Department of English

Overview

The Department of English promotes the study of language and text within our ever evolving social and digital environments. Our students develop the skills they need to become lifelong proficient, inventive, ethical, and flexible thinkers. We inspire them to become creative and incisive, writers and makers. From Twitter poems to Scientific American articles, from Shakespeare to sentiment analysis, we encourage students to become intellectually curious, critically engaged, and socially aware. 

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Minors: creative writing, digital literature and comparative media, English, and language science

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Immersions: creative writing, digital literature and comparative media, English, human language technology and computational linguistics, and language science

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Undergraduate courses: offered in computational linguistics, creative writing, literature & media, and rhetoric

$28K

Sponsored research (2019-2020)

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Faculty-led study abroad opportunities: Paris, Portugal, Croatia

Latest News

Minors and Immersions

A series of creative writing courses offers students a practical, theoretical, and historical understanding of the art and craft of writing nonfiction, fiction prose, and poetry, as well as experimenting in digital storytelling and interactive media. The immersion encourages students to use these skills and insights for interdisciplinary projects and the enrichment of their careers and personal lives.

Learn more about the Creative Writing Immersion program 

The creative writing courses offers students a practical, theoretical, and historical understanding of the art and craft of writing nonfiction and fiction prose and poetry, as well as experimenting in digital storytelling and interactive media. The minor encourages students to use those skills and insights for interdisciplinary projects and the enrichment of their careers and personal lives.

Learn more about the Creative Writing Minor program 

We encounter digital texts and codes every time we use a smart phone, launch an app, or interact online. This immersion explores innovative and evolving questions and practices of text and code in literature, creative writing, and interactive media. It invites students to explore the social, cultural, and technological significance of text, code, and their interrelations.

Learn more about the Digital Literatures and Comparative Media Immersion program 

The courses in the digital literatures and comparative media minor challenge students to think about how the digital in new comparative media affects the way we read, study, and understand literature: What happens to literature and the literary in an age of digital technology and new forms of media? Courses examine a varied collection of print genres and electronic literature in order to understand the current state of this new literary field and its relation to traditional concepts of literary study. The minor provides an entry point into investigating particular aspects of the general category of the digital and its comparative relation to the literary.

Learn more about the Digital Literatures and Comparative Media Minor program 

Study literature and other cultural works, as well as linguistics, and creative writing. The immersion is flexible in order to accommodate student interest in areas such as specific literary historical periods or geographic areas, multimedia and the visual arts, or literary genres and forms such as science fiction, the novel, the short story, poetry. Courses in the immersion emphasize the ability to read literature and other mediums analytically and write critically.

Learn more about the English Immersion program 

Explore literature and other cultural works, as well as linguistics, and creative writing. The minor familiarizes students with works composed or translated into English and provides them with the opportunity to explore a variety of historical periods and geographical regions. Courses in the minor explore literary genres such as science fiction and fantasy; literary forms such as the novel, the short story, poetry, and graphic storytelling; and literary practices across media and multimedia arts. The minor builds an awareness of methods, theories and technologies for both the creation and analysis of literary texts, and provides an introduction to critical or creative writing.

Learn more about the English Minor program 

The human language technology and computational linguistics immersion provides exposure to computational linguistics and relevant language science course work. Students gain knowledge and practical skills in computational natural language processing and technical linguistic analysis, useful for analytics and modeling with language data and for developing, evaluating, and maintaining language technology software.

Learn more about the Human Language Technology and Computational Linguistics Immersion program 

The language science immersion prepares students in the interdisciplinary scientific study and analysis of human language. Language science is directly applicable to students interested in computing and media, human-computer interaction, brain and cognition, language acquisition, human health, interpreting, relevant branches of engineering, and policy studies. Students can complete the immersion irrespective of their skills in languages other than English. Besides a core course on linguistic principles, students choose electives covering the technology of language, philosophy of language, and language in culture and society. Electives allow students to customize the immersion to their interests and needs, with the support of a faculty adviser.

Learn more about the Language Science Immersion program 

The language science minor prepares students for the study and analysis of human language. The minor is directly applicable to students interested in computing and media, human-computer interaction, brain and cognition, language acquisition, human health, interpreting, relevant branches of engineering, and policy studies. Students can complete the minor requirements irrespective of their skills in languages other than English. Electives allow students to customize the minor to their interests and needs, with the support of a faculty adviser. The minor is an excellent complement to majors such as computer science, game design, information technology, psychology, sign language interpreting, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, science, or a foreign language.

Learn more about the Language Science Minor program 

Student Organizations and Resources

Here you will find additional resources for the Department of English, such as affiliated clubs and centers and awards.

Explore student organizations and resources for the Department of English

Courses

The Department of English offers more than 65 courses in creative writing, linguistics, literature & media, and rhetoric & writing.

