English Course Descriptions: Summer 2013

Summer Session I (May 13 – June 7) | Summer Session II (June 10 – August 1)


English 247 B—THE BRITISH NOVEL, Wood. MTuWTh 9-11:50

Group II

This course spans two centuries of modern British fiction. The history of those two centuries involves the rise and fall of the British Empire and two World Wars—a tumultuous period of continual and often drastic social change that will inform the reading of our five classic novels by Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Woolf, and the contemporary writer Ian McEwan. But we will pay equal attention in our classes to the development and changes in novelistic technique associated with these writers, from the radical innovations in ironic discourse and subjective characterization in Austen, to the social panorama of Dickens, to further experiments in narrative representation, language, and point of view in Woolf and McEwan. Reading load for the course will be heavy given its brevity. Students should be prepared to be discussing and writing about one novel, while already reading ahead to the next. In sum, the rewards of this course will go hand in hand with its challenges.


(same as GER 250, CWL 250)

Special attention is paid to the Grimms’ tales in terms of traditional narrative genres, elements of life in early modern Europe, and versions from Italy and France as well as Germany. Course is conducted in English. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

English 268 B—THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT, Tubb. MTuWTh 9-11:50

same as GER 260, CWL 271

This course examines cultural representations of the Holocaust in literature, film, and critical essays. It is not a course about the Holocaust per se, but about its representations. What this means is that a simple collection of facts for the sake of a convenient, summary explanation of what the Holocaust “is,” is not the point. During the course of the semester, we will study a number of cultural attempts to come to terms with something that eludes full comprehension. You will come to ask yourself how “understanding,” an act that we commonly perceive to be both illuminating and relieving, is transformed when straightforward meaning and legibility can no longer be taken for granted. Starting out with a discussion of contemporary memory culture in the US and Germany, the course introduces students to the historical context of the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the Second Word War. We then turn to a variety of postwar texts, including memoirs, poems, essays, memorials, documentary and feature film, to explore how Jewish and non-Jewish writers have dealt with issues of perpetration, survival, trauma, and memory in postwar German culture and beyond. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

English 301 X—CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Loughran. MTuWTh 12-2:50

Theory: the final frontier. At least that’s how many U of I English majors seem to feel! In this course, we will survey major developments in the history of thinking hard from the eighteenth century to today. Along the way, we will ask a series of interrelated questions about the rise of Western reason that theory both performs and critiques. For example: Was the rise of Enlightenment thinking emancipatory or repressive? How did such patterns of thinking emerge alongside material developments like early capitalism and empire? Are aesthetics essentially a-political or does art participate (for good or ill) in the world of politics and power? Can historicism serve as a corrective to the gross inequities of our world, or is it a Trojan horse left behind amongst the other wreckage of the Enlightenment? And what does any of this have to do with reading sonnets, plays, and novels?

Major players in this story are likely to include Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno Lukacs, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Butler, Sedgwick, Said, and the great and inscrutable Gayatri Spivak. As in any theory course, a number of major -ISMs (and their relatives) will appear regularly on the docket—including materialism, historicism, structuralism (and its posts-), queer theory, and postcolonialism. But to cope with the vertigo an ISM always produces, we will generally read short, iconic selections, thinking for the most part in broad strokes, with a few full texts interspersed for depth and texture. And we will find a way to work through this material that: a) makes sense, b) challenges you, and c) does not put any of us to sleep (or drive us mad). This is, in short, an introduction to the history of such ideas, and any lively, alert, game young reader will be able to keep up. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

English 455 1U/1G—MAJOR AUTHORS, Capino. MTuWTh 12-2:50

Group V

TOPIC: Martin Scorsese

From his obsessive recreation of period detail to his unabashed predilection for flashy, star-driven acting, and from his interest in revitalizing old genres to his tireless advocacy of film preservation, it is clear that the fan in Martin Scorsese fuels his passion for moviemaking. This course focuses on this director’s fascinating intertextual dialogue with American and world cinema. We will examine Scorsese films alongside their sources and inspirations. For example, we will compare his “urban western” Taxi Driver (1976) to the classic Wild West film, The Searchers (1956). We will also view his encounters with New York’s demi-monde in After Hours through the lens of Dorothy’s sojourn to the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. The course requires about sixty pages of reading per week, several quizzes and writing assignments, and one term paper.

