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Course Descriptions

Spring 2022 English Course Descriptions

Please see the University Catalog for official descriptions.

1010: College Composition & Rhetoric--or Writing @ 7200 Feet

ENGL 1010 is designed to help first-year students become stronger writers, speakers, and critical thinkers, and features assignments that allow students to explore issues that matter in the university community and broader civic sphere. The course requires students to engage in different genres for a range of audiences, emphasizes revision, and gives students practice in critical thinking, digital and oral communication, and researched argumentation. ENGL 1010's emphasis on civic discourse is in keeping with one of the University of Wyoming's central missions: to help reinforce in students a sense of responsibility for adding their voices to important public conversations. 

1080: Intro to Women’s Studies

An introduction to key issues in women’s studies. A topical examination of women’s participation in and relationship to institutions of society, such as family and school, as well as processes and activities, such as work, art and politics in historical and cross-cultural analysis. Cross listed with WMST 1080. (Offered both semesters)

2005: Writing in Technology & the Sciences

Develops writing styles and techniques, document design and formats, and audience/readership considerations that are specifically suited to technological and scientific fields of study. The course concludes with a student-directed long form report. Prerequisite: successful completion of WA/COM1.

2015: College Composition and Rhetoric II: College and Career

ENGL 2015 helps students become stronger writers, speakers, and thinkers, and features assignments that explore issues that pertain to students’ majors and future careers. Students will engage in different genres for a range of audiences, revise substantially, and practice critical thinking in academic, civic, and professional contexts. 

2020-01: Literature, Media, and Culture

Pexton

From Beowulf to World War Z, Hollywood continues to mine literature and culture for its audience. This tradition dates back from the very beginnings of horror cinema to the present–with F.W. Murnau’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula into one of the first silent films, Nosferatu, to the many remakes throughout the decades, ending in television shows like True Blood. In this class, we will explore what happens in this shift from written word to big screen, through the lens of the horror story. What do the additions and deletions of plot points, characters, and other “integral” aspects of a text mean for the stories that get told about a culture? 

2020-02: Literature, Media, and Culture

Bima

In this class, students will be introduced to texts from four Arab countries: Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine, in four different fiction genres. The aim of the class is to challenge the perception of Arab cultures and peoples through familiarizing students with Arabic literature and its complex portrayal of “Arabness.” Through close readings and class discussions of critical essays, this class is designed to facilitate a conversation about a side of the world that is often misrepresented in hope to present opportunities for reconstruction of perception. Particularly, the class aims to diversify the students’ perspectives of the world—steering away from how Western media portrays the Arab world and presenting a more accurate and nuanced perspective of Arab cultures and people.

2020-03: Literature, Media, and Culture – Beyoncé: Rhetorics of Pop Culture

Foss

This iteration of English 2020 will be centered around Beyoncé’s three visual albums (Lemonade, Homecoming, and Black is King). The goal of this course is to give students fluency in cultural analysis and communication. We will discuss the three aforementioned visual albums through the lenses of critical race theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. Students will explore and interpret these texts through low-stakes exploratory writing, multimodal creative projects, and a series of reflection-based journal entries, or reactions. Students will be encouraged to consider the implications of all choices made in the production of these albums, including costuming, location, tone, lyrics, and release dates.

2020-05: Literature, Media, and Culture - Dogs in Literature, TV, and Film 

Enlow

In this class, we will examine a variety of texts that complicate our understandings of the dog as a cultural and historical figure.  Together, we will look in familiar places, past and present, for unusual, interesting, and inspiring dogs. We will rigorously debate questions such as: Why bother looking at animals in human stories? What does it mean to be a dog’s enemy? An animal’s equal? Did dogs domesticate us?  While we study dogs in literature, TV, and film, students will develop skills in written, oral, and digital communication in this COM2 course.

