Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Course Descriptions | Spring 2024

This page provides course descriptions for Spring 2024. See the main UT Curriculum page for a list of all undergraduate courses on the books (not all are offered at any one time). See this page for our English 102 Inquiry Topics. See here for course descriptions of past semesters, undergraduate, and graduate.

Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 301 | Premodern Beasts

British Culture to 1600

TR 2:30-3:45 | Mary Dzon

This course will explore some famous as well as lesser known literary works from the medieval and early modern periods. Most of the texts we will consider were written in Britain, though some originated in Europe and were influential in England. The theme of premodern beasts/animals will enable us to sample a variety of genres and to explore issues such as personal identity, nature, the human body, gender, society and the environment. Readings include Joyce Salisbury’s The Beast Within, the medieval Bestiary, the Lays of Marie de France, Gerald of Wales’ History and Topography of Ireland, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the poem Sir Gowther, and Shakespeare’s King Lear, plus selections from Edmund Spenser, John Donne, and Margaret Cavendish.


Several response papers, two exams, one short paper.

ENGL 303 | Suspicious Minds

American Cultures

TR 11:20-12:35 | Brad Bannon

The inclination to suspect others of transgressing social and cultural norms, moral wrongdoing, conspiring against us as individuals or a group, and/or betraying their national or personal allegiances has a rich tradition in American literature and history. In this course, we will consider texts in which suspicion functions as a central orientation: e.g., to unify individuals in solidarity against a common foe or divide them by cultivating an atmosphere of paranoia; to solve a crime or elude capture; to unravel vast webs of corruption or “ever afterwards,” as Emerson puts it, to “suspect our instruments.” Authors will include Cotton Mather, Vincent Bugliosi, Robert Calef, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Arthur Miller, and Nella Larsen, among others.


Three Essays, Five Discussions, Quizzes.

ENGL 321 | A Journey Through the Culture, History, and Literature of Anglo-Saxon England

Introduction to Old English

TR 11:20-12:35 | Scott MacKenzie

An introduction to the language, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England (roughly 500- 1100 CE) through texts in the original language and in translation. This course will give you a reading knowledge of Old English, the language spoken by the Germanic conquerors of Britain and the ancestor of the language we speak today. The language is different enough from modern English that it needs to be learned and studied, but similar enough that you can become reasonably proficient in one semester. In the first half of the class, we will concentrate on the structure and vocabulary of Old English; after the midterm exam, we will have more time to spend on outside reading and critical analysis, and more opportunities to discuss the history and culture of the Anglo-Saxons. Our texts will include works in prose and poetry.


Quizzes, midterm and final exam, one paper

ENGL 331 | The Prophetic Mode

Race and Ethnicity in American Literature

MWF 10:20-11:10 | Robert Spirko

Popular discourse imagines prophets speaking of the future, but understood historically and theologically, real prophets speak truth to their present moment. The prophetic mode often begins in condemnation and ends in hope: the movement from dystopia to eutopia, or from oppression to liberation. This course will focus on the power of prophetic rhetoric, primarily in Black, Latin@ and Indigenous writers and how it contrasts with and augments lyrical and narrative approaches. We’ll trace thru lines from Phillis Wheatley to Frances E.W. Harper to Audre Lorde; from Frederick Douglass to James Baldwin; from Zitkála-Šá to Joy Harjo and Gloria Anzaldúa. We’ll consider the uses of the prophetic mode to inspire, indict, and motivate in social and literary movements.


Assignments will include short papers on textual and contextual analyses, weekly response paragraphs, a video presentation for class, and a final paper.

ENGL 332 | Women in American Literature

MWF 9:10-10:00 | Robin Nicks

This course traces the development of literature by American women from Anne Bradstreet through current authors like Louise Erdrich. Our focus will be on the ways that texts express developing views on gender roles, as well as the different approaches that each writer has in offering criticisms of her culture and engaging in political and social debates of her time. Authors may include Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Shirley Jackson, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, Louise Erdrich, and others.


Four papers, responses to readings.

ENGL 332 | Men, Marriage, Motherhood, and Myths

Women in American Literature

TR 11:20-12:35 | La Vinia Jennings

English 332 will examine the novels of American women in the twentieth century that treat diverse geographical regions, ethnicities, social classes, and cultures. Discussions will emphasize various institutions—patriarchy, marriage, family, and motherhood—and their impacts on female selfhood and identity.


Two research papers, frequent quizzes, limited absences, and consistent participation.

ENGL 333 | Reading Black Genders and Sexualities

Black American Literature and Aesthetics

MWF 10:20-11:10 | Dionte Harris

This course deepens students’ knowledge of the rich tradition of African American literature, with a particular focus on queer, trans, and women writers. Focusing on 20th and 21st African American artistic expression—literature, film, music, visual art—we will consider how the writers and artists studied employ race, gender, and sexuality as a medium for social critique and artistic innovation in the Black social imaginary.


Active attendance, quizzes, reading responses, short presentation, two papers.

ENGL 335 | Transplants in Contemporary African Writing

African Literature

TR 11:20-12:35 | Gichingiri Ndigirigi

This course surveys the major works and issues that characterize contemporary African literature through the prism of transplantation. We study the transplantation of Western genres and their conventions onto African spaces and their transculturation by African writers intent on representing an identifiably African experience. We also follow cultural transplants who move easily between “local” spaces denoted by the ubiquitous “village,” the colonial or mission school, the African city, and the Western metropolis that increasingly repositions the transplants as translocal and transnational. Of particular interest is this new cohort of African writers loosely identified as a new African diaspora whose members write from Western spaces. We explore how the successive transplantations complicate the differentiated African “subject(s)” and reception of African literature. How do international prizes, literary networks, publication outside Africa etc. regulate the Africa that is circulated in these texts? In addition, is the “African literature” label capacious enough to accommodate a new subset of writers with contentious claims to indigeneity? Representative plays, novels, memoirs, plus select readings in postcolonial criticism/theory and cultural studies will form the core reading requirements.


