English course descriptions: Fall 2023
ENG 1010: Basic Writing
English 1010 prepares students for English 1020 by building upon their diverse skills to help them become critical readers and effective writers at the college level. The main goals of the course are (1) to teach students to integrate reading and writing in basic academic genres; (2) to use a writing process that incorporates drafting, revising, and editing for grammar and mechanics; and (3) to write according to the conventions of college writing, including documentation.
To achieve these goals, the course encourages students to read carefully; respond analytically and critically; and write in a variety of academic genres, including summary, response, analysis and argument for an academic audience.
ENG 1020: (BC) Introductory College Writing
In ENG 1020 you’ll apply the Wayne State writing curriculum’s core emphases of discourse community, genre, rhetorical situation, and metacognition/reflection to written and multimedia works focused on specific audiences, such as your classmates, academic and professional audiences of various types, or civic communities you might belong to or wish to influence in a particular way. While, as with all of the courses in the Wayne State required writing sequence, mechanical correctness and appropriate academic writing styles are a key concern, in ENG 1020 you’ll also concentrate specifically on rhetoric (or persuasion) and argument as major objectives of many important kinds of writing you may be asked to produce. By focusing on rhetoric and on audience, assignments in ENG 1020 will require you do two major types of work. In one type, you’ll analyze a particular piece of argumentative discourse to determine how it succeeds (or fails) to appropriately impact its audience. In another type, you’ll choose a particular issue and a relevant audience for that issue and then argue for a certain point or for a certain action to be taken by that audience. Work in 1020 often takes place through the following key writing tasks, several of which might serve as long-term projects in your 1020 course: genre and subgenre analyses, genre critiques, researched position arguments, rhetorical analyses, definition analyses and arguments, proposal arguments, and reflective argument and portfolio.
ENG 1020 – (BC) Introductory College Writing
Building upon students’ different skill sets, English 1020 prepares students to understand how reading, writing and language work in and outside of academic contexts. This course is based on two fundamental ideas: (1) all writers have more to learn, and (2) writing abilities develop over time and with deliberate practice. Instructors in ENG 1020 partner with students on their writing journey to guide them in their development as writers. The main goals of the course are: (1) to teach students to consider any composition in relation to its audience, purpose and context; (2) to give writers tools, resources and guidance to produce effective compositions by drawing on multiple communication modes and different kinds of English; (3) to develop self-awareness about their writing process and flexibility in writing texts for a variety of audiences and purposes. To achieve these goals, the course places considerable emphasis upon the rhetorical nature of the composition process, the development and evaluation of information and ideas, the genres of analysis and argumentation, and the use of multiple modes of communication for presenting research and writing.
ENG 1020: (BC) Introductory College Writing
This course teaches students rhetorical strategies to understand and produce analytical, critical, and research writing, Students write in a number of different genres and develop advanced literacy capacities while considering ethical and accessible compositions and communications.
ENG 2390: (IC, DEI) Introduction to African American Literature: Writing about Texts
Introduction to major themes and some major writers of African-American literature, emphasizing modern works. Reading and writing about representative poetry, fiction, essays, and plays.
ENG 2395: (CI) Stories of Detroit: Writing about Texts
Focused on New York, a popular television series of the late 1950s, the Naked City, regularly reminded its audience that the city held millions of untold stories, and it closed each episode reminding its audience that “this has been one of them.” Detroit, too, has millions of untold stories. Located above the greatest freshwater lakes in the world (“Fresh Water Seas”) this was once a nexus of trade amongst the indigenous peoples. Given a French name (“between the straits”), it emerges on the map as a fortification in the colonial wars determining who would dominate the continent. From a small frontier town that burns to the ground in the early 1800s and is then rebuilt, it emerges as a metropolis in the 20th century, one of America’s great cities. Detroit has seen war, slavery, immigration, migration; commerce, industry and culture—and social struggle. All have helped define the nation and the world. It is a place of powerful events and everyday lives, ordinary and extraordinary lives lived. Yet many of us know little of this and few of its stories. This course allows us to discover and explore some of these in a variety of texts. Our job will be to read each text carefully so that we can appreciate how the language is shaping that text and how contexts can help us understand what we are reading – and then to write about that.
