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English Department Upper-Level Course Descriptions for Spring 2015

For information on lower-level courses (course numbers under 300), see the Pitt State catalog.

ENGL 301: Technical/Professional Writing
Dr. Greene or Dr. Hermansson or Ms. Meats
English 301 Technical/Professional Writing is designed for those students who will be writing in the professional, business, and technical professions. In addition to reading professional writing case studies in order to learn rhetorical strategies used in common business writing situations, you will also learn how to create correspondence, descriptions, instructions, reports, and electronic presentations; how to design documents; and how to incorporate graphics into your documents.

ENGL 302: Advanced Composition
Dr. Judd
Advanced Composition has three main goals: to become conversant with Classical rhetoric, to develop skills for assessing quality of writing, and to hone individual writing skills by employing elements of rhetoric and style. During the semester, you will demonstrate your understanding of Classical rhetoric, your ability to assess quality of writing, and your ability to successfully employ aspects of rhetoric and style in your own writing through application in specific writing assignments.

ENGL 305: Introduction to Film Studies (WL)
Dr. McDaniel
This course will satisfy requirements for the interdisciplinary minor in Film and Media Studies. This course teaches students how to analyze cinema. We will study cinema’s fundamental stylistic elements: mise-en-sce`ne, cinematography, editing and sound. Students will then learn how sounds and moving images work together to structure a film or render a narrative. Students will also learn to write about cinema, and we will spend considerable class time developing writing and analytical skills. The films we will study represent diverse styles, periods, genres, national cinemas, and production modes in order to give students an understanding of the wide range of cinema’s expressive possibilities. Throughout the course, we will concentrate on movies as movies—as experiences for spectators—and, wherever we are, we will never be far from our central question: What is it about the movies people like that makes people like them?

ENGL 308: English Linguistics
Dr. Rudd
This course is an introduction to the study of language and to the principles and methods of linguistics, the scientific study of language. We will spend some time early on discussing foundational questions about the nature of language and its relation to the mind and the world. The course develops and strengthens skills in logical reasoning and problem solving, which are invaluable in any field. This course is designed to be a first course in linguistics, and, thus, no prior knowledge of linguistics is assumed. The goals of the class are, first and foremost, to explain the basic linguistic components of language. Thus, we will examine how words in English are formed, determine what the sounds of the language are, and identify how they behave in everyday speech. Over the course of the semester, we will also discuss the major areas of the field, including, but not limited to, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics.

ENGL 315: Mythology
Dr. Judd
The objective of this course is to introduce students to Classical (Greek and Roman) and Norse mythology. Because mythic archetypes are commonly used in literature and film for thematic purposes and because the narrative structures of myths and folklore stories are common to many modern plot structures, mythology can be useful for understanding both modern literature and film. Through the course of this study, students should be able to identify and explain the various myth elements, from characters and stories to archetypes and narrative structures.

ENGL 320: Literature and Film
Dr. Hermansson
This course introduces students to literary analysis and the basics of film "grammar" used in storytelling in order to make sense of the complex processes of adapting a work of literature into film. Students study a range of literature from at least two genres (for example: a number of short stories and a section of a Shakespearean play studied across multiple film adaptations) and methods of analyzing their adaptations in an informed way. The issues with fidelity (how "faithful" or "true" a film adaptation is) are contextualized in order to understand the limits of fidelity as an evaluative tool and a more neutral, descriptive language for adaptation is implemented. The course studies early, historical examples of film adaptation as well as up to date examples and introduces students to the many reasons why film has turned to literature for material. Students learn also to implement many of these techniques themselves in other media by way of storyboards, short screenplays, film pitches including casting and locations work, and even short film. This course does not require previous knowledge of literature or film. It can be taken for General Education credit. It can be taken by English majors even after having taken ENGL 304. It has obvious benefits for BSE students as well, who will be teaching in English classrooms using film as a resource.