2020-40: Literature, Media, and American Sport

Bergstraesser

In this asynchronous course, you will dive into American sport through the study of literature and different types of media (including film and art). You will acquire the tools for understanding, appreciating, and writing about sports—and get ready to share (through online discussions and essays) your own personal experiences in sport as well. By exploring a variety of authors and media, we will investigate the many ways sports are a part of our culture and lives. Online discussion, reading, and writing are equally important in this class, and you will hone your skills in each area by the end of the semester. This course fulfills your COM2 University Studies requirement.

2025: Intro to English Studies

Fenton and Drummond

If you Google “Jokes for English majors,” you’ll get 75,000 results in 0.63 seconds. Most of these are based on grammatical errors, bad puns, and esoteric knowledge about famous authors such as Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway. But all joking aside, what does it mean to be an English major in 2022? What, exactly, do English majors study these days? What skills do you need to succeed as an English major? And, finally, what can you do with an English major after you graduate from UW? These are some of the many questions we will explore in this class. From Shakespeare's plays to poetry slams, from Dungeons and Dragons to Dune, from Taylor Swift to Kendrick Lamar, we will analyze and interpret the texts that both reflect and constitute our cultural landscape.

English 2025 is the gateway course to the English major. It is a prerequisite for upper-division study in the department.

2425: Literature in English I

Anderson

This course surveys some of the major works of medieval and Renaissance English literature, and considers some lesser-known works as well. We will consider the growth of a native tradition, as well as the influence of continental literature on English literature. To do this, we will trace the development of some different genres, the themes of chivalry and monarchy, and the constantly revised notions of virtue, heroism, and love, through close readings and analyses of broader cultural contexts.  Translations of all medieval texts will be available.

2435: Literature in English III  

Marks

We will study literature written in English that encompasses events like Reconstruction (Huckleberry Finn), Victorian social consciousness (Middlemarch), American Romanticism and aestheticism (Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson) and twentieth century issues involving race (James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates). Texts are tentative. We will consider selected texts slowly and carefully. You will refine your close-reading skills over the span of the semester. Requirements include quizzes, two exams, and multiple essays.

2490: Studies In: Comics & Race

Marks

How often do you discover an artistic golden age only after it’s long over? Right now, a creative renaissance is occurring in a medium that had been mired in triviality for the better part of a century. In the past 35 years, critics, artists, academics, and mainstream culture have begun to recognize the growing artistic impact of comics, comix, and graphic novels. From its infancy on the Sunday pages of the early 20th century (with important historical predecessors), the comics medium has grown up through its awkward (yet historically important) adolescence of superheroes, into a fully-fledged adulthood that draws upon genres of novel-length fiction, fantasy, mythology, journalism, history, and autobiography. This course will examine the rich offerings of comics and graphic novels using race as their themes. We will study works ranging from the superhero genre, Black Panther to the seriously sober March, John Lewis’s personal recounting of the Civil Rights Movement. The course will also include important readings and film viewings such as Ta Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Assignments include weekly reflections in response to the readings, two exams, a group project, and two longer projects (which may be critical or creative), among others.

2490: Studies In: Religion & Literature

 Heise

Religion and Literature will focus on depictions of the supernatural in literature to assess the strength and power of religious paradigms in (mostly) American culture. By examining a variety of literary genres that oscillate between spirit and matter as well as religious “orthodoxy” and scientific modernism, this class will explore how literature functions as a space to explore, affirm, and challenge religious truth claims that have haunted and, in some cases, continue to haunt the national imagination.

3000: Literary Theory

McCracken-Flesher

How do we know who we are? And who will we be tomorrow? In literature and theory, we express, address and sometimes seem to create the problems of human be-ing. This theory course meets the moment of the posthuman. Since the nineteenth century, thinkers like Marx and Freud, encountering the age of industry, pondered historical determinism and the production of the human. Today, by some theories, we are already beyond the human. Our course thus situates itself where theory and literature proliferate together, today.