ENG 2540: (GL) Global Literatures: Writing about Texts
Race, gender, migration, the environment, and more--this course focuses on how contemporary global literature relates to major issues for our current moment. Our discussions will focus on how these concepts have been understood by writers from around the world, and how these topics connect to ideas of nations, borders, globalization, disease, health, and social justice. We will examine a variety of texts, including film and other media. Readings may include works by writers such as Rey Chow, Laila Lalami, and Edwidge Danticat. This is a discussion-based course; therefore, attendance is required.
ENG 2570: (CI, DEI) Women Writers: Writing about Texts
Literature has historically been a refuge for non-dominant social groups to question the boundaries of the existing world and acceptable modes of being and behaving in order to reimagine those boundaries and invent newly possible modes of being. Whereas it is certainly legitimate to assume that literature has the potential to act as a window onto our society at different points in time, it is therefore equally valid to claim that literary texts, especially when written by women (or any other so-called minority group) has an astonishing capacity for world-making, for catalyzing social change. Through careful close readings of a wide range of literary texts by women and our own writing, we will learn to pay careful attention to genre, form, and content, as well as to social-historical contexts, and to differences other than gender—e.g., race, class, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, and age—in the production, distribution, reception, and evaluation of (gendered) meaning in both literature and in the overall social “text.” Coursework comprises (thorough) readings of fictional and non-fictional texts, active participation in class discussions, a variety of low-stake writing assignments, weekly reader responses, a longer scholarly paper, a short reflection essay, and a final exam.
ENG 3010: (IC) Intermediate Writing
Building on students’ diverse skills, ENG 3010 prepares students for reading, research and writing in the disciplines and professions, particularly for Writing Intensive courses in the majors. To do so, it asks students to consider how research and writing are fundamentally shaped by the disciplinary and professional communities using them. Students analyze the kinds of texts, evidence and writing conventions used in their own disciplinary or professional communities and consider how these items differ across communities. Thus students achieve key composition objectives: (1) learn how the goals and expectations of specific communities shape texts and their functions; (2) learn how writing constructs knowledge in the disciplines and professions and (3) develop a sustained research project that analyzes or undertakes writing in a discipline or profession.
ENG 3010: (IC) Intermediate Writing
Provides continued instruction in academic and professional writing for advanced students. Topics include John Swales' theory of discourse communities, engaging in significant, detailed secondary research, conducting interviews as primary research, and developing digital and written content for professional audiences.
ENG 3010: (IC) Intermediate Writing
Building on students’ diverse skills, Writing in the Medical Professions prepares students for reading, research, and writing in a variety of professional medical situations, and for the Writing Intensive courses in their majors. To do this, it asks students to consider how medical research and writing are fundamentally shaped by the disciplinary, professional, and public communities using them. Students analyze the kinds of texts, evidence, and writing conventions used in medical communities and consider how these differ based on the audience of the communications. Thus students achieve key composition objectives: 1) learn how the goals and expectations of specific communities shape texts and their functions; 2) learn how writing constructs knowledge in medical disciplines and professions; 3) develop a sustained research project that analyzes or undertakes writing in a discipline or profession and 4) use collaboration and reflection for completion of assignments and course. To achieve these goals, the course places considerable emphasis on analytical and critical reading and writing as well as the development of research skills. It typically requires genres such as a comparative rhetorical analysis, literature review, and research proposal. Writing in the Medical Professions follows a Writing in the Discipline (WID) approach to teaching Composition at the intermediate level. WID guides students to investigate writing in their fields and to develop a holistic awareness of communicative practices in their disciplinary discourse communities. In order to develop this awareness, Writing in the Medical Professions leads students to identify and analyze common genres, writing conventions, and audience expectations used by professionals in their disciplines while also considering how similar topics would be presented to public audiences. Next, students develop a professional scholarly review to begin to situate themselves in the study of a particular topic in their discipline. Then, based on this work, students develop a research proposal designed for readers in their own disciplines. Put together, this curriculum supports students' movements from understanding medical discourse to initiating their own research project to exploring the communications necessary for entering the profession.