Attendance, four short papers, mid-term and final exams.

ENGL 339 | Fantasy to Cyberspace

Children’s Literature

Online Asynchronous | Amy Billone

In this fully asynchronous online class, we will fly from innocence to experience and back again in various genres ranging historically from your background with fairy tales to the Golden Age of Children’s Literature to the most popular appearances of the young adult in literature and various other forms of media and video games today. We will tackle the question of how to hold onto what we loved about being young as we move into more mature landscapes. We will discuss fairy tales you know, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, Narnia, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, dystopian literature and media, and a number of other works of interest as we explore the transition from fantasy to cyberspace in the 21st century. This class is an Approved Arts & Humanities (AH) course that fulfills Volunteer Core Curriculum Requirements. The class has also been designated an EOC class or an Engaged Online Course.


Weekly Written Posts and Weekly Video Replies (60%); Final Paper (20%); Final Exam (20%) For your Weekly Written Posts and Weekly Video Replies (60%), beyond your weekly written posts about the reading and my lectures, together with your video replies to each other about these, this grade includes introductory videos you will post explaining who you are and what your interests are, video replies to these videos, written abstracts for your final projects, video replies to these written abstracts, drafts/brainstorming for your final projects, video replies to these drafts, as well as your Course Reflections.

ENGL 340 | Science Fiction Short Stories

Science Fiction and Fantasy

MWF 11:30-12:20 | Mary Papke

We will focus on the development of the science fiction short story from its beginnings with Hawthorne, Verne, and Wells and advance to works of the present day. We will pay especial attention to the cognitive estrangement for which these stories are famous and why such extrapolation matters to us as readers and critics.


Attendance and participation in class discussion, informal and formal writing assignments, two essay exams.

ENGL 341 | Imagining the Future

Religion and Spirituality in American Literature

TR 9:45-11:00 | Dawn Coleman

War, disease, climate catastrophe. Are we really in the darkest timeline? Americans have imagined much worse. This course focuses on diverse American fictions from 1945 to the present that draw on religious and spiritual traditions to imagine the future. Many of these fictions anticipate an ongoing or reimagined role for faith, despite—or because of—the apocalyptic devastation they envision. Authors studied include Ursula LeGuin, Walter Miller, Leslie Marmon Silko, Bernard Malamud, Octavia Butler, and Lydia Millet, considered with respect to relevant traditions such as Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Daoism, Native American storytelling, and secular spirituality.


Active class participation, a paired presentation, two take-home midterms, two 4- to 5-page essays, and a take-home final.

ENGL 351 | The Short Story

TR 11:20-12:35 | Doug McKinstry

The Short Story begins with discussion and examples of precursors to the short story such as myths, legends, fables, and parables, then moves to a generally chronological study of short stories from America, England, and numerous other nations. Lecture, discussion, group work, and brief written response will characterize class meetings, with occasional group viewing of excerpted film adaptations.


Attendance, quizzes, tests, two essays, a journal, a vocal/visual presentation.

ENGL 355 | Rhetoric and Writing

MWF 10:20-11:10, TR 9:45-11:00 | Robin Nicks

This course serves as an introduction to the rhetoric and writing concentration of the undergraduate major in English and covers both theory and practice, focusing on multiple modes and genres of writing. Students will learn rhetorical theory, discourse analysis, and social movement theory, among other theories and genres. The course requires extensive reading and writing, with review and revision at all stages of the writing process. This course meets the requirements for and is listed as a “WC” (communicating through writing; writing intensive) course.


Three major projects, presentations, daily responses

ENGL 355 | Rhetoric and Writing

MWF 12:40-1:30 | Hooman Saeli

This course provides students with a foundation in the theory of rhetoric and writing. Through readings, class discussions, and major writing projects, the course explores contemporary theories of rhetoric and their relationships to writing and, subsequently, develops students’ knowledge of rhetoric and writing skills. We will consider ways in which rhetorical situations contribute to strong, audience-focused, organized, and well-established arguments. Specifically, we will closely examine how writers construct their identities, engage audiences, and move readers to action through shared/conflict values. Major writing projects will involve students analyzing published writing from various critical perspectives as well as producing a variety of genres for rhetorical ends. To this end, students will be able to understand “the relationships between community expectations and the individual writer, … [the] community and individuality (Hyland, 2015, p. 33).


Attendance, HWs, individual projects, group projects, group presentations

ENGL 360 | Technical and Professional Writing

Online Asynchronous | Sally Harris

In this fully online, asynchronous class, students develop rhetorical strategies for clear communications and for working in teams remotely. They also hone critical thinking skills by analyzing the content, channels, genres, and audiences of their communications. Students complete seven projects, including genres such as process descriptions, application materials, proposals, and major reports. Additionally, they work in teams strengthening their online collaboration and document creation skills.


Quizzes; discussion posts; peer reviews; major assignments such as process descriptions, instructions, reports, and proposals

ENGL 360 | Digital Security, AI, and Nuclear Conflict

Technical and Professional Writing

TR 11:20-12:35 | Anne Snellen

Several hacks have occurred throughout the 12 Colonies. Though there is no proof, the Colonial Fleet worry these hacks may precipitate a larger event and ask, “have we adequately prepared for a full-scale Cylon attack?” To prepare, we must create appropriate technical documentation to guide the crew through the crisis. These documents might consist of memos, PSAs, instructions, manuals, proposals, descriptions, definitions, illustrations, and videos to disseminate information to the community. To aid in our research, we will study Battlestar Galactica as well as primary sources from Hersey’s Hiroshima, Terkel’s The Good War, and the Atomic Archive.