ENGL-101
Lecture 1, Credits 1
This course will introduce students to the field of English Studies and the kinds of reading, writing, and critical thinking practices central to the field today. English Studies, consolidated as a field in the 19th century in European and American Universities, has evolved well beyond its initial focus on English-language literatures, language practices, and socio-linguistic concerns while retaining its primary concern with literature, language-arts, linguistics, rhetorical practices, and their participation in broader national and global cultures and subcultures.
ENGL-150
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This First Year Writing Intensive course is designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in analytical writing, rhetorical reading, and critical thinking by focusing on particular uses of narrative. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. Increasingly, scholars, artists, public figures and other professionals recognize the value of using stories across genres to inform analytical practice. Students will gain informed practice in using narrative in different disciplines, and become aware of storytelling as one among a number of rhetorical strategies for inquiry. Students will be expected to give presentations as well as write papers both in response to the reading material and in services of their own independent arguments.
ENGL-150H
Lecture 3, Credits 3
The Honors Writing Seminar is a three-credit seminar limited to 16 students per section. The course is designed to develop first-year students' proficiency in analytical writing, rhetorical reading, and critical thinking. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. Academic, non-fiction texts, chosen around a particular theme, are designed to challenge students intellectually and to stimulate their writing for a variety of contexts and purposes. Through inquiry-based assignment sequences, students will develop academic research and literacy practices that will be further strengthened throughout their academic careers. Particular attention will be given to the writing process, including an emphasis on teacher-student conferencing, self-assessment, class discussion, peer review, formal and informal writing, research, and revision; small class size promotes frequent student-instructor and student-student interaction. The course also emphasizes the principles of intellectual property and academic honesty for both current academic and future professional writing.
ENGL-210
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Students will study literary and cultural texts selected from traditional literature to contemporary media and culture (including mythology, poetry, plays, novels, film, graphic novels, television, and digital literature). Students will analyze these texts from a variety of perspectives and become familiar with the history of debates about literature and/or culture as arenas of human experience. Individual sections will vary in their foci.
ENGL-211
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course gives students the opportunity to write in different creative genres such as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. In producing a portfolio, students will learn concrete elements of craft and techniques of improvisation to generate creative work. The course uses readings, peer feedback, workshops, and collaborative brainstorming to develop and refine texts for the printed page and beyond.
ENGL-212
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Creative writing in the 21st century is no longer bound to the printed page; it exists in many forms, across many media. This course introduces students to multi-media creative writing through generative writing techniques, specifically focusing on language as the basic building block of writing. Exercises in reading, writing, workshop, and revision will teach students techniques to manipulate language, construct narrative through non-linear approaches, and generate ideas for particular media through linguistic play. Students will learn elements of craft specific to particular forms and media. Class workshops will provide the opportunity to give and receive feedback as well as participate in collaborative creation. Students will produce creative work for digital and location-based distribution as well as for live performance, therefore highlighting the diversity of physical and virtual media where 21st-century creative writing takes place.
ENGL-214
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces students to the study of English language and linguistics, considering the context of the USA and English in the global society. Students will discover and apply analytical thinking in linguistics by examining the English language system. In that process, students will study principles and concepts of linguistics as a scientific discipline as they experience applying and critically comparing a range of practical methods and tools used in current linguistic analysis, including in laboratory work. Students will also understand the impact of English linguistics on other disciplines in English studies. In case-based inquiry and problem solving, students will explore the forms and functions of English in comparison with an artificial or constructed language from fiction, the film industry, or another context.
ENGL-215
Lecture 3, Credits 3
We encounter digital texts and codes every time we use a smart phone, turn on an app, read an e-book, or interact online. This course examines the innovative combinations of text and code that underpin emerging textual practices such as electronic literatures, digital games, mobile communication, geospatial mapping, interactive and locative media, augmented reality, and interactive museum design. Drawing on key concepts of text and code in related fields, students will analyze shifting expressive textual practices and develop the literacies necessary to read and understand them. Practicing and reflecting on such new media literacies, the course explores their social, cultural, creative, technological, and legal significance. To encourage multiple perspectives on these pivotal concepts of text and code and their import, the course includes guest lectures by scholars and practitioners in these fields.
ENGL-216
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Offering a representation of literature from at least three continents and intending to be introductory in nature, this course will explore literature drawn from a variety of cultures. Literature from Around the World will explore the nature, function and value of literature from a global perspective: students will become familiar with world literatures, as well as methods of studying literature and culture across national boundaries.
ENGL-250
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Designed for English majors, this course provides an introduction to methods used to analyze, interpret, and visualize textual data. Students will learn how to formulate research questions, collect relevant data, and disseminate findings. Students across tracks will leave the course with a toolbox of approaches for applied work as well as critical understanding of methodological and ethical considerations of working with textual data.
ENGL-275
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Storytelling is one of the primary ways we make sense of the world, communicate, share human experiences, and entertain ourselves. This course introduces students to methods used by literary critics and creative writers. Reading stories and analyzing the basic elements of story, the course builds understanding of how stories work, demonstrates the importance of artistic strategies, to enable greater appreciation of the creative choices storytellers make as they craft and communicate their stories in a variety of mediums. The course will explore distinct storytelling modes – such as oral, written, visual, dramatic, digital, ASL, augmented or mixed-reality – and consider the contributions different genres, or kinds of storytelling make to these practices. It will also explore how stories circulate in a culture, or across cultures, and examines the dynamic interrelations between stories, audiences, and changing cultural or historical contexts. Students will read, analyze, discuss, compare, and creatively rewrite or remix stories in order to better understand the range of storytelling practices, how stories work on us as readers, and why they are so significant to human cognition and cultures.
