English Course Offerings
The English Department's course offerings vary by semester. We offer 100-level composition
courses, 200-level introductory courses, 300-level intermediate courses, 400-level
advanced courses, and 500-level graduate courses.
Fall 2023 Themed Literature Surveys
EH 215.105 - Brit Lit before 1785 | Halbrooks
Masks and Identities
From the mysterious Green Knight to Milton's shape-shifting Satan to Shakespeare's cross-dressing Viola, writers have been interested in the ways in which we use masks, both literal and metaphorical, to create identity, to deceive, and to protect the self. As we all wore masks during our recent crisis, we will use the idea of the mask as a starting point for our study of identity in literature from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century.
EH 215.106 - Brit Lit before 1785 | O'Berry
Monsters, Marvels, and Magic
This course will sample literature from Anglo-Saxon times to the Age of Enlightenment concerning elves, fairies, wizards, witches, etc., and explore the allure of all things monstrous, marvelous, and magical. We will also examine how such supernatural elements are used to represent and respond to issues related to gender, race, sexuality, and nationality and consider the social, cultural, political, and religious functions, effects, and implications of magic in fiction to reinforce or upend the status quo of the familiar and the Other.
EH 215.110 - Brit Lit before 1785 | Tallent
Heroes and Heroines
The idea of what constitutes heroism is an ephemeral thing that changes with the ages, and through these changes, the greatest triumphs and failures of an epoch are distilled into perpetual windows that allow us an unparalleled view of the past and its peoples. In this section of EH 215, we will track the evolution of heroes and heroines across the foundational texts of early British literature beginning with epic warriors, such as mighty Beowulf and Grendel's deadly mother, to chivalrous Sir Guyon and virtuous Britomart before ending with the likes of beautiful Belinda and the roguish Baron.
EH 216.102 - Brit Lit after 1785 | Harrington
Doubles and Imposters
Interested in the idea of a monstrous double—or individuals who are not what they seem to be? This Survey of British Literature after 1785 considers interesting pairings from the horrific to the humorous in British literature from the Romantic period to the present. We will use these doubles and imposters to investigate race and gender, nation and empire, guilt and innocence, and memory and identity in a sampling of texts ranging from Frankenstein to Monty Python and beyond.
EH 216.106 - Brit Lit after 1785 | Frye
Mad Scientists and Their Creations
This section of EH 216 will focus on how British literature after 1785 addresses the implications of scientific experimentation. We will examine how authors from the Romantic to the current era depict scientists, scientific exploration, and the results of that exploration. This class will focus on discussions of how these authors provide insight into the ways vast changes in our understanding of the world around us can directly impact our sense of self, our view of our place in the world, and even the ethical and moral standards we live by. Although scientific experimentation in literature will be the focal point of the class, we will also look at how science becomes inextricably tied to all parts of our world, including gender, race, class, empire, and religion.
EH 225.107 - Am Lit before 1865 | Cesarini
Working the Dream in America
From its beginnings, the thing that became the United States has been driven and divided by clashes between idealists and pragmatists, dreamers and workers, maniacs and normies. In this section of EH 225 we will read the classics that conceptualize these divisions, from Puritans to Deists, Slavers to Escape-Artists, with appearances by Mad Scientists, Penny-Pinchers, Sojourners, Layabouts, Catatonics, and Opium-Eaters.
EH 225.108 - Am Lit before 1865 | McLaughlin
American Fanatics and Heretics
The story we tell ourselves about our Puritan forebearers is one in which a courageous band of faithful Christians create a "city upon a hill" as a beacon of religious tolerance and good will. But, in fact, from the 17th century's three "crime waves"—the Antinomian Controversy, the Quaker Persecutions, and the Salem Witch Trials—to the three Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries, religious controversy and intolerance have been the order of the day. This course examines the highs and the lows of our spotted religious history and their impact on American literature.
EH 225.801 - Am Lit before 1865 | Owsley
Power to the People
Democratic government by nature ensures equal participation—and representation—of all citizens. And yet, when Henry David Thoreau had his spa day in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax in 1846, he boldly proclaimed that old adage "government is best which governs least." Good for Thoreau, but he didn't write those words in the middle of a pandemic. Is there a time when government should overstep its boundaries, say when we're under gubernatorial orders to wear masks in public spaces? Is it within the scope of our civil liberties to protest masks? How do we know when we're resisting the "right" versus the "wrong" issues? Therefore, in this course, we will use the theme "Resistance" to explore how 18th and 19th century authors used literature to restore power to the people, no delay.