English 461 1U/1G—TOPICS IN LITERATURE, C. Wright. MTuWTh 12-2:50

Group I or V

TOPIC: Irish Myths and Legends in the Middle Ages

This course examines the “Celtic” myths and legends of medieval Ireland. We will read (in modern English translation) medieval Irish tales of gods and goddesses, druids and druidesses, heroes and heroines: tales of voyages to the Celtic Otherworld, of feasts where warriors contend for the “champion’s portion,” of strange births and tragic deaths, of magical transformations, of courtships and cattle-raids. Texts include the Ulster Cycle stories about the boy-hero Cú Chulainn, king Conchobar, Fergus and queen Medb, culminating in the great Irish epic, The Táin Bó Cuailnge (“The Cattle Raid of Cooley”). In addition to the primary focus on the mythological literature, we will also some texts representative of the “Celtic” spirituality of early Christian Ireland, such as the Lives of Saints Patrick and Brigid and the Voyage of Saint Brendan. As we read the literature we will also study aspects of the history, art, and culture of early medieval Ireland from the pagan Celtic period through the early Christian era and down to the Viking invasions and the Anglo-Norman conquest.

English 593 B—PROF SEMINARA COLLEGE TCHG, Hutner. MTuWTh 9-11:50

TOPIC: Professionalizing Future Faculty

This course is conceived as a publishing workshop where students will be revising dissertation chapters or seminar papers into publishable articles. Students can expect to present several drafts of their essays over 4 weeks, in addition to critiquing the work of other students. The bulk of our time will be concerned with this process, but we will consider at substantial length various aspects of academic publishing, including, on the practical level, the protocols of academic publishing and choosing the appropriate journals, and, on the hypothetical, revising dissertations into books and sizing up presses as potential homes for manuscripts. Whatever time remains will also be spent previewing material about the relation between publishing and one’s academic career. The course is recommended for Stage 3 students in Writing Studies as well as English and American literature, though master’s students are also welcome.


English 103 X—INTRO TO FICTION. MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

Reading and discussion of representative fiction of several periods and types. Credit is not given for both ENGL 103 and ENGL 109


This section of ENGL 109 approaches the critical analysis of prose fiction by considering that most fictitious of modern genres: fantasy. Detaching fiction from realism will allow us to focus primarily on storytelling: while the content of fantastic narratives bears a relation to lived experience, it does so in crooked fashion, calling attention to the formal elements from which stories are made. After all, fantastic worlds only come into being through authors’ deployment of narrative strategies such as plot, character, and point of view. Our texts are a mix of short and long narratives: stories by Lord Dunsany, Robert E. Howard, Angela Carter, and Kelly Link; novels by J. R. R. Tolkien, Patricia A. McKillip, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Because this course satisfies the Comp II requirement, we’ll also devote ample time in and out of class to the tactics and techniques of critical prose. Chief among these are peer review and revision of drafts. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

English 455 2U/2G—MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. MTuWTh 12:30-2:20

Group IV

TOPIC: Hitchock

By focusing on the films that Alfred Hitchcock directed between 1935 and 1960, this course will explore the psychoanalytic and ideological fears that animate some of the most talked about texts in cinema history. Framed by the historical horrors of World War II and the subsequent expansion of American economic and military power, the films of Hitchcock’s most fertile period helped to develop—and simultaneously to conceal—psychological concerns about modern masculinity, sadism, masochism, and consumer culture. By interrogating films ranging from The Lady Vanishes and Rebecca to Psycho, we will attempt to engage not only with the manifest messages of Hitchcock’s cinema, but also with the latent and troubling fears about our society and ourselves that his cinema seems to embody.

Course requirements include two 8 page research papers, 1 in-class presentation, a daily reading journal, and two exams.


CW 104 is the beginning course in the writing of short fiction. There may be some minimal “structuring” and specific assignments, especially in the beginning, to ease the student into the discipline of writing fictional prose. Somewhat less production is expected than in the more advanced courses. Students will be required to submit their own stories for criticism from the class. An anthology of short fiction may be required.

Rhetoric 105 X—PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION, MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

Rhetoric 105 is a basic study of the methods of exposition, particularly of academic argumentative writing based on sources. Emphasis will be on stance, thesis, organization, drafting, revising, and editing. All sections require 30 typed pages of finished writing, usually divided into seven essays and a research paper. There is no final exam. This course fulfills the campus Comp. I requirement.


This course gives further practice in exposition with extension into more specialized forms of writing. Class activities include anticipating your audience, exploring stylistic choices, synthesizing and responding to material from multiple sources, planning and shaping a draft, receiving and incorporating feedback, revising, and editing. Rhetoric 233 is designed for the student whose career will require advanced competence in writing as an adjunct to another professional activity. Course size is limited to 24 students. Students will produce 7,500 words of polished prose as well as frequent in-process writing. Prerequisite: completion of campus Composition I requirement. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

B&TW 250—PRINCIPLES OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, Multiple sections - see course schedule.

This course teaches students to apply the principles of successful professional communication to business writing tasks. Students will also practice editing and supervising the writing of others. Assignments replicate typical business cases, scenarios, situations and cultures; they also deal with multiple audiences. They range in complexity, length, formatting demands, and the manipulating of genre. This course features an extended section on writing longer reports based on information collected, interpreted and compiled from several sources. The five on-line sections offered – section OL1, OL2, OL3, OL4 and OL5 – will have regularly-scheduled class meetings. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

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