Spring 2015 English Program Course Offerings

ENG-W 132 Reading, Writing, and Inquiry II, MW 1 to 2:15pm, Prof. Karla Stouse

This W132 course will focus on the development of research and documentation skills while examining a variety of issues introduced by the nonfiction bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a story of how the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks became the foundation for most of the medical research done and disease cures developed in the last six decades.  These issues include whether people should be entitled to medical privacy, why health care disparities occur, who owns donated tissue, who determines what is “ethical,” and whether someone who has the capability to help others should be required to do so.

ENG-W 132 Reading, Writing, and Inquiry II, F 1 to 3:45pm (first 8wk accel), Prof. Kristen Snoddy

This W132 course will focus on the development of research and documentation skills while examining a variety of issues introduced by the nonfiction bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a story of how the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks became the foundation for most of the medical research done and disease cures developed in the last six decades.  These issues include whether people should be entitled to medical privacy, why health care disparities occur, who owns donated tissue, who determines what is “ethical,” and whether someone who has the capability to help others should be required to do so.

ENG-L 100/P140, MW 10 to 11:15am, Prof. Michelle Westervelt

This Freshman Learning Community will pair ENG L100: Freshman Literature I & PHIL P140: Intro to Ethics. Reading Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy, L100 will explore the pain and pleasure of a changing world through the eyes of complex characters and their close interactions with one another. We will make connections between the complicated social issues examined in the trilogy and the modern world and humanity as a whole. P140 will examine different ethical theories of how people judge rightness and wrongness and study the real world versions of the ethical problems featured in this trilogy. (L100 taught by Michelle Westervelt & P140 taught by Netty Provost.)

ENG-W 203 (FLC) Me, Myself and I: Self-discovery through Writing, TR 10 to 11:15am, Dr. Eva White  

Creative writing requires students to go outside the bounds of traditional academic writing.  In this W203 Freshman Learning Community seminar, students will have the opportunity to undertake a journey of self-discovery by writing personal essays. They will also build a sense of community by participating in campus activities.

ENG-L 203 Introduction to Drama, MW 10 to 11:15am, Prof. Karla Stouse

Spanning the originations of Greek theatre to the dramas of today, this course explores how works written for the stage have evolved to reflect their eras.  Students will read and discuss Greek, Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Realist, Modern, and Post-Modern plays within the contexts of the historical, political, and cultural circumstances affecting those works. (Please note that this is not an acting course.)

ENG-L 207 (FLC) Women and Literature: “Disturbed Minds: Psychology and Literature” TR 10 to 11:15am, Dr. Rachel Blumenthal

What can literature tell us about disturbed minds? How might the study of psychology enrich literary interpretation? Find out in “Disturbed Minds: Psychology and Literature” in this winter’s Freshman Learning Community (FLC). Dr. Blumenthal and Dr. Batis will integrate literary analysis with modern psychological theories to experiment with fresh perspectives on the relationship between culture and science. Texts will include Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel.

ENG-W 210 The Corporation: Giants among Us, TR 4 to 5:15pm, Dr. Paul Cook

The corporation may be the most influential institution of our time. Corporations shape our lives through their products and advertising, through the cultural and social values they promote, and by virtue of their sheer size and power; it’s estimated that just over 700 corporations control 80% of global wealth (Forbes.com). And yet, to what extent do we really know these “giants” among us? The guiding question of our semester will be this: What should a well-educated, literate American know about the history, the function, and the future of these massively-moneyed entities? Students will expand their knowledge of corporate culture by studying a range of challenging texts, including best-selling novels, compelling documentaries, and current realities.

***Special guest lecturers will include Brandon Pitcher of Fortune Management, Inc. and Adam Smith, Assistant Professor of Management at IU Kokomo.

ENG-W 301 Writing Fiction, R 2:30 to 3:45am, Prof. Karla Stouse

This course focuses on the development of a variety of original short stories, including ironic and genre fiction.  Emphasis will be placed on techniques for improving each story and on development of revision strategies with the goal of moving toward publication.

ENG-E 302 Literatures in English 1600-1800, MW 1 to 2:15, Dr. Joe Keener,

This course will focus on six different authors from British literature from the time period of 1600-1800. Typically, this kind of class is taught in survey format, spending little time with each author and the attendant works. Instead, we will spend a significant amount of time delving into each author’s work. The chosen authors are: Jonson, Donne, Cavendish, Milton, Defoe, and Swift. Why these six? This question will be our primary focus in the class. Five of these six have been among the literary canon almost from their original publication. Why? Who decides that these authors are worthy of reading and study? Should these authors and the works be reassessed? By whom? In other words, we will discuss issues of canon-making and how it affects our perceptions of literary works. Ultimately, we will get at the heart of just what literature is and why it is worth our time and attention.