EH 226.104 - Am Lit after 1865 | Vrana
Race and Memory
How did we get to our current moment, when it seems American life and politics are so dominated by disagreements about race and racism? It turns out that these debates have always raged just as fiercely. And American literature since 1865 has played a key role in shaping those conversations, whether resulting from the Civil War or from more recent historical events. This section of EH226 will focus on how post-1865 American authors of all types and identities have engaged in—or sometimes tried to ignore—questions about the role of race in remembering our nation's past and forging its future.
EH 236.106 and EH 236.108 - World Lit after 1650 | Roddy
Narratives of Identity
Murder, madness, betrayal—great literature (like life) is filled with conflict and tragedy. In this collaborative section of EH 236, students investigate how literature reflects, challenges, and shapes cultural narratives of identity. How do international writers critique the religious and intellectual status quo to forge new concepts of national identity and personhood? How do imperialism, crushing worldwide violence, and emerging thinkers, like Freud and Marx, influence evolving literary ideas of nationalism, the human psyche, and communal identity? Can literature serve a liberatory role, reimagining the nature of subjectivity and cultural identity in an increasingly globalized, media-saturated world?
Fall 2023 Upper-Division Courses
EH 300 - Introduction to Literary Study | St. Clair
Only two Americans alive today have won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Since musicians are far more fun than poets, however, this course will focus solely on the Bard of Hibbing himself: Mr. Robert Allen Zimmerman, better known, of course, as Bob Dylan. In addition to perusing Dylan's latest tome, The Philosophy of Modern Song (2022), students will get a crash course in reading strategies, research methodologies, and literary techniques — all while listening to a lot of weird music and being subjected, inevitably, to St. Clair's increasingly digressive rants.
EH 320 - Shakespeare's Plays | Hillyer
We will be studying a representative selection of Shakespeare's plays in all the kinds that he wrote—tragedies, comedies, histories, and romances—grouped not according to the chronological order of their composition but according to theme. Thus, we will consider as a pair Titus Andronicus and Hamlet—two very different tragedies in most respects, but sharing in common a focus on revenge. Similarly, we will also read as foil texts the tragedy Othello and the romance The Winter's Tale, plays again very different in most respects but featuring men driven out of their minds by jealousy. We will be reading the plays as plays, performing portions of the scripts as much as possible and confining ourselves to "producible interpretations." Assigned writing will consist of a midterm and final exam, and two short essays (3-4 pages) based on close-reading analysis.
EH 364 - British Novel from 1900 to 1945 | Raczkowski
Houses are weird. We are always running to them or away from them. They can be haunted, hallowed, divided, on fire, for sale; they can protect us and simultaneously imprison us. A house, or home, always comes with awkwardly shaped furniture that precedes us: traditions, gender relations, politics, and forms of identity. This course will study some of the central houses built — and well, blown up — in the fiction of E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and other British modernist authors who sought to unhouse us from conventional ideas about reading and the world in which we seek shelter.
EH 371 - Approaches to English Grammar | Amare
This course is designed for individuals who want a working knowledge of grammar and usage. In addition to learning grammar and usage concepts, we will explore different approaches to teaching grammar. You will research articles about the changing role of grammar in the English Studies curriculum to help you contextualize these concepts within the larger debate of English Studies and the teaching of grammar.
EH 372 - Technical Writing (W) | Guzy
The purpose of this course is to train students in the kinds of written reports required of practicing professionals, aiming to improve mastery of the whole process of report writing from conceptual stage through editing stage. This course will introduce you to types of written and oral communication used in workplace settings, with a focus on technical reporting and editing. Through several document cycles, you will develop skills in managing the organization, development, style, and visual format of various documents.
EH 372 - Technical Writing (W) | Amare
The course is designed to help you to accomplish the following:
- Understand and analyze writing situations and technologies and invoke the roles and strategies necessary to produce effective writing in localized and globalized contexts.
- Improve your understanding of how writing practices and genres (memos, email, proposals, reports, and websites) function within and across organizations, including how various readers read, where readers look for information, and what multiple purposes documents serve inside and outside particular situations.
- Produce more effective visual, textual, and multimedia documents.
