- Writing Courses
- 200-Level Literature Courses
- Upper--Level Literature Courses
- Downolad a printable PDF of the entire Fall 2012 list
Future Course Offerings
EH 102: Seminar in Critical Thinking and Writing
Various professors and times.
A seminar on college-level writing and critical inquiry. The course emphasizes clear and engaging prose, persuasive reasoning, various rhetorical strategies, research documentation, and standard English grammar and mechanics.
EH 204: Writing for the Media
Brock, WF 9:30-10:50
A survey of writing styles and techniques appropriate for news writing, public affairs reporting, and feature articles for print, broadcast, and Internet media.
EH 205-A: Introduction to Creative Writing
Clifford, MW 2:00-3:20
The goal of this course is to introduce you to creative writing in the genres of poetry and prose. We will study the elements of creative writing across poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and discuss the differences—and sometimes the lack of differences—between these genres. Our class will be centered entirely on the study and writing of these genres; therefore, class will be very writing-centered and revolve around writing exercises in class, the reading of texts in the genre of study, and workshop critiques of one another’s pieces. You will be expected to produce poems, stories, and essays, and pay considerable attention to the revision process of those texts for your final portfolio.
EH 205-B: Introduction to Creative Writing
Ullrich, TTH 2:00-3:20
Beginning work in creative writing in several genres, including fiction, poetry and either drama or creative nonfiction. Using a combination of in-class exercises, readings, and workshops, the course introduces students to the fundamentals of creating, reading, and evaluating short pieces of creative writing.
EH 208: Intermediate Writing
Sprayberry, TTH 8:00-9:20
The development of intensive analytical skills, precise and extensive vocabulary, and consciousness of style.
EH 301: Fiction Workshop
Stitt, MW 12:30-1:50
EH 200-Level Literature Course Offerings
EH 200: Introduction to Literature
Sprayberry, TTH 9:30-10:50
I delight in re-introducing students to the basics of literature and to the genres of short fiction, drama, and poetry. If you’re not an English major by the time you take this course, you may want to become an English major by the time you complete the course.
This course is, all in all, great fun—especially if you commit to participate in prepared and lively discussion (and, yes, I’ve taught very lively and engaged EH 200 classes at 8:00 a.m.—just drink some coffee or red bull in advance). The course balances close textual analysis with new approaches to literature.
If you want to gain a solid grounding in the three literary genres and also learn the basics of contemporary critical trends of reading literature, and if you want to develop or sustain a love for literature, this is the course for you.
EH 210-A: Introduction to Fiction—Everyone’s a Storyteller
Archer, TTH 12:30-1:50
Storytelling was crucial to the development of human beings as a species. Early human beings used storytelling to pass on their culture, spread the news, and gather in groups for entertainment. Storytelling plays an important role in our own prehistory as individuals. Parents and other adults read us storybooks and pass on family and lore cautionary tales. We ourselves are storytellers as we recount our day to friends.
In Introduction to Fiction, EH 210A, we will read fiction that does some or all of these things. Stories will include classics, contemporary fiction, and even graphic fiction. We will also read one novel.
The primary intent of this course is to make reading fiction enjoyable. Of course, you will write two short papers (there is that) and take two exams. But class experience depends on student opinion and your honest response to the readings.
EH 210-B: Introduction to Fiction
Ullrich, TTH 9:30-10:50
This course is designed to introduce the student to the study of short fiction and the novel at the college level. The primary goals of the course are (1) to introduce the student to the pleasures and rigors of sophisticated literary analysis, (2) to develop the skills necessary to appreciate literature, (3) to participate in the class discussion by voicing thoughtful, informed opinions.
Regular attendance and class participation are required. Typically, this course does not require a lot of reading, just one, or perhaps two, short stories per class. But students MUST read each short story at least twice, if not three times, before coming to class. Otherwise, the student has not spent enough time with the text—not studied it sufficiently—to (1) know the text in a meaningful way, (2) answer the assigned question thoughtfully, and (3) contribute to the class discussion.