ENGL-301
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course emphasizes the enjoyment and study of poetry with primary attention to major poetry in English. Students will develop (and apply) a working vocabulary of the concepts and terminology used to discuss and analyze poetry, through close readings of individual poems, lectures on specific poets, and theories of poetics.
ENGL-302
Lecture 3, Credits 3
The short story has been one of the most dynamic and innovative genres in literature. This course uses the genre of the short story to provide material for critical commentary and cultural understanding. Students read a variety for short stories to develop an understanding of the form and its impact on culture.
ENGL-304
Lecture 3, Credits 3
From Oedipus Rex to Hamlet dramatic characters have come to represent human archetypes for millennia. Drama captures both current sociological trends and the universal everyman. In this course students will explore the literary elements that comprise the genre of Drama. Drama is the only literary art that requires an extra step to come to full expression. Playwrights, unlike the novelists or poets, create their work to be performed by others. In this course, students will read a selection of plays and discuss questions of historical relevance, reception, and ask why this form of literature has been so enduring and socially potent.
ENGL-307
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course is a scholarly investigation into the cultural, historical, social, psychological, religious and spiritual, literary and performative dimensions of world myth. It examines different approaches to the study of myth emerging from disciplines such as anthropology, history, literary studies, and psychology. Special attention will be paid to the effects of these narratives on literature and other kinds of cultural texts, past and present. We will also use myth to develop, and critically reflect on, comparative approaches to world cultures.
ENGL-308
Lecture 3, Credits 3
In this course students will read, study, and discuss some of Shakespeare's dramatic work in an attempt to determine the nature of his significance. What political and institutional factors account for the reverence accorded to Shakespeare? In addition to reading a range of Shakespeare’s plays, the course will develop deeper understandings of contemporary literary theory and practices that allow various interpretations of these plays. The approach will be comparative and reflect on the influence and effect of Shakespeare’s work on contemporary culture. Attention will be paid to issues of gender, historicity, iconicity and textual analysis among others
ENGL-309
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course explores the evolution of an influential literary form ( the short story, drama, poetry, autobiographical literature, or the novel). Reading a series of variations on this literary form, likely bridging cultural or historical contexts or themes, the course develops critical perspectives and artistic insights into this genre of writing. Criticism and theory appropriate to the genre will be discussed as a way to understand the form, its social functions, and its cultural and political significance. The course can be taken up to two times, for a total of 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different.
ENGL-310
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces the basic concepts of linguistics, which is the scientific study of human languages. Students will be introduced to core linguistic disciplines (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) and to principles of linguistics through discussion and the analysis of a wide range of linguistic data based on current linguistic models. English will often serve as the reference language, but we will discuss a wide variety of languages, including sign languages, to illustrate core concepts in linguistics. The course will have relevance to other disciplines in the humanities, sciences, and technical fields. Students will be encouraged to develop critical thinking regarding the study of human languages through discussions of the origins of languages, how languages are acquired, their organization in the brain, and languages' socio-cultural roles. Some other topics that will be introduced are: language globalization and language endangerment, language and computers, and forensic linguistics.
ENGL-314
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Graphic novels demonstrate a concern for constructed narrative within a visual structure, character development, and plot strategies. Graphic memoirs, or auto-graphic novels, tell true tales of human experiences and global events, exploring the boundaries between fact and fiction, public and private, interior and exterior, visual and textual, seen and unseen, traumatic pasts and their futures. Graphic memoirs are interested in how these distinctions, and the questions of individual and collective truth, transparency, and communicability they open onto, help to delineate ethical behavior and belief systems. Holding a mirror up to the multiple ways in which contemporary cultures frame and reframe individual and collective experience, graphic memoirs render their subjects’ and cultures’ ethical premises and guidelines explicit, and, therefore, enable readers to revisit, rethink, and redraw accepted ways of behaving, understanding, and circulating. Texts used in this course will be explored through this lens. We will focus on the ethical considerations and concerns conveyed in and by graphic memoirs in order to uncover unique forms of book-length sequential art, as well as enhance critical thinking about ethics and media literacy skills. Designated as writing intensive, this course emphasizes writing practices, recognizing the role writing plays in the formation of knowledge, and the framing of a specific academic specialization, as well as genre.
ENGL-315
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Since the initial development of the computer, writers have collaborated with programmers, illustrators, and soundscapists to create digital literatures. Following from radical techniques in print literatures such as concrete poetry, Choose Your Own Adventure novels, and reorderable/unbound fictions, digital literatures exploit the potential of digital formats to explore questions of interactivity, readership, authorship, embodiment, and power. In this class, we will learn to analyze and appreciate digital literatures not simply through their content, but also through the relation of content to form, media, programming platforms, and distribution formats. Our consideration of digital literatures will lead us to cell phones, web pages, video games, virtual reality environments, and genome sequencers.
ENGL-316
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course presents a study of global literature by engaging in critically informed analysis of texts from different geographical regions or cultural perspectives. Students will discover new modes for thinking about what global literature is, and how globalizing impulses have changed and shaped our world. One of the goals of the class is to analyze and discuss the works in their respective socio-historical contexts, with a special focus on the theme of encounter or contact zones. The impact of various factors such as migration, nationality, class, race, gender, generation, and religion will also be taken into consideration. The course can be repeated up to two times, for 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different.