Semester-long project manual, smaller assignments developing memos, mission statements and logos, instructions, flow charts, infographics, and formal reports

ENGL 360 | Writing to the Public

Technical and Professional Writing

Online Asynchronous | Daniel Wallace

This is a great time to be sharing complex ideas with the public. Thanks to new tools that enable writers, organizations, and companies to communicate effectively with an engaged audience, it is possible to earn a living, make a difference, and find a community through serious writing. This course introduces you to the major forms of technical writing: the instructional guide, the complex essay, the proposal, and others. We will approach these forms as if we are each forming our own email newsletter or similar writing enterprise: you will finish the class with a portfolio of technical writing you can show to a future employer or use to begin your own independent venture.


Five major assignments, discussions, homework assignments, and a final exam.

ENGL 360 | Technical and Professional Writing

Online Asynchronous | Jeni Wallace

This course focuses on contemporary technical and professional writing projects. Technical writing is a burgeoning field, and there are an expanding variety of jobs and professional tasks that are looking for the digital writing skills we focus on in this course. In this course, we study writing for SEO optimization, writing for mobile first platforms, as well as detailed technical instructions and logical flow formats.


This course requires discussions, reflections, a website project, and SEO blog project, and an instruction manual project, as well as regular classwork/homework assignments and quizzes.

ENGL 360 | Legal Writing

MWF 1:50-2:40 | Marcel Brouwers

This course introduces students to fundamental document genres used by the legal community. Building on a review of American civics, precedents, and legal traditions, students will work with real and hypothetical cases to draft appropriate documents that require careful examination of the issues at play. This course gives undergraduate students interested in legal careers exposure to the kinds of writing law students will be interpreting and generating, including memos, briefs, and summaries.


Attendance, written legal documents, revision for portfolio.

ENGL 363 | Writing Poetry

TR 9:45-11:00 | Destiny Birdsong


ENGL 363 | Writing Poetry

MWF 11:30-12:20 | Iliana Rocha

This course provides a focused instruction to the joys and insights of poetry through an attentiveness to craft (tone, persona, voice, literal and figurative imagery, diction, poetic forms, style, symbolism, myth and archetype, allusion, sound). Specific aims of English 363 are, primarily, to increase the ways we can all become more curious and engaged readers of poetry; to inspire confidence as writers thinking through the work of both established poets and that of our peers; and to provide us with the vocabulary to respond critically to literary texts, as well as to our own poems. In exploring how contemporary poets are in conversation with voices from the past, we will learn that poetry, too, can be an instinctive response to the world.


Attendance, participation, community, chapbook.

ENGL 364 | Writing Fiction

TR 11:20-12:35 | Destiny Birdsong


ENGL 364 | Writing Fiction

TR 3:30-3:45 | Chris Hebert

This class is for students interested in taking creative writing seriously, even if they have little or no experience. We will study the craft of writing through the discussion of daily readings (mostly short stories from contemporary authors), through a variety of writing exercises, and through the composition of a full-length short story. These full-length stories will be shared with the class, discussed, and revised. The peer workshopping of student work allows for the introduction and sharpening of critical skills vital to the development of astute readers and writers.


Attendance, complete story, revision, exercises, responses, peer reviews.

ENGL 365 | Writing the Screenplay

MWF 12:40-1:30 | Jeff Amos

In this class, students will examine and practice the art of screenwriting. We will interrogate cinematic structure—what makes film a particular and unique medium, different from the short story or stage play—as well as the craft choices a screenwriter must make, including character development, tension, drama, and visual storytelling. Students will develop a foundational understanding of what makes a high quality screenplay, the craft elements used to create stories for film, and the materials to complete a feature-length screenplay of their own.


Attendance, reading/viewing responses, film treatments, and one act of a feature film script.

ENGL 365 | Writing the Screenplay

TR 11:20-12:35 | Chris Hebert

When it comes to movies, what dominates the headlines and the public imagination are the actors, the directors, the budgets and box-office earnings. Often lost in the visual spectacle of film is the fact that it begins with the written word. The characters, stories, and themes that loom so large on the screen first emerge on the page. But although it shares common roots with other written narrative forms—such as a fiction and playwriting—screenwriting is also unique, with its own distinct rules, challenges, and opportunities.

The goal of this class is twofold: first, to explore the structure and form of screenwriting through the reading and analysis of screenplays, both contemporary and classic. Then to turn that study into practice through a variety of exercises and through collaborative projects, which might include workshops, readings, and the group work of writers’ rooms. The major student project at the core of the class will be a treatment for a feature film with sample scenes. Previous coursework in creative writing and/or film is encouraged but not required.


Attendance, treatment, scenes, exercises, responses, peer reviews.

ENGL 369 | Writing Creative Nonfiction

TR 12:55-2:10 | Erin Smith

In this course, you will gain a greater understanding of the history and writing of creative nonfiction in multiple formats including the lyric essay, the hermit crab essay, and the memoir. You will learn more about not only how to write creative nonfiction, but how to revise and submit it for publication. This class will also work to promote a greater awareness of contemporary writers within the genre as well as the workings of the modern publishing industry for new writers.


Three essays, workshop attendance, final portfolio.

ENGL 372 | The Structure of Modern English

MWF 1:50-2:40 | Hooman Saeli

This course explores the complexities of contemporary English from a linguistic perspective. We will study how English works linguistically—from its phonology (system of sounds), the makeup of its words (morphology), to its syntax (grammatical structure), and how we use it in ongoing talk (discourse and pragmatics). We will cover how English varies, how it has changed, and how a linguistic understanding of English language makes us better consumers of the information in the world around us. At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the various levels of language structure as they are related to English
  • Solve phonology, morphology, and syntax problems using English-language data
  • Use your knowledge of English structure to critically evaluate English language variation
  • Apply understanding of English discourse strategies to your own and others’ discourse


Attendance, HWs, individual projects, group projects, group presentations.

ENGL 376 | Colloquium in Literature

TR 9:45-11:00 | Ben Lee

This course invites students to ask broad questions about literature while also thinking carefully about specific texts. What is literature? How and why do we read it? How have our assumptions about literature changed over time and as a function of the different methodologies through which we’ve approached it? We’ll grapple with such questions by working closely with individual texts (Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Wharton’s House of Mirth, Rankine’s Citizen, poems by Yeats, Dickinson, and Brooks) and familiarizing ourselves with five influential literary theoretical approaches: formalism, deconstruction, feminism, historicism, and psychoanalysis.