ENGL 352/452: Poetry Writing
Prof. Washburn
In this small class setting, students will write, share, and critique poems while reading professional contemporary American poetry. This course not only prepares students for further work in creative writing, but also serves well for those who will be teaching at the secondary level. Poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers will benefit from close work with diction, imagery, precision, and figurative language. This course supports the Creative Writing Minor and fulfills electives in the traditional English minor and major. Poetry Writing meets concurrently with Advanced Poetry Writing (ENGL 452).

ENGL 452: Advanced Poetry Writing Prof. Washburn
See listing under ENGL 352.

ENGL 478: Literature for Middle and Secondary Schools
Dr. Franklin
Criteria and methods for selection, evaluation, analysis, and presentation of adolescent literature. Themes and trends in children's literature; history, tradition, and current themes and trends in adolescent literature. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

ENGL 480: Internship
Dr. Franklin, coordinator
Experience for students planning to become teachers. Field experience in the secondary classroom to complement competencies addressed in departmental methods courses. Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in ENGL 478 Literature for Middle and Secondary Schools or ENGL 479 Techniques for Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools is required. Must be taken immediately prior to ENGL 579 Supervised Student Teaching and Follow-Up of Teachers.

ENGL 503: Technical/Professional Editing

Principles of editing technical/professional documents. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

ENGL 556/756: Topics in Writing—Writing about Popular Culture
Dr. Anderson
This course begins with the premise that any aspect of culture—movies, television, sports, consumer products, the internet, celebrities, video games, hobbies, fashion, and so forth—can be analyzed and interpreted in much the same way we analyze and interpret literature. Students will be introduced to the field of “cultural studies” and to the academic study of popular culture. Material for analysis will be drawn both from assigned readings and from everyday pop culture. We might consider, for example, the racial implications of Miley Cyrus’s twerking, the mixed environmental messages of the movie WALL-E, the media’s obsession with the Kardashians, or the economic underpinnings of the society depicted in The Hunger Games. In a Topics in Writing course, students can expect instruction in writing and research, one major paper, and a several shorter writing assignments, both formal and informal, as well as exams and possibly class presentations. This course counts as an elective toward a minor in Film and Media Studies and toward a minor or certificate in Women’s Studies.

ENGL 557/757: Topics in English—Rhetoric of Gaming (WL)
Dr. McDaniel
This course will satisfy requirements for the interdisciplinary minor in Film and Media Studies. Even those outside of the “hobby” recognize games as the fastest growing media field. Despite their increasing popularity and sophistication, games receive an underwhelming lack of scholarly attention. And though growing, their pedagogical impact is even lower—rarely do games show up in education. In designing this class, I hope to correct these oversights by addressing two important, interlocking issues: First, how can traditional humanities/critical methods inform the way we think about and appreciate games? Second, how can games help us invent new critical methods? For many in the humanities the first question is the easier to address, since it simply encourages us to apply our existing critical models to new, emerging forms of media (note the use of the plural here—to refer to video games as one monolithic genre is akin to referring to literature to one amorphous pile of books; game genres, like literary genres, are diverse and uneven). The second aspiration is a bit more ambitious, since it suggests that attending to games will require us to invent new methods for critical analysis—and that games might render some of the older methods irrelevant. Our first few projects will treat games in terms of objects, and our latter projects will treat gaming in terms of engagement, with a direct and indirect impact on how we maneuver in the world. Also, I want to stress that Gaming is increasingly growing into a philosophical mantra. “Gamification” (the perhaps overused buzz word for this growth) marks interdisciplinary study on the impact gaming has on economic, social, and political life. Thus, the goals of this course extend beyond studying video games, and into how those games can explicitly and implicitly shape behavior and identity. That’s what brings us into the realm of rhetoric. Rhetoric’s two most straightforward definitions are persuasion (Aristotle) and identity (Burke). Games, as Ian Bogost has highlighted, have powerful impact on both. Thus, we'll utilize critical methods for thinking about what games mean and we'll invent methods for thinking about what gaming does (to me, to my community, to my economy, to my culture, to my world). Finally, the course will have a productive component, as we will walk through the process of developing and promoting a game.

