Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Courses Fall 2021

300-Level English Courses

Literature, Pre-1700

EN 333-001                            SHAKESPEARE                    MW 3:00-4:15             Tavares

This course offers an introduction to the study of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Engaging a range of dramatic genres, particular attention will be paid to the conjunctions of print and performance practices. Learn to deploy scansion to deconstruct Renaissance verse and other closed-form poetry; identify and meaningfully explicate early modern manuscripts; and engage theatrical, historical, and social tensions of early (modern) England.

 

EN 333-002                            SHAKESPEARE                    TR 2:00-3:15                    Sasser

An introduction to Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Elizabethan customs, politics, history, and philosophies are examined in relation to his works.

 

EN 334-001                SEVENTEENTH CENTURY LIT    MWF 2:00-2:50                Ainsworth

17th Century Literature: The Poetry of Metaphysics and Science

For this semester, we’ll read some of the great poetry of the 17th century in England, looking both at the metaphysical poets like John Donne and George Herbert, and at poets interested in science, including Margaret Cavendish and Andrew Marvell.

 

Literature, 1700-1900

EN 340-001                AMERICAN FICTION TO 1900       MWF 10:00-10:50             Pusch

American Horror Story: American Literature Before 1900

This course will examine cultural fears in America, from the Early Republic through the end of the Nineteenth Century. These fears will be examined through various historical moments as well as through the lens of genre, including Gothic, Sentimental, Romance, and Slave Narrative. Writers can include Brown, Sedgwick, Hawthorne, Emerson, Jacobs, Poe, Melville, Alcott, and Twain. Assignments will include exams, an essay, and the construction of a Commonplace Book.

 

EN 344-001                 MAJOR AUTHORS 1660-1900            TR 12:30-1:45           Novak

Oscar Wilde

In our culture, Oscar Wilde has come to stand for so many (sometimes contradictory) things: An icon of homosexuality and of gay martyrdom; of Irish identity; of modernity; of the aesthete; or even of literature itself. Wilde’s life and his position as a cultural icon so often dominates our understanding of his texts that it is sometimes hard to remember him as a writer. This class will offer a survey of Wilde’s writing (plays, poems, fiction, and non-fiction essays) as well as critical, biographical, and theoretical work on Wilde, in order to ask how Wilde himself defines the terms by which he is most often understood—identity and desire, body and text, performance and essence. We will also look at other writers of the 1880s and 90s to contextualize Wilde within a larger British fin-de-siècle culture.

 

EN 349-001                 VICTORIAN LITERATURE                TR 9:30-10:45           Novak

Gender equality, racial justice, income inequality, religion, or the crisis in the humanities. These could be today’s top stories in your Newsfeed. But the discussion about these issues began back in the Victorian period, and in many ways we are still arguing about these questions on the very terms and values set by Victorian writers. In essays, novels, and poetry Victorian writers debated the position of women in the public sphere (“the Woman Question”), economic inequality and alienated labor (“The Condition of England Question”), English treatment of colonized subjects, evolution, religious skepticism, and the function of literature.

 

Literature, Post-1900

EN 350-001 / AAST 350-001 TOPICS IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIT  MW 4:30-5:45  Manora

“‘Somebody / anybody, sing a black girl’s song’: 20th and 21st Century African American Women’s Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Film

This course is a multi-genre study of works by African American women writers in the 20th and 21st centuries. In exploring these works, we will often use elements and issues related to narrative, character, and identity as our points of departure for close textual readings and literary analysis, while approaching the literature from formalist, historicist, feminist and psychoanalytic perspectives. As we move through the century, from Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance through the Black Arts Movement to the Contemporary and Postmodern periods, we will also consider these works within the context of critical discourses in social, cultural, and literary history. Authors may include Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Claudia Rankine. Films may include Daughters of the Dust, The Secret Life of Bees, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Requirements: Critical Responses, Short Paper, Long Paper.

 

EN 366-001    TWENTIETH-CENTURY POETRY            TR 12:30-1:45           White

In this course we will read a selection of major English-language poets from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. No previous experience with poetry is necessary. We will learn how to read it together, and by the end of the course you will have developed a taste for it that nothing else will be able to satisfy.

 

Creative Writing

EN 301-001 through 007                      FICTION WRITING                                            STAFF

Close study of the basic principles for composing creative prose. Reading and assigned writing experiments in a broad range of prose strategies. Required of all creative writing minors.

 

EN 303-001 through 004                       POETRY TOUR                                                STAFF

Close study of basic principles for composing poetry. Reading and assigned writing experiments in a broad range of poetic styles. Required of all creative writing minors.