Regular attendance, three short essays, a final exam.

ENGL 404 | Shakespeare I: Early Plays

TR 2:30-3:45 | Anthony Welch

This survey of Shakespeare’s early plays explores the first half of his career, culminating in Hamlet. We will read six plays, including romantic comedies (such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream), histories (such as Henry V), and early tragedies (such as Titus Andronicus). Together we will trace Shakespeare’s evolution as a playwright over the first decade of his professional life, as he learned how to capture the human experience—love and heartbreak, cruelty and tenderness, joy and despair, revenge and forgiveness—in daring new ways. Along the way, you can expect to work closely with Shakespeare’s dramatic language, learn about Elizabethan acting and stagecraft, and get acquainted with the social world of early modern England. We will also sample a range of modern critical approaches to Shakespeare’s work, and we will glance at the plays’ rich performance history, both on the stage and on film.


Active participation, brief weekly reading responses, two critical essays, and one exam.

ENGL 405 | Shakespeare II: Later Plays

TR 11:20-12:35 | Anthony Welch

A survey of Shakespeare’s dramatic works after 1600, including the ‘problem comedy’ Measure for Measure, three great tragedies (Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth), and two enigmatic late romances (The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest). In our journey across the dark and beautiful landscape of these plays, we will explore some key concerns that preoccupied Shakespeare in his final decade as a dramatist, such as the tangled web of gender, race, and power; the joys and torments of sex, marriage, and generational change; and the meaning of human action under the sway of time and death. We will also study Shakespeare’s language and dramaturgy, situate his writing in the social world of early modern England, and see how his plays have been interpreted by generations of editors, performers, and literary critics.


Active participation, brief weekly reading responses, and three essays.

ENGL 422 | Virginia Woolf and Modern Fiction

Women Writers in Britain

TR 9:45-11:00 | Urmila Seshagiri

“What a lark! What a plunge!” thinks Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway on a June morning in London. This course takes students on a lark and a plunge through the extraordinary accomplishments of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), author, publisher, critic, diarist, arts patron, and center of modernist culture. We will study Woolf’s reinventions of the English novel in Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Flush, and The Waves. We will read her feminist manifesto A Room of One’s Own, as well as selected short stories and critical essays; we will end with her radical memoir, Sketch of the Past. Along the way, we’ll meet socially and artistically daring members of the Bloomsbury Group, confront the devastation of World War I, and trace developments in global modernism. We will consider Woolf’s international legacy in contemporary writing by Annie Ernaux (France), Arundhati Roy (India), J. M. Coetzee (South Africa), Alison Bechdel (United States), and Ian McEwan (England). Finally, we will see how Woolf shapes 21st-century film, dance, theater, opera, fashion, and photography.


Regular attendance, two essays, midterm, two reading journals, in-class group presentation.

ENGL 423 | Worlds of Empire

Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature

TR 12:55-2:10 | Urmila Seshagiri

When did the sun set on the British Empire? This course explores fiction, film, and other art-forms inspired by a century of colonization, decolonization, and globalization. We will begin with Joseph Conrad’s “terrifying and luminous” novel Heart of Darkness and end with contemporary fiction about a lightning-fast, interconnected planet. How did Great Britain justify its hold over non-Western peoples? How do formerly colonized nations negotiate the legacies of imperial rule? And how does literature shed light on our contemporary global moment? We’ll develop answers to these questions by reading an international range of stylistically diverse novels, novellas, and short stories by Chinua Achebe, J. M. Coetzee, Jamaica Kincaid, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mohsin Hamid, and Zadie Smith. We’ll also watch feature films such as Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala and Claire Denis’s Chocolat, and Bisha K. Ali’s 2022 television mini-series Ms. Marvel.


Regular homework, midterm, in-class group presentation, and one short (5-7 pp.) paper and one long (8-10 pp.) paper.

ENGL 424 | Jane Austen

TR 12:55-2:10 | Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud

In this class, we will read five of Jane Austen’s published novels and watch a couple of cinematic adaptations. We will discuss the life of Austen, her literary style and use of irony, the marriage plot, and the cultural and historical contexts in which she wrote, including the French Revolution and Britain’s war with France, the impact of the industrial revolution, issues of rank and class, gender and sexuality, the rise of political radicalism and conservatism, the Regency of the 1810s, and the literary emergence of Romanticism.


Two essays, weekly reading responses, a letterpress poster, and online reading quizzes.

ENGL 431 | Early American Literature NOW

Early American Literature

MWF 11:30-12:20 | Katy Chiles

This course examines texts from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century US by a fascinating configuration of writers, including Anglo Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans. The class will investigate how these writers presented different perspectives on some of the biggest historical events of early America, including the American Revolution and the founding of the US nation-state. We will also pay particular attention to slavery, settler colonialism, literacy, and sovereignty. We will simultaneously hold two temporal frames in mind: the past and the present. We will ask ourselves what did early American literature mean in the historical context of its production, and we will ask what does early American literature mean to us NOW?


Participation, brief presentation, papers, and a final project

ENGL 433 | American Realism and Naturalism

MWF 1:50-2:40 | Mary Papke

We will examine the development and varieties of regionalism and local color, realist, and naturalist fiction in American literature from the time of the Civil War to 1914.


Attendance and participation in class discussions, informal and formal writing assignments, essay exams.

ENGL 436 | Modern American Novel

TR 2:30-3:45 | La Vinia Jennings

English 436 provides a critical introduction to prominent, twentieth-century, American novels written between 1920 and 1980 and their defining socio-political themes and stylistic elements. The class will identify, compare and contrast the driving political, historical, cultural, and aesthetic forces at work in and between these selected works. Reading List: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway), Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston), The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck); Native Son (Richard Wright); and Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison).


