English course descriptions: Winter 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 2200 – (CI) Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an astute student of the human condition and this class will explore what his writings can teach us about identity in his time and our own. While reading major works by Shakespeare, we will consider identity in relation to class (Midsummer Night’s Dream), disability (Richard III), gender (1 Henry IV, Taming of the Shrew), queerness (the sonnets), race (Othello) and religion (Merchant of Venice). We will then read plays where different kinds of identity intersect, including King Lear, Tempest and Titus Andronicus. Throughout the semester, we will place Shakespeare’s plays in conversation with our contemporary moment by thinking about identity and movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. Students will also gain the necessary background to appreciate Shakespeare’s works by learning how to deal with his dense language, generic conventions and sophisticated plots.
ENG 2450 – (CI) Introduction to Film
This class offers an introduction to the study of film. We will watch a series of movies, old and new; along with interpreting these films, we will also ask larger questions about how movies work. First, we will look at the film experience as a whole. Then, we will take a detailed look at the major formal elements of film (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound). After that, we will take a detailed look at the genre from the 1940s known as film noir and at its influence on more recent movies. Finally, we will study the influence of new digital technologies on contemporary film.
ENG/LIN 2720 – (CI) Basic Concepts in Linguistics
This course provides an introduction to the nature and complexity of human language. We will study the structure of language at the level of sounds (phonetics and phonology), the level of words (morphology) and the level of phrases and sentences (syntax). Topics also include the study of meaning; language variation and change; language acquisition by children; and language and the brain. While much of the data we analyze will come from English, we will work with data from other languages as well. We will consider common attitudes that people hold about language and how the discipline of linguistics can lead to a deeper understanding of these issues. This class will introduce the basic concepts and tools that linguists use to study the wide-ranging linguistic variability across cultures; to map out the language networks in the brain; and to reconstruct the human prehistory. This course fulfills the Cultural Inquiry (CI) General Education requirement.
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 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
English 3020 fulfills WSU's intermediate composition (IC) requirement and is designed to prepare students for the reading, writing and researching required in upper-division courses. The section (CRN 28627) combines traditional academic work with 15 hours of in-person volunteer service as a youth homework helper at St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit.
ENG 3050 - (IC) Technical Communication I: Report Writing
ENG 3050 prepares students from across disciplines for the reading, researching, writing and designing technical and professional genres. The value that technical communicators provide stems from making technical or professional information more usable and accessible to diverse audiences, most often to advance the goals of a workplace, organization, or company. While some technical writing in 3050 addresses a general audience (e.g., instructions for online communities), 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, media, etc.) elements of design and deal with topics that range from technical or specialized (computer applications, medical research, or environmental impacts), to the development or use of technology (help files, social media sites, web-pages) to more general instructions about how to do almost anything (from technical instructions to managerial and ethical workplace procedures).
ENG 3050 - (IC) Technical Communications I
In addition to the core curriculum, this section (CRN 25113) of ENG 3050 will emphasize document design, visual presentation, accessibility and equitable social justice in technical and professional discourse.
ENG 3060 – (OC) Technical Presentations II, Presentations
ENG 3060 prepares students for researching and developing technical proposals and presentations as members of collaborative writing teams. Technical proposals are a central genre in the workplace, often developed collaboratively and delivered in presentation form to multiple audiences. Research-based technical presentations incorporate both textual (written information) and visual (graphics, illustrations, etc.) elements of design, often in digital environments (e.g., PowerPoint, Prezi, wikis, etc.).