This course introduces you to the theorists who produced and seek to address the posthuman—from Sigmund Freud on the unconscious to Donna Harraway on the cyborg and our animal affects. We will study texts from classic speculative fiction to discourse-changing film, television and gaming. We’ll think about the narrative disruption of broken stuff, and even the plotting power of “gut instinct” in the age of the microbiome.

Assignments will be individual and collaborative. They will include theory synopses, quizzes, textual analyses, teaching opportunities, conference experience and research writing. By the end, you will gain a strong understanding of significant theory through to today. And … you’ll have an idea of who you’re going to be!

This course is required for English Majors on the Lit. track, and welcomes students at the appropriate level across the humanities and arts. Prerequisites: ENGL 2025 and junior standing.

3010: Application to Rhetoric, Comp Ped & Prof

Small

Our section will focus on different ways of making knowledge in the broad discipline of writing studies, sampling methods from a variety of perspectives. We'll begin with a general introduction to "research" and its relation to theory, then we'll dig in to try three particular applications. Inspired by the study of rhetoric, we'll practice Kenneth Burke’s textual criticism, analyzing how persuasive powers flow among agents, acts, agency, scene, and purpose. Next, we'll try out narrative methods which are often engaged in the study of composition and literacy. Finally, we'll learn about a form of inquiry used in technical communication: user experience studies. This class will include hands-on practice as well as analysis of how data turns into knowledge (in other words, interpretive methods and writing styles). Students will complete the class with a solid introduction to methods, concepts, and theory emphasized across the discipline of writing studies, and will be prepared to design a thoughtful, well-crafted multimodal project.

Important note: Dr. Small’s section is offered as an in-person course and will require weekly meetings on campus. If the health situation makes coming to in-person meetings risky, then we will move completely to Zoom. To confirm, this section will be either in-person or (if meeting is too risky) on Zoom. It will not be offered  as “hyflex” or both-at-once.

Please contact Nancy Small (nancy.small@uwyo.edu) if you have questions.

3010: Application to Rhetoric, Comp Ped & Prof

Fisher

This course engages students in defining the field of Writing Studies and in practicing some of the methods used in this field. Designed for students pursuing concentrations in professional writing, English education, and related majors, the course may take up a range of related issues including race, class, and gender studies; genre theory; histories and theories of rhetoric; K-16 literacy instruction; multilingual writing; multimodal rhetoric; professional writing; writing center and writing program administration—and beyond. Though scheduled for 3 synchronous meetings each week, this course will often meet twice a week over Zoom (with asynchronous activities in place of Friday class meetings).

3200: Topics In Medieval Lit

Anderson

This course surveys a variety of Medieval Literature, and will focus on language, literature, and cultural history. By the end of the semester, you should be able to read the Middle English, to discuss the major literary genres and conventions authors employ, and place these works within their social, historical, and cultural context. We will read and discuss a wide variety of literature from the European middle ages, along with some non traditional sources, such as medieval Arabic and Hebrew texts. We can’t cover everything, and I’m focusing on some canonical and some texts that are read less frequently, such as the Siege of Jerusalem, and a wide variety of lyrics in various traditions and languages (in translation in Wilhelm) over 200-300 years. I’ll add music and art when we get to that part of the semester. Fun fact: students in the middle ages at the first universities also had drinking songs, and wrote political satires, love songs about unrequited love, and complaints about having no money.

3300: Topics In: Renaissance Literature

4000: 21 Century Issues in Professional Writing

Knievel

In English 4000, students will read, analyze, and apply research and scholarship from the field of technical/professional communication to writing and communication-related problems that impact both “writing professionals” and “professionals who write” in contemporary workplaces.

Starting with discussion of key rhetorical principles and a survey of contemporary issues of concern for both practicing professional communicators and researchers alike, we will move quickly to an examination of ethics as it applies to writing and communication, and then on to both design and usability as sites of emphasis, developing a usability study project in consultation with a client. While some projects are still being determined, students can likely anticipate, at least, working individually and collaboratively to craft analytical essays, give poster (and other) presentations, write reports, and develop a portfolio of their own work. 