 

EN 305-001 through 002        CREATIVE NONFICTION TOUR   TR 11:00-12:15   STAFF

Close study of basic principles for composing poetry. Reading and assigned writing experiments in a broad range of poetic styles. Required of all creative writing minors.

 

EN 307-001  SPECIAL TOPICS APPLIED CREATIVE WRITING  MW 3:00 – 4:15      Albano

Literary Editing and Publishing

This course will examine the origins, evolution, and the present-day landscape of literary journals and small presses, with a special emphasis on print culture, and learning the fundamentals of the editing process, from the acquisition and revision of work through its proofreading and publishing. As part of this process, we will discuss and implement strategies for publishing our own work covering the entire submission process, from identifying suitable journals to writing professional cover letters. As a culminating project we will produce an online edition of the seventh issue of Call Me [Brackets]—the literary journal started in Fall 2018. This will involve selecting a new theme and aesthetic, and introduce, in addition to the aforementioned skills, the basics of layout and web design, while considering essential post-publishing efforts such as distribution and marketing.

 

EN 307-002  SPECIAL TOPICS APPLIED CREATIVE WRITING  TR 2:00 – 3:15      Albano

Digital Writing: Blogging and Online Presence

As technology, economics transform publishing, online writing has disrupted, subverted, and revolutionized the industry—leading to newly emergent readership groups and dynamic new modes of storytelling. As popular blogger Sufia Tippu writes, “Blogging is hard because of the grind required to stay interesting and relevant.” But it’s not just blogs—writers are also sharing their work through their own personal sites and social media, as well as online journals and magazines. For this course, we will read books that were born of blogs as well as the sites that spawned them, such as those by Cheryl Strayed and Reni Eddo-Lodge. We will examine the curation of online persona and voice, with students ultimately developing their own blogs. The class will also explore the conventions of different digital writing variants, including the personal essay and food/travel/pop culture writing. Finally, students will begin the process of submitting their work to online journals and magazines.

 

EN 308-001    FORMS OF CREATIVE WRITING             TR 12:30 – 1:45          Bingham

Special topics in Creative Writing. Focus may be on poetry, fiction, nonfiction or a combination. Students produce imaginative writing and read related texts. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours.

 

EN 308-002    FORMS OF CREATIVE WRITING             TR 2:30 – 3:45          Alpert-Abrams

This course is all about making fun. In this fiction course focused on the art of SATIRE, we will explore how we might use humor, irony, exaggeration, grotesquery and ridicule to expose and criticize prevailing immorality or foolishness, especially as a means of social or political commentary. We’ll look back to some historical examples to see how writers of the past responded to both their times and to literature. This might include selections of Apuleius’ “Golden Ass,” as well as Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis’ “The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas” (out in a new translation!). We may read Dorothy Parker, Nell Zink, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Mat Pym, Paul Beatty, Issa Rae, Joseph Heller, and Gary Shteyngart. Even though it’s a fiction class, we’ll look briefly at non-fiction by writers like Sloane Crosley, some classic political-satirical essays, as well as some choice examples from film and TV, including Azie Mira Dungey and Hannah Gadsby. We’ll analyze the use and misuse of stereotypes and tropes, we’ll talk about gallows humor, identity politics, and how to look with a satirical eye on your own life as well our present historical situation. Of course, a great deal of the class will be focused on our own writing. While we are reading and discussing the texts, students will be formulating and experimenting with ideas for their own work, culminating in two polished pieces of satire that will be workshopped by the class.

 

EN 308-003    FORMS OF CREATIVE WRITING             TR 3:30 – 4:45            Salvatore

Do you commune with ants to determine what classes to take in the Fall? Sprinkle salt at your window sills to ward off that ghost from your ex’s closet that just won’t leave you alone now and swears they have an offer you can’t refuse? Talk to the baby succulents at Lowe’s to get the latest gossip on the mayor and vague warnings about how to invest your money? You’ve stumbled upon the right class, if so. This course examines speculative fiction/fabulism as it exists in current culture. We will read about the innerworkings of speculative fiction as a form in addition to a variety of contemporary short story collections while also considering the presence of speculative frameworks as they appear in film. Students will be expected to participate in meaningful, thoughtful, and reflective discussion in class, produce an essay which carefully considers the form of speculative fiction, and create a piece of original fiction utilizing the frameworks examined throughout the course. Werewolves, spectres, and garden gnomes are permitted in this class provided they are properly house trained. Please be sure to leave vampires at home as UA will not be held liable for sun-damage.

