English courses for winter 2024
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 key concerns, 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 to 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 2350: (CI) British Literature: Writing about Texts
Modern literature and art were cultural breakthroughs in the very forms of writing and imagery. In this course, we will read a selection of American modernist literature, cinema, and visual art (from roughly 1900 to 1950) not only for their insights into modern American culture but for what they demonstrate and can teach us about writing itself. The course will compare examples of realist and modern fiction (e.g., Jack London, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, or Zora Neale Hurston); modernist poets (e.g., William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Kenneth Fearing, or Muriel Rukeyser); and selected films (The Big Clock, Citizen Kane, or Imitation of Life). In each case, we will use the lessons given by the work of art to provide insights into the process of writing. There will be short papers, increasing in length, and much discussion and feedback.
ENG/AFS 2390: (IC, DEI) Introduction to African American Literature: Writing about Texts
Students will be prompted by specific selections of literature to discuss, think through, and investigate the differing and related aspects of the African American experience, history, and culture. More specifically, students will be encouraged to use the literature and their own collective experiences to evaluate where and how the theme of Black Fugitivity surfaces. The literature will span the African American experience via literary eras: American Chattel Slavery, Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance, Jim Crow Era, Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movement, and Black Lives Matter Movement.
ENG/AFS 2390: (IC, DEI) Introduction to African American Literature: Writing about Texts
What comes to mind when you hear the word “literature”? Answers may vary from “dusty old stories” to authors whose works are considered as “classics” (but who decides this?) to as simple an answer as “books.” The fact of the matter is that narratives have been in existence for as long as people have been telling stories. This course is focused on the skill, versatility, and creativity that goes into presenting a story, as well as discussing the classifications of genre, and the characteristics of different mediums. We will study and celebrate a variety of voices, genres, and experiences while noting similarities and distinctions between genres and, of course, we will read, discuss, and write about African American literature. Focusing on five different genres (nonfiction, folktales, poetry, fiction, and digital/other narratives), we will spend the semester identifying what a narrative is, how stories can be told, and how representation and storytelling matter. We’ll be using different theoretical approaches, from race to gender to sexuality and more, to analyze and interpret different forms of art, and to create individual researched arguments that allow you to engage with the course material both as a reader and as a storyteller yourself. “Just living is telling a story. You're put on this earth to tell that story, to share those stories.”—Judith Jamison “But we must tell our stories, and not be ensnared by them.” –Ta-Nehisi Coates
ENG 2415: (CI) Geopolitics and Literature: Writing About Texts
“Genres of Global Noir: Poetry, Fiction, Art, Media” The world is in an uproar. This course will look at how four distinct kinds of writing and art represent what is happening on a global scale that threatens our existence but of which we are barely aware. Beginning with the recent upsurge of global noir literature and media, the course will sample from a wide range of global regions, each with its own version of “what lies below” and can be disclosed at any minute—or cohabits with us without our knowledge. Sociopathology, war and pandemics, ecological crisis, migration and exile, fear and loathing between peoples, terrorism and the surveillance state, and the rise of authoritarian regimes will all find a register in this course. How do literature and art represent, deal with, exacerbate, remedy these dark threats? In authors such as Roberto Bolaño, Haruki Murakami, Stieg Larsson, Cristina Rivera Garza, Etel Adnan, Yu Zuchen, Anna Badkhen, Kim Hyesoon, and Aase Berg, as well as global artists and media, we will seek noir at its core.
ENG/HIS 2435: Introduction to Digital Humanities
ENG/HIS 2435 is an introduction to Digital Humanities (simply, “the use of computers to study books and other cultural objects”), its methods, theories, and applications, in humanistic inquiry. The course covers a variety of digital tools and approaches to organize, explore, understand, and tell stories with data. There are no prerequisites, and no prior technical knowledge or experience is expected. What is required for success in this course is an openness to learning new ways of thinking and a willingness to keep working even when something baffles you. We will focus on resources enabling new forms of scholarship and storytelling, looking at digital tools, platforms, and approaches for generating literary, cultural, and historical interpretations (through database construction, textual analysis, “big data” interpretation, geovisualization, and artistic remixing tactics). We will read widely in digital humanities scholarship, learning about major methods, discoveries, and continuing debates. And we will grapple with the ethics and politics of the digital world (surveillance, equal access, open source and copyright, sustainability, power). Coursework will include active participation in class discussions, careful reading of analytical and creative texts, hands-on activities, and collaborative work on a shared project. This course is conducted in a hybrid format appropriate for its topic. It will meet in person on three Thursdays throughout the semester (tentatively, January 11, February 29, and April 18); on all other class days, we will meet synchronously on Zoom, using our cameras and microphones to facilitate class and small group discussion. This format provides the face-to-face meeting, collaborative learning, and engagement with peers of the traditional classroom combined with the convenience of remote learning. Required for the Digital Humanities Minor.