EH 212-ES Other Worlds: Reading Science Fiction
Andersen, MW 9:30-10:50
Science fiction speculates. Science fiction stories ask, what if—what if the world were different? What if it were made of different people? What if there were no genders? What if simulations were real? What if we organized society differently? In EH 212 Other Worlds, we read and analyze science fiction stories that explore these kinds of questions. Learning to speculate in this way—with precision, care, thoughtfulness, and empathy—is what reading and enjoying science fiction is all about. The fall 2011 section of EH 212 is a first-year Explorations Seminar (ES).
EH 215: Introduction to Western Drama
Klein, MW 12:30-1:50
What distinguishes drama from literature? What qualities does a text need to have to be considered a drama? And most crucially, how do the elements of presence, liveness, orality and embodiment make the drama unique as an artistic medium? This course will outline the formal qualities, genres, and conventions of Western dramatic literature.
Beginning our explorations in ancient Greek comedy and tragedy, we will trace drama’s origins from classical Dionysian rituals to Italian Commedia dell’Arte and other Renaissance forms that influenced Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Finally, we will investigate the ways that modern and contemporary dramatic literature has been influenced by the rise of social realism and later, absurdism and postmodernism. As we read plays by Aristophanes, Euripides, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Wilde, Hansberry, Albee, Wilson and Kaufman we will also pay close attention to shifts in theatrical practice and the changing roles of actors and audiences over time.
To help us think about the drama as a live, staged performance event, class work will include dramatic scene readings, critical discussions and attendance at at least two theatrical performances. One trip to a local Birmingham theatre will be required. Coursework also includes reading quizzes, three short essays, a midterm and a final exam.
EH 226: The Tranquillized Fifties: American 1950s Literature and Culture
Clifford, TTH 2:00-3:20
An introduction to the culture and concerns of 1950s postwar America through study of the decade’s literature. This course examines poetry, prose, and drama which foregrounds the flux of personal, public, and national identity during a decade often assumed calm and tranquil. Students will investigate shifting attitudes toward racial and gender roles, newly emergent political ideologies, and other challenges to fifties’ conformity. Revealing individual, cultural, and social change, we will study the literary and cultural movements captured in the work of J.D. Salinger, Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, Ralph Ellison, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, and Sylvia Plath.
EH 228-ES: Ourselves and Others: Gender, Race, and Class in Literature
Tatter, MWF 12:30-1:50
As a 200-level English course, this course serves as an introduction to literature in which students learn approaches to reading and writing about fiction, poetry, and drama. The course’s emphasis on issues of gender, race, and class, however, also allows it to tap into subjects related to the social sciences—particularly sociology, political science, and economics—as well as other humanities disciplines such as history and philosophy.
What gives the course its greatest breadth and “real world” connection, though, is its required fifteen hours of service in the local community, during which students draw parallels between the characters they read about and the people they serve. In particular, since many of the characters we read about are children developing their own sense of self, one of the service options in the course is after-school tutoring of middle-school students. Another option is serving a meal and having conversation with men, women, and children at local homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
The service experience encourages students to step outside their comfort zones and to question the assumptions they have developed about people unlike themselves. Classroom discussions often wrestle with issues such as how and why some people become homeless, how schools are funded and why there is such a disparity of resources between two school districts in the same metropolitan area, and why race, gender, and class are so deeply intertwined.
Many alumni of this first-year course have gone on to work with the staff of the College’s Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action either by participating in engaged learning Interim projects in the United States or abroad, or by continuing to serve the local institutions they began working with during the course. After graduation, some of these alumni have continued their education in public policy and chosen careers in public service.
HON 248-ES Monsters, Monarchs, and Monastics
The Arthurian legend is one of the most pervasive narratives in American culture—influencing our entertainment industry, our political metaphors, and our commercial advertising. The less courtly Beowulf and his nemesis Grendel seem to reappear in American literature and cinema on a regular basis as well. This course investigates why this is the case and tries to determine just what it is about fictive characters hundreds of years old and out of a decidedly non-American past that fascinates our contemporary society. We begin with the medieval texts and compare them with their legacies in more recent novels, movies, and trade paperback mysteries starring shrewd medieval monks and nuns. The end is to learn quite a bit about a medieval tradition that is not quite what we popularly think it to be and quite a bit about ourselves and our susceptibility to value laden images and assumptions.