 

EN 308-004    FORMS OF CREATIVE WRITING             MW 4:30 – 5:45         Neace

Special topics in Creative Writing. Focus may be on poetry, fiction, nonfiction or a combination. Students produce imaginative writing and read related texts. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours.

Linguistics

EN 320-001    INTRODUCTION TO LINGUISTICS                      TR 9:30-10:45            Popova

Introduction to the study of language, including subjects such as language acquisition, variation, and origins. The system of sounds, syntax, and meaning are illustrated in English and other languages.

 

EN 321-001    LINGUISTIC APPROACHES TO GRAMMAR     TR 2:00-3:15            Popova

A study of English grammar integrating principles from linguistic theory with structural approaches to grammar. The course includes a focus on the expectations of grammatical usage in different contexts and an understanding of how to apply this knowledge in a pedagogical setting. This course is a prerequisite for EN 423, EN 424, EN 425, EN 466.

 

Methodology

EN 300-001    INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH STUDIES            MW 4:30-5:45        Koontz

An introduction for English majors to the methods employed in the discipline of English. Students will be exposed to the fundamental issues of critical reading, interpretation, and writing, especially to the use of critical methods in the study of primary texts. Readings will include a selection of texts in the traditional categories of poetry, drama, and prose, as well as the genre of the critical essay. There may also be investigations into other genres and media.

 

Rhetoric and Composition

EN 309-001      ADVANCED EXPOSITORY WRITING     MWF  2:30-2:50           Coryell

This advanced writing workshop offers expository writing experience beyond EN 101 and 102. Students will use an inquiry-based model to explore their deepest obsessions. Written work will include exploratory, descriptive, informative, and analytical essays.

 

EN 313-001                   WRITING ACROSS MEDIA         MWF 10:00 – 10:50        Eubanks

Advanced writing course exploring composition with images, sound, video, and other media while considering theoretical perspectives on rhetorical concepts such as authorship, audience, process, revision, and design.

 

EN 319-001 through 006                    TECHNICAL WRITING                               STAFF

This class will focus on principles and practices of technical writing, including audience analysis, organization and planning, information design and style, usability testing, and collaborative writing. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. These concepts highlight the relationship between content (having something to say) and expression (saying something a certain way). ENG 319 emphasizes three themes: (1) understanding implications of technical writing, (2) recognizing contextualized writing and technology practices, and (3) developing strategies to improve our writing skills. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. This course’s written assignments require coherent, logical, and carefully edited prose. These assignments will require students to demonstrate higher-level critical thinking skills, such as analysis and synthesis.

Prerequisites: EN 101 and EN 102 (or equivalent) and junior standing.

 

Special Topics in Writing or Literature

 

EN 310-001                 SPECIAL TOPICS IN WRITING                MWF 12:00-12:50    Millsaps

Legal Writing

In this class, we will examine the various ways writing is involved in a law suit — from the time a client first meets with a lawyer through all stages of trial preparation, trial, and appeals of the outcome. We will use a very realistic scenario derived from the instructor’s 20+ years of experience as a trial attorney. You will discover that very different styles of writing that are needed at different stages and for different audiences, and you will be introduced to the strategical thinking that goes into the art of litigating. This class will benefit students who anticipate being the next great trial attorney, and students who would prefer to use their writing skills to represent clients behind the scenes.

 

EN 310-002                 SPECIAL TOPICS IN WRITING                TR 2:00-3:15     Presnall

Mindful Writing

In this class, we will approach communication as an ecology within which human and non-human actors affect each other. If I speak to a rock and don’t get a response, does that mean it doesn’t affect me, direct my movement? Does it invoke me? Does my cat? If my cat leaves a dead mouse on the step and I interpret it as a gift, have I missed a chance at communication? Rather than starting from a known purpose and thesis and advancing an argument, this class begins by questioning what we know and uses extrahuman relations to promote new thoughts and modes of expression. We will integrate the contemplative practice of meditation with journal writing to promote creativity, controlled attention, and meta-cognitive awareness. Students will apply concepts developed through reading and discussion to an analysis of literary and cultural texts, develop their own narrative-nonfiction writing projects, and present on their process to the class.