2450: (CI) Introduction to Film
This class introduces students to films from a broad spectrum of styles, genres, and historical periods. The primary method of the course is to break films down into their component features: narrative, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound, and genre; to analyze the operations of each of these constituent parts in detail; and then to return each of the parts to the whole. In this course, students will learn, practice, and perform the analytical and critical methods necessary to describe, interpret, and appreciate the film text. This class is grounded in such concepts as diversity, equity, inclusion, intersectionality, and critical theory.
ENG 2570: Women Writers: Writing about Texts
This class takes a deep dive into the world and poetry of Marie de France, a 13th-century writer responsible for producing a large collection of 'lais'--short narrative poems filled with romance and magic that form the basis for contemporary fantasy and romantic literature. We will read stories about werewolves, mysterious white deer, fairy queens appearing out of nowhere, and hawk shapeshifters and along the way learn about how Marie transforms women's roles in literature and love by studying sources and documents that shaped the lives of her contemporaries.
ENG/LIN 2720: (CI) Basic Concepts in Linguistics
This course will be taught in a hybrid mode, meeting synchronously on Zoom on Mondays, and in person on Wednesdays. This course fulfills the Cultural Inquiry (CI) General Education requirement. 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 (semantics); language variation and change; language acquisition by children; and language and the brain. While most 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 a wide range of linguistic topics.
ENG/LIN 2730 Languages of the World
The course will introduce students to the rich diversity of human languages, familiarizing them with basic information about major language families spoken around the world. We will discuss fundamental similarities and points of variation between languages and the reasons behind both. Among the topics explored in this course will be historical linguistics, language universals, sound inventories, morphological typology, language and thought, and writing systems, among others.
ENG 2800: (CI) Techniques of Imaginative Writing
In this course, we will explore various techniques of imaginative writing using three specific genres: poetry, fiction, and lyric essay. By the end of the course, you will have developed a familiarity with foundational techniques used by contemporary and classical writers by reading work with intention as opposed to reading for completion. Many of the readings are taken from different time frames and with different sociopolitical situations affecting the worlds they were created in; this lens will be applied to most of the work to better understand the constraints that “good” art faces during its conception. This course, to clarify, is not just about reading other’s texts and learning from them as expected in a literature course, but it is about exploring the themes, topics, and craft aspects in our own writing. By learning from these writers and their unique approaches to imaginative writing, we can, in turn, elevate how our own pieces explore our crazy world through creative writing. Where the technique comes into play is with weekly writing exercises and student interaction with the “uniqueness” of each writer we read. More than in a creative writing workshop, we will examine the possibilities of a text had it been written another way, written by another voice, or had it just been shorter or longer. We will find “technique” in the possibilities of our writing by examining the realized creations of others.
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
This writing course satisfies the university's Intermediate Composition (IC) requirement. The course combines classroom learning with 20 hours of community service as an after-school tutor at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit. The course's main project is a research paper combining secondary and primary research around the topic of the challenges facing US children.
ENG 3050: (IC) Technical Communication I: 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.
ENG 3140: American Literature after 1865
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’Connor, 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 lectures but depend mainly on discussion. There will be short quizzes, two short presentations, a midterm, and a final.
ENG 3250: Professional Editing
ENG 3250 serves as a substantive introduction to technical and professional editing practices used in the workplace. In this course, we will consider writing as a technology and words as a material to be shaped with skill and craft. The course provides an overview of copy editing and comprehensive editing practices while also engaging with emerging concerns related to ethics and globalized practices. To build experience, major assignments are aligned with common professional tasks. Students will complete two proofreading/copyediting projects, working with a client for one of them, and take two exams similar to those used by professionals to quickly demonstrate their skill levels.