Two research papers, frequent quizzes, limited absences, and consistent participation.

ENGL 439 | Gender and Sexuality in African American Cinema

Race and Ethnicity in American Cinema

MF 12:40-1:30, W 12:40-2:40 | Dionte Harris

This advanced seminar is dedicated to examining gender and sexuality in African American film. We will use film (and television) as our primary medium to focus in on debates in Black studies, women, gender, and sexuality studies, and film and cultural studies, outlining and probing the most generative currents of these schools of thought. We will consider how the filmmakers, producers, and artists studied employ race, gender, and sexuality as a medium for social critique and artistic innovation in the Black social imaginary.


Active attendance, quizzes, response posts, short presentation, analysis paper, research abstract, annotated bibliography, and research paper

ENGL 441 | Exploring Race and Region: Southern Literature

Southern Literature

MWF 10:20-11:10 | Bill Hardwig

The history of the US South and our thoughts about the region are inextricably linked to the nation’s traumatic racial history. We will explore this complex dynamic through the rich literature of the US South. Our readings will provide paths into the complicated landscapes of southern literature: agrarian ideas, racial debates, environmental disasters, regional mythologies, and social conversations. Along the way, we will discuss how we understand the idea of the South—past, present, and future.


Attendance, 2 papers, informal writing, 2 exams

ENGL 444 | Appalachia and the Environment

Appalachian Literature and Culture

MWF 12:40-1:30 | Bill Hardwig

In this class, we will investigate the complex history of the Appalachian region through the lens of ecocriticism and environmental concerns, especially the devastation caused in the region by extractive industries This class is interdisciplinary in design, and we will approach our topics by looking at literature, history, photography, music, and popular culture. Along the way, we will unearth the heterogeneity (of people, ethnicities, environments, and communities) in the region commonly known as Appalachia.


Attendance, two papers, quizzes, informal writing, 2 exams.

ENGL 453 | Contemporary Drama

9:45-11:00 TR | Stan Garner

How does the present imagine itself? What does it mean to be contemporary? This course will explore the principal movements, playwrights, and dramatic works that characterize American, British, and world drama since 1945. In addition to studying the range of styles and techniques that this drama presents, we will consider the following issues: absurdism and the crisis of meaning; gender, race, and sexuality; metatheater; drama and popular culture; theater and performance; postmodernism and the staging of history; globalism in the theater; reimagining “America”; drama on film.


Attendance, paper, drama resource portfolio, play blog, two exams.

ENGL 455 | Persuasive Writing

TR 11:20-12:35 | Lisa King

Every day we are inundated with multiple streams of information in countless forms: online news channels, newspapers, social networks, blogs, political satires and cartoons, advertisements, and much more. We navigate them constantly, but to what extent are we aware of how this information affects us? Given there is no “neutral” statement, how attentive are we to the way information is shaped as it is communicated? What functions as persuasion? This class is designed to prompt critical thinking and writing about how communication and persuasion are constructed, consciously and unconsciously, in public, academic, and personal contexts. Beginning with a review of rhetorical basics and then working through contemporary theories of persuasion, students will explore how those principles of persuasion function. Students’ work will involve tracking what and how local, state, and national issues are debated, analyzing persuasive strategies, and critically engaging in those debates themselves for a variety of audiences.


Required writing: 10 discussion posts, four formal writing projects, and construction of a digital media scrapbook

Required Text: Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein’s They Say, I Say, 5th ed. ISBN-13: 978-0393538700, ISBN-10: 0393538702

ENGL 456 | Cold War Fictions

Contemporary Fiction and Narrative

MWF 9:10-10:00 | Tom Haddox

In this course, we’ll read seven acclaimed novels written by American writers and published during the Cold War (1945-1989).  Although the Cold War itself will be the historical frame within which we consider these works, we’ll also consider how that frame affected and was affected by other significant social, political, and cultural developments, including struggles against racism and for women’s rights, the effects of the postwar economic boom, as well as changing understandings of national history and of the way individual American selves related to it.

Required Texts:

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood; Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Ursula K. LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven; Oscar Hijuelos, Our House in the Last World; Don DeLillo, White Noise; and Toni Morrison, Beloved.


Two papers, a midterm and a final exam, a few close reading exercises in a journal, active class participation.

ENGL 460 | Technical Editing in an AI World

Technical Editing

TR 9:45-11:00 | Sean Morey

The focus of English 460 is writing and editing for the world of work: government, industry, science, technology, and business. It offers theory, practice, and evaluation of editing skills, as well as orientation to careers and concerns in technical/professional communication. Though it focuses on the skills necessary to intelligently edit the text of documents, this course embraces a larger range of editing considerations, such as organization, layout, and visuals. For this semester, we will consider how generative AI affects the profession of technical editing and experiment with editing technical documents produced by gen-AI.


Two major editing projects, smaller scaffolded editing assignments, discussion posts, and attendance; a contract grading will be used for assessment.

ENGL 461 | Global Communication of Science and Technology

MWF 8:00-8:50 | Jamal-Jared Alexander

Given the global nature of contemporary workplaces, knowing how to communicate effectively with an international audience is even more important for technical & professional communicators. ENGL 461 explores the importance of cultural humility by learning the communication practices/customs of people from different cultures and countries. Students will learn how to communicate with high-context and low-context cultures and how media and marketing play a vital part in medical, business, and technical discourse. This course prepares students to make informed and effective decisions as technical communicators in a global work environment.


Attendance and (major) assignments

ENGL 463 | Pop! Culture! Poetics!

Advance Poetry Writing

MWF 12:40-1:30 | Iliana Rocha

A continuation of English 363, this course is an intensive practice in the craft of poetry and exploration of the imaginative process. Readings and assignments will investigate different impulses—formal, textual, tonal, thematic—in order to generate our own poetry, as well as ask us to develop a sense of poetics (why and how we write). We will also consider how contemporary poets, specifically, raise personal, communal, ethical, and political dilemmas. As an advanced poetry workshop and reading seminar, we will delve into these contentions while building and contributing to our literary communities. We will work in the spirit of a shared experiment, as the goal of this course is to launch from introductory groundwork into advanced risk-taking, with a focus on poetry featuring the electrically-charged aspects of pop culture.