The main goals of the course are to:
- Teach students to consider the audience(s) and purpose(s) in developing proposals and presentations as members of collaborative teams
- Teach students presentation delivery skills
- Integrate research, design and writing in the effective development of technical presentations, including text, slides, visuals, format and mechanics
- Work with current technologies for technical proposal and presentation design
ENG 3085 - Introduction to Rhetorical Theory
Rhetorical theory can be loosely defined as analyzing the impacts of communication. This course is a survey of rhetorical and critical-cultural theories, definitions, characteristics and history from the Western tradition of ancient Greece to some non-Western rhetorical traditions. After review of some foundational texts, we will turn toward contemporary issues regarding journalism, social media, socio-political events, rhetorics of race and feminist rhetorics in the current context. Students will be equipped to understand and analyze public discourse in light of the speaker, medium, message and context. Students will learn to identify their own worldview and how this impacts communication in their everyday life and the public sphere.
ENG 3090 - Introduction to Cultural Studies
What is Cultural Studies? Over several decades, Cultural Studies has been a series of methods and approaches that radically expanded the field of literary studies. What was formerly known as the “English department,” as a result, rebranded itself as a department of “Literary and Cultural Studies.” In this introductory course, we will start with an overview of the emergence of Cultural Studies, beginning with critical theorists ad-dressing the crisis of the modern world and followed by the post-1945 emphasis on class, race and gender. We will then focus on specific issues from the transformative legacy of Cultural Studies, combining the interpretation of cultural products (literature, film, visual art, practices of all sorts) with lived experience, particularly that of the student community at Wayne State University. We will read examples from several genres and basic theoretical texts from Marx and Freud on, opening the question of how “Culture Studies” itself may become “a whole way of life.
ENG 3100 - Introduction to Literary Studies
Organized around such topics as “laughter,” “feelings,” “wounds, “history,” “me,” “ghosts,” “god,” “love,” “desire,” “secrets,” and many more, this course offers an introduction to literary studies in a global age. How do writers refract and transform the world around them and the world beyond their borders? How do they celebrate or challenge their society's values and rethink their literary heritage? Writers in every culture have mobilized the resources of poetic language and literary form to delight and instruct their readers, while critics and theorists have sought to understand how writers achieve their effects. Through close reading of a range of compelling works, accompanied by major critical and theoretical statements, we will explore the relations of literature to society and theory to literature.
ENG 3110 - British Literature to 1700 (The Strange, Weird and Monstrous)
In popular culture, early English literature is usually thought of as the “original” fantasy, the source of the worlds depicted in modern fantasy fiction, television and film, a realm of monsters, dragons, fairies, elves and demons. This section of the survey will introduce you to some of these sources in person, as well as to their historical, social and material contexts. As a focus for our discussion, we will look at the strange, the amazing and the monstrous—across texts both major and minor from a range of genres.
ENG 3140 - American Literature after 1865 to Present
The end of the American Civil War marks the beginning of our Survey of American Literature to the Present. Wars in fact have marked off the phases of our reading: Civil War to World War I, World War I to World War II and World War II to the Present. Among the voices we are sampling are a speech by Booker T. Washington, a memoir by Zitkala-Sa, poems by Emily Dickinson, narratives by Theodore Dreiser and Upton Sinclair; stories by Hemingway, poems by Langston Hughes; and narratives by Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Conner, Toni Morrison and Sherman Alexie. By paying close attention to the contexts and distinct language of each work we read, we want to better understand the range and variety of our national literature as it has been developing. Our course will include some lecture but depend mainly on discussion. There will be short quizzes, two short presentations, a midterm and final.
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, memoir and auto-fiction, 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. one page) and a final manuscript (20 pages minimum).
ENG/GSW 5030 - Topics in Women’s Studies
Queering the Renaissance
Early modern queer studies, trans studies, asexuality studies, kink studies and much, much, more! This course offers an examination of the theory, methods and applications of these established and emergent fields in early modern English literature. Grounding our examination in contemporary gender and sexuality theory, but also in the ever-evolving turn to “queering the Renaissance” in early modern studies, our primary texts will include some of the most sexy, scandalous and contested texts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Our approach will be one of “perverse presentism,” a methodological experiment in which we test the boundaries of historicism. Through our reading and discussion, we will think about new ways to engage with the history of sexuality: not only will we attempt to apply modern ideas to early modern texts, but we will also work to articulate the ways that early modern ideas about gender and sexuality inform our modern context.