English 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, autofiction, 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). Grading: Attendance/participation: 20%; weekly assignments: 40%; final manuscript: 40%
ENG 5005: Digital Storytelling Course
The stories we tell are as important as how we tell them. In this course, we will explore how to utilize digital tools to tell persuasive stories about ourselves, things, events, and society. We will discuss why stories matter and what makes a good story, examine theories of digital storytelling, analyze digital stories/artifacts, and create stories using a wide variety of digital communication tools. By the end of this course, you should be able to demonstrate a better understanding of the art of digital storytelling and leverage the affordances of digital technologies to tell persuasive stories.
ENG 5035: Topics in Gender and Sexuality Studies: AIDS, Activism, Culture
This class will consider a range of activist and cultural responses to the AIDS crisis, focusing mostly on the first fifteen years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, prior to the advent of antiretroviral therapy. We will begin by considering the lessons that AIDS Activism may have for the present moment by reading Sarah Schulman’s recent history of ACT UP New York, *Let The Record Show*. We will examine how an activist movement such as ACT UP is formed, how and why ACT UP was emotionally powerful for its members, and in what ways ACT UP was (and was not) effective. Certainly, the issues that ACT UP confronted – the government’s failure to adequately respond to a health crisis, difficulty with access to health care, institutionalized homophobia, misogyny, and racism -- are still urgent. We will follow this examination of ACT UP with texts from the midst of the AIDS crisis, including films by Gregg Bordowitz and Marlon Riggs, poetry by Essex Hemphill, art by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and David Wojnarowicz, essays by Eve Sedgwick and Douglas Crimp, and fiction by Samuel Delany, Rabih Alameddine, Jamaica Kincaid and Paul Monette. Throughout, we will explore the various means that writers and artists use to portray an illness that was widely stigmatized and to respond to the overwhelming loss that so many experienced. We will also take the opportunity to consider how art and literature, in general, can or should respond to social crises.
ENG 5095: Topics in Visual Culture: Mediated Identities
The sophisticated array of visual technologies available today poses urgent questions--social, political, ethical, theoretical, and aesthetic--about the operation of visuality in the construction of (public and private) selves. Such technologies at once produce new dimensions to traditional notions of personhood: e.g., imaging techniques such as MRI and ultrasound render invisible aspects of our bodies available to the human eye. Computerized facial recognition technologies have simultaneously enhanced the power of bureaucratic systems of identification and surveillance to an unprecedented extent. The potential of the internet has opened up possibilities for innovative image-driven scholarship and learning about other people in other countries and at other times, while our own everyday lives increasingly play out on various social media, visual information, and communication platforms. Through discussion, research, and writing, we will critically investigate the interrelations between visualization and personhood in a variety of cultural domains and across a range of both old and new media. We will pay particular attention to the aspects of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age in the mediated production of both public and private selves.
5340: Topics in British Literature: Desiring Medieval Women
Most modern takes on medieval women hold that medieval women were virginal, prudish, disinterested in sex, and more interested in chastity--damsels in distress who needed defending, the mostly unattainable objects of male desire. This class seeks to break down this stereotype by exploring medieval women's writing as both stylized and spontaneous means of both expressing desire and reaching for agency in romantic matters. We will study lyric poetry by named and anonymous female troubadours (the trobairitza), anonymous Latin lesbian poems, the short poetic romances of Marie de France, the religious biography of Margery Kempe, and other texts to examine the ways in which medieval women gave voice to a range of desire, from the romantic to the spiritual, despite conventions and traditions that typically suppressed or demonized that desire.
ENG 5480/AFS 5310: Topics in African American Literature: Detroit Poetry
Detroit has a rich legacy of poets and poetry. Most of these poets, though not all, are from Detroit, several were 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 lectures, the course will develop through discussion.