 

EN 311-001       SPECIAL TOPICS IN LITERATURE       MWF 10:00-10:50      Waltman

Composing the Office

This course is focused on fictional representations—in literature, film and television—of the office, starting with Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener,” written in an economy changing from its agricultural roots, to more contemporary works such as Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. We will also look at critical research done on offices, mainly in an attempt to ground us in a “reality” from which these fictionalized accounts spring. Students will be asked to respond with one traditional literature paper, as well as one critical research work regarding offices. Though some of our conversations will branch out into the idea of the “workplace,” for the most part I try to limit our texts to work that is specifically focused on the office workplace, and uses that as a setting. Given that the office was long—and to some extent still is—dominated by specific identity, we will also look at how gender, race, and sexuality are constructed in these works and how those constructions change over time. Other themes will include alienation, consumerism, and the absurdity of “doing nothing”—and how these all contribute to workplace violence, a violence that was often imagined (in “Bartleby,” in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, in 9 to 5 and more) before it became a reality in American working life (homicide is the third leading cause of workplace fatalities), before branching out into virtually all public spaces.

 

EN 311-002                 SPECIAL TOPICS IN LITERATURE         TR 2:00-3:15    Hubbs

Gilded Age America

The tumultuous decades after the Civil War saw unprecedented wealth alongside unfathomable poverty, women’s rights activism, mass urbanization, race-based segregation and disenfranchisement, and the rise of the eugenics movement. This course uses novels, short stories, and essays to explore the major literary movements—realism, regionalism, naturalism—and social changes that defined the United States during the Gilded Age.

Directed Courses

EN 329-001 through 002                    DIRECTED STUDIES                                   STAFF

Prerequisite: Enrollment only by previous arrangement with a specific instructor and with the permission of the director of undergraduate English studies.

 

400-Level English Courses

Advanced Studies in Literature

EN 400-001                            SENIOR SEMINAR               S 9:00-5:00                 Jolly

American Literature in the Industrial Age

American Literature in the Industrial Age, 1865-1945, is a study of American Literature 1865-1945 with an emphasis on the changing American culture from the agrarian to an industrial one.  Students will reflect on these cultural changes as found in the works assigned.

 

EN 411-001 ADV STUDIES COMPARATIVE/MULTICULTURAL LIT   TR 9:30-10:45 Wittman

World Literature

In this course, we will read six critically acclaimed novels from around the world and investigate how literature arrives on the global stage. This course is run as a literary prize-granting committee loosely based on the Nobel Prize committee. Every student is a committee member. In this course, it is the students themselves who come up with their own evaluative criteria. Throughout the semester we will then debate—in class and anonymously—the merits of the six novels. On the first day of class, students discuss what foreign language books they have read; on the last day, they debate and decide which of the novels should win the prize. This year we have the unique opportunity to spend classroom time with one of the award-winning writers. Writers might include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Rabih Alameddine, Marcella Serrano, Han Kang, Ornela Vorpsi, and Elfriede Jelinek.

 

EN 422-001      ADV STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE      TR 2:00-3:15            White

American Originality

This course will focus intensively on three American poets: Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and James Merrill. Each of these poets invented a new path for American and English-language poetry generally. We will read them closely to understand why what they did is distinctive and important. We will also have fun doing it, and no previous experience with poetry is necessary.

 

EN 422-003      ADV STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE      TR 9:30-10:45          Cardon

Early 20th-Century American Literature: Consumption & Consumerism

In the opening passage of Abraham Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky (1917), the protagonist laments, “My present station, power, the amount of worldly happiness at my command, and the rest of it, seem to be devoid of significance” (3). Despite rising from humble beginnings to achieve immense career success and wealth, David finds himself restless and unhappy: not because he cannot have something he wants, but because he does not know what else to want. According to historian William Leach, the late 19th century was a defining one in America’s shifting ideology, when the very concept of the American Dream changed. This dream, loosely defined by the Declaration of Independence as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” ceased to represent the ideals of family, work, utilitarianism, and faith, and morphed into a more individualist, materialistic ideal. The hallmarks of this new dream, according to Leach, are “acquisition and consumption as the means of achieving happiness, the cult of the new; the democratization of desire; and monetary value as the predominant measure of all value in society.” The novels we discuss in this class, spanning from 1900 to 1931 (set from about the 1870s to the 1930s), represent this shift of American life into one of mass consumption. Consumerism on the one hand undergirds our ideal of equal opportunity. At the same time, consumerism infects American citizens with the belief that true happiness lies in material success and the freedom to buy. The authors, who encompass the Realist, Naturalist, Modernist, and Harlem Renaissance periods/movements, explore concepts of happiness as they intersect with the development of a consumerist mentality.