Attendance, participation, community, chapbook

ENGL 464 | Advanced Fiction Writing

TR 4:05-5:20 | Michael Knight

This course is designed as a continuation of ENG 364. We will be focused on workshopping your original fiction with the goal of applying the lessons of craft learned in 364 and enhancing your knowledge of style and technique through the workshop experience. The idea here is to give you the kind of time and freedom to write whatever fires your imaginations (so long as it’s awesome) that I always wish someone would have given me when I was a student. I want you to make use of this semester to explore your talent, discover your power as a writer, pursue the kind of fiction that excites you most.


Two Workshop Submissions, Daily Written Responses

ENGL 469 | Advanced Creative Nonfiction

TR 2:30-3:45 | Margaret Dean

This course will explore the scope of contemporary creative nonfiction and support writers in the creation of a suite of essays or other major creative nonfiction project. Wide readings within the genre will give us a grounding and frame of reference; students will read contemporary essays, submit a substantial collection of work (including revision), and participate in workshops of student essays (including written feedback for each workshop). To some extent this course will build on the work of English 369 (Writing Creative Nonfiction), but 369 is not a prerequisite, and writers new to the genre are welcome.


Attendance, extensive writing assignments (including revision), written workshop notes

ENGL 474 | Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language

Online Asynchronous | Tanita Saenkhum

This course provides an introduction to some of the major basic theories, key concepts, and issues surrounding teaching English as a second/foreign language in different contexts and settings. We will consider various topics related to English language teaching, including first and second language acquisition, learner variables in language learning, and traditional and innovative approaches to language teaching. Through readings, class discussions, and assignments (e.g., teaching observation and teaching demonstration), students will be able to design English language lessons that address the learner needs and institutional context, among others. The course aims to develop students’ knowledge about English language teaching and to prepare them to work with linguistically and culturally diverse English language learners.


Weekly discussion posts, a teaching observation report, a teaching demonstration, and a final project.

ENGL 476 | Second Language Acquisition

ONLINE | Rima Elabdali

This fully asynchronous course, which is reading and discussion based, introduces students to the field of second language acquisition (SLA). The course provides students with a broad overview of theoretical underpinnings, empirical research base, and history of the field. Through readings, asynchronous discussions, and assignments, we explore cognitive, linguistic, sociocultural, and critical research perspectives. The main purpose of the course is to help students attain basic SLA literacy.


ENGL 480 | Fairy Tales

Fairy Tale, Legend, and Myth: Folk Narrative

Online Asynchronous | Amy Billone

In this fully asynchronous online class, we will study a wide range of early versions of fairy tales, legends and myths that span the globe, all of which are still immensely popular today. While we might associate stories like “Snow White,” “Pinocchio,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules,” “Mulan,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Rapunzel” with famous Disney movies, early versions of these tales were not originally aimed to be told to child audiences. We will ask the question of what makes fairy tales, legends and myths capable of transcending age in their expected audiences while also transcending time in terms of their popular appeal. Together we will look back on our own pasts to remember which fairy tales, legends and myths we knew when we were young and in which formats as we compare our past selves to our current selves, approaching the same stories with an effort to maintain the wonder we had while we were young while simultaneously understanding the complexity of an evolving global phenomenon.


Weekly Written Posts and Weekly Video Replies (50%); Trailer (15%); Final Paper (20%); Final Exam (15%)

ENGL 482 | James Joyce

Major Authors

MWF 11:30-12:20 | Lisi Schoenbach

This course surveys the career of James Joyce, one of the giants of twentieth century literature.  We will place his work in a variety of historical, cultural, and literary contexts, including the history of Ireland’s struggle for independence, the expatriate community in Paris at the turn of the century, debates over copyright and censorship, and modernism as a literary movement. The semester will begin with stories from Dubliners, followed by Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Finally we’ll read Ulysses, by many accounts the greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century. We will consider a few important contexts for these works by reading Richard Ellmann’s biography, excerpts from memoirs by Sylvia Beach and Gertrude Stein, and selections from Joyce’s literary influences, including Homer’s Odyssey. Requirements will include short writing assignments, cultural/historical presentations, and two formal essays.


ENGL 482 | Tolstoy and the Quest for the Good Life

Major Authors

TR 2:30-3:45 | Steven Blackwell

Taught in English, this course will cover Tolstoy’s two most famous novels, and a few other short excerpts. Tolstoy’s works explore every corner of everyday human psychology and everyday morality. He never stopped striving to figure out the best way to live, and that effort is visible in nearly every line he wrote.  Writing intensive course (WC). Humanities (AH) (VolCore).


ENGL 483 | Women’s Rights Movement in Am Lit

Special Topics in Literature

TR 12:55-2:10 | Dawn Coleman

In early America, women had virtually no economic, legal, or political power. Even white women, for all their racial privilege, were second-class citizens. How did this situation become unacceptable to Americans during the nearly 150 years between the nation’s founding and the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920? This course examines the role that literary texts played in unsettling Americans’ belief that women were naturally subordinate to men and that politics and society should reflect that fact. We will read diverse American writings published between 1820 and 1930, including speeches, manifestos, novels, poetry, and short stories, that participated, broadly speaking, in the women’s rights movement. Authors studied include Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Maria Child, Sojourner Truth, Emily Dickinson, Frances Harper, Lillie Devereux Blake, Henry James, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.


Active class participation, three take-home exams, and a 2500-word final research paper, plus several assignments leading up to it.

