ENGL 2890

ENGL 2890

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2018-2019.

This course offers guidance and an audience for students who wish to gain skill in expository writing—a common term for critical, reflective, investigative, and creative nonfiction. Each section provides a context for writing defined by a form of exposition, a disciplinary area, a practice, or a topic intimately related to the written medium. Course members will read in relevant published material and write and revise their own work regularly, while reviewing and responding to one another's. Students and instructors will confer individually throughout the term. Topics differ for each section.

When Offered Spring.

Permission Note Enrollment limited to: 18 students per section.
Prerequisites/Corequisites Perequisite: completion of First-Year Writing Seminar requirement or permission of the instructor.

Distribution Category (LA-AS)
Satisfies Requirement This course satisfies requirements for the English minor but not for the English major. Taken with the instructor's permission, it satisfies First-Year Writing Seminar requirements for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. If counted toward First-Year Writing Seminar requirement, the course will not count toward LA-AS.

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Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Ecohorror: Writing Climate Change, Darkly

  •  6021ENGL 2890  SEM 101

  • This course considers texts that grapple with the terror of Earth-bound existence in the age of climate change, also called the Anthropocene. Parsing the aesthetic, political, ethical, and environmental effects of writing in the genre of “ecohorror,” we will ask: How are artists reckoning with the escalating and frightening presence of the other-than-human? What are the advantages and disadvantages of representing the biosphere darkly—not as a benevolent “Mother Earth” but as a vengeful and inescapable force? Reorienting the environmentalist rhetoric of “saving the planet,” we will analyze short stories, novels, and films that represent life in myriad forms fighting back against the most dangerous species of all: us.

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Apocalyptic Vision in Literature and Film

  •  6020ENGL 2890  SEM 102

  • "Apocalypse" is the end of the world—or ourselves—but it also introduces new forms of being, desire and knowledge. In this course we'll analyze apocalyptic fantasies by writing critical essays: a skill (and art) that crosses disciplines. Course material includes the cult novel that inspired zombie apocalypse movies (I am Legend, by Richard Matheson); two accounts of apocalyptic desire (Mulholland Drive by David Lynch and Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust) and three works staging the collapse of mundane reality (Allen Ginsberg's Howl, Art Spiegelman's graphic-novel adaption of Paul Auster's City of Glass, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House).

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Feeling Human: Animals, Humans, the Posthuman

  •  6022ENGL 2890  SEM 103

  • This course considers instances where human identity is constituted or disrupted by intense encounters with nonhuman and posthuman identities. We will consider these meetings from philosophical and literary perspectives, all the while tracking the relationship between emotion, cognition and representation from Ancient thought to contemporary affect theory. Course materials include the Blade Runner films as well as fiction, criticism and poetry by E.B White, Zadie Smith, Clarice Lispector and Maya Angelou.

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Creative Nonfiction: Exploring the Personal Essay

  •  6023ENGL 2890  SEM 104

  • In this course, we will read and write personal essays, exploring the various possibilities within the genre. We will explore the power of image and specific detail, the uses and limits of the first-person narrating self, and the boundary between public and private. Reading will focus on contemporary essayists, possibly including Leslie Jamison, Claudia Rankine, Eula Biss, Hilton Als, and John Jeremiah Sullivan; we will also read older essays, including those of Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, and James Baldwin. We will also pay close attention to students' writing, with workshop feedback. Working through drafts, students will develop fuller skill at criticism and revision.

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Addictive Media or How to Survive What You Love

  •  6024ENGL 2890  SEM 105

  • What is addiction in the 21st century? The substances of addiction have changed throughout history, but so too has our definition of addiction, who can be addicted, and how we should treat it. This course will examine addiction through an assortment of different media texts, from science fiction films to documentaries to Snapchat. We will analyze movies such as The Social Network, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Her as well as television shows like Breaking Bad, hook-up apps like Tinder, and popular video games like League of Legends. By the end of the course, we will create our own definitions of addiction that adequately address the dangers as well as possible benefits of addictive media.

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Creative Nonfiction: Identity Matters

  •  6025ENGL 2890  SEM 106

  • We hear the term identity politics all the time, but why is the self so politicized when everyone has one? In this course, we will consider the self as a body, a part in a system, and a tool for change. By looking at various works by writers such as Gloria Anzaldua, Richard Rodriguez, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sherman Alexie, and others, we will critically reflect upon what it means to be a person in a body full of intersections, and discuss ethnicity, class, race, gender, nation, and religion to examine ourselves. Through personal essays, we will engage in self-inquiry, self-discovery, and self-invention to raise important questions about who we are and who we can.

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Culinary Encounters of the Other Kind

  •  7601ENGL 2890  SEM 107

  • What does it mean to say you’re hungry for something? This course explores the joyful and the dark sides of eating and traces how food informs the ways in which we ingest the world, particularly the parts of it unfamiliar to us. We will consider how the meeting of food, word, and image inform larger social categories and reflect on the way food affects how we think about others, putting it in conversation with literature, art, current events, film, imperialism, and history. Possible texts include Monique Truong's The Book of Salt, art by Kara Walker, Kyla Wazana Tompkins’ Racial Indigestion, the Iroquois White Corn Project, fiction by Chimamanda Adiche, The Search for General Tso, Greek myths, and Rabindranath Tagore’s “Hungry Stones.”

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Writing Back to the Media: Essays and Arguments

  • 16838ENGL 2890  SEM 108

  • Good investigative journalists write well and use their reportage to argue effectively. How can we adopt features of their writing for a variety of purposes and audiences, academic and popular? Our weekly readings will include features from the New Yorker, The Atlantic, slate.com, and the New York Times, among others. Students will write essays of opinion and argument—in such forms as news analysis, investigative writing, blog posts, and op-ed pieces—on topics such as environmental justice, the value of an elite education, human rights conflicts, the uses of technology, gender equality, and the ethics of journalism itself. Coursework will include an independently researched project on a subject of the student's choosing.

Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • Topic: Art and Argument: the Personal Essay in America

  • 16839ENGL 2890  SEM 109

  • How have contemporary American writers engaged with the personal essay to respond to the last fifty years of American history and culture? And what importance might we ascribe to the personal essay in current American social and intellectual milieus? In this course we will read essays by such authors as James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Rebecca Solnit, Teju Cole, and Yiyun Li that consider the complexities of place, culture, race, and art. Through class discussion, composing personal essays, and collaborative writing workshops, students will explore how the personal essay's various forms and foci are inflected by the interplay between socio-historical moment and authorial intention.