” “creole,” “linguistic repertoire,” “register,” “linguistic accommodation,” “bi- and multi-lingualism,” “bi- and multi-dialectalism,” “language change,” “language beliefs,” “language attitudes,” “language choice,” “language deficit vs. language difference,” “language testing,” and many others, especially those of particular interest to the students in the course.
E514.001 – Phonology/Morphology- ESL/EFL
This course will introduce you to the descriptive linguistic study of English pronunciation, vocabulary, and word-construction processes. Although it is primarily intended for students in the TEFL/TESL MA program, its topics are of value to anyone interested in the study of English, and of particular value to people in Education, Foreign Languages, Rhetoric, and Writing (including Creative Writing). The course will begin by reviewing some basic assumptions about the linguistic study of language and then focus on its primary topics, English phonetics/phonology, morphology/word-formation, and lexis (vocabulary), and will encourage you to explore these topics in ways that connect with your other interests and activities.
E526.001 – Teaching English as a Foreign/Second 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.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2011). Techniques and principles in language teaching. Oxford: OUP.
Nation, I.S.P., & Newton, J. (2009). Teaching ESL/EFL listening and speaking. New York: Routledge.
Nation, I.S.P. (2009). Teaching ESL/EFL reading and writing. New York: Routledge.
E600B.001 – Research Methods in Writing Studies
This course introduces 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 programs welcome.
E601.001– Research in Teaching English as a Second Language
This course will focus on introducing students to classroom-based research as a method of improving teaching and learning in classrooms that include English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.
Specifically, this course will focus on conducting classroom-based research as an important activity for refining teaching techniques and methods in the language classroom. Students will gain hands-on experience with conducting classroom research in the four skills (i.e., listening, reading, speaking, and writing) within the context of a language classroom. Finally, the course will explore the relative strengths and potential challenges of different approaches to classroom-based research, as well as how these pieces of information can contribute to gaining expertise in language teaching.
E607A.001– Teaching Writing, Composition & Rhetoric
In this seminar we will explore the teaching of writing through rhetoric and composition theories, research, and practice. While this seminar is focused on the teaching of writing, the teaching of writing is solidly part of field of rhetoric and composition—a discipline grounded on the principle of rhetoric and composition informing every communication situation. As new graduate teaching assistants teaching writing in the Composition Program, this seminar aims to orient you to this intersection through the reading of disciplinary position statements, scholarly articles, ethnographies, and rhetorical theory.
The teaching of writing is also informed by the contexts, values, and expectations of where CO150 fits into the Composition Program, the College of Liberal Arts, and the campus. CO150 is a General Education course that 6,000 CSU first-year students take a year, and it brings millions of dollars of revenue to the English Department, college, and campus. As a multi-million industry in the U.S., first- year composition reflects varying philosophies, priorities, and tugs-and-pulls from the discipline of rhetoric and composition, university systems, departments, students, parents, politicians, and employers. As a result, teaching first-year composition is not a siloed experience; it is critical for you to be willing to listen, to gather information, and to join the existing conversation. For many of you after your Master’s program, you will take a teaching position in which you teach composition courses in addition to your specialization; if you enter a doctorate program with a teaching assistantship, you will also be teaching composition courses. Therefore, our course is useful beyond your graduate work here at CSU and will, assuredly, follow you into your post-graduate work and professional endeavors.
My hope is that you’ll leave this seminar better prepared to teach composition and other writing courses in the future, as well as understanding how the current theory and research in rhetoric and composition can help you develop your daily lives as teachers, writers, academics, and global citizens.
E630B.001 –Special Topics in Literature – Genre Studies - Contemporary American Fiction
This course is an in-depth study of recent fiction published in the US. We will read a range of contemporary writers including Colson Whitehead, Ed Park, Ruth Ozeki, Jennifer Egan, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, and others. As we read we will grapple with the impossibility of knowing a field that grows too fast for any one reader to keep up with (at least 50,000 works of American fiction are published each year). We will also explore critical models for theorizing our present moment. Is our moment best understood as The Age of Amazon, post-ironic, post-postmodern, neo-liberal, or the Anthropocene Era?
E634.001 –Special Topics in TESL/TEFL - English for Specific Purposes: Issues in Curriculum Development
This course provides an overview of important aspects of the ESP curriculum and syllabus design, development, and evaluation as well as an examination of current research topics in ESP. The course familiarizes students with theoretical and practical issues related to the various stages of a language course design, including the needs analysis, selection of course content, and the development of corresponding instructional materials for ESP instruction. The course provides students with an opportunity to engage in two course projects that are tailored to meet their individual interests in ESP course design and/or research.
This course is primarily intended for graduate students in the TEFL/TESL program who are training to become teachers of English to the speakers of other languages. In their future careers, they are likely to initiate, participate in and supervise the development of new language courses, including the courses which will target discipline-specific content and language (e.g., engineering, business, agriculture).
Textbook: Anthony, L. (2018). Introducing English for Specific Purposes. Routledge.
We will also read journal publications on various research topics in ESP as well as sample curriculum development projects.