Myes Hall

Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings -Fall 2001

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS FALL SEMESTER 2001

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS FALL SEMESTER 2001

English 100 - English as a Second Language - Staff

English 101 - Expository Writing (General Description)

English 101 introduces writing on the college level. Its purpose is to foster the skills necessary to produce coherent, persuasive prose: developing ideas thoroughly, using rhetorical strategies appropriate to subject and audience, focusing and supporting a thesis, structuring well developed paragraphs, generating mature and effective sentences, choosing precise and expressive language, and observing the conventions of written prose.

Individual sections employ a variety of techniques for inculcating standards of good prose; but all 101 classes require a variety of writing assignments including paragraphs and short essays written in and out of class (about 4000 words in total) and a short research paper designed to introduce techniques of library research and documentation (about 2000 words).

English 101 - Expository Writing - Otten

This course is an introduction to composition directed toward writing analytical essays. Class session will be scheduled in and make use of the computer lab. During the first eight weeks of the class, students will write several out-of-class in-class essays based on reading selections in an anthology titled The Conscious Reader. Students will not only read for ideas but also analyze how the readings effectively employ rhetorical and literary devices. Their essays will include both close analysis of texts and personal experience. Although students will be encouraged to meet frequently with the instructor, at midterm all students will conference with the instructor to assess the strengths and weaknesses in their work. The last part of the term will be devoted to developing a longer, researched paper. The emphasis will be on the process of writing the longer paper, including finding a suitable topic, accessing and evaluating sources, efficiently gathering and accurately recording information, writing and documenting a paper of approximately 2000 words. Students will return to the reader during the last two or three weeks and write an in-class (and optional out-of-class) essay. A final conference is required. A final examination will be administered as scheduled by the Registrar.

English 101 - Expository Writing - Foster

This course has been designed to aid in your development into a confident, responsible and persuasive writer. Specifically, it should help you to develop competency in all stages of the writing process, develop critical thinking and reading skills and develop a writing standard consistent with the MLA style guide. The course will revolve around a different theme each semester. Students will be required to write four essays, keep a reading journal and participate in class discussion that focuses on the theme for the course and read an assigned novel. There will probably be quizzes on the reading throughout the semester and a final exam.

English 101 - Expository Writing - Ramsey

The focus of this 101 section will be the use of detective and crime fiction to help teach composition. The detective story, that genre so reliant on (and playful with) the relationship between writer and reader, is the ideal kind of writing to help develop the students' critical reading and writing skills. As the students become expert in the detective story, they'll begin to see how the genre has developed, how writers both work within the rules and transform those rules, and how critical thinkers approach these texts. That, of course, is what I'll be asking my students to do in their own writing--recognize the general rules of academic writing, and learn to become comfortable enough with those rules to create his/her own writing voice. Students will analyze and respond to popular detective texts and critical works on detective fiction, including short stories by authors such as Poe, Doyle, Christie, Hammett, Grafton, Paretsky, and Ellroy; one novel; and several tv shows and a film or two. There will be three major essays (analysis, research, write-your-own-mystery), short response papers, a midterm and final, and the occasional quiz. Students will write multiple drafts, peer respond, and will engage in frequent group discussions.

English 101 - Expository Writing - Davis

This course is an introduction to composition. We will cover many of the foundational skills of expository writing in class, and we'll work with style and revision exercises from writing handbooks. But ultimately better writing comes from practice, practice, and more practice. Writing is not a matter of chance or good luck. It's not a matter of first-draft inspiration. Successful prose in all disciplines is based on specific techniques any writer can master. We discover these techniques, in part, by analyzing prose we admire and by applying what we learn in that analysis to our own developing style. For this reason, I'll urge you to become an active reader as well as an active writer and to study the essays and narratives in the course as a source for techniques you can use yourself.

English 101 - Expository Writing - Jones

The American frontier--home to Native American prophets, drought-and-grasshopper--dueling farmers, black cavalrymen, women earning more in the gold fields from their pie baking than their customers did in the mines, Irish and Chinese railroad construction workers, bank robbers and cattle rustlers and social reformers--was declared "closed" 111 years ago. Yet it has remained a central element of American culture.

We will use the 19th century American frontier as the focal point for the term's writing and research. Students will write a series of short papers culminating in a research paper. The course goals are to develop writing skills which will be useful in subsequent college courses and to explore a fascinating period of America's past and its influence on contemporary American life. Occasional out of class assignments, probably including a visit to an 18th century trade fair on Labor Day weekend, will be required; do not plan visits home that weekend until the first paper assignment is discussed.