ENGL-318
Lecture 3, Credits 3
From Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, forms of popular literature have existed alongside more literary forms of narrative. In this course students will focus on the distinguishing thematic, structural, and formal distinctions between popular and literary fiction (and in some cases drama and poetry) with an awareness of the historical trends that produced this distinction (the dime novel). The course may focus on popular forms either within broader genres (such as fiction, drama, or poetry) or could be organized thematically and use several of these larger genres. Some sub-genres may include, for example, detective fiction, gothic and horror, the western, romance, etc. Analysis of popular treatment of certain themes and ideas will give students a lens through which to understand how important social, political, and cultural issues enter into the popular imagination, and can in some cases become part of ideological contestation through popular literary discourse.
ENGL-320
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Students will learn about foundational texts in one or more category of genre fiction and review its development in the 19th, 20th, and/or 21st centuries. Genre is a category characterized by similarities in style, or subject matter. Examples include science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, fanfiction, magical realism, or historical fiction. The course approaches genre fiction as literary form, as cultural artifact, and as philosophical speculation; students will learn to distinguish key features of genre fiction, including the historical inspiration as well as contemporary trends. The course may be taken up to two times for a total of 6 credit hours, as long as the topics are different.
ENGL-322
Lecture 3, Credits 3
The course uses both literature and geography, artful writing and creative mapping, to explore the art of storytelling in both fictional and real places. From Sherlock Holmes’s 221B Baker St. London to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, geography is more than an artistic theme, and maps are more than creative illustrations. We will read literature that uses spatial dimensions not only to indicate a destination and point of origin, but to create place–spectacular stories from the Iowa plains to rust belt cities to the networked future. We will also navigate a specific geographical space, telling numerous narrative stories about its pavement and is inhabitants. Through community-based research, students will explore a Rochester community, story-mapping its complex histories, social networks, and contemporary environments. Using literary geography, students will integrate their writing into a final mosaic project–a collaborative digital community map.
ENGL-325H
Lecture 3, Credits 3
A critical examination of themes, topics, theories and practices in a literary or writing studies area associated with existing courses in the English curriculum, or with a special topics area. The approach to this literary or writing studies topic will be specially geared to honors students and others who wish to participate in a more in-depth and rigorous exploration of a literary or writing set of topics.
ENGL-328
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Exploration of the many ways in which science employs modes of persuasion, and the ways it does so differently in different cases of scientific work. Emphasis will be given to the conjunction between science and rhetoric; examples will be drawn from key figures and texts in the history of science, ongoing controversies in contemporary scientific debates, the popularization of science in public media, and the representation of science in fiction.
ENGL-333
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This class examines the history of terrorism (both the concept and the term), definitions of terrorism and attempts to explain the root causes of terrorism through rhetorical and ethical analysis of narratives written by historians, journalists, and terrorists themselves. Students will read and discuss charters, manifestoes and messages (terrorism texts) of domestic and foreign, regional and global, non-state entities motivated by politics or religion to commit violence, as well as the efforts of analysts to explain and contextualize their activities.
ENGL-343
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This literature course explores the deaf elements in select literary works by deaf authors and hearing authors from different societies around the world representing various literary periods and movements. This course begins with the study of ancient writings and laws about Deaf people, documenting beliefs and values of earliest civilizations about Deaf people. Deaf culture in world literature is largely described by preconceived notions and physiognomic descriptions of Deaf people. Stories throughout world history are also characterized by varied responses to emerging educational approaches. Significant advances in medicine, science, and technology in the 19th century changed conceptions of the moral and cultural values imposed on Deaf people by hearing societies. This concept is explored through various literary lenses. The course considers global literary tradition for new interpretations of Deaf experiences.
ENGL-345
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course will study the changes in definitions, explanations, and depictions of madness as expressed in psychiatric texts, asylum records, novelists, cartoonists, artists, photographers, filmmakers–and patient narratives. Certainly, madness has assumed many names and forms: the sacred disease, frenzy, hysteria, mania, melancholy, neurosis, dementia, praecox, schizophrenia, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder. Those afflicted have been admired, pitied, mocked, hidden from public view, imprisoned, restrained, operated on, hospitalized, counseled, analyzed, and medicated. The brain, particularly the disordered brain, has long been a source of interest. This course explores the brain from the history of madness. The course takes a humanist, rhetorical, and historicist approach to the question of madness within changing social institutions and popular discourse.
ENGL-345H
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course will study the changes in definitions, explanations, and depictions of madness as expressed in psychiatric texts, asylum records, novelists, cartoonists, artists, photographers, film-makers–and patient narratives. Certainly, madness has assumed many names and forms: the sacred disease, frenzy, hysteria, mania, melancholy, neurosis, dementia, praecox, schizophrenia, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder. Those afflicted have been admired, pitied, mocked, hidden from public view, imprisoned, restrained, operated on, hospitalized, counseled, analyzed, and medicated. The brain has long been a source of interest, particularly the disordered brain. This course explores the brain from the history of madness. The course takes a humanist, rhetorical, and historicist approach to the question of madness within changing social institutions and popular discourse.
ENGL-351
Lecture 4, Credits 3
We will explore the relationship between language and technology from the invention of writing systems to current natural language and speech technologies. Topics include script decipherment, machine translation, automatic speech recognition and generation, dialog systems, computational natural language understanding and inference, as well as language technologies that support users with language disabilities. We will also trace how science and technology are shaping language, discuss relevant artificial intelligence concepts, and examine the ethical implications of advances in language processing by computers. Students will have the opportunity to experience text analysis with relevant tools. This is an interdisciplinary course and technical background is not required.
ENGL-353