4010: Technical Writing in the Professions

Enhances professional writing skills applicable to a variety of professions. Includes writing and communication that considers audience analysis and adaptation, information design and use of visuals, and a range of formats and genres. Emphasizes clarity and precision of language. May feature primary research and problem-based or service-learning projects. Prerequisites: WA and WB or COM1 and COM2; junior or senior standing.

4020: Publication Editing

Burchett

Our semester will consist of you engaging with readings, a diverse group of guest speakers, and personal practice within the wonderful world of editing. While you will read texts—and consistently hear first-hand from professionals—about the theoretical-side of editing in a specific context, you will also work toward practically applying editing skills through personal/team-based research/writing, leading lessons and discussions about the concepts we read and discuss about editing/publication, and generally taking ownership of your own growing philosophy of and approach to editing and what it could take to consider this field as a profession or even a side-hustle. 

4040: Rhetoric, Media, and Culture

Thompson

What made Game of Thrones a worldwide phenomenon? How can Wicked still be popular after 16 years on Broadway? And why is Bodyworlds the most popular museum exhibit in history? Rhetoric, Media, and Culture will examine artifacts of popular culture (film, television, music, video games, comic books, etc.) as forms of persuasion. We will explore the choices authors, composers, curators and directors make to capture the attention – and shape the identity -- of millions of consumers. What cultural nerves do they touch? What rhetorical techniques do they employ? And what can we, as rhetoricians of our own careers and personae, learn from them?

4075: Writing for Non-Profits

In English 4075, students will read and learn about non-profit organizations and the kinds of communication that enables them to function and pursue their missions. To that end, we will seek to develop an understanding of nonprofit cultures and the stakes that attend nonprofit work before turning our attention to some of the key rhetorical genres that help organizations realize their goals (e.g., communicating mission, fundraising). The course will be built, primarily, around a grant writing project designed to give students an opportunity to practice the research and writing skills common to this important genre; this project will involve engaging with a non-profit client organization. Other projects will include a formal presentation and other informal presentations, and, likely, rhetorical analysis essays, possibly a short ethnographic piece and/or social media analysis, and shorter correspondence pieces.

4460: American Indian Literature

Krienke

Native American literature exists at a crossroads. On the one hand, novels, poems, and stories in this canon draw on indigenous worldviews and intellectual traditions that are not bound by the written word. On the other hand, as printed texts, these documents also emerge in dialogue with publishing norms that privilege dominant-culture genres and styles. As a meeting point between cultures and worldviews, Native American literature represents a significant test case for reevaluating the tools of literary criticism. For example, Zitkála-Šá’s Old Indian Legends (1901) adapts and retells shared oral traditions. But for an English class, we may well wonder: who is the author here? Is it Zitkála-Šá herself or the people who spoke to her? Or, perhaps, do we need to rethink the idea of authorship itself to include generations of story-tellers? In this class, we will pursue such challenging lines of thinking. We will examine how nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Native authors coopt familiar Western genres in order to resist political marginalization. We will also learn how modern indigenous authors combine memoir, history, and fiction to create hybrid stories that transgress conventional expectations of genre. Along the way, we will constantly question whether and how standard methods of literary study—including close-reading, genre analysis, and archival research—measure up to indigenous creative work.  

4600: Studies in: Comics & Films

Marks

Hollywood has turned to comics and graphic novels as primary sources material for its films. This class will look at the sources and the films. Tentatively, we will consider the ever-popular superhero genre through analysis of some of its most compelling offerings, like Watchmen, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and Black Panther, and their attendant texts, like Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Rises, Renee De Liz’s Wonder Woman: Origins, and Christopher Priests’ Black Panther. As importantly, we will tentatively analyze films and texts that fall outside the superhero genre like V for Vendetta, Persepolis, My Friend Dahmer, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and A History of Violence. Assignments may include weekly response journals, group and individual projects, and exams.