English 180 - The Fall and After - Otten

"When we feared the dragons, were we fearing a part of ourselves?" asks Carl Sagan in "The Dragons" of Eden--a good question. . . and one this Eden is a greater allegory than man has ever guessed. For it was truly man who, walking through the bars of sunlight and shade in the morning of the world, sat down and passed a wondering hand across his heavy forehead. Time and darkness, knowledge of good and evil, have walked with us ever since." In one way or another all of us have and will reenact the Fall; for it is a paradigm, "a symbol," Paul Tillich has written, "for the human situation universally, not. . . a story of an event that happened 'once upon a time.'" This class explores the implications of the myth--how do the garden, the serpent, the tree of knowledge, surface in our lives? Is the Fall fortunate or unfortunate? Can cultures fall? What about the future world (Arthur Clarke says of HAL the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, "a serpent had entered his electronic Eden"--hmmm, can a computer choose? Fall?)? To examine the theme the class will explore a wide range of literature from Coleridge to Toni Morrison. It will include a variety of works such as Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Camus's The Fall, James Dickey's Deliverance, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Morrison's Sula or similar texts, and a number of short stories and some poetry. Cross disciplinary in nature, the course reflects on the commonality of the theme as it surfaces in various academic areas, in popular culture, and in the events that constantly occur around us. Students will be asked to write two or three essays, occasionally prepare written assignments for class discussion, and complete a project reflecting each person's personal exploration of the theme using whatever mode of inquiry and whatever "texts" she or he wishes. The project will be shared with the class at the end of the term. There will be a final examination and likely a midterm. Writing intensive/A Course.

English 180 - The Adventure Tale and Postcolonialism - Ramsey

This course will, in addition to the learning goals of all English 180 courses, introduce students to the discipline of postcolonial studies, which focuses on the gender, class, nationalism, race and gender implications involved in literature/film which features the colonization of one group of people by another. The adventure tale, on the surface exciting, fast-paced, and little interested in social issues or "big ideas," consciously or unconsciously turns on the assumption/attitudes of the colonizer to the colonized. The course should appeal to students not only because the texts are entertaining (by definition), but also because these stories raise so many interesting questions of a multicultural, multinational nature. Works will include Homer's The Odyssey, Stevenson's Treasure Island, Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes, Doyle's The Lost World, Kipling's India stories, Johnson's Middle Passage, Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and films Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Last of the Mohicans, Mansfield Park, and The Mummy. Students will produce several short response/position papers, a research essay, and will take reading quizzes, a midterm and final exam. There will also be the opportunity to do presentations and write a reading journal.

Students who register for this course are required to attend film screenings on Monday nights from 7-10 pm (usually every other week).

English 180 - The Poetry of Love - Inboden

No, we're not going to spend the semester wading through the autumn leaves and thinking deep thoughts about LOVE. Or we may. But I got your attention, didn't I?

Actually, we'll be gaining a detailed knowledge of how to read and enjoy poetry and how to write about it well. We'll be reading a wide variety of wonderful poems linked by a common theme of love in all its many guises. And you'll learn about metre and free verse, synecdoche and conceits, alliteration and personificationBand what all of them contribute to our experience of the poem. We'll also do doubt reflect on what love has meant for men and women in different times and situations, and what it means in our culture today.

Work for the course will consist of a poetry project, a reading journal, three short papers, a mid-term, and a final. Writing Intensive.

English 180 - The Escape from Civilization - Proll

Most people think of "civilization" as a good thing: as the place in which we find a home and safety with other human beings. Sigmund Freud, however, postulated in Civilization and Its Discontents that society demands a significant trade-off, in which we repress our most basic instincts in exchange for the benefits that come with living communally. It's a reasonable trade, but one that, according to Freud, leaves us repressed and unhappy much of the time. In this course we will examine a wide variety of novels, plays, short stories, and films in which individuals attempt to break free from the constraining rules (sexual, social, and otherwise) that society imposes. Students will write two papers (one short and one longer) and four brief response papers, in addition to passing frequent reading quizzes. Writing Intensive.