EH 372 - Technical Writing (W) | Beason
How can you effectively convey specialized or technical information in the workplace to readers whose expertise with this information can vary greatly? Whether your field of study deals with health care, the sciences, the computer industry, the liberal arts, or almost any field of study, this course can assist you with varied types of workplace writing and editing. EH 372 can also help satisfy the W-Requirement and count as an English elective for most English majors and minors.
EH 373 - Writing in the Professions (W) | Beason
What does it mean to "write on the job," and how is it different from college writing? This W-Course is intended for students in diverse majors. It also counts as an "English elective" for most English majors and minors. The goal is to prepare you to write in one or more professions. To do so, we focus on three elements: (1) "generic" workplace-writing skills; (2) rhetorical analysis of workplaces; (3) and practice in writing and critiquing documents.
EH 379 - Horror | Guzy
Do scientific, political, cultural, and technological developments alleviate our deepest fears or create new ones? In this course, we will investigate ways in which the horror genre has developed from and in turn has shaped our culture. Through active class discussion, oral presentations, and written assignments, students will analyze and critique aspects of horror and relate horror works and themes to areas of personal and professional interest. Readings will include fictional texts and scholarly commentary on the genre; selected video clips and feature-length films will also be viewed and discussed.
EH 391 - Fiction Writing | Prince
This course will introduce students to the art of short fiction and its contemporary practitioners. We will read short fiction not so much for "meaning" or "theme" but for technique. We're interested in how stories are built in order to gain insight into how we might build them ourselves. A popular myth is that good writing is built on inspiration and "natural talent," but the very existence of this course implies otherwise. And nearly every accomplished fiction writer will tell you that his or her success is owing mostly to studied technique, careful reading, and a whole lot of experimentation.
EH 395 - Poetry Writing | Pence
In this course, we will practice writing poems in different forms, from the intellectual slinkiness of Shakespeare's sonnets to the cosmic embrace of Whitman's freeverse. Our focus will not be so much on the rules regulating each form, but on the deep history, artistry, and context behind those rules so that we can choose the right form for our poem's content. Some forms will include syllabics, spoken word, persona poems, and freeverse. How one varies these forms and tailors them to a personal aesthetic will be the challenge and pleasure.
EH 401 - Teaching Composition (W) | Beason
EH 401 is primarily for English majors planning to teach writing at the secondary level (or seriously considering doing so). The course offers theoretical, practical, and hands-on experience to prepare you for teaching students to write effectively in diverse genres and situations. EH 401 also helps students fulfill the W-Course requirement.
EH 405 - Editing and Document Design | Amare
This course combines the principles of editing with document design to prepare students for the vast world of professional publishing. Students gain applied experience editing and designing publications for the trade book industry, academic journals, and corporations and organizations in print and digital formats. Throughout the course, students learn general editing principles, editorial roles, and editorial terms as well as the theories and aesthetics of design. Students hone their skills in visual rhetoric by becoming more proficient in understanding the relationship between textual content, format, and graphics.
EH 421 - Literary Criticism to 1900 (W) | Halbrooks
This course will survey some of the major debates about literature beginning with Gorgias, Plato, and Aristotle. What is literature? What does it do, and what is its function? What is the relationship between literature and the world? How do we define and categorize literary form and genre? What is the responsibility of the writer? How can women respond to a predominantly male literary canon? How can people of color respond to a predominantly white literary canon? What might constitute productive (or ethical) strategies of literary interpretation and analysis?
EH 468 - Contemporary Black Fiction | Vrana
Although numerous themes proliferate in Black fiction since 1965, one of the most pronounced has been a meta-focus on writing, with many novels featuring authors, professors, and publishers/editors. This often produces humorous, satirical commentary on social issues surrounding Black authorship and literary representation. Reading "metafictional," intertextual novels like Mat Johnson's Pym (2011) and Zakiya Dalila Harris's The Other Black Girl (2021), we will interrogate with these writers: what has changed (and has not) in Black authors' treatment in post-1965 America?
EH 475 - Nineteenth-Century Literature | Harrington
What does it mean to be British? For Victorian novelists, contemporary concerns about evolution, the role of the detective, and the emerging field of criminal anthropology animate the discussion about policing the subjects of British rule within Britain and in the colonies. This class uses literary and popular novels, stories, and essays to consider the ways in which gender and class differences and Irish, Jewish, African, and Indian identity complicate the idea of being British.