ENGL 484 | Playwriting

2nd Session

| Ian Kelly


ENGL 492 | Off-Campus Study: Drama in New York

March 8-16 | Misty Anderson

English 492/592 (Drama in New York) is an off-campus course that takes place over Spring Break, 9-17 March of 2023. There will be two pre-trip meetings and two post-trip meetings, but the class does not meet on a regular schedule. Instead, students meet regularly after the off-campus experience with the Professor to complete a 10-page research paper about some aspect of their NYC theater experience of interest to them.

During the eight nights in NYC, we will see seven shows representing the best New York theater has to offer at a variety of venues, on and off Broadway—including Suzan-Lori Park’s new Sally and Tom, the premiere of Brooklyn Laundry at the Manhattan Theatre Company, the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love, and more. 


Grants are available to cover the cost of tickets and accommodations for students with demonstrable need. Tuition costs, airfare, and meals are not covered. Grants applications are due November 15th, 2023.

ENGL 493 | Careers for English Majors

Online (1st Session) | Daniel Wallace

English majors bring strong writing, analytic, and communication skills to today’s job market. But translating what they studied in the English classroom into the language of careers and employment can be a tricky task. 

This fully-online, asynchronous 1-credit class will help students understand how to approach jobs in diverse fields, market their skills through compelling application materials, and learn how to take the initiative in their job-seeking and career development. The interactive course will include opportunities for feedback, questions, and discussion. At the end of the course, students will have prepared various materials for the job market (resume, job letters, narratives).

ENGL 495 | AI & the Future of Writing

Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition

TR 12:55-14:10 | Jeff Ringer

In AI and Writing, Professor Sid Dobrin observes that writing instruction has not changed much in recent decades, largely because it hasn’t needed to. He then suggests that everything changed with the arrival of ChatGPT in 2022. Given a technological advancement like generative AI, have writing and writing instruction changed forever? If so, how might we need to think about them differently? We’ll explore these questions by reading current scholarship about how generative AI is changing writing and writing instruction. We’ll also delve into related historical developments, such as the various literacy crises that changed views of writing; the role that technologies for writing have shaped writing instruction; and the emergence of the process movement, the social turn, and so on. Along the way, students will reflect on their own literate histories and experiences in relation to course readings and conduct research into some aspect of writing and writing instruction.


Major projects will include a literacy narrative and a research project. The course will also feature frequent reading, writing responses, and discussion.

Graduate Courses

ENGL 505 | Teaching First Year Composition

TR 2:30-3:45 | Lisa King

English 505, Teaching First Year Composition, provides students with a foundation in the theory and practice of teaching writing. The class will offer regular opportunities to engage with key scholarship about writing instruction and to participate in hands-on, problem-oriented learning. We will read widely about various aspects of writing pedagogy, grapple with ways to apply our knowledge in the classroom, and hone our abilities to investigate teaching challenges. Students will leave 505 with a general understanding of contemporary writing pedagogy and rhetorical theory, particularly as it applies to UTK’s first-year composition program. Students will also have the opportunity to craft their thinking about teaching writing into a teaching philosophy, a genre that benefits students on the job market.


Requirements include extensive reading and discussion, weekly responses or mini projects, a teaching philosophy, and a teaching portfolio.

ENGL 505 | Teaching First Year Composition

TR 9:45-11:00 | Jeff Ringer

English 505, Teaching First Year Composition, provides students with a foundation in the theory and practice of teaching writing. The class will offer regular opportunities to engage with key scholarship about writing instruction and to participate in hands-on, problem-oriented learning. We will read widely about various aspects of writing pedagogy, grapple with ways to apply our knowledge in the classroom, and hone our abilities to investigate teaching challenges. Students will leave 505 with a general understanding of contemporary writing pedagogy and rhetorical theory, particularly as it applies to UTK’s first-year composition program. Students will also have the opportunity to craft their thinking about teaching writing into a teaching philosophy, a genre that benefits students on the job market.


Requirements include extensive reading and discussion, weekly responses or mini projects, a teaching philosophy, and a teaching portfolio.

ENGL 507 | History and Theory of the Novel

Applied Criticism: The Rhetoric of Literary Forms

MW 11:20-12:35 | Tom Haddox

This course will do two complementary things. On the one hand, we’ll read five major novels that have been enormously influential in the history of the genre. On the other hand—and perhaps more importantly—we will read widely in the history and theory of the novel (and in narrative theory more generally), with a view toward understanding, applying, and perhaps revising this body of critical work. Both of these goals will be of particular benefit to students planning to take the PhD comprehensive exam in the Novel and to students interested in the implications of narrative theory for the craft of fiction. The five major novels we’ll read will be Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Our primary theoretical text will be Michael McKeon’s critical anthology Theory of the Novel: A Theoretical Approach; it will be supplemented by readings by other critics and theorists who might include Wayne Booth, Peter Brooks, Seymour Chatman, Leslie Fiedler, Suzanne Keen, Franco Moretti, Alex Woloch, and Lisa Zunshine.


Ungraded credo, active class participation, one exam, one position paper, final conference paper.

ENGL 514 | Journeying in Medieval English Literature and Culture

Readings in Medieval Literature

TR 11:20-12:35 | Mary Dzon

Focusing on the theme of journeying in a broad sense, students in this course will read several medieval literary texts and study related sources like maps and sacred images or relics from distant lands. We will consider why medieval English readers were so interested in texts that featured journeys within and beyond Europe, as well as trips to unknown realms that resisted description. Travel, quest, pilgrimage, spiritual progress, liminality and Otherness will be our main concerns.