In addition to theoretical and secondary sources, our primary readings will include plays by Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton and Dekker, Marlowe and Cavendish, as well as excerpts from prose romances by Sidney, Wroth and Riche, poetry from Marlowe, Shakespeare, Barnfield, Donne and Spenser and other works from cheap print pamphlets and broadside ballads. This will be a discussion-based seminar course and students will be responsible for weekly written responses, one class presentation, a final paper and participation in a class mini-conference at the end of the semester.
ENG 5065 - Identity and Difference in Media
This course begins with the questions: how are our identities formed and/or reinforced in American media and what are the real-world ramifications of this? Designed as an introduction to issues surrounding race, class, gender, sexuality and disability in American media, this course will attempt to answer those questions by exploring how identity is constructed in contemporary media, examining how Hollywood both perpetuates and works to tear down stereotypes. Focusing both on the history of representations as well as the intersections among different kinds of identities, we will explore how issues of identity and representation affect the production, distribution, exhibition and reception of American media while observing how media representations influence real-world perceptions of identity. This course fulfills the “Communities and Cultures” requirement of the English degree.
ENG 5480/AFS 5310 - Topics in African American Literature
Detroit has a rich legacy of poets and poetry. Most of these poets, though not all, are from Detroit, several nurtured by Wayne State. All have been shaped by the city. In ways direct and indirect they write about it. Our course focuses principally on the legacy of African American poets but attempts to understand that legacy within a broad context that includes other poets and cultural intersections afforded by Detroit—and generic urban life. We will study Robert Hayden and the Broadside legacy of Dudley Randall and we’ll look at the significance of writers as diverse as the late Naomi Long Madgett (Detroit Poet Laureate), Murray Jackson and Alvin Aubert. Additionally, we will explore the importance of Philip Levine, the latest U.S. Poet Laureate to have been shaped by Detroit. Finally, we will pay some attention to an array of younger Detroit poets, including Vievee Francis, the late David Blair and Jamaal May. Among the several books we will use are Robert Hayden’s Collected Poems, the Broadside anthology A Different Image, Naomi Long Madgett’s Connected Islands, Phillip Levine’s What Work Is and the anthology Abandon Automobile. Everyone will keep a journal and do a final project. While there will be some lecture, the course will develop through discussion.
ENG 5500 - Topics in English and African American Literature
How do various writers understand the planetary environmental emergency and attempt to reimagine our future? Centered on environment and ecology, we will aim to understand how climate catastrophe relates to race, gender, class, migration, health and labor. How do different writings explore the relationship between capitalism, oil/energy, food/water, war, urban spaces, conservation and extinction? A significant focus of the course will be on antiracist environmental social movements. Readings may include works by writers such as Winona LaDuke, Kate Aronoff and Chantal Johnson. Students will have the opportunity to develop their written work commensurate with their own intellectual interests.
ENG/LIN 5745 - Semantics
Semantics is a core area of Linguistics, focusing on capturing meaning in natural language within a linguistic model. It explores the interconnections between Semantics (and Linguistics in general) and other fields, such as Logic and Philosophy. The course investigates the theories of truth and predication, as well as meaning properties and relations, including entailments, implicatures and presuppositions. We will also examine the question of how different vocabulary inventories across cultures influence the computation of meaning. Classes will consist of lecture, discussion and problem-solving sessions.
ENG 5785/5850 – Academic Writing for Graduate Students/ Introduction to Scholarly Writing for Non-native English Speakers
This class will help advanced graduate students become more confident in writing for academic and research purposes. The course examines academic writing through the framework of storytelling.
Course objectives include:
- Effectively composing in academic genres common to student’s field of study
- Writing for multiple genres and for multiple audiences
- Effectively documenting, integrating and citing current research within original work
- Presenting current and recently completed research for review and feedback
- Completing an article critique, an annotated bibliography and a review article or research proposal draft
Students wishing to enroll in 5850 will need to contact the instructor for permission to enroll.