English 180 - Themes & Traditions in Literature - Staff

English 180 - American Women Biography - Askeland

English 200 - Introduction to the Discipline of English - Buckman

English 200 is an ambitious course, one that sets out to raise the foundational questions of our discipline (what we read and why we read it), as well as to introduce students to some of the ways that we locate meaning in texts (how we read). This version of the course will address the two vexing prior questions in the midst of an extended consideration of the third. To this end, the course will begin with a unit devoted to the practice of 'close reading' before proceeding to a survey of several influential theoretical approaches to reading and writing about literature. Throughout the course I will encourage students to take interpretive risks with their newly-acquired theoretical and analytical resources by offering their own readings of selected texts. Students will memorize and recite selected poetry, keep a journal of reading responses, write three mid-length papers, and take a midterm and final exam. Writing intensive.

English 200 - Introduction to the Discipline of English - Davis

This course will prepare students for advanced study in English. It refines interpretive skills developed in earlier literature classes, but it does more than that. It also introduces students to different approaches to literary criticism and it develops a working knowledge of contemporary literary theory. From the beginning, our emphasis will be on close reading. In very short, typically one page assignments, we'll practice annotating texts, identifying not only a text's unity of purpose but also its signs of conflict, paradox, and counter-intention.

Our work with theory will build on this skills. In the second half of the course, we'll look closely at a small set of key ideas--"cultural poetics" in Stephan Greenblatt, "resistence" in Judith Fetterley, "signifying" in Henry Louis Gates, and "freeplay" in Jacques Derrida. Despite apparent and important differences, these concepts coalesce around a common nucleus: the desire to break open closed systems of thought and welcome the disruptive energies of the literary text. What counts as literature--and what counts as literary criticism--is the power of writing to make strange what was settled, familiar, self-evident, or secure. This commitment to an "open text" brings together four different critical approaches: new historicism, feminism, multiculturalism, and deconstruction. It suggests, in fact, a new direction in literary studies as a whole, a paradigm shift in the profession of English. Exploring the implications of that shift and understanding the historical and philosophical motives behind it are the major goals of this course.

English 240 - Beginning Creative Writing - McClelland

"Writing is easy," the writer Gene Fowler once said. AAll you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." Fowler may well have been right, but in this class we'll try to make it a little easier than that. The course will provide students an introduction to four genres of creative writing--poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and playwriting. Students will hear what some writers have to say about writing, read and discuss some of what is being written today, keep a journal of their own progress as writers, and workshop the writing of their classmates. Most of all, students will write. You will be expected to produce pieces in all four genres, and do a major revision of a work of your choice.

English 241 - Beginning Journalism - McClelland

This course will provide a basic introduction to the practice and principles of journalism, with an emphasis on newspaper production. We will discuss news, features, opinion and sports writing; interviewing skills, journalistic ethics, copy-editing, layout, and other related topics. Students will write regularly, and will be expected to contribute to The Torch, Wittenberg's weekly student newspaper. Prerequisite: English 101.

English 243 - Technical Writing - Foster

Technical communication is a fast-paced occupation full of deadlines. The technical communicator needs to acquire skills of punctuality, organization, strong discipline, and responsibility. This course will focus on those skills as well as the skills required to become a competent technical communicator in the growing field. This class will be structured similar to a technical communicator's environment. Through projects assigned in the class, students will learn a reader centered writing process that can be implemented in their study of the profession. Students should expect to use the computer in-class lab sessions and be open to learning new ways to use technology.

English 245 - Writing for Teachers - Davis

This is an intermediate course in composition designed for prospective teachers. Students will develop their abilities to analyze texts, construct arguments, tell stories and produce writing that is lively, elegant, and precise. The course will study key issues in composition and assessment and review the history of the teaching of writing in American schools. But it will also give students hands-on experience in the day-to-day work of a writing class: from designing assignments to teaching the writing process, from understanding grammar to managing the paper load, from using computers to responding to student drafts.

In this survey of English literature from its beginnings to the early eighteenth century, students will be introduced to the writings of a variety of authors working in a variety of genres: sonnet, dramatic comedy, epic poem, essay, novel, and others. In order to impose some structure on a rather diverse body of writings, we will trace several broad themes across these works while attending to, so far as is possible in a course of this type, the historical milieux in which these texts were written and read or performed. A reading journal, three papers, a midterm and final.