ENG 3020: (IC) Writing and Community
ENG 3020 satisfies the Intermediate Composition (IC) requirement. It combines advanced research writing techniques with community-based activities with local community organizations. In addition to coursework, the course requires community-based work outside of normal class time distributed across the semester. Satisfies the Honors College service-learning requirement.
ENG 3020: (IC) Writing and Community
ENG 3020 fulfills the university's intermediate composition requirement (IC). It combines traditional academic work with a hands-on community-based experience designed to enhance student learning. For the community-based part of this course, students will perform 20 hours of volunteer service as an in-person, after-school tutor for elementary-age students at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit. This course also fulfills the Honors Program's community service requirement.
ENG 3050: (IC) Technical Communication 1, Reports
ENG 3050 prepares students for reading, researching, writing, and designing technical documents. While some technical writing addresses a general audience (e.g., instructions), technical documents are often written for multiple audiences with different specializations (e.g., technical reports for executives and implementers). Technical documents incorporate both textual (writing) and visual (graphics, illustrations, etc.) elements of design. While this section of 3050 shares these general goals of the department, our class will also be tasked with a more specific set of objectives in our third major assignment, which involves working with clients from TechTown Detroit, who are being awarded our services as researchers and writers. Most generally, this project will involve real-world research and technical writing that is responsive to the needs of tech-based entrepreneurs from TechTown. All students will work on analyzing the needs or ‘problems’ of these clients, and will be part of the process of figuring out what kind of work we can do with these organizations or startups.
ENG 3100: Introduction to Literary Studies
This course aims to introduce students to the study of literature. We will focus through the semester on reading. By that I mean we will carefully read individual texts in various genres including poetry, fiction, theory, manifestoes, and essays. But I also mean that we will examine, from various perspectives, what reading is, asking questions such as: how does genre affect how we read? What does literature do that makes it different from other forms of communication? What happens when we read a work of literature and learn something, or are able to understand something like romantic love, injustice, death or revolution in a new way? What happens when reading makes us feel pity, fear, disgust, attraction, excitement, empathy, or indignation? Can literature help us see the world in a new way? Should literature be useful? Or just pleasurable? How does literature help us think about and respond to social and political problems like racism, climate catastrophe, or war? These are the kinds of questions we will ask as we read some classic works by authors such as William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Karl Marx, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frank O’Hara and Claudia Rankine along with various critical and theoretical works about some key concepts for literary study including form, genre, culture, criticism, imagination, character, setting, history and mood.
English 3130: American Literature to 1865
English 3130 is a survey of how American Literature developed up to and through the Civil War. The first phase of our survey begins before the European settlements of North America and continues that development with the formation of the Nation and early 19th-century writers, like Irving and Cooper, who experimented with the idea of an American Literature. The second phase takes up the Transcendentalists and anti-slavery writers, as well as Poe, Hawthorne, Melville—and others who powerfully define the idea of a National Literature from the mid-19th century through the Civil War: notably Whitman and Dickinson. At various times, as we proceed, we will pay some attention to various recent treatments of this early American Literature. There will be almost weekly quizzes, a midterm and a final—and both a short research presentation and a leadership role in discussing one of our assigned readings.
ENG 3250: Professional Editing
This course offers an introduction to the work of editing in professional contexts. We will explore the ways that editing work constructs and then conveys the core of an organization's message and identity to both internal and external audiences. Textbooks/readings may include Einsohn & Schwartz's "The Copyeditor's Handbook & Workbook", Ginna's "What Editors Do", Dunham's "The Editor's Companion", and Norton's "Developmental Editing", alongside the Chicago Manual of Style as a primary reference text.