4600: Studies in: Mid East and Israel in Films

Ward

Films often capture the deepest hopes and dreams of broad populations. Israeli, Egyptian, American and other films provide a unique avenue for insights into such Middle East and Israeli issues as national identity, love and despair, corruption, persecution and terror, and hopes for peace and reconciliation in the region.

4630: Honors Thesis

Zibrak

This workshop supports students through the process of creating an English Honors Thesis Project. Following a hybrid coworking / learning model, our meetings will consist of instructor lectures and activities focused on key topics and strategies in thesis creation as well as peer feedback. Time will also be given over to keeping students on track in their progress towards thesis completion through focused co-working opportunities.  

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the English Honors Program 

4999: Senior Seminar: Transmedia Storytelling: From Middle Earth to Westeros

Aronstein

In this class we will study a variety of modern High Fantasy texts, such as The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia Chronicles, the Harry Potter series, His Dark Materials, Game of Thrones, Shadow and Bone and The Magicians, to bring an interdisciplinary approach to the larger question of how artists, narratives, and genres achieve cultural sustainability.  In other words, how do stories attract new audiences to remain relevant over time?  And why have some of these texts been more successful at doing so than others? We will frame our answer to these questions with theories drawn from literary, cultural, rhetorical and consumer culture studies as we look at the ways in which popular fantasy worlds move across media (for instance, novel, to play, to film, to video game, to websites and interactive experiences) and adapt over time, as well as at the marketing machinery and consumption patterns that make such adaptation possible.  

4999: Senior Seminar

Drummond

Why do we still watch The Wizard of Oz 80 years after it was made? Why do we still listen to the Beatles 50 years after they broke up? Some artists, narratives, and genres achieve cultural sustainability; that is, we still care about them – and consume them – decades years after their creation or demise. In this class, we’ll draw from literary, rhetorical, and consumer culture studies to explain how this takes place. And we’ll also examine the marketing machinery and consumption trends that make such sustainability possible. Two large cases will anchor the class:  Oz (from the 1900 original text by L. Frank Baum to the Broadway show Wicked, and beyond); and the Beatles (from their formation in the late 50s to their breakup in 1970, and beyond).

5050: Writing in Public Genres

Zibrak

This course introduces students to various forms of public writing in the humanities and helps them identify their own strengths as public humanists. Students will examine different venues and forms for public-facing writing in humanistic subject areas: the book review, the think piece, the TED talk, the podcast, the educational television program, and other various genres of public-facing cultural commentary, history, and analysis. Examples of these forms will be assigned by the instructor and collectively generated by the students in the course and class visitors will add insight and experience to our conversation. By asking questions about how the most successful examples of these forms make their intellectual content both rigorous and engaging, students will discover how writing in the public humanities works. Significant course work will include short assignments and frequent review of peer work. The main goal of this course is to produce a publishable final project in one of the key public humanities forms covered in the class.   

5061: Rhetoric Theory

This course introduces new and future teachers to the history and theory of Rhetoric (beginning at the beginning, with Aristotle) and the history and theory of pedagogy (taking a lot of from Greek Classical Rhetoric and, specifically, Roman Oratory as discussed by two of the greatest writers on that subject, Quintilian and Cicero).  We will read a range of writers all discussing the nature of rhetorical invention, specifically as it relates to pedagogy, or the philosophy of teaching.

5074: Studies in Civic Discourse

Small

Our current social climate—marked by sharp political divisions and further complicated by social networks, a proliferation of rapid and varied “news” sources, and debate over what counts as “truth”—seems to shut down rather than open up avenues for meaningful discussion. How can we promote more thoughtful dialogue regarding issues with political, economic, environmental, cultural, social, and personal implications? How do we (re)build community amid what appears to be insurmountable difference? And how can we, as students and citizens, find our own agency in a broad climate of uncertainty?  

