English 331: Special Topics in Writing: Politics and Rhetoric
The study of rhetoric as both a productive and analytic art has a long and varied history, stretching back to the fifth century BCE and forward to the present. Rhetoric is multi-disciplinary and its principles are utilized in every area of contemporary life, perhaps none more conspicuously than in politics. This course introduces students to the principles and history of rhetoric through the subject of political discourse. We will look specifically at the rhetorical construction of the American political system, the discourses that make this system intelligible to different publics, and we will study how complex and controversial issues get communicated and consumed through the media. Students will read and analyze political speeches, campaign rhetoric, and policy documents. They will also craft their own rhetorical guides to contemporary political debates.
English 331: Special Topics in Writing: Screenwriting Workshop
The first weeks of the class will focus on identifying elements of structure, character and craft in films that work and don’t work. In other words, you’ll see how someone else does it. Subsequent classes will analyze aspects of the hero, forces of antagonism, characteristics of effective dialogue, scene and act design and basic elements of screenplay format. Peer critiques will play an important role in the success of the class. By the end of the semester, students will produce a revised first act (25 pages) of an original screenplay. Texts include: Snyder, Save the Cat; Bowles, Mangravite, and Zorn, The Complete Screenwriter’s Manual; Campbell, The Power of Myth.
English 435: Advanced Study in American Literature: The Contemporary American Short Story
This course examines short story production in America since 1950, including concentrated study of select authors, through the lens of genre theory as well as sociocultural issues such as race, gender, and class. Writers studied include Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, Toni Cade Bambara, Raymond Carver, Jhumpa Lahiri, and several others.
In conjunction with the Honors Program:
Honors 397 Colloquium: The Vietnam War and American Culture
An examination of the historical and political contexts of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and the ways the war shaped and changed our literature, film, visual art, music and journalism—as well as our character and identity.