ENG 5695: Publishing Practicum
This class is designed to give students hands-on experience producing, creating, and publishing a creative or scholarly journal for undergraduates at Wayne State. This semester, we will format, design, and ready for publication the 2024 Wayne Literary Review in April. In addition, we will establish a WLR website that will contain the Review, and it will also serve as an online publishing outlet for creative writing by WSU students. Students in the Practicum will also get experience in running a literary website and connecting the WLR to all social media. In addition, we will likely work on other possible chapbook-style publications as we establish a Teaching Press. Basic topics covered include editing, formatting, and publishing texts. Prerequisites: AFS 2390 with a minimum grade of C, ENG 2390 with a minimum grade of C, ENG 3010 with a minimum grade of C, ENG 3020 with a minimum grade of C, or ENG 3050 with a minimum grade of C
ENG/LIN 5700: LIN/ENG Introduction to Linguistic Theory
Walter F. Edwards
Language is a human system of communication that uses arbitrary signals such as voice sounds, gestures, and /or written symbols. Language is unique to humans. This course is an introduction to linguistics, the scientific discipline that studies the nature and use of human Language and languages. Linguistics investigates language acquisition, language competence, and language performance by seeking answers to such questions as what constitutes knowledge of language, how is knowledge of language acquired, and how the knowledge of language is used. Linguistic theories seek to characterize the general principles inherent in all human languages. Linguistics has at least twelve branches, too many to be covered in one semester. Thus, only the core areas of the subject will be covered in this course. We will study the rule-governed ways that languages organize sounds (phonetics and phonology); words (morphology); sentences (syntax), social usage (sociolinguistics), and change (language change). The linguistic concepts to be discussed in the class will be illustrated mainly with English examples so that most students can use their own native language competence in the discussions and analyses.
ENG 5825: Grant, Proposal, and Public Writing
This course guides students through the grant-writing process, addressing the main components of a successful grant funding application. Students work in a collaborative environment to address a specific problem area that requires funding.
ENG 5870: Poetry Writing Workshop
In Tradition and the Individual Talent, T.S. Eliot states that “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.” I find this to be a point of entry into the psyche that produces the term “close reading.” I believe, and Eliot proves this belief, that there is a widespread acceptance of reading poetry through the eyes of the century, and that in order to understand a poem, one must understand and trace a poet’s influences. In Eliot’s quote there is a truth that I believe should be investigated: “you cannot value [them] alone.” In our renditions of what makes poetry “good,” we often place meaning at the forefront of conversation; I can remember as a child reading poetry in school that the teacher would ask: “yes, but what does it mean?” Anything that presents any difficulty in art and literature is usually deduced down to meaning. We want to know, all that we can know about a thing to be finished with it, maybe? In this course we will not look at poetry from the lens of a simple understanding, but from the deviations we will take from poetic movements of the past, essentially understanding our value among the dead... This concept, though heavy, is essential in creating poetry that seeks to not only derive meaning but create meaning and place ourselves in conversation with poetic schools and movements that have since died. The subtitle for this course is "Poetic movements, and the death of the school, and our never-ending prowess to revive it." By reading the language poets, the New York school, the black arts movement, transcendentalist poets, black mountain poets, beat poets, formalist poets, and even spoken word poets, we can situate ourselves in opposition to, or in favor of poetry that closely resembles our sensibilities without doing (the very contemporary thing) or sacrificing them to fit within what we are "expected to write." Basically, in this class, we will read and write poems that are true to what we want to write, despite how accessible/inaccessible that may be, and devoid of any requirement/expectation other than producing the best poems we can and doing so in a supportive and open environment.
ENG 5885: Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop
This course will focus on the idea of writing about oneself. It is designed for students who seek to boldly and unashamedly use ‘materials’ of their own lives to compose original and solid nonfiction. As a class, we will attempt to answer a range of craft and philosophical questions. What is narrative and how is a narrative created? What is the self? What is Profluence? What does it mean to center the 'self' in nonfiction writing? Students will read stories by writers who place their personal histories and life experiences at the center of their writing. Writers who are confronting and/or navigating the world through intimate conversations, such as sexuality, history, social class, race, gender, politics, etc. The course will ask students to read and engage selected narratives; memoirs, personal essays, and nonfiction novels (autofiction). The class will be structured around intensive reading, robust discussion, craft talk/writing, and workshops where students offer criticism and feedback to one another. Authors to be examined will include Susan Sontag, Teju Cole, Ocean Vuong, Paul Kalanithi, Akwaeke Emezi, Edouard Louis, Clarice Lispector, Roxane Gay, David Searcy, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and others.