EH 483 - Advanced Fiction Writing | Johnson
This workshop-style course is devoted to understanding literary short fiction — and what that term means today. In attempting to do so, students will produce and revise a significant piece of fiction, as well as participate in seminar-style discussions. Guiding them will be a number of essays on craft and stories written by authors working in various styles to illuminate how fiction works.
EH 485 - Advanced Poetry Writing | Pence
This advanced poetry writing course continues the practices and studies in poetic craft began in earlier creative writing courses. Specifically, this course examines the multiple styles of the contemporary lyric and asks what are its craft elements that create what Auden defines poetry to be: "memorable speech." We will study a range of contemporary poets to understand not only how to shape our own experiences into poetry, but also how to understand our role within the lyrical tradition. To help us gain an understanding of this vibrant field, our class will host guest poets, including Alabama's State Poet Laureate Ashley M. Jones.
Fall 2023 Graduate Courses
EH 502 - Graduate Writing for English | McLaughlin
EH 502 is required of all M.A. students in their first year of course work. The central purpose of this course is to prepare students for research and academic writing at the graduate level, but it also aims to prepare students for direct engagement with the academic conversations, discourses, and practices that circulate around and through the study of literature—in this case, the short stories and novellas of Henry James as well as the literary criticism that has been written in response to them.
EH 505 - Teaching College Writing | Shaw
This course examines issues in composition history, theory, and pedagogy in the context of teaching first-year composition. Students will use this knowledge to develop course material appropriate to teaching first-year composition. Topics include syllabus and assignment design, lesson planning, course management, teaching in the linguistically and culturally diverse classroom, and assessment. Pre-requisite / Co-requisite: EH 502.
EH 525 - Restoration & Early 18th-Century Lit | Hillyer
We will be studying a representative selection of British literature from the post-Restoration period and the eighteenth century, with a particular focus on women — sometimes as authors, more often as subjects or characters. We will be covering Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders, and Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock. Other authors likely to feature include John Wilmot, Samuel Pepys, Jonathan Swift, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Though the primary focus of our discussion will accordingly be gender, we will no doubt be thinking as well about issues relating to social class and to the emergence of Britain as an imperial power with colonies in almost all parts of the planet. The primary writing assignment will be a research paper of about 15-20 pages, developed throughout the semester.
EH 552 - African American Literature since 1900 | Vrana
Although by now African American authors like Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison have become widely read, the political and aesthetic diversity of this longstanding tradition remains little discussed. This course will survey selected works of African American literature from 1900 to the present across genres (fiction, drama, and poetry), emphasizing writers' wide-ranging aesthetic approaches. Authors may include: Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement poets, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Fran Ross, Ishmael Reed, Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, and Colson Whitehead.
EH 571 - Modern British Fiction | Raczkowski
This course on the modernist British novel is curiously bookended by E.M. Forster's Howard's End (1908) on one side and Zadie Smith's On Beauty (2006) on the other. While we will focus on modernist novels that investigate the relationships between art, ethics, and politics, my cunning plan is to use Smith's postmodern rewriting of Howard's End as a means of evaluating the current status of modernist claims (like Forster's) that art and aesthetic experience can make the world new. Let's hope Forster was right...
EH 583/4 - Graduate Fiction Writing Workshop I/II | Johnson
This graduate-level workshop is devoted to writing literary short fiction — and what that term means today. Stories students write in this course can be set anywhere, during any time period, but should demonstrate a deep engagement with respect to craft and technique. Or as the writer Audre Lord said, "There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt, of examining what our ideas really mean."
EH 585/6 - Graduate Poetry Writing Workshop I/II | Pence
This graduate writing course explores different styles that currently define the American contemporary poem and engages with how these styles are responses to Romantic and modern literature. We will analyze political, narrative, surreal and other types of poems from some of the best poets writing today in order to create our own poem. To help us gain an understanding of this vibrant field, our class will host guest poets, including Alabama's State Poet Laureate Ashley M. Jones.
A full listing of all courses in the departmental catalog is available via the University Bulletin. For a listing of courses offered in a given semester, please visit the University's Schedule of Classes. (Select "Dynamic Schedule" > "Browse Classes," enter the catalog term you wish to search, and select "English" as the subject.)