ENG 5795 - Topics in Rhetoric and Writing Studies
Writing students–their writing work, their reflections on this work and their presence in our classrooms–are the foundation of much of the work of composition studies. Much scholarship asserts the place of student voice in the writing classroom, the ways student voice manifests in writing and the role of student voice in qualitative research on writing. In practice, supporting students’ development of their writing voices and learning how to engage these voices in research requires theoretical and methodological foundations. In this class, we will explore this perennial and central work in composition studies through three avenues. We will a) work with Cass Technical High School students on reading rhetorically and writing about their reading and analysis in essay form; b) read scholarship on the place of student voice and understanding how students’ voices manifest in scholarly writing (i.e., do we write about students or do we let students speak for themselves?; how are students’ diverse linguistic strategies and expressions represented?); and c) research and analyze what we can learn from student writing, especially students’ reflective writing.
ENG 5820 - Internship Practicum
The Department of English Internship Practicum provides students with a range of excellent internship opportunities, where students can explore professional opportunities and potential careers, get on-the-job training and gain experience. The course itself is not a typical classroom experience. You get personalized guidance from the instructor on selecting and succeeding at internships. You get a “classroom component” that encourages you 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. By the end of the course, successful students should be able to: -Understand and negotiate professional norms and standards -Develop strategies for career planning and readiness -Reflect in writing on their workplace training, skills and experiences -Create a portfolio of documents or other artifacts illustrating their abilities that can be used when seeking future employment.
ENG 5860 - Topics in Creative Writing
What happens when two different peoples, civilizations and cultures meet? What kind of space and tension emerge within such an encounter? How does this meeting reveal the history, fears and faith of the other? In what ways has fiction been used to tell (and show) the underlying suspicion that occasion such an encounter? What possibilities? Then what is the typical outcome and transformation that follow such contact? This course seeks to create a classroom that critically and creatively engages these questions. We will read and discuss selected writers whose books portray this type of encounter. For example: an Arab encounters a French man in Algeria; Zulu, Indians and the colored people share space and land with white and Jewish South Africans; an Igbo chief priest meets a British man in colonial Nigeria; an English seaman's travel to the Belgian Congo reveals something about the relationship between black natives and Europeans; a Pakistani man meets an American in Lahore; a French girl in love with a Chinese-Vietnamese man in the backdrop of French Indochina. The class will also give focus to the art and practice of short fiction writing. Students will be required to compose original short stories for a writing workshop. The class will be structured around intensive reading, discussion and workshop. Authors we will read include Marguerite Duras, Nadine Gordimer, Michael Ondaatje, Albert Camus, Kamel Daoud, Mohsin Hamid, Daniel Defoe, Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe, Michel Houellebecq.
Books for the course: Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag; The Lover, Marguerite Duras;
The Conservationist, Nadine Gordimer; The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid; The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje; The Stranger, Albert Camus; The Meursault Investigation, Kamel Daoud; Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe; Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad; Submission, Michel Houellebecq; and Arrow of God, Chinua Achebe.
ENG 5870 – Poetry Writing Workshop
This course will be an intense engagement with experimental lyric poetry and its various strategies. By focusing on some key representative modalities in American poetics, from objectivist to documentary, from testimonial to supplication, from erasure to ekphrasis, to name just a few, the class will gauge the many ways that lyric plays at experiencing language in its materiality and its relationship to the social world.
We will, in particular, attend to some key concepts that inform much of today’s postmodern poetry: defamiliarization, self-reflexivity, diminished referentiality and the use of prose as a lyric form. The aim will be not only to familiarize ourselves with today's writing scene but to stretch our notions about what constitutes poetic language. In other words, what can the lyric do or not do? How is it embedded culturally, ideologically? Can it contest prevailing myths of reality? Can it slide into critique? Another set of questions might center around the language of sites, where texts mirror, perform or disrupt the various structures that compose them: memory, desire, corporeality and genre.