English 290 - Survey of American Literature I - Hinson

The ideas that give shape to American Literature have become increasingly difficult to define. Is American literature a literature that defines itself against a European tradition? Or, is it a literature that constantly confronts and tests the limits of a language to give expression to an American experience? Can we compare American literature to the grid that underlies our American cities, vast and repeatable, or to the skyscraper that struggles to reach an unreachable height? Through a survey of American literature that includes writing about the myth of the American Eden by Europeans, the writing of the mythologizing Puritans, the symbolizing Transcendentalists, and finally the romanticizing "scribblers" of the nineteenth century, we will explore these and other questions that shape our understanding of early American literature. Midterm, final, response papers, and two five-page researched essays.

English 309 - Studies in Victorian Literature: Saints and Sinners - Inboden

The popular image of the Victorian period is rather too close to that of the Queen herself: drab, prudish, and repressed. When we actually read Victorian literature, however, we find a cornucopia of life. Full of fantasy, rebellion, confidence, realism, generosity, neurosis, and luxury, Victorian literature is nothing if not grand. The Victorians are often themselves full of contradictions, too: great moralists who are themselves moral outcasts, sensualists who are deeply reflective on matters of spirituality, thinkers of all types who experience spiritual crises and overcome themBsaints and sinners. This paradoxical blend of the moral/spiritual concerns with sensual/worldly concerns and styles will inform our readings of such writers as Tennyson, Dickens, the Brontes, Eliot, the Brownings, the Pre-Raphaelites, and Wilde. Through a mixture of lecture and discussion, we will become familiar with the historical, social, and aesthetic qualities of the works. Graded work may include an oral presentation, three short papers, a longer paper, and a final examination.

English 313 - African American Literature - Askeland

English 322 - Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction - McClelland

There is really only one way to become a superior fiction writer: Write, then read, then go write some more. In this class, we will do plenty of both. Students will continue developing the skills and techniques introduced in Beginning Creative Writing through readings, discussion, workshopping, journal-keeping and lots of writing. Each student will produce three short stories and will do a major revision of one of those pieces. Our goal will be for each student to write at least one story suitable for submission to a literary journal.

English 322 - Advanced Creative Writing - Fry

"If Poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree," wrote Keats, "it had better not come at all." Of course, Keats did not follow his own famous axiom; he studied the great poets and revised his own work repeatedly and painstakingly. His practice will provide our paradigm for this advanced writing seminar. We will read and study a variety of poets and poetry, try our hands at various poetic forms and styles, revise our poetry carefully, and workshop each other's poems. Grades will be based on thoughtful participation, a variety of exercises, assignments, and a final portfolio of revised poems.

English 330 - Major Authors: Hemingway - Jones

Ernest Hemingway was a football player, a poet, an ambulance driver; a father, a lover, a serial husband; a reporter, a bullfight aficionado, a suicide. Seemingly larger than life pre-mortem, he has, since death, become something of an industry, exploited by literary critics, publishers of posthumous novels, the tourist industry, and even the Gap. One of the most versatile of American writers, Hemingway became something of a 20th century icon. We will examine a good cross-section of his writings: poetry, plays, personal memoirs, short stories, novels and journalism. And we, too, will write.

The course grade will emerge from a variety of elements: daily class discussion, two or three short papers, a longer, more substantial paper, and a presentation/discussion of the findings of that paper to the class.

English 332 - Early Modern Drama--Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov and Shaw - Otten

The intent of this course is to explore the development of early modern drama by examining the texts of four major playwrights: Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, and Shaw. The first part of the course will be devoted to Ibsen and Strindberg, with heavy emphasis on Ibsen; the latter part will be concerned with Chekhov and Shaw. Major developments in stage history, the contributions of other early modern playwrights, and significant secondary criticism will be discussed along with the given texts. Students will be asked to write three or four modest-length papers, to negotiate a midterm and a final examination, to contribute to class discussions and to be involved in "group" presentations. The course will include the viewing of some productions on video. Writing Intensive.

English 401 - Untitled: the reader's autobiography, postmodernism, and literary theory - Hinson

The primary focus of this course is the senior thesis. We will work on research methods, preparing the proposal and annotated bibliography for the senior thesis, and, of course, on your individual research projects. Along the way, we will concentrate on your autobiography as a reader and literary scholar, and on reviewing the major critical approaches to literature. In addition, we will explore the theoretical underpinnings of most contemporary critical approaches to literature in poststructuralist thought. The course will also prepare you for the senior oral comprehensive.

Wittenberg’s official curriculum and academic policies are contained in the Academic Catalog.
The latest edition of the Catalog is available online.

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