 

EN 433-001    ADV STUDIES IN BRITISH LITERATURE     TR 12:30-1:45       Pionke

Voting is an often taken-for-granted basis of democratic citizenship, especially by those never denied the right to cast their ballots. Go back in time only two centuries, however, and you will find that matters looked quite different. In Britain in 1831, for example, less than 5% of the adult population enjoyed the right to vote. Long barred by custom from voting in parliamentary elections, women were not legislatively locked out of participation in British elections until the First Reform Bill of 1832, which, ironically, expanded the electorate to include “ten-pound franchisers” even as it exclusively defined those made eligible on the basis of income as “male persons.” Removing this gendered adjective took the next 86 years, during which numerous incremental advances and setbacks for women were represented, debated, and otherwise recorded in contemporary poetry, nonfiction prose, novels, and oratory. Our survey of works by writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, L. E. L., Caroline Norton, Charlotte Brontë, Margaret Fuller, Barbara Bodichon, George Eliot, Augusta Webster, and others will cover the first half of this near-century of struggle by British women to win the statutory right to choose their own representatives.

 

EN 477-001                ADV STUDIES IN LITERARY GENRES   TR 11:00-11:50      Cardon

Dystopian Literature

In times of political and social turbulence, we dream of ideal worlds or utopias. “Utopia,” etymologically, means “no place,” in itself a statement about the feasibility of a perfect world. In contrast, authors have long been dreaming up dystopias, worlds in which people suffer because of governments, economies, religions, technologies, and environmental catastrophes gone haywire. Many students are familiar with classic dystopias like Brave New World and young adult dystopias like Hunger Games. These novels offer a glimpse of collective anxieties about the future––about a time when people become too desensitized, too autocratic, or too dependent on technology. In this class, we will begin with a couple of the classic dystopias but quickly move into less familiar dystopian territory: Harlem Renaissance satire, Afrofuturism, and Cyberpunk, to name a few. Select authors include George Orwell, George Schuyler, Octavia Butler, and Naomi Alderman, among others.

 

EN 488-001    ADV STUDIES IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LIT       TR 2:00-3:15          Harris

Worlds of Drama: African American Playwrights from 1959 to the Present

Lorraine Hansberry’s award-winning play, A Raisin in the Sun, changed perceptions of African American Drama when it reached Broadway in 1959. Just as quickly, playwrights following Hansberry revised dramatically what could be done on stage with African American characters. This course is designed to explore the trajectory of African American drama from 1959 into the twenty-first century. In doing so, it will focus on other award-winning playwrights, such as August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Lynn Nottage, and the characters, issues, and struggles they brought to the American stage. Students will read and discuss the plays, view films made from some of the plays, and, if they are so inspired, turn their own hands to writing plays. The course will run primarily by class discussion and oral presentations, with short writing assignments, exams, and a course project completing the requirements. In addition to Hansberry, Wilson, Parks, and Nottage, the course will include plays by James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Ed Bullins, Pearl Cleage, Charles Fuller, and Ntozake Shange.

 

EN 488-002    ADV STUDIES IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LIT       TR 3:30-4:45          Trout

African American Military Experience in Literature and Culture

Although African Americans have served with distinction in every major war ever fought by the United States, the story of their relationship with the US military is one of ongoing resistance to racist constructions of citizenship and masculinity. In short, from the American Revolution onward, black Americans have had to fight for their place on the battlefield. This course will explore the depiction of African American military experience in literature, visual art, and film, and it will focus on the time period from the Civil War to the American war in Vietnam. Our texts–a rich sampling of memoirs and novels–will include Susie King Taylor’s *Reminiscences of My Life in Camp,* the first-hand account of a Civil War nurse; Shelton Johnson’s *Gloryland,* a fictional depiction of Buffalo Soldiers in the American West; Royal A. Christian’s *Porter, Steward, Citizen,* the memoir of an African-American soldier in World War I; and Victor Daly’s *Not Only War,* the only novel written by a black American combatant in that conflict. We will also read Gail Buckley’s *American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm* and discuss several films, including Edward Zwick’s *Glory* and Spike Lee’s *Da 5 Bloods.* Students will complete daily entries in a reading journal, take two examinations, and submit two 5-6 page papers. Hopefully, we will also be able to go on two field trips–one to Tuskegee Alabama, where the famous Tuskegee Airmen trained, and one to Blakeley State Park on Mobile Bay, where one of the largest deployments of African American troops occurred during the Civil War.

