Spring 2015

The official FMU academic catalog lists complete program requirements and course offerings for the English Department. Special topics, advanced study, and senior seminar courses vary by semester.

Some of the 2015 Spring semester’s special topics, advanced study, and senior seminar courses are listed below.

ENG 200-3994: Writing in the Disciplines, Special Topics (The Human Body as Cultural Object) (Dr. Veenstra)

This course introduces students to advanced writing, reading, and research skills by taking a closer look at the human body as a cultural object.  In the first half of the semester, we will read essays from a variety of disciplines, covering such topics as the role of the mind in coping with illness, controversial medical technologies, assumptions about gender and race in sports, and tattoos and other forms of body modification.  In the second half of the semester, students will conduct original research on a related topic of their choosing.  Throughout the semester, we will be learning about the subject of mindfulness and experimenting with it in the classroom, with the goal that students will become more thoughtful and intentionally aware of the learning process.

English 343: American Romanticism (Dr. Flannagan)
Pre-requisite: English 200

Want to learn to use the term “transparent eyeball” in casual conversation? Interested in reading the novel that many claim started the Civil War? Why did the Raven keep saying “Nevermore”? What does The Hunger Games have to do with Emerson? Why did Thoreau decide to build Walden Pond? Was Melville really a rock start of 19th century American literature? If these questions intrigue you, then this class is for you. We’ll learn about self-reliance, feminism, the gothic, 19th century culture and politics, utopia, and the place where the actual and the imaginary meet. Note: This class satisfies the American Literature Block of the new English curriculum. Read more about English 343.

English 384: Sex, Gender, and Literature (Dr. Rooks)
Pre-requisite: English 200

Eng. 384 utilizes gender theory and gender-related concerns (including sexuality) as a lens through which to examine various texts. Although it arises originally out of feminist criticism, gender theory doesn’t focus exclusively on women’s issues; rather, it looks at the interactions between male and female in literature (in terms of both writer and reader / interpreter) and at how the constructed identities of gender and textuality shape and relate to each other.
In reading imaginative texts by men and women, we’ll examine the following questions: How do we define ourselves? What determines (or pre-determines) or sexual identity? How does the way we define ourselves (or are defined) affect the ways we read and write? This course can count towards a minor or collateral in Gender Studies. Learn more about English 384.

English 411: The Rhetoric of New Media (Dr. Rubens)
Pre-requisite: English 305

Gain skills employers value by learning how to write for websites, blogs, social media, and other digital environments. In this professional writing course, we will study the rhetorical dynamics of writing for new media; the relationship between text and design in digital environments (“visual rhetoric”); professional ethics in online environments; and other topics like search engine optimization. By the end of the course, you will have a portfolio of work, which will include documents developed for the English Department’s website as well as an off-campus client. No technical experience is necessary other than familiarity with Microsoft Word. Learn more about English 411.

English 431: Screenwriting Workshop (Mr. Gardner)
Pre-requisite: English 200 with a grade of C or better and an additional writing course beyond 200

Students learn the fundamentals of screenplay design, including screenplay structure, presentation format, scene design, character and plot development, and tips for creating effective dialogue. Through reading, viewing, classroom discussion, writing exercises, and workshop practices, students will study techniques that make movies work for an audience. By the end of the course each student will produce the first act of a script, which may be original story material or may be adapted from a literary text. Learn more about English 431 and Professor Gardner’s recent creative work.

English 433: Nineteenth-Century British Novel (Dr. Kunka)
Pre-requisite: English 300 (Foundations for Literary Studies)

Students in this course will explore the fascinating development of the novel as an art form. Course participants will learn about nineteenth-century British class boundaries, social expectations, domesticity, servitude, detection, imperialism, industrialization, and other social issues. Students will read works by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Oscar Wilde, and Bram Stoker. Read more about English 433.

The courses below are offered by other departments and programs, but they may be of interest to students who are majoring or minoring in English. 

Gender Studies (GNDR) 200: Gender and Power (Dr. Rooks)

An interdisciplinary seminar exploring these complex dynamics from a variety of perspectives provided by guest lecturers from different departments. GNDR 200 is required for the Gender Studies minor or collateral. Learn more about Gender 200.