ENG 3800: Introduction to Creative Writing
Whether prose or poetry, imaginative writing is removed from ordinary channels of communication. This space is what we call the “poetic.” The present course should be viewed as an introduction to some of the most innovative contemporary writing in English. Emphasis will be laid upon various conventions governing literary production. The goal is to develop a certain competency in the reading and writing of an imaginative text and to acquaint students with a basic repertoire of interpretive operations and language moves necessary to the reading and writing of modern texts. The class will read short stories, poems and memoirs, which will be the basis for students’ own writing. The format of the class will be a combination of lecture and discussion. Requirements: attendance, preparedness, participation, ten weekly assignments (approx. 1 page) and a final manuscript (20 pages minimum).
ENG 5150: Shakespeare
Originality is overrated. This premise might seem counterintuitive in our era of copyright and plagiarism. In the early modern period, however, the concept of intellectual property did not exist, and Shakespeare and his contemporaries freely adapted, copied, and remixed other writers’ work. We will explore this phenomenon by reading six of Shakespeare’s plays in relation to their sources: Comedy of Errors, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Two Noble Kinsman. Along the way, students will encounter some of the authors and books that mattered to Shakespeare (including Chaucer, Ovid, Plautus, and Plutarch). Besides analyzing Shakespeare’s creative process, we will also reconsider the nature of authorship itself by approaching Shakespeare’s borrowings through the lenses of intertextuality and poststructuralism as established by Barthes, Foucault, Genette, Kristeva, and others. Ultimately, students will gain a more sophisticated understanding of the interrelationship of texts in Shakespeare’s time and our own. Requirements include diligent preparation for class, active participation in class discussions, quizzes, two papers, a midterm, a group project, a service-learning assignment, and a final exam.
ENG 5695: Publishing Practicum
This course provides an interactive introduction to publishing for scholarly audiences. It explores various components of the publishing process in academic contexts including calls for submissions, editorial principles and vision, manuscript review processes, periodical design and layout, copy editing, publication, and promotion. After a brief overview of peer-reviewed publishing processes and goals, class members will divide into working groups (editorial, production, marketing/publicity, etc.) and collaborate on a workflow for multiple, simultaneous, and ongoing projects in a publishing cycle. Major assignments will provide students hands-on experience in the process of publishing a peer-reviewed journal.
ENG/LIN 5700: Introduction to Linguistic Theory
This course is an introduction to the formal, scientific study of human language, the purpose of which is to account for our unconscious knowledge of language rules. It is concerned with three primary linguistic levels of structure: the level of sounds (phonetics and phonology), the level of words (morphology), and the level of phrases and sentences (syntax). Furthermore, we will examine how meaning is computed at these different levels (semantics), incorporating some basic notions of logic and philosophy. In addition, we will introduce the main approaches to language acquisition by children, incorporating some basic developmental milestones, intersecting with those studied in psychology. Classes will consist of lecture, discussion, and problem-solving sessions involving a wide sample of languages, cutting across a variety of cultures. This class is required of all Linguistics MA students, Linguistics Graduate Certificate students, and can also be taken by Linguistics majors and minors instead of LIN 2720.
ENG/LIN 5730: English Grammar
This course identifies the rules which the native speaker of Standard English knows when that speaker utters or writes a grammatically correct phrase, clause, or sentence. The rules we will consider are those that are prescriptively presented in grammar books that teach grammar. Accordingly, we will discuss the constituents, functions, and categories of groups of words that we call sentences. Each of these sentence components will be analyzed so that concepts such as subjects, objects, complements, verb-phrases, adverbials, and auxiliaries will be explicated and exemplified, as will such abstract notions as tense, aspect, agreement, and mood. We will also discuss, complex sentences and their components. The course will provide copious examples of these grammatical phenomena and will provide numerous opportunities for students to do exercises and quizzes that will help solidify the terminology, concepts and principles presented. The course will be evaluated by mandatory weekly assignments, a midterm examination, and a final examination.
ENG 5740/LIN 5300: Syntax
The course examines the structure of phrases and sentences using the framework of one of the most recent approaches to syntax, the Minimalist Program. The goal of the theory is not only to discover various subconscious principles and rules that make up grammars of all human languages, but also to express these rules in the most economical terms possible. Instead of just observing the grammatical phenomena on the surface, this approach tries to understand the inner workings of language, at a deeper, more abstract level. This class is required of all Linguistics majors, minors, and MA students.