Class participation, discussion board posts, a few class presentations, an annotated bibliography, and a term paper

ENGL 550 | The End(ing)s of Liberty: Ideas of Freedom in American Fiction, 1870-1930

Readings in American Literature

M 5:10-8:00 | Martin Griffin

As the critic J. Hillis Miller once noted, you rarely hear someone say “I really hated the middle of that novel!” Endings seem to be more highly charged, much more likely to attract and possibly disappoint audience investment. Sometimes an open or unpredictable conclusion can reveal, at least implicitly, a willingness to challenge reader expectations and thus emphasize the freedom of the author and the liberty of fictional creation. Conversely, a conventional finish to a more radical narrative can suggest a failure of artistic and sometimes even political nerve. In this course we will probe the way liberty seemed to be both closer and farther away, both a concrete life-experience and an easily manipulated slogan, during the half-century following the centenary year of 1876. Narrative closure in works of fiction not only implies particular attitudes toward struggles over Jim Crow, women’s suffrage, the rights of labor, or the transformation of the U.S. through immigration, but also registers the tensions within American literary culture itself as it fought for its place in the broader society. Several canonical figures including James, Wharton, and Toomer will be on the menu, but also less well-known fiction of that era such as Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896), Abraham Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky (1917), and Zitkála-Šá’s American Indian Stories (1921).


One or two in-class presentations, one short paper, and a research paper of 16-20 pages inclusive of notes and works cited.

ENGL 592 | Off-Campus Study: Drama in New York

March 8-16 | Misty Anderson

English 492/592 (Drama in New York) is an off-campus course that takes place over Spring Break, 9-17 March of 2023. There will be two pre-trip meetings and two post-trip meetings, but the class does not meet on a regular schedule. Instead, students meet regularly after the off-campus experience with the Professor to complete a 10-page research paper about some aspect of their NYC theater experience of interest to them.

During the eight nights in NYC, we will see seven shows representing the best New York theater has to offer at a variety of venues, on and off Broadway—including Suzan-Lori Park’s new Sally and Tom, the premiere of Brooklyn Laundry at the Manhattan Theatre Company, the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love, and more. 


Grants are available to cover the cost of tickets and accommodations for students with demonstrable need. Tuition costs, airfare, and meals are not covered.

ENGL 631 | Minding the English Renaissance

Studies in Renaissance Literature

TR 2:30-3:45 | Heather Hirschfeld

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, writes Helen Hackett, “had seen extensive discussions of the nature of the mind and how to manage its disorders” (The Elizabethan Mind, 3). Looking at a range of sources and genres, including philosophical and religious treatises as well as theories of the humoral body and its passions, this class will explore those discussions and their religious, scientific, and philosophical contexts. Our work will center on the representation of the “mind at work” on the early modern stage, as dramatists seized upon the resources of the theater to portray characters fascinated and tormented by their own and others’ inwardness. Critical readings will include seminal studies of early modern subjectivity as well as more recent criticism in cognitive literary studies.


Participation, two short papers, bibliography, final research paper.

ENGL 651 | Dickens and Eliot

Studies in Victorian Literature

MW 12:55-2:10 | Nancy Henry

This course will focus on two of the most important authors of the Victorian Period (1837-1901), Charles Dickens and George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). We will take a deep dive into their most influential novels, Great Expectations (1861) and Middlemarch (1871-2). We will examine a variety of historical and critical contexts, including biographical, political and economic writings of the period, as well as short fiction and journalism by both authors. By studying different critical approaches to these novels, we will also explore the history of literary criticism from contemporary reviews to more recent investigations of race, class, science, gender, sexuality, as well as post-colonial and ecocritical approaches.


A book review, oral presentation and a substantial research paper.

ENGL 680 | Medical Apartheid: Exploring the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine from the Margins

Advanced Studies in Rhetoric, Writing and Linguistics

MW 9:45-11:00 | Jamal-Jared Alexander

Students in ENGL 680 will investigate the rhetorical dimensions of health and medicine across race, public, institutional, and interactional settings. When thinking about the rhetoric of health and medicine (RHM) from the perspectives of marginalized communities throughout humanity’s existence, many topics come to mind. For example, (non)compliance, innovation and tradition, troubling traditions, life and death, folk medicine and Westernized medicine, technology, and medicine. RHM is an assembly of theoretical and methodological dispositions aimed at discovering what is going on when people act discursively on other people. ENGL 680 exposes students to the lived experiences of marginalized communities and their interaction with medicine. Moreover, this course helps students develop an increased awareness of cultural humility across four distinct areas: theory, history, criticism, and practice.


Attendance and major assignments.

ENGL 686 | Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction

Studies in Creative Writing

T 5:10-8:00 | Margaret Dean

This course will explore the range of the nascent big-tent genre known as creative nonfiction. We will visit some key moments in the evolution of the genre as well as catching up with contemporary practitioners. Generative exercises, including imitation exercises, will lead to full-length essays. Possible readings include Eula Biss, John D’Agata, Joan Didion, Leslie Jamison, Kiese Lemon, Norman Mailer, Bich Minh Nguyen, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Gay Talese, David Foster Wallace, Esmé Weijun Wang, Jesmyn Ward, and Richard Wright. Students will write multiple exercises and one full-length essay or its equivalent; workshopping student essays will take about half of our class time. By permission of the instructor only; newcomers to creative nonfiction are welcome.


Attendance, exercises, reading responses, full essay, workshop participation and responses.

ENGL 686 | Studies in Creative Writing

F 12:40-3:50 | Cornelius Eady


ENGL 690 | Creative Entanglements: Narrative Expertise in a Time of Interdisciplinarity

TR 2:30-3:45 | Amy Elias

What can literary study possibly have in common with physics research? How can a literary critic build something with an electrical engineer or an astronaut? What might architecture and literary criticism have to say to one another? In what way is narrative congruent with data science? This course investigates what expertise in narrative might mean in cross-disciplinary collaborations, and how narrative is fundamental to, or enters into dialogue with, other fields while remaining true to itself. Readings will be centered in narrative studies and narratologies, but will include theory and criticism concerning “two cultures” philosophies and cultural studies as well as readings in literature, including speculative fiction and nonfiction. The course may feature talks by faculty in other disciplines who cross disciplinary boundaries in creative and wondrous ways–including a visiting Fulbright scholar whose expertise is “The Literary in Life.” We will work to investigate how a return to expertise in narrative form opens new possibilities for how narrative engages with others outside the disciplinary boundaries of “literary studies.


Short response papers, attendance at campus talks, course project with presentation.