The purpose of this class is to explore rhetorical perspectives on and strategies for cultivating civil civic dialogue. The course blends scholarly readings with hands-on pragmatic activities, including a deep listening session, observation of public discourse, and role play. In addition to grappling with theories and analyses, students will practice applying rhetorically savvy guidelines for more effective dialogue and will reflect over how particular community contextualization as well as their own dispositions shape those experiences. Students enrolling in this course should be open to and patient with discussion of sensitive political topics via a range of perspectives.  

5360: US Latino Lit

Pignataro

Participants in the course will read a variety of texts that encompass themes of language, identity, mestizaje, gender, education, economic mobility and political ideologies relating to US Latino communities, including, but not limited to, Chicano and African Latino Caribbean communities. Examining the historical and contemporary issues affecting Latinos, students critically connect linguistic, cultural and social politics of the literature analyzed to current day United States Latino social media narratives. All in the course will collaborate in group presentations, create a short digital film, organize a class segment and write a final narrative. The course gives a general overview of U.S. Latino Literature and both graduate and undergraduate students may enroll.

5530: Modern Critical Theory & Practice

Anderson

This course is an advanced survey of some contemporary critical practices. Its two primary aims are (a) to familiarize students with the definitions, methodologies, and scope of each method of critical inquiry, and (b) to provide opportunities through class discussion and written assignments for students to apply the theories in their close readings of texts. Some of the theories we will study will include critical race theory, cultural studies, post-colonialism, and affect theory. We will spend the first section of the semester covering some basics, and then move to exploring some more recent critical approaches.

As a means of reading, surveying, and applying different theories, we will look at ideas about race from some ancient texts to the present. The course will be organized into modules, where we consider texts (in translation) from the Greco-Roman world's still influential categories, to texts from medieval/late antiquity, the Renaissance,  the 18th C's imperialism and colonialism, and finish in the modern era.

The modules will center around theories as the overarching, transhistorical approaches to texts, and then will focus on race and geography (philosophical notions of civilization and travel), race, slavery, and culture (when and how do they become entangled? in what texts?), and finish with race and bodies (somatic, gendered, and behavioral). Students will write a mixture of presentations during the course, an annotated bibliography on the topic of your chosen research, and a final research paper. Students will also be able to select some of the texts for study, and I hope the research paper will be part of your larger thesis ideas.

By the end of the course, you should understand some of the shifts in the idea of race: “other, gens, ethnos, populus, barbarian, nation, Orientalism, Saracens, authochthons, slavery in war and race, color and nature in the Pacific, contemporary problems of race in other countries (Canada, New Zealand, Brazil); and be able to place these works within various theoretically grounded and articulated  social, historical, and cultural contexts. Students will write a mixture of presentations during the semester, an annotated bibliography on the topic of your chosen research, and a final research paper. All these literary materials will be in translation.

We will read various brief excerpts of critical theories to help us respond to these primary texts, and discuss changing cultural manifestations and theories of race.

5960: Thesis Research

This course aims to give second-year MA students a strong start on writing a thesis, providing both intellectual scaffolding and community support for the project.  Your thesis is the culmination of your graduate work at UW: it is the expression of your capacity for original research, your argumentative prowess, your organizational abilities, and your professional development.  It will help to propel you to success in a career in the humanities, whether inside or outside academia.  We devote a course to thesis research because it is crucial to have guidance from both your professor and your cohort as you undertake this important project.

In the course, we will consider how to make the most of your reading list exams; how to tackle a major project like the MA thesis, both conceptually and organizationally; how to develop, articulate, focus, write, and present a great idea; how to effectively participate in your field’s major conversations; how to contribute collegially to and gain from your intellectual community (the library, your colleagues, and your faculty); how to understand academia as a profession and English as a discipline; and how to build your career as you move forward (with a focus on applications to doctoral programs, conference-going, and publication, but also with attention to alternative/non-academic career possibilities).

By the end of the semester, you will have developed and planned your thesis project, devised a thesis proposal, submitted your first chapter to the class and to your MA committee chair, and presented your evolving work in conference format.

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