ENG/LIN 5770: Sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics is the sub-discipline of Linguistics that studies how language is used day-to-day activities in society. A central tenet of sociolinguistics is that language use varies to accommodate the different social situations speakers find themselves in. Consequently, sociolinguistics is fundamentally different from formal linguistics which studies the abstract, idealized rules that underlie human Language and languages. A central concern of sociolinguistics is the correlation of language use with social and cultural constructions including social class, social networks, identity, ethnicity, and gender. This course is principally about these correlations. Students will study how sociolinguists measure and codify language variation and discover, analyze, and report patterns of correlations with social variables. These systematic correlations provide sociolinguistic explanations which give insights into the way language behavior helps to define cultures. Sociolinguistics is also concerned with how varieties of the “same” language differ from region to region and from country to country; and with how new languages, including pidgins and creoles, are created because of contact between groups speaking mutually unintelligible languages. We will also study how language is used on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and in text messages in an effort to reveal how these virtual language behaviors differ from or are identical to in-person communication.
Sociolinguistics is a very necessary course for linguistics majors and for students majoring in sociology, African American Studies, Anthropology, Education, and other social sciences.
ENG 5820: Internship Practicum
The Department of English Internship Practicum provides students with a range of excellent internship opportunities. Working with the coordinator, students can explore diverse internships as professional development opportunities and potential careers suitable to English majors of all types. Students get personalized guidance from the coordinator in selecting and succeeding at internships, where students will work between 8-20 hours a week in situations that involve valuable training and experiences. The practicum itself is not a typical classroom experience. The practicum encourages students to interact with a small handful of selected readings about internships, to interact with students to share our experiences and strategies, and to critically reflect on your experiences as you bolster your portfolio and resume.
ENG 5860: Topics in Creative Writing: Speak, Memory
We will look at examples from poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction in which writers excavate their memories—childhood memories especially--and dwell on the aesthetics and mysteries of memory. Guided by exercises and prompts, students will conduct their own excavations, digging in the magnetic fields of lost places and lost times to gather the materials from which poems, stories, and essays might be made. Readings will likely include memoirs old (Nabokov's Speak, Memory) and new (Joseph Earl Thomas's Sink, published in 2023); genre-bending books (Joe Brainard's I Remember, Annie Ernaux's The Years); fiction (such as William Maxwell's short novel So Long, See You Tomorrow) and poetry (by francine j. harris, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Glück, among others).
ENG 5992/4991: Senior Seminar: Borders and Nation
This seminar focuses on the idea of borders both within and across nations. We will attempt to understand how the concept of the nation and boundaries are related to the major contemporary questions of race, gender migration, displacement, health, disease, and the environment. Our discussions will focus on how various writers understand these changing and interrelated dynamics. We will examine a variety of texts, including film and media. Readings may include works by writers such as Laila Lalami, Leo Chavez, Christina García, and Larissa Lai. This is a discussion-based course; therefore, attendance is required.
ENG 6002: Teaching of Literary and Cultural Studies
This course provides an opportunity for a deep dive into the teaching of literature and cultural studies in traditional, hybrid, and online classrooms. By the end of the semester, students who take this course will be able to:
- Produce pedagogical materials that reflect accepted practices in the field—in our case, produce a syllabus for a Wayne State Gen Ed literature and cultural studies course;
- Locate, evaluate, and integrate teaching practices in the context of relevant contemporary and historical scholarship.
ENG 7001: Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English
This course is designed to serve two major functions: to introduce students to some of the critical theoretical frameworks and issues of interest in different areas of English Studies and to provide professionalization for entering Ph.D. students. As such, students in the course can expect to read an array of works in critical theory as well as receive an orientation into the Ph.D. program in English. Throughout the semester, assignments will work on familiarizing graduate students with forms of writing that they will be called upon to produce throughout their graduate careers, including abstracts, book reviews, reading lists, and proposals. Students will be encouraged to focus their work in the course towards the particular methodologies and intellectual traditions of most interest to them.