5992 - Senior Seminar (The Modern Medieval)
This course explores contemporary appropriations or reworkings of medieval literature and history. As part of the course's larger project, Medieval Modernity students will read medieval texts alongside modern cultural productions, from novels to poetry, film and multimedia websites, exploring ways in which contemporary authors and artists seek to complicate “traditional” or canonical visions of the medieval past that are largely deployed in the service of white European identity and nationalist or imperial projects.
ENG 6010 – Tutoring Practicum
This course will investigate the theories of tutoring and secondary educational pedagogy. This class has a service learning component that connects both theory and practice by requiring every student to tutor at 826Michigan (https://www.826michigan.org/our-programs/) for 20 hours by the end of the semester. Failure to complete the full 20 service hours will result in failure to pass the course. Students will be required to read and sign a tutoring contract. Students will research best practices for tutoring and teaching. Students will also investigate secondary pedagogical approaches for teaching writing. We will discuss and respond to this scholarship in class and use it to complete assigned projects.
ENG 7045 - Transnational American Race and Ethnic Studies
This course offers a substantive engagement with key questions that have emerged in the study of race and ethnicity. We will attempt to understand the significant historical/political processes central to the formation of the United States and its relationship to the broader world. Through a variety of historical, theoretical and cultural material, we will critically examine ethnicity, race, racism and antiracism in relation to questions of capitalism, gender, sexuality, land, labor, im/migration, globalization, war and the environment. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, drawing from the methodologies developed in various fields. Students will develop a foundation for theoretical and critical inquiry in multiple areas. Critical approaches to approaches to literature/culture/media. Readings may include works by writers such as Stuart Hall, Mae Ngai and June Nash. Students will have the opportunity to develop their written work commensurate with their own intellectual interests.
ENG 7056 - Comparative Media
Rather than focusing on “comparative media” per se, this seminar will concentrate on what Vilém Flusser terms “the technical image”—as it figures, functions and operates across a range of both traditional and new media. We start from the assumption that contemporary visual culture renders a strictly media-specific approach of images and pictures problematical—after all, any image today may (and is, indeed, highly likely) to show up in a variety of different contexts, e.g., in books, catalogues, newspapers, as well as on small and large screens, in museums, galleries and a seemingly endless range of merchandise. We will study both theoretical and philosophical perspectives on the image and cross disciplinary boundaries into the realms of art history and criticism, film and media studies and the emergent field of “visual culture.” While we will look at “the technical image” in the context of both popular and “serious” art and culture, with special focus on photography in its documentary as well as aesthetic and/or expressive functions. The question of the ethics of aesthetics will guide our discussions.
ENG 7064 - The Teaching of Writing
In this course, we will read, talk and write about core concepts in our program’s general education courses–concepts that, though activated in particular ways in these courses, are complex and sometimes fraught: research writing, reflection, multimodal composing. We will engage with the research of local scholars, exploring the ways that these concepts have been problematized and refined; we will also engage with research from across the field to consider ways that we might further illuminate these concepts or re-engage them for specific critical action in our composition courses. Students in this class will also take up research on a concept of personal pedagogical interest (using a keyword like accessibility, portfolio, voice, ethos, etc.), developing a set of scholarly resources and classroom activities based on that concept and preparing a workshop or conference proposal on the topic.
ENG 8007 - Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition Studies (Kenneth Burke: Rhetoric, Aesthetics, Affect)
In this class we will study the major works of the preeminent rhetorical theorist of the 20th Century: Kenneth Burke. In addition to studying how Burke help recuperate rhetoric as an important domain of cultural inquiry through six major book-length monographs (from 1931's *Counter-Statement* to 1961's *Rhetoric of Religion*), we will also examine his legacy in present scholarship and the ways his work anticipated more recent developments in contemporary theory's attention to affect and new forms or materialism.