ENGL 560: British Genre—Drama
Dr. McCallum
ENGL 560: British Drama will survey major and representative dramatic works in a variety of sub-genres from the late-medieval period through the late twentieth century. By semester’s end, students will be able to recognize the tell-tale formal and performative conventions of the several sub-genres; be able to trace in the evolution of these select British dramatic works the larger historical, social, intellectual, and literary forces that shaped and responded to them and their authors; and be able to conduct academic research into critical questions raised by their reading and discussion.

ENGL 566: American Theme—Asian American Literature
Dr. Cox
In this class students will undertake the study of the study of literature written by Asian American writers. Because the phrase “Asian American” can be interpreted broadly, this class syllabus will include authors and poets whose familial and / or national origins are from a diverse set of geographic and culture spaces, including: Chinese-American, Japanese-American, Korean- American, Vietnamese-American, Bengali-American, and Arab-American. Historical contexts— legal barriers to immigration from the 19th Century to the present, the impact of civil rights initiatives in the 20th and 21st Centuries, American involvement in regional conflicts, colonization and transculturation—will be introduced through a combination of direct instruction and independent research projects. Texts chosen will cover a broad range of genres, including memoir, short fiction, novels, poetry, and graphic novels.

ENGL 571: International Theme—Classic Novels
Dr. De Grave
In this course, designed for undergraduates but open to graduate students, we will read and study some of the most influential and well-written novels by writers from around the world, both past and present. This will give students context for the British and American novels they study, both as literature students and as fiction writers, if that is the case. This would be a good course for creative writers because it would put their own work in a tradition. British and American novelists have often been writing in a genre or style that first appeared elsewhere—in Europe or, more recently, in Asia, South America, and Africa. This course will put each novel into its historical, social, and literary context, and we will trace influences on American and British works. The theme of the course is the novel itself, asking the question “What is the novel?” as we look at the form across time and cultures. We will study narrative theory, such as by Mikhail Bakhtin, to understand the similarities and differences we see. The students will write essay exams and two papers, one short and one long, on the readings. Each student will give a short presentation on one author and his or her literary/cultural context. The emphasis will be on themes, styles, and characterization. Texts and Authors: Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky; Madame Bovary, Flaubert; If on a winter’s night a traveler, Calvino; The House of the Spirits, Allende; Things Fall Apart, Achebe; Forty Rules of Love, Safak.

ENGL 579: Supervised Student Teaching and Follow-Up of Teachers
Dr. Franklin, coordinator
Supervision for students engaged in student teaching. Departmental representatives will visit each student teacher during the professional semester. Additionally, departmental representatives will follow up with each area student during the first year of teaching with assistance and support. Concurrent enrollment in the professional semester is required.

ENGL 699: Senior Seminar in English
Dr. Patterson
An assessment seminar for senior English majors. Exploration of career opportunities. Required of all senior English majors. Prerequisite: 85 credit hours or more. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

ENGL 751: Senior Fiction Writing
Dr. De Grave
This course is a senior-level fiction workshop that meets concurrently with the graduate-level workshop (ENGL 850). In this course, the main text will be the stories the students write. Each student will write 2-3 stories of about 12-15 pages, with complete revisions, and will offer the stories for workshop discussion. The students will write marginal comments and longer, type- written responses to each workshopped piece. In addition to the stories students write, the course will also ask students to read work by professional writers and to consider some fiction theory. Students will read an inspirational book of their choice and will keep an informal set of responses to it. Each student will make a short, informal presentation on the outside book. Texts: The Art of the Short Story and The Best American Short Stories 2014.