EH 250: Survey of British Literature
McInturff, MWF 9:30-10:30
Major Works of British literature offers a focused chronological survey of selected works of the traditional canon of British literature. The readings cover works from Beowulf to texts from well into the modern period. All three genres are encountered, but the emphasis on dramatic literature is limited. The course mixes close readings of the text with readings and lectures on genres, cultural history, historical context, critical terms and practices, and other issues as appropriate.
Even though the course is required for the major, is intended to serve a wide array of audiences, from the beginning student to the senior seeking an historical review. Numerous quizzes and class activities are assigned. Two papers, a midterm and a comprehensive final complete the written work. Active attendance is required.
EH 260: Survey of American Literature
Ashe, TTH 9:30-10:30
We will use an anthology and at least one novel to explore American literary history and such issues as the definitions of "American" (and "literature"), visions of America as a chosen or paradisiacal land, the American dream, American disenchantment, American perceptions of different cultures, and the role in our literature of individual, family, and community. I will try to balance lecture on the historical relationships between authors with group (classroom) analysis of individual texts both for themselves and for their contribution to broader American themes. Students will complete a midterm, a research paper, and a final exam.
EH Upper-Level Literature Course Offerings
The Gateway Course For English
EH 300: Theories and Methods of Literary Analysis
Cowan, MWF 11:00-12:20
An introduction to the discipline of literary study for English majors. This course prepares students for advanced work in textual analysis, the application of critical and theoretical approaches, and the production of well-researched literary analyses. At least one previous literature course is recommended.
EH 375: Satire
Tatter, MWF 9:30-10:30
Anyone who has watched the Comedy Channel shows hosted by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Daniel Tosh has a good idea of what satire is. The same is true for those of us who enjoy political cartoons, or cartoons in general—including South Park. In this election year, we are particularly blessed with satiric material designed to point out the weaknesses of political candidates as well as politicians hoping to remain in office.
EH 375 Satire begins with these contemporary satiric venues and focuses on how satire exploits or creates ironic gaps—between what someone says and what he or she does, between real situations and the ideals we measure them by, between the tone of voice and the subject matter in a statement or a work of literature, between what we expect out of a situation and what we actually get.
The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Tosh.O—and satiric newspapers like The Onion—can trace their ancestry back to the literature of Restoration and18th Century Britain: to comic drama, mock epic poems, mock pamphlets and travel books, and cartoons and engravings. Reading familiar works by Kurt Vonnegut, Henry Fielding, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and John Dryden as well as some lesser known stage comedies from the Restoration period, students in EH 375 will examine the delights of satire as well as its limits and liabilities. In addition to other shorter, creative projects, we will write an extended satire on reality television, updating a classic work by Alexander Pope for a 21st-Century audience.
EH 360: Shakespeare (Pre-1900)
McInturff, MWF 12:30-1:30
EH 360- the Shakespeare class- explores selected plays by Shakespeare with a focus on a number of connected issues. We will engage in a close reading of the plays themselves and of the critical and textual traditions. We will be attentive to genre and style. We will give some attention to historical and intellectual context. We will not neglect the theatrical elements in the plays. We will be surrounded by challenges and delights that will reward us every day.
READINGS: Seven plays will form the basis of our in‑class discussion. You will be asked to read additional plays in conjunction with some of our basic seven. You will thus read a total of twelve plays. That works out to not quite one a week. You should have time to reread each play twice, or more. You will be required to show your reading on EXAMS and during class discussion.
|PLAYS FOR CLASS DISCUSSION||PLAYS FOR COLLATERAL READING|
Richard III, to be finished by the end of ourdiscussion of Merchant
Antony and Cleopatra
|2 short papers
One long paper
Midterm and final
EH 384: Literatures of the American Indians:
Sprayberry, TTH 2:00-3:20
EH 384, Literature of the American Indians, consists of studies in literature by and about North American Indians. Prerequisite: Any 200-level literature course. Category 3: Literature of a different time, place, or culture.