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course provides a selective survey of fantasy from its antecedents in mythology, legend, and folklore through its transformation through the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics may include the development of the genre’s roots in mythology, the epic, and medieval Romance, and folklore as well as diverse contemporary forms such as high fantasy, magical realism, urban fantasy, new wave fabulism, and slipstream.
ENGL-356
Lecture 3, Credits 3
In this course, students will learn about linguistic methods for characterizing meaning considering words, sentences, conversation, and language in situational contexts. The class will examine these topics in English and across languages and cultures, studying different linguistic frameworks for describing meaning, including debates among them. We will explore the link between verbal and non-verbal semantics, and apply systematic meaning description and analysis to literary production, advertising, clinical interactions, entertainment, and digital media discourse.
ENGL-360
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course will focus on academic writing specifically, the arguments presented in different fields and professions about issues of significance. Students will learn about the rhetorical, ethical, emotional, historical and logical elements of persuasion as they relate to written and visual arguments and they will practice making claims, providing evidence, exploring underlying assumptions and anticipating counter-arguments as they relate to different audiences. In addition to argument analyses, students will develop arguments of their own through inquiry-based essays.
ENGL-361
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Provides knowledge of and practice in technical writing. Key topics include audience analysis; organizing, preparing and revising short and long technical documents; designing documents using effective design features and principles, and formatting elements using tables and graphs; conducting research; writing technical definitions, and physical and process descriptions; writing instructions; and individual and group peer editing.
ENGL-370
Lecture 3, Credits 3
What makes the English language so difficult? Where do our words come from? Why does Old English look like a foreign language? This course surveys the development of the English language from its beginning to the present to answer such questions as these. Designed for anyone who is curious about the history and periods of the English language or the nature of language change.
ENGL-373
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces students to the field of adaptation studies and explores the changes that occur as particular texts such as print, radio, theatre, television, film, and videogames move between various cultural forms and amongst different cultural contexts. The course focuses upon works that have been disseminated in more than one medium.
ENGL-374
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Who studies game studies? Writing in games can often be hit or miss, so relying on an established story can provide support and allows the medium to evolve to cover more interesting stories than the typical mass-offering affairs. Still, literature and games are fundamentally different media- and as such these differences must be accounted for when mapping literature onto video games. Will game studies ever be as highly regarded as is critical scholarship on, say, literature? Can a video game possess substantial literary merit? Can a video game offer the same depth of characters and insight into the human condition as a novel? Do video games invite the player to do the same things that works of great literature invite the reader to do: identify with the characters, invite him to judge them and quarrel with them, and to experience their joys and sufferings as the reader’s own? In this course we will have these conversations and then go beyond. We will examine works that have visually evocative and varied settings; narratives that make readers wonder what is going to happen next; and a rapidly changing culture that prompts even more questions than it answers.
ENGL-375
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces the basic elements of narrative, reflecting on key concepts in narrative theory such as – story and plot, narration and focalization, characterization, storyspace, and worldmaking – to enhance your understanding of how stories work and your ability to understand how such storytelling strategies convey their meaning and themes. After an initial exploration of storytelling traditions emerging from oral myth and short stories in print, we expand our inquiries into what a narrative is and what it can do by considering what happens to storytelling in graphic novels, digital games, and in recent electronic literature. Reflecting on competing definitions and varieties of narrative, the course raises the overarching question of why how we access, read, write, and circulate stories as a culture matters. Expect to read stories in a variety of media, to review basic concepts and conversations drawn from narrative theory, and to creatively experiment with the storytelling strategies we are analyzing in class. No familiarity with specific print, digital, or visual media necessary, though a willingness to read and reflect on stories in various media and to analyze their cultural significance will be essential.
ENGL-376
Lecture 4, Credits 3
Is it true that literature makes nothing happen? Experimental writing is built on the opposite assumption! This course introduces students to innovative texts that challenge our usual ways of thinking about the relationship of language to the world: the cultural contexts within which language functions, the conflicts out of which it arises, the aesthetic pleasures with which it is associated, and the purposes – intentional or other – which it serves. Writing experiments can test boundaries and break limits, offering us ways to reconsider and redefine our own experience – social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual. Moving from magic to modernity, from monster to machine, we will explore the transformative power of experimental writing. Students are expected to post weekly responses to the readings in Discussions on MyCourses, work with a group to research and prepare a class presentation on a significant experimental writer, and submit a final paper on a theme to be announced. Expect reading quizzes and a take-home final exam.
ENGL-377
Lecture 3, Credits 3
A transmedia storyworld is a shared universe in which its settings, characters, objects, events, and histories are featured in one or more narratives across many different media, including print fiction, films, television episodes, comics/ graphic novels, and games. This course will focus on the construction of large-scale transmedia storyworlds and how such storyworlds expand in size and detail over time. Students will trace narrative arcs as deployed through different media and consider the strengths and limitations of each medium in terms of adding to knowledge about the transmedia storyworld. The course will also analyze the differences and similarities between transmedia narratives, adaptation, and other forms of serial storytelling; the multi-authored nature of transmedia storyworlds; commercial aspects of transmedia storyworlds; and creative work produced by and for fan communities.
ENGL-381
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Study of and practice in writing about science, environment, medicine and technology for audiences ranging from the general public to scientists and engineers. Starts with basic science writing for lay audiences, emphasizing writing strategies and techniques. Also explores problems of conveying highly complex technical information to multiple audiences, factors that influence science communication to the public, and interactions between scientists and journalists. The course examines new opportunities for covering science (especially on the internet), important ethical and practical constraints that govern the reporting of scientific information, and the cultural place of science in our society.