ENG-W 311 Creative Nonfiction and the Art of the Essay, TR 11:30 to 12:45pm, Dr. Paul Cook

At first glance, “creative nonfiction” almost seems like an oxymoron, or a paradox, at any rate. Actually, the genre of creative nonfiction does complicate the boundaries of what we normally think of as imaginative writing (e.g., fantasy novels, contemporary short fiction, romance, most “Literature”) and writing about real people, places, things, and events (e.g., journalism or documentary writing). In fact, it combines elements of both fiction and nonfiction in a sometimes highly-self conscious fashion, which is certainly part of creative nonfiction’s appeal. So, while it’s fair to say that creative nonfiction is rooted in “reality” or things that have actually happened,  it also plays fast-and-loose with what we might think of as “truth” and gleefully incorporates figures of speech, rich imagery, and other stylistic elements that we might normally associate with literary texts. 

This course will be equal parts (1) writing workshop, (2) overview of both classical and contemporary examples of creative nonfiction, and (3) extended course on the nonfiction essay. Students will read some of the finest examples of creative nonfiction writing available; read, internalize, and imitate these models; practice the kind of discipline a good writing habit demands; and have their work read, critiqued, and interpreted by a small group of smart, sophisticated readers.

ENG-L 346 Twentieth-century British Fiction (Hybrid), T 1 to 2:15pm, Dr. Eva White

In this hybrid course, we will read modernist works by Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence as well as new visions of Joyces’s Dublin by Roddy Doyle and other writers. This course will explore ways in which twentieth-century British fiction has sought to “make it new” (and complex). We will examine modes of innovation and experimentation such as stream of consciousness as means to delve into the psychology of the individual, question the values of social institutions, and explore different levels of consciousness.

ENG-L 352 American Literature, 1865-1914, TR 2:30 to 3:45pm, Dr. Rachel Blumenthal

This course will survey developments in American literature between the Civil War and the First World War, including realism, naturalism, and regionalism. We will read texts by such authors as Mark Twain, Henry James, W.E.B. DuBois, Kate Chopin, and Theodore Dreiser to examine a host of social and political changes emerging in the postbellum period: Reconstruction, urbanization, industrialization, immigration, booming technology, and the “close” of the western frontier. Spring FLC.

ENG-L 369 Studies in British and American Authors: Kurt Vonnegut, TR 4 to 5:15pm, Dr. Joe Keener

While Kurt Vonnegut’s novels, autobiographies, and short stories are admired by many, critical debate exists as to whether his work is literary or not. Part of this consideration has to do with just what kind of label fits best on Vonnegut—sci-fi, black humor, satire, fable, popular culture, metafictional, political ranting, and autobiographical. We will consider the critical response to Vonnegut from his early writings until this very day, with an eye toward deciding his literary merit (or lack thereof) and his relationship to the above-mentioned “labels.” Is Vonnegut literature or fashionable? Mainstream or a cult author? Do historical era and population demographic affect the answers to these questions? How? We will also discuss at length the “Vonnegut” that exists in his works, from the supposedly non-fiction introductions he writes to his appearances in his novels both as “himself” and “Kilgore Trout.” Are any of these representations “Vonnegut?” How can one know?

ENG-L 371 Critical Practices: The Literary Clinic, MW 10 to 11:15am, Dr. Rachel Blumenthal

In this course students will explore critical approaches to literature through the burgeoning field of the medical humanities. We will investigate critical methodologies such as historicism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, gender, and affect theory. Students will gain a familiarity with these practices by thinking about the intersection of literature and medicine. Using novels such as Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted, José Saramago’s Blindness, and Richard Powers’ Gain as our test cases, we will experiment with the practice of critical theory in this “literary clinic.”

ENG-L 388/H425 Irish Culture, History and Literature (Interdisciplinary, team-taught, hybrid), Dr. Eva White (L388) and Dr. Heath (H425), R 2:30 to 3:45pm

This hybrid course offers an overview of Irish historical and literary themes, including Irish national, cultural, and political identity; the relations sustained by people of Irish heritage worldwide; and a sweeping survey of Irish literature and history. This upper-division course requires a 9-day trip to Ireland (May 18-27, 2015). Total cost: ~$3000 (airfare, hotel, transport in Ireland, most meals).