ENG 5992/4991: Senior Seminar: Moving with the Moderns: Mobility in Literature and Culture of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries
This course will examine movement and mobility in literature and culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We’ll consider modern mobility in its many facets and at multiple scales: the physical movement of individual people and objects through space; social mobility through challenges to cultural hierarchies of gender, race, and class; the circulation of people and texts through the operations of empire, war, and global capitalism; new technologies of movement, from the arrival of the car and the airplane in the early twentieth century to the development of GPS (global positioning system), Google Earth, and drones in our own time. We will ask: How have writers, filmmakers, and visual artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries grappled with new forms of movement and the new perspectives they give rise to? How do modern mobilities and perspectives shape the production of literature (and other arts) and how does literature shape mobilities and perspectives in turn? What changes can we detect in modern mobilities’ relationship with literature and culture over time and how do we account for them? Our course texts will include theory, scholarship, and film as well as novels, short stories, essays and poetry by writers likely drawn from the following: W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bowen, Teju Cole, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Tom McCarthy, Joseph O’Neill, Jean Rhys, Sam Selvon, Olga Tokarczuk, and Virginia Woolf. Requirements of the course include vigorous participation in class discussion, frequent analytical writing, and engagement with scholarship culminating in a researched essay and presentation. As a Senior Seminar, the course is a capstone for the major, though it may be taken before your senior year. Senior seminars may be taken more than once for credit. The course is open to all English majors who have completed one 5000-level course and is an opportunity to explore a topic in depth for Honors students. The course has a hybrid format that provides the face-to-face meeting, collaborative learning, and engagement with peers of the traditional classroom combined with the convenience of remote learning. It will meet once a week with three in-person meetings throughout the semester (tentatively, January 11, February 29, and April 18); on all other class days, we will meet synchronously on Zoom, using our cameras and microphones to facilitate class and small group discussion.
ENG 6006: Teaching Creative Writing
As a discipline, creative writing straddles the Humanities and the Fine Arts, and so, of necessity, will this course. Although it complements the composition pedagogy curriculum, it will emphasize the practices particular to the creative writing classroom—practices that draw heavily from the studio art model. Readings will touch on the history of creative writing in the academy and the debates about creative writing pedagogy, but the course will mainly be a kind of laboratory in which we study and road test generative writing prompts, workshop guidelines, and writing assessments. On Saturday, March 9, the creative writing program will be co-sponsoring the InsideOut Literary Arts Poetry Con--a day of workshops and readings for teenagers. To gain some applied experience teaching creative writing, students in this section of 6006 will be encouraged to either participate in the March 9 event or volunteer some tutoring hours with InsideOut or 826 Michigan. By the end of the semester, every student will have designed a syllabus for an introductory creative writing class and drafted a Teaching Philosophy statement suited to the discipline of creative writing.
ENG/LIN 6720: Topics in Linguistics: African American Vernacular English (AAVE)
Walter F. Edwards
The principal aims of this course are to describe the linguistic systems inherent in AAVE and to discuss the possible origins and history of the variety, but we will also discuss some of the sociolinguistic variations AAVE speakers use. We will study AAVE’s lexicon, morphology, syntax, and phonology using data from various sources, including recordings of Detroit-area AAVE speakers. We will also study AAVE in literature and comedy and in the church. Our studies will show us that AAVE is a complex language variety with a system of rules that distinguish it from Standard English in many ways. The source of AAVE is a controversial issue among AAVE scholars, with several different and competing proposals argued in the literature. We will study the best-known theories, including the Creole origin and the English origin hypotheses. We will examine the data and reasoning used by the proponents of each proposal and try to identify the best proposal that fits the facts as we know them. The course will conclude with an examination of public attitudes towards AAVE and the variety’s place in the American classroom.