ENGL-386
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course focuses on the collaboration construction of fictional worlds. Students will learn to think critically about features of fictional worlds, such as the social, political, and economic structures that influence daily life for the characters who inhabit that world. Students will also participate in extensive character development exercises, and then write short fiction from these characters’ perspectives describing the challenges they face in these worlds. Students will critique each other’s fiction and submit revised work. Each class will include considerations of sophisticated fictional worlds in print and in other media and discuss world building features relevant to teach.
ENGL-389
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Digital creative writing involves much more than simply writing in digital formats - it can include computer-generated poetry, bots, hypertext fiction, Augmented Reality, or locative narrative. This course is for students who want to explore digital creative writing in all its forms. Through reading, discussion, and exercises, students will produce born digital writings in different applications. Students will learn style and craft techniques for digital environments while also exploring the relationship between content and digital applications. Peer critiques will help students rethink their work and become better editors. Programming knowledge is helpful but not required. This course can be taken up to two times for a total of six semester credit hours as long as the instructors are different.
ENGL-390
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course is for students who want to explore the techniques of a single genre of creative writing and add to their skills as a creative writer. Through reading and discussion, students will see their own writing in a larger context. Reading/reflection and writing/revision will be emphasized all semester. The focus will be on the creation of creative works and the learning of stylistic and craft techniques. Ongoing work will be discussed with peer editors, which will not only help students rethink their work but teach them to become better editors. Group critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback. Each class will rely extensively on the creative writing workshop model, and will focus on a specific genre of print-based creative writing. The course may be taken up to three times for a total of 9 credit hours, as long as the topics are different.
ENGL-391
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course will examine how suppression of information has been orchestrated throughout history in different contexts. The process of suppressing information –of people in power attempting to hide images, sounds and words– must itself be viewed in perspective. We must recognize acts of censorship in relation to their social settings, political movements, religious beliefs, cultural expressions and/or personal identities. The texts that we will study were all considered dangerous enough to be banned by governments. They are dangerous because they represent sexuality, race, politics, and religion in ways that challenge the current political/cultural norms of their given culture. What, then, is so dangerous about a fictional representation? What is it that makes a certain work dangerous at a particular time and how does this danger manifest itself in stories, novels (print and graphic), and poetry? Studying these dangerous texts and watching some dangerous films we will ask: what features of political and cultural regimes do artists tend to single out for criticism? What is the range of expressive tools they use, including the contemporary context of digital media? What is it that makes intellectuals in general and imaginative writers in particular so potent a threat to established power? Do issues like these matter only in totalitarian regimes, or can we learn something about the book-banning pressures in our own society? How do social media technologies complicate discussions of censorship and creativity?
ENGL-400
Lecture 3, Credits 3
A focused, in depth study and analysis of a selected topic in literary and/or cultural studies. Specific topics vary according to faculty assigned.
ENGL-410
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course familiarizes students with a number of different critical approaches to film as a narrative and representational art. The course introduces students to the language as well as analytical and critical methodologies of film theory and criticism from early formalist approaches to contemporary considerations of technologies and ideologies alike. Students will be introduced to a selection of these approaches and be asked to apply them to a variety of films selected by the instructor. Additional screening time is recommended.
ENGL-411
Lecture 3, Credits 3
The course introduces students to American literature by tracing a particular theme through a historical survey of canonical, non-canonical, and contemporary novels, stories, poetry, and drama, as well as non-fiction forms (speeches, autobiographies, essays, etc.). Students will gain a broad understanding of American literary trends while also gaining a deep understanding of the given themes. These themes will be broadly conceived, but will also lend themselves to social, cultural, and political questions. These themes may include but are not limited to horror, gardens and machines, natives and strangers, borders, etc. While these themes deal with abstract or conceptual ideas, they lead to questions about gender, race, ethnicity, empire, and other historical problems in debates over American exceptionalism, empire, and ideology.
ENGL-413
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Students will explore the landscape of African-American literature, and learn of its development throughout the 19th and/or 20th Centuries. From Phyllis Wheatley, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida B. Wells to Toni Morrison, from the Harlem Renaissance, and the Black Arts Movements of the 1960s to Hip-Hop this course will explore African-American writers who inspired a civil rights and cultural revolution. Through writing, reading and research, they will grow to understand how, despite legal limits on freedom and social participation imposed because of their color in American society, blacks created styles of verbal and written expressions unique within the American experience and contributed to the shape, growth and development of the nation's literary character.
ENGL-414
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This variable topic course examines one or more themes, figures, movements, or issues associated with the representation of women and gender in literature and media, and/or associated with the historical, cultural, and theoretical questions provoked by women as producers and consumers of media and texts. The topic for the course is chosen by the instructor, announced in the course subtitle, and developed in the syllabus. The course can be taken multiple times provided that the topic being studied has changed.
ENGL-417
Lecture 3, Credits 3
The major focus of this course is on the image of the deaf and the deaf experience as depicted in literature. The course attempts to define deafness and the cultural roles it plays in both texts by deaf authors and texts about deaf persons, as well as to examine particular literary forms related to the deaf experience. Thus, attention is also given to studying ASL poetry.
ENGL-418
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course provides an in-depth look at literary giants and the masterpieces of prose or poetry they have created; it's an opportunity to see the role they played both within the context of their own time and within the larger span of literary history. These great authors confront key questions of modernity that continue to occupy us to this day; they ask the question of what it means to be human and explore fundamental human themes. They give us a fresh perspective on the past and on ourselves.