 

Advanced Studies in Writing

EN 455-001                            ADV STUDIES IN WRITING          TR 9:30-10:45       Presnall

Montaigne and the Essay

The focus of this course is Michel de Montaigne and the Essay. We will discuss the life of Montaigne, his method, the reception of his Essays since first published in 1580, and his influence on major writers, including Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf. We will also practice his method of writing from life to understand our own minds and how to live well. Students will follow their interests in researching Montaigne’s influence on later writers and finish with an essay after his experimental form.

 

EN 455-002                            ADV STUDIES IN WRITING          TR 12:30-1:45        Tekobbe

To Go Boldly (or not): Writing the Future

This seminar focuses on exploring science and technology issues of the moment and of the near future. Can artificial intelligence address the issue of misinformation on the internet? Will robots replace entire fields of employment in coming years? Can there be a cashless economy? What about bitcoin and peer-to-peer economies? Can we build ourselves better bodies and longer lifespans with emergent science? Does living in a surveillance society bring an end to privacy? What about climate change? Should we colonize Mars? How do we address the ethics of all that science and technology make possible? In this course, will ask and try to answer these questions and more, through readings and examples in popular culture. We will create opinion pieces, responses, reviews, and more as we explore what it means to imagine, make, and write the future.

 

 

EN 455-003                            ADV STUDIES IN WRITING          TR 2:00-3:15       Tekobbe

To Go Boldly (or not): Writing the Future

This seminar focuses on exploring science and technology issues of the moment and of the near future. Can artificial intelligence address the issue of misinformation on the internet? Will robots replace entire fields of employment in coming years? Can there be a cashless economy? What about bitcoin and peer-to-peer economies? Can we build ourselves better bodies and longer lifespans with emergent science? Does living in a surveillance society bring an end to privacy? What about climate change? Should we colonize Mars? How do we address the ethics of all that science and technology make possible? In this course, will ask and try to answer these questions and more, through readings and examples in popular culture. We will create opinion pieces, responses, reviews, and more as we explore what it means to imagine, make, and write the future.

 

EN 455-004                            ADV STUDIES IN WRITING          M 10:00-12:30       McGee

Black Writing: Advanced Composition & The Genre of Essay

The genre of essay writing has a long history, almost as long as the history of the story and the storyteller itself. In fact, an aim of the essay is to document human experience, thought, and observation. It is a way of making sense of the world by writing out one’s critical interpretations of social, cultural, and historical relationships. Essays are, often, short texts that put forth specific arguments or positions explaining, unpacking, or demonstrating relationships between multiple events, ideas, and/or experiences. As such, this course is designed to explore concepts and sub-genres of essay writing including autoethnography, journalistic writing, political speech, and theoretical critique. This course is designed for advanced English majors with interests in Black writing, Black rhetoric, and Black language. Our course looks outside of some normative genealogies regarding the genre of the essay and looks toward more contemporary uses of the Black rhetorical tradition to frame discussions of the essay—form, genre, characteristics, and intentions.

 

Creative Writing

EN 408-001                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          MW 3:00-4:15          Coryell

Novel Workshop (Two-Semester Sequence)

This is part one of a two semester course designed with the goal of completing a draft of a novel. In this class we will deconstruct the novel-writing process, and move from brainstorming ideas all the way to workshopping books-in-progress. No matter the genre you’re looking to write, you’ll find this course an invaluable aid to developing a new or existing project. We will read and discuss a couple of novels in order to help inspire the writing process, and discuss the many challenges of writing longform narrative and strategies for overcoming them. Workshops will occur throughout the semester and novel sections will be turned in regularly. The goal of this course is not to write a perfect, complete text, but rather to learn how to forgive yourself for bad sentences and to do a lot of writing. By the end of the first semester, the goal is to have a partial novel draft completed with a full draft completed by the end of the second semester. We will also talk briefly about the novel publication process.

 

EN 408-002                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING    MW 4:30-5:45       E Parker

Advanced Nonfiction Workshop

During the emergence of “The New Journalism” in the ‘60s and ‘70s, with writers such as Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and University of Alabama alumnus Gay Talese, straight nonfiction reportage began adopting the techniques of fiction—dialogue, scene-setting, intimate personal details, the use of interior monologue, metaphorical depth, etc.—and abandoned the sterile, objective perspective of “newsworthy subjects” in favor of turning the lens toward less traditional subjects, even the journalists themselves, and a whole new genre of immersion writing evolved. We will look at the evolution of this trend from the 1960s and earlier, following it to the contemporary explosion of immersion project literature in magazines, books, podcasts, documentaries, and blogs. As writers, we will immerse ourselves in our own communities and lives to find subjects and produce essays and possibly podcasts and short documentaries. We will be what Gay Talese calls “nonfiction writer[s] pursuing the literature of reality.”