ENG/LIN 6720: Topics in Linguistics
Have you ever had to explain “what someone means” when they said something else? This course is about how we work out what speakers intend to communicate by what they say and how we work out how to say something to achieve our communicative goals. Much of the meaning we create by using language extends beyond the literal (truth-conditional) component but is inferred from context. Context is not only linguistic but includes the time and place in which communication takes place, the speakers’ goals, their knowledge of the physical and social world, and their assumptions about the extent their knowledge is shared by the listeners. For example, a sentence, “This room is dark” can mean a number of different things, such as “Turn on the light”, “Let’s find another room”, “Let’s stay in this room", “You are wrong”, and more – depending on the specific context. Pragmatics is the study of the relationship between meaning and context. The course will cover the core topics in pragmatics, such as implicature, presupposition, speech acts, deixis, and reference. We will also discuss interfaces between pragmatics and cognition and pragmatic disorders.
ENG 7004: Theoretical Issues in Cultural Studies: Queer Theories and Queer Practices
This class will be an introduction to some key works in queer theory (including texts by Esther Newton, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, Gloria Anzaldua, Douglas Crimp, José Muñoz, Deborah Gould, Leo Bersani, Heather Love, Juana Maria Rodriguez and others) along with a range of influential or paradigmatic queer practices, including instances of activism (Gay Liberation, the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and ACT UP), film (Jack Smith, Andy Warhol, Lizzie Borden), poetry (Frank O’Hara, Audre Lorde) and fiction (Djuna Barnes, James Baldwin, Samuel Delany). We will examine the implications of the development in the late nineteenth century of a new discourse of sexuality, one in which the notion of “homosexual” (and then “heterosexual”) identities played a key role. One ongoing concern will be the ways that the aesthetic can be seen as a space that deflects, transforms and/or perverts the pressures to reveal or disclose a sexual identity while at the same time preserving or promoting non-normal, homoerotic, or queer desires, sensations, affects and other feelings. We will also consider the advent of queer theory in the 90s as a response, in part, to the AIDS crisis, and trace the ongoing revision and development of queer studies as a contested field up to the present moment.
ENG 7066: Writing in Multiple Settings
Students in this course read contemporary scholarly texts addressing both the foundational practices of community and professional writing and the varied contexts in which writing is a core part of the work of community sites and organizations. In reading response assignments, students develop an understanding of concepts and prepare for class discussion. Short essay assignments provide students with an opportunity to synthesize scholarship and make claims about critical conversations in the discipline. Finally, students become familiar with case studies on professional and community writing and conduct their own research on a relevant site to develop a case study analysis. This engagement with a community or professional writing site from a research perspective provides students with an opportunity to apply relevant theoretical approaches to their research. Class sessions for this online, synchronous course will include brief lectures, structured discussion activities, and collaborative writing tasks.
ENG/LIN 7720: Advanced Studies in Language Use: Language Evolution and Variation
This course provides an overview and a characterization of systematic variation in grammatical patterns across languages, including, but not limited to, variation in the expression of transitivity, tense and aspect, case, null subjects, and word order. The course will integrate and bring together typological, theoretical, and evolutionary considerations. Our purpose will be not only to document variation across languages, but also to understand why it is there, how it arises, and what it means. In this respect, we will engage the topic of how language (and cognition) evolved in the human species, exploring specifically hypotheses that shed light on language variation. This class is designed to prepare students for researching a linguistic topic of their choice in depth. The class will include lectures, discussions, reading reports, and a term paper.
ENG 8006: Telling Stories: Adventures in a Narrative Multiverse
Using the term “textual transcendence” from French Literary theorist Gérard Genette as our inspiration, we will examine the myriad contexts that shape the reading and writing of stories and how these contexts might shape our own academic work as both readers and writers. We will begin the semester focused on theories of narrative, reading works by Genette, as well as Roland Barthes, Rick Altman, and Jonathan Gray, among others. We will ask ourselves “what is narrative” while we explore concepts such as story vs. plot, medium specificity, and intertextuality. In the second part of the semester, students will choose a thematic route through the rest of the course. These routes include: metanarratives and narratives about narrative; adaptations and retellings; stretching narratives and transmedia storytelling; and interactive, linked, and branching narratives. Students will produce a final project—a traditional research essay, syllabus, annotated bibliography, or a creative project—using their route as a lens to interrogate narrative and storytelling more generally.