ENG 7033: Postmodernism & Postmodernity
Even if one of the major theorists of the phenomenon, Linda Hutcheon, suggests that postmodernism is “a thing of the past,” (debates on) postmodernism appear(s) to be alive and kicking. Indeed, judging by the still growing flow of anthologies, primers, readers, dictionaries, and histories, rolling off both academic and commercial presses, interest in the postmodern moment, and the literatures and arts associated with it, has by no means diminished since its purported demise (which, incidentally, has been repeatedly announced almost from the emergence of postmodernism on the literary critical scene). In this course, we will explore the postmodern phenomenon as a notoriously diffuse cultural movement spreading across a variety of theoretical and artistic domains. We will try to understand what postmodernism is (not), when and how it has evolved, and to what effect, esp. with regard to current theory, literature, and culture. We will look at key concepts and theorists (Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Hutcheon, Jameson, Foster), authors (Carol Maso, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kinston, Carol Maso), several films (Tarantino, Ford Coppola), and additionally address postmodernism in the visual arts, architecture, and popular culture. This is an intensive reading and writing course, which will require you to work both independently and collaboratively, inside and outside the classroom.
ENG 7065: Writing Technologies
Writing Technologies is designed to (1) introduce students to the increased focus within English and Writing Studies on the rhetorics, politics, and aesthetics of new media and information technologies and (2) to train them in a variety of technologies and applications that are becoming increasingly common pedagogical tools in the teaching of writing and multimodal composing. Topics covered will include artificial intelligence, digital storytelling, information visualization, and networked collaboration. Aside from some early canonical pieces in digital rhetoric, our readings will be drawn from material published in the last seven years.
English 7800 – Seminar in Creative Writing: Memory, Perspective, and First Person
This class, a literature and creative writing course, will be concerned with works--mostly short-ish novels-- that are aware of being written or aware of or invoking a specific or general listener. I hope we'll explore the ways the act of writing the self is in fact a sort of subversion of time: another attempt to relive, recollect, remember, voice. I’m also interested in the way writing about something is a way of reentering a temporal space, or subverting it. Students will be asked to compose both creative and critical responses to the assigned texts, producing analytical close reads and creative work of their own, taking cues from the techniques and styles of the assigned authors. Students will also work closely together to discuss their work in progress. This class is a hybrid format. Most of the meetings will be face-to-face, but a few weeks will require asynchronous or Zoom work. We will read work by Aminatta Forna, Rabih Alameddine, Deborah Levy, Katie Kitamura, Aysegul Savas, Alejandro Zambra, Jhumpa Lahiri, and others. Looking forward to working with you!
ENG 7850: Pedagogical Practicum I
In this required course for new graduate teaching assistants teaching ENG 1020, we will read and apply composition scholarship on the teaching of writing, practice and collaborate on designing instructional activities, and develop a reflective teaching practice.
ENG 8001: Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies: Environmentalism and the Arboreal Humanities
This seminar aims to introduce environmental thought and environmental activism by exploring the long history of human entanglement with *trees*. We will move between literature, history, ethnobotany, anthropology, philosophy and art in order to examine the many ways humans have thought about trees – the arboreal humanities. One aim is to find resources for repairing our relationship with trees, forests and with the damaged ecosystem itself. We will read about the astounding recent research on tree communication, consider the causes and effects of deforestation, and examine various efforts to understand or imagine the nature of tree being. Along the way, we will pay particular attention to Black environmental thought, indigenous botanical writings and environmental practices, and histories of environmental activism. Final readings will be determined as a group, but possible readings include Richard Powers, Overstory; Annie Proulx, Barkskins; Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Enviromentalism of the Poor; Camille Dungy, Black Nature; Mary Siisip Geniusz, Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask: Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings; Robin Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants; Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think, Ursula K. Leguin “Vaster than Empires And More Slow;” David Kopenawa, The Falling Sky; Kimberly Smith, African American Environmental Thought; poetry by Claude McKay, John Ashbery, Nikki Giovanni, and others; works of art by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, Charles Gaines, Bo Zheng, Zoe Leonard, Katie Holton and others.