ENGL 752: Multi-Genre Writing
Prof. Washburn
In this small creative writing course, students will create, write, and play while receiving personal attention and feedback on their poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The course introduces students to a variety of experimental techniques and styles, and encourages risk- taking both in writing and revision. Students are not expected to have written in more than one of the genres before taking this class. This course is suitable for graduates and undergraduates, and can be taken for various types of degree credit at the graduate level.

ENGL 756: Topics in Writing—Writing about Popular Culture Dr. Anderson
See listing under ENGL 556.

ENGL 757: Topics in English—Rhetoric of Gaming (WL) Dr. McDaniel
See listing under ENGL 557.

ENGL 771: Major Authors: Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville
Dr. Greene
Over the last thirty years, Douglass and Melville have become perhaps the most widely accepted members of the 19th century American canon, in large part because of their trenchant social criticism. We will put these authors in conversation with each other to explore the similarities of their visions in regards to issues such as democracy, race/gender, economic inequality, and the nature of individual freedom. We will also pay attention to how their perspectives were fundamentally altered by their racial and class differences. Douglass was born to slavery, yet achieved international renown for his writing, while Melville came from a distinguished New England family, yet saw his early literary success dwindle to eventual obscurity. This course should provide graduate students with a strong understanding of these two authors’ works and biographies, as well as an awareness of the way that Douglass and Melville have become central to current questions in American literary history. Toward that end, the course texts will include the recent collection of scholarly essays comparing Douglass and Melville edited by Robert Levine and Samuel Otter in addition to other secondary sources. Assignments will likely include two informal class presentations and one or two conference length (8-10 pp.) essays.

ENGL 772: Periods in Literature—Medieval British Literature
Dr. Zepernick
Study of a major period in British or American literature. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

ENGL 815: Writing for the Profession
Dr. Greene
English 815 is intended to make you a more aware and reflective writer in the various situations you might encounter as a professional in the field of English. This course should provide skills that will be applicable whether your professional goals take you into the classroom, into a terminal degree program, or into business and industry. You will develop your ability to write in a variety of professional forms through a range of projects that might include researched literary analysis, textual editing, project proposals, book reviews, employment documents, and other possible texts. You should develop a keener sense of the rhetorical contexts and demands for these texts, as well as finding greater confidence in your process and voice as a writer.

ENGL 845: Problems in Teaching Composition
Dr. Morgan
A consideration of the problems of teaching composition, with emphasis on rhetorical theory, current research in the teaching of composition, and evaluation of student writing. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

ENGL 850: Creative Writing Workshop—Fiction
Dr. De Grave
This course is a graduate fiction workshop that meets concurrently with the senior undergraduate workshop (ENGL 751). The course is open to all graduate students, presuming they have some fiction writing background, but grad students not in the Creative Writing fiction program should enroll at the 751 level. In this course, the main text will be the stories the students write. Each student will write 2-3 stories of about 12-15 pages, with complete revisions, and will offer the stories for workshop discussion. The students will write marginal comments and longer, type- written responses to each workshopped piece. In addition to the stories students write, the course will also ask students to read work by professional writers and to consider some fiction theory. Students will also read a collection of short stories by a writer they choose, plus, if possible, some theory by that writer and they will write a 5-page paper as a response to that collection and theory. Each student will make a short, informal presentation on the outside book. Texts: The Art of the Short Story and The Best American Short Stories 2014.

ENGL 875: Seminar—Cormac McCarthy
Dr. Morris
This graduate-level seminar will include a discussion of the early southern Gothic influences on McCarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper and later Child of God, but will emphasize the western novels, Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and his most recent post-apocalyptic piece, The Road. Seminar participants will watch film adaptations of All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road, and McCarthy’s play The Sunset Limited.

ENGL 875: Seminar—Creative Writing Craft and Analysis
Prof. Washburn
In this course students will study the crafts of fiction and poetry and practice writing professionally about craft elements in creative works.