Objectives: In this multi-genre course (myth, autobiography, novel, poetry, film), we will explore literature written by and about North American Indians in the hopes of understanding the cultural realities and stereotypes of the American Indians as well as where this literature fits into the context of canonical American literature. As a point of comparison, we will concentrate on two very different American Indian cultures: the Plains tribes of the Dakotas and the Pueblo-Navajo tribes of the Southwest and then analyze pan-American Indian issues of contemporary concern. Framing the course will be an analysis of evolving stereotypes and images of American Indians.
Due to American Indian emphasis on community, the class will very much be community-based. Each of you will be expected to prepare for and take responsibility for class discussion. Groups of you will also take responsibility for an in-depth research paper/presentation on one of the class texts and on the tribe that the text depicts. In a Native American spirit, the class will strive for a balance between listening/speaking, verbalizing/writing, work/humor, intellect/emotion.
Required Texts: Alexie, Sherman, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Crow Dog, Mary, with Richard Erdoes, Lakota Woman; Erdrich, Louise, Love Medicine (rev. ed.); Harjo, Joy, In Mad Love and War; Kingsolver, Barbara, Pigs in Heaven; Lame Deer, John (Fire), and Richard Erdoes, Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions; Momaday, N. Scott, House Made of Dawn; Neihardt, John G., Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux; Silko, Leslie Marmon, Ceremony; Tapahonso, Luci, Sáanii Dahataal: The Women Are Singing.
Requirements: The work requirements are a research project (consisting of two components—a paper and oral presentation) on one of the class texts and the tribal culture that the text depicts; two exams (an oral midterm and a written final); and class participation. Each of these requirements will count as 1/5 of the final grade.
EH 395: Contemporary International Fiction [Category 4] Archer TTH 12:30-1:50
Archer, TTH 12:30-1:50
In this course, we will read a broad selection of novels by contemporary non-European writers. We will begin with two novels by African writers, move on to four novels by Latin American writers, read one novel from the People’s Republic of China, and finish with two novels by Japanese writers. Dates of publication range from 1959-1997.
In addition to reading lots of novels, you will take part in a group report on one of the three broad regions we are studying. Because we are covering so much literature, the group reports give us a chance to look at other elements of the cultures we study. Group reports can include politics, music, art, and fashion, to name a few. Often, a group member will introduce us to the FOOD of the culture—a delicious side benefit to taking the course.
If you take pleasure in reading fiction, this course will increase your skill as a reader and broaden your literary perspective beyond the traditional canon of British and American or even major European writers. I believe you will find these novels very enjoyable. I am sure you will find all of them very interesting.
EH 425: Introduction to Performance Theory: Liveness, Media, Spectacle, and Ritual
Klein, MW 11:00-12:20
Sure, a flash-mob is a performance. But what about a museum exhibit? A political debate? A football game? In this course we will explore a selection of twentieth and twenty-first century texts and media that can be understood as performances. We will also map the various ways that scholars define the study of performance. On a small scale, we will consider how we all perform our identities every day through our gestures, styles, professions, genders, nationalities, races, and religions. On a larger scale, performance can be understood as a mechanism that has structured relations of power throughout history via public events and phenomena such as politics, ritual, protest, films, written narratives, and dramatic productions. Interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives from the fields of anthropology, sociology, theater, media and film studies, and race, gender, and sexuality studies scaffold our research and discussion. Prerequisite: three 300-level courses or instructor consent for MFS and Theatre & Dance students. This course counts as an approved elective within the new Gender & Women's Studies minor and the Media and Film Studies major. (Category 5)
EH 470: The Seminar in English
Ashe, MW 11:00-12:20
You will write a senior research paper on a topic of your choice, including a shortened version that you will present to the English faculty at the end of the semester. Our in-class focus will be on how to write literary research essays and on workshopping each other’s papers. I will ask you to come into the course on the first day with a strong sense of what your topic will be, and you will research your text, author, or topic significantly beyond the specific scope of your thesis.