 

EN 408-003                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          TR 9:30-10:45       Collum

Criminal Intent (Screenwriting)

Crime films such as Silence of the Lambs, Shawshank Redemption, American History X, The Departed, and A Time to Kill garner such high acclaim because they are complex, engaging, culturally relevant, and thought-provoking. But what makes their characters so remarkably unforgettable, relatable, and complex—or villainous and shady? How do the ethical dilemmas posed in such crime films beckon us to invest in the story? In what ways can a crime film both entertain us and urge us to more closely examine ourselves as well as the lives and motivations of others? What existential questions do they pose? In this course, we’ll examine a variety of crime films to identify the key features and strategies—including concept, plot, dialogue, pacing, and description—that make these movies click. Furthermore, we’ll look at the role of crime in concept, plot, and character motivation. As we examine successful screenplays/films, we will also work through the process of developing, outlining, writing, and revising a full-length feature film (approx. 90-120 pages). Students will work collaboratively and will present work through in-class workshops and activities. Note: This course requires the purchase of Final Draft 11, which is the industry standard software for screenwriting format and production. Student discounts may be available. Among other elements of the screenplay, we’ll explore and practice through writing: • Brainstorming, outlining, writing, and revising • Concept, plot, and structure • Conflict and characters • Pacing, description, and dialogue • Formatting: Industry Standards • Pitching your idea: Contests, Query letters, and Feedback Students will work collaboratively throughout the semester and will present work through peer workshops and skill-focused activities. * This course requires the purchase/download of Final Draft, which is the industry standard software for screenwriting format and production. It will simplify the formatting process in ways you can’t imagine (which, in turn, will give you more time to focus on your ideas)! Student discounts are available.

 

EN 408-004                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          TR 11:00-12:15   Pirkle

Obsessive Forms (Poetry)

This poetry-writing course will be a deep dive into the poetic forms that are most closely linked with obsession because of the required repetition: specifically, pantoum, villanelle, ghazal, and sestina, which are often forms that are lumped together and quickly glossed over in EN 303. In EN 408 “Obsessive Forms,” the students and professor will slow down and really study how those forms serve obsessive subject matter, as well as how the forms differ from each other. Students will read numerous examples of each form, and discuss how they work, then students will write their own pantoums, villanelles, ghazals, and sestinas, and workshop them. The semester will culminate with each student devising and executing their own “obsessive form” – a nonce form that they create for their own poetry that incorporates what they’ve learned about repetition and form.

 

EN 408-005                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          TR 11:00-12:15      Weiland

Magic in the Mundane: Advanced Poetry Workshop

In American culture, it is easy to find flashy narratives of superheroes, dramatic heartbreak, and a general “bigger is better” mindset. However, in focusing solely on glitz, writers can miss the beauty and magic in common details of environment, people, and our daily lives. This class will focus on developing observational skills, detailed imagery, and evoking meaning from everyday objects and situations. In addition to exploring the work of established poets, students will participate in several workshops of their own poetry. At the end of the semester, students will produce a portfolio of their poems, revised to their own liking, as well as a reflection on the revision process and their revision choices.

 

EN 408-006                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          TR 12:30-1:45       Addington

Stories of Alabama (creative nonfiction)

This creative nonfiction course focuses on Alabama, a state of renowned storytellers and captivating stories. We’ll explore Alabama’s role in the birth of literary journalism. We’ll look at contemporary reporting to see what current stories grip the rest of the nation. We’ll craft our own reported stories that highlight Alabama’s complex, contradictory, and dramatic place in the world.

 

EN 408-007                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          R 2:00-4:30         Estes

Peak TV (screenplay writing)

With the debut of The Sopranos in 1999, the television landscape changed forever, sparking a renaissance in serialized television that twenty years later shows no signs of abating. From one hour dramas like The Wire or The Americans, to 30-minute dramedies like Atlanta or Insecure, to limited series (and literary adaptations) such as The Queen’s Gambit and The Outsider, prestige televistion has set a high bar—in terms of writing quality and cinematic production values—and has hundreds of original programs chasing after critical acclaim and viewer devotion. Hundreds of new shows now air across an ever-growing number of streaming platforms; the appetite for content and the writers who create it has never been greater. In this class you will operate in a writers’ room to conceive, plan, and write a new series. We will study the form and business of writing for television and examine in depth the structure and arc of how an entire season is constructed across a season of episodes. You will end this course both with new screenwriting and longform storytelling skills as well as an invaluable experience collaborating with fellow writers on a significant project, which is how most television shows gets made.