ENGL-419
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Surveying the rise of computing technologies, information theories, and information economies in the last century, this course considers their impact on literature, culture and knowledge-formation. In particular, we will reflect on topics such as the relations between social and technological transformation, literary print and digital cultures and electronic literature.
ENGL-421
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course charts the development of the graphic novel, examines that history in relation to other media (including literary works, comics, film, and video games), and reflects on how images and writing function in relation to one another. Primary readings will be supplemented with secondary works that address socio-historical contexts, interpretive approaches and the cultural politics of the medium, such as representations of class, race, gender, and ethnicity.
ENGL-422
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course takes as its premise that spatial thinking is critically important. Spatial thinking informs our ability to understand many areas of 21st century culture, as mobile interfaces and geospatial technologies enable us to engage with our surroundings in new ways. The study begins with the history maps and mapmaking, and explores how maps work. As students create representational, iconographic, satirical, image-based, informational, and other map forms, the course emphasizes the map as narrative. The course develops into an exploration of the ways, particularly in texts, that mapmaking creates cultural routes, mobile forms of ethnography, and ways of imagining travel and tourism in the era of globalization. The diverse writers represented in this course are rethinking space as a dynamic context for the making of history and for different organizations of social and communal life.
ENGL-450
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course charts the development of the free culture movement by examining the changing relationship between authorship and cultural production based on a variety of factors: law, culture, commerce and technology. In particular, we will examine the rise of the concept of the individual author during the last three centuries. Using a variety of historical and theoretical readings, we will note how law and commerce have come to shape the prevailing cultural norms surrounding authorship, while also examining lesser known models of collaborative and distributed authoring practices. This background will inform our study of the rapid social transformations wrought by media technologies in last two centuries, culminating with the challenges and opportunities brought forth by digital media, mobile communications and networked computing. Students will learn about the role of software in highlighting changing authorship practices, facilitating new business and economic models and providing a foundation for conceiving of open source, open access, participatory, peer-to-peer and Free (as in speech, not beer) cultures.
ENGL-472
Lecture 3, Credits 3
A focused, in depth study of a selected topic in writing. Specific topics vary according to faculty assigned. Topics will vary.
ENGL-482
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces students to the fields of experimental phonetics, the scientific study of the sounds used in human speech, and speech processing, the study of the speech signal used in automatic speech recognition, spoken emotion detection, and other technologies. Students will learn about the physiology of speech production and perception, and they will acquire the skills necessary to accurately describe speech concepts and to analyze speech using relevant methods and tools. Turning to speech processing technology, students will explore automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, speaker identification, and emotion recognition, and learn how our understanding of human speech production and perception informs these technologies. The course will have relevance to other disciplines in the humanities, sciences, and technical fields. This course provides theoretical foundation as well as hands-on laboratory practice.
ENGL-490
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course is for students who want to explore the techniques of a single genre of creative writing and have already completed a creative writing workshop. Through reading and discussion, they will see their own writing in a larger context, culminating in a substantial body of work ready for publication. Reading/reflection and writing/revision will be emphasized all semester. The focus will be on the creation of creative works and the learning of stylistic and craft techniques. Ongoing work will be discussed with peer editors, which will not only help students rethink their work but teach them to become better editors. Group critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback. Each class will rely extensively on the creative writing workshop model, and will focus on a specific genre of print-based creative writing. The course can be repeated up to three times, for 9 semester credit hours, as long the topics are different.
ENGL-499
CO OP, Credits 0
A semester or summer-length experience in a professional setting related to the English major, with a minimum of 350 hours.
ENGL-500
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Students will use the capstone as an opportunity to design a project that integrates the knowledge they have gained throughout their English program with experience in the professional track. Students will work with faculty to develop, manage, and execute a project that will culminate in the creation of an academic research paper, analysis of text using digital methods, construction of an argument across media, or demonstration of theoretical and/or aesthetic language use in digital form. Students will work under close mentorship by and/or collaboration with a faculty advisor in the Department of English for project planning. Students will present their project in a venue appropriate to their specific work.
ENGL-510
Seminar 3, Credits 3
The Transnational Digital Creation Workshop is a project-based study abroad experience for students interested in storytelling, digital literature, interactive narrative, digital installation, new media design and technology, human-computer interaction, film, animation, photography, narrative, arts and culture, or global digital cultures. The workshop explores digital writing and transnational collaboration through its methods, its themes, and its practical preparation of students to travel to another country, learning about its official language and culture, as well as prominent digital arts and literary traditions, past and present. The course explores a specific country’s cultural and artistic contexts and uses these as the basis for collaborative digital creation projects that students develop with their transnational peers (via videoconferencing, online communication, and through travel to the location to collaborate on-site). The course’s transnational research and creation projects provide students with an opportunity to creatively explore themes of global concern, cross-cultural communication, language, and computation-based writing (as the latter is inflected by local and global influences) in one or more ways. This interdisciplinary workshop enables students to put their digital arts, creative writing, literary, and cross-cultural communication skills into practice in new ways, to build their professional portfolio, and to experience working on a cross-cultural team with specific linguistic, cultural, institutional, and site-specific opportunities, challenges, and parameters.
ENGL-511
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course is for students who have completed a college level writing course creative writing workshop and want to explore in-depth a literary genre or add to their skills as a creative writer whether interested in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of genresa specific topic within creative writing. The focus will be on the creation of a significant piece of writing for a final project. In addition to planning and producing a single, sustained creative work, students will complete other exercises and assignments in order to experiment with other genresa variety of writing techniques. Through reading and discussion they will see their own writing in a larger context. Weekly Regular class critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback.
ENGL-543
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course is for students who have completed a creative writing workshop and want to explore how games and rules can be used to produce unique and unpredictable narratives. Projects will include individual writing exercises, collaborative writing practice, and critiques of peer writing. Students will examine how different game mechanics produce different kinds of narratives and may be encouraged to develop their own game-based writing projects. Through the reading and discussion of other narrative media, students will learn the affordances and limitations of game-based storytelling systems.
ENGL-581
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course provides theoretical foundation as well as hands-on (lab-style) practice in computational approaches for processing natural language text. The course will have relevance to various disciplines in the humanities, sciences, computational, and technical fields. We will discuss problems that involve different components of the language system (such as meaning in context and linguistic structures). Students will additionally collaborate in teams on modeling and implementing natural language processing and digital text solutions. Students will program in Python and use a variety of relevant tools. Expected: Programming skills, demonstrated via course work or instruction approval.
ENGL-582
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Study of a focus area of increased complexity in computational linguistics. The focus varies each semester. Students will develop skills in computational linguistics analysis in a laboratory setting, according to professional standards. A research project plays a central role in the course. Students will engage with relevant research literature, research design and methodology, project development, and reporting in various formats.
ENGL-584
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces students to speech and spoken language processing with a focus on real-world applications including automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, and spoken dialog systems, as well as tasks such as emotion detection and speaker identification. Students will learn the fundamentals of signal processing for speech and explore the theoretical foundations of how human speech can be processed by computers. Students will then collect data and use existing toolkits to build their own speech recognition or speech synthesis system. This course provides theoretical foundation as well as hands-on laboratory practice. Prerequisite: Programming skills, demonstrated via coursework or instructor approval.
ENGL-599
Ind Study, Credits 1 - 6
A program of study executed by an individual student with assistance and guidance by an instructor, outside a regular classroom setting. Guidelines for designing and gaining approval for an independent study are provided in College of Liberal Arts Policy I.D.
ENGL-610
Seminar 3, Credits 3
The Transnational Digital Creation Workshop is a project-based study abroad experience for students interested in storytelling, digital literature, interactive narrative, digital installation, new media design and technology, human-computer interaction, film, animation, photography, narrative, arts and culture, or global digital cultures. The workshop explores digital writing and transnational collaboration through its methods, its themes, and its practical preparation of students to travel to another country, learning about its official language and culture, as well as prominent digital arts and literary traditions, past and present. The course explores a specific country’s cultural and artistic contexts and uses these as the basis for collaborative digital creation projects that students develop with their transnational peers (via videoconferencing, online communication, and through travel to the location to collaborate on-site). The course’s transnational research and creation projects provide students with an opportunity to creatively explore themes of global concern, cross-cultural communication, language, and computation-based writing (as the latter is inflected by local and global influences) in one or more ways. This interdisciplinary workshop enables students to put their digital arts, creative writing, literary, and cross-cultural communication skills into practice in new ways, to build their professional portfolio, and to experience working on a cross-cultural team with specific linguistic, cultural, institutional, and site-specific opportunities, challenges, and parameters.
ENGL-681
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course provides theoretical foundation as well as hands-on (lab-style) practice in computational approaches for processing natural language text. The course will have relevance to various disciplines in the humanities, sciences, computational, and technical fields. We will discuss problems that involve different components of the language system (such as meaning in context and linguistic structures). Students will additionally work on modeling and implementing natural language processing and digital text solutions. Students will program in Python and use a variety of relevant tools. Expected: Programming skills, demonstrated via course work or instruction approval.
ENGL-682
Lecture 3, Credits 3
Study of a focus area of increased complexity in computational linguistics. The focus varies each semester. Students will develop skills in computational linguistics analysis in a laboratory setting, according to professional standards. A research project plays a central role in the course. Students will engage with relevant research literature, research design and methodology, project development, and reporting in various formats.
ENGL-684
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course introduces students to speech and spoken language processing with a focus on real-world applications including automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, and spoken dialog systems, as well as tasks such as emotion detection and speaker identification. Students will learn the fundamentals of signal processing for speech and explore the theoretical foundations of how human speech can be processed by computers. Students will then collect data and use existing toolkits to build their own speech recognition or speech synthesis system. This course provides theoretical foundation as well as hands-on laboratory practice.
ENGL-690
Lecture 3, Credits 3
This course is for graduate students who want to explore creative writing. The focus will be on the generation and refinement of creative writing with an awareness of aesthetic principles and narrative techniques. Ongoing work will be discussed regularly with workshop groups, which will help students rethink their work and become better editors. Through reading, writing, discussion, critique, and revision, students will see their own writing in a larger aesthetic and historical context, culminating in a substantial body of work ready for publication. Students will lead a discussion about at least one of the readings; circulate their work to at least two venues; read their own work at least once in a public event; and produce an individual final project that, as applicable, connects with their thesis.