 

EN 408-008                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          TR 3:30-4:45     Whalen

Micro & Flash Fiction

A course dedicated to the study, and practice, of micro and flash fiction. We’ll read and discuss a wide variety of short-short stories, ranging from one-sentence to 1000 words in length. Students will learn to cut to the quick and utilize minimalist techniques to craft fiction that delivers big in a small package. There will be weekly writing prompts, and several opportunities to share original micro/flash fiction in “workshop” to receive peer and instructor feedback.

 

EN 408-010                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          W 10:00-12:30        Rawlings

Advanced Fiction Workshop (Prose)

Writers in this class will work on developing their skills with elements of story and will draft, workshop and revise several pieces of fiction. We will experiment with a variety of forms and lengths of stories.

 

EN 408-011                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          W 2:00-4:30                Wells

Advanced Fiction Workshop (Prose)

This class is devoted to the reading, analysis, and above all the writing of short fiction. You will produce original fiction of your own invention and design, and, building on the workshopping skills you’ve developed in previous creative writing courses, you’ll read the work of your peers and provide oral and written feedback. This course will help equip you with the skills necessary to examine stories with rigorous generosity. The published stories we’ll discuss will be in a variety of modes, from realism to fabulism and points in between, but it is the fiction you write that will make up the course’s primary text.

 

EN 408-012                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          R 2:00-4:30                 Nkweti

Special topics in Creative Writing. Focus may be on poetry, fiction, nonfiction or a combination. Students produce imaginative writing and read related texts. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours.

 

EN 408-013/JCM 442-001     ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          T 2:00-4:30     Bragg

Long-form Articles

This course is designed to help students understand writing and editing of long-form articles for publication in print and online depth magazines. Students will learn advanced narrative non-fiction writing techniques and how to gather information for longer feature stories. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.

 

EN 408-014                ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING          TR 9:30-10:45        Rawlings

Writing Funny in Unfunny Times

Comedians often have the most trenchant and true things to say about difficult subjects. From Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” suggesting that the Irish sell their children as food, to Key and Peele’s sketch comedy that points up racism and stereotyping, comedy has long illuminated and critiqued social problems. In this class, we’ll experiment with comedic forms such as the monologue, sketch, list poem, satirical essay, and maybe even a Tik Tok video. We’ll look at how comedians write about everything from personal trauma to collective catastrophe. Possible readings include excerpts from Paul Beatty, The Sellout; Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black; Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People, and poems by Paul Guest and Patricia Lockwood. We will also watch examples from standup comedians to inspire us.

 

Linguistics

EN 424-001 / EN 524             STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH             TR 12:30-1:45           Popova

Advanced study of the structure and usage of the English language, focusing on issues of morphology, syntax, and discourse context.

Prerequisite(s): EN 320 or EN 321 or ANT 210 or ANT 401 or ANT 450 or FR 361 or IT 361 or SP 361

 

Composition and Rhetoric

EN 432-001    COMP/RHET: APPROACHES & METHODS          W 2:00-4:30               Dayton

This course is designed to introduce students to rhetoric and composition as a field of study. We will look broadly at theory, methodology, and practice, focusing on topics including (but not limited to): approaches to teaching writing, an overview of rhetoric and its relationship to writing instruction, and discussion of professional issues in English Studies (such as the role of the humanities, the purpose of the English major, and the rise of digital humanities).

Directed Courses

EN 429-001 / 002                               DIRECTED READINGS                               STAFF

Prerequisite: Enrollment only by previous arrangement with a specific instructor and with the permission of the director of undergraduate English studies.

 

EN 430-001 / 002 / 003                      ENGLISH INTERNSHIP                               STAFF

An on- or off-campus training position in which students use the skills they have gained as English majors and enhance their employment opportunities after graduation. Interns work approximately 10 hours a week, holding responsible positions with, among others, Alabama Heritage, Alabama Alumni Magazine, and the Tuscaloosa Public Defender’s Office. Apply to the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English. Please see the departmental website for the application form and further details.

 

EN 499                                                HONORS THESIS                                         STAFF

The Honors Thesis in English course is an individualized, directed readings class that culminates in a 30-50 pp. thesis. It is the final required course for the Honors in English program. Each student enrolled will work individually with a faculty mentor.

Prerequisite: EN 399.