A degree in English prepares students to be skilled communicators who can analyze a range of situations, problems, and texts, and offer creative interpretations and solutions. By emphasizing transferable skills, it readies them to adapt to multiple professional contexts and to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. Students have a variety of course offerings from which to choose. The flexible curriculum includes opportunities for studying diverse literatures; professional, creative, and scholarly writing; literary theory; and the development of the English language. In addition to traditional coursework, students are encouraged to incorporate an independent study, internship, or study abroad experience in Ireland or London into their program. As the home of the national literary arts magazine Freshwater Review, the department also provides opportunities for students to learn magazine production and gain valuable editing experience.
The English Department offers these programs:
A B.A. in English with Middle and Secondary Education is also available.
Helps students build rhetorical knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and practice writing processes. By doing so, students gain transferable knowledge and skills that they can apply to a wide range of fields, disciplines, and writing situations. Students can expect to practice some of the types of writing that they may encounter in their college careers, such as summaries, analysis papers, academic arguments, reviews, critiques, and papers built on research. ENG 1110 serves as a foundation for future writing practice within specific disciplines, where students will encounter different tasks, audiences, and purposes under the guidance of faculty from across the college.
This seminar offers prospective or recently declared English majors and minors a singular opportunity for discussion with like-minded students. In this required, foundational course, you will be introduced to the skills that characterize literary studies: rigorous close reading of texts in different genres, a critical vocabulary for further work in the field, and familiarity with the major theoretical approaches to literature (New Historicist, feminist, and deconstructivist, for example) as well as the development of their practical applications. You will also learn and employ basic literary research tools. The English Department recommends that you enroll in this required gateway course as a freshman or sophomore. (Please note that this course does not fulfill any of the General Education Pathways.)
Explores theory and practice of research skills in preparation for writing an article-length essay, report, review of literature, literary or cultural critique, memoir, etc. Focus on developing a proposal, producing a working bibliography, developing an outline or focus statement, writing drafts, and using discipline-specific formats as appropriate. Excellent preparation for McNair students and liberal arts majors intending to pursue graduate school as well as others interested in investigative writing.
Organized chronologically as a survey of 20th and 21st century Native American Literature. Classes focus on the historical, political, and social conditions that produce and shape Native American literature and examines how that literature fits into the canon of American literature.
Organized chronologically as a survey of 19th, 20th, and 21st century African American literature. Classes focus on the historical, political, and social conditions that produce and shape African American literature and examines how that literature fits into the canon of American literature.
Organized chronologically as survey of 19th, 20th, and 21st century Chicana/o literature. Classes focus on the historical, political, and social conditions that produce and shape Mexican American literature and examines how that literature fits into the canon of American literature.
Explores the study of medieval and Renaissance texts in their historical, cultural, and literary contexts. The course examines various genres and subjects in an effort to understand what texts from a distant past reveal about their own cultures and how they might speak to a 21st century audience. Texts are selected from a range of cultures, such as medieval and Renaissance France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, and Wales, as well as Arabia and the Jewish Diaspora.
Examines fiction and poetry by women writers paired with their nonfiction prose about the writing process and the place of art in their lives and communities. This course focuses on close reading and analysis of literature by a diverse list of women writing in English and pays particular attention to the writers' responses to the social, economic, and political contexts in which they worked.
Examines selected readings from the 20th and 21st centuries. Students in ENG 2260 Contemporary Movements in American Poetry will find a foothold in the vast and varying landscape of American poetry. Attention is given to the evolution of the art form over the last 100 years via focus on specific literary movements within poetry. As students come to a better understanding of each movement and the poets who work within them, they will also come to some better understanding of what makes a poem a poem.
Studies selected genres such as the Bible, fantasy literature, science fiction, murder mysteries, and the Gothic novel.
Engages with literary and dramatic descriptions and representations of magic and demonology from early modern literature and drama to the present day “Harry Potter” phenomenon.
In this hands-on, experiential lab, after soliciting & acquiring work from artists across the world, we will edit, copyedit, design, typeset, proofread, print, publicize, & distribute a new edition of the Freshwater Review, the College’s annual journal of literature and art: http://www.css.edu/academics/school-of-arts-and-letters/undergraduate-areas-of-study/english/the-freshwater-review.html
Surveys literature of the British Romantic period from 1785-1832. Students practice close reading, critical thinking, and expository writing as they read and analyze a range of representative works. Political writing and memoir supplement examination of the defining poetry of the era. Issues include debates about religious and political freedom; perceptions of nature and environment; social transformations for men, women, and families; abolitionism, rights, and citizenship; colonialism; and imperial activity.
The Irish have long been noted for their verbal skills as storytellers and poets. In this course, we shall analyze and discuss a variety of Irish poetry and drama, concentrating on modern and contemporary authors. In particular, we shall discuss the literature within its nationalistic, historical, literary and cultural contexts. Further, we shall also be able to examine some literature, where appropriate, in its geographical context. Poets and playwrights include, among others, Swift, Synge, Yeats, O’Casey, Keane, Boland, Heaney, Friel
Examines selected readings in English language poetry of the nineteenth century. Focus on understanding and analysis of poems through writing and discussion emphasizing the transformative social upheavals, literary movements, poetic practices, and technological developments of the period.
A course in literature and narrative medicine. If we know that trauma cannot be told without a witness who encourages the tale by offering words and gestures of sympathy, we also know that to bear witness to trauma is to share its burden. Disciplined objectivity and reducing the patient to his illness have traditionally protected clinicians in the health care fields from experiencing the trauma of “caring too much” for their patients. But practitioners in the Health Humanities argue for the recovery of humanity in health care. They argue that encouraging the stories of both patients and family members invites all sufferers to find meaning in their pain, and to work towards emotional, if not always physical, healing. The field of Health Humanities positions the literature classroom – with its emphasis upon close reading, attention to semiotics, analysis of gesture, the mending of fractured narratives, and the adoption of alien points of view – as a safe place to learn to listen to trauma. And, while reading literature enables students to practice authentic listening, reflective writing shared in groups enables students to make meaning from their own trauma and to begin this rich process of storytelling. In this course we will closely read and analyze the narratives of wounded patients, healers, and family witnesses while we write and share our own.
Explores the reading of appropriate fiction and writing of short weekly pieces and a final short story. The class includes presentations on technique. Students need not be English majors. Work from this class is often published in the St. Scholastica literary journal, Out of Words.
Explores the reading and discussion of poetry to learn technique from published poets. A final portfolio of poetry required which will include students' choice of their best work. Students need not be English majors. Work from class is often published in the St. Scholastica literary journal, Out of Words.
Chronological survey of the development of the American short story as well as a survey of selected short story theory and criticism. Students will read stories by a variety of American short story writers, beginning in the 19th century and continuing into the present. Discussion will focus on themes, the contexts in which the stories were written, and story structure.
Organized as a survey of poetry from four different Ethnic American traditions. Lessons focus on poetic forms; literary techniques; and the historical, cultural, and political conditions that produce and shape contemporary Ethnic American poetry.
Exploring English literary works that either reflect, or culturally impacted, the politically volatile years of the sixteenth century, “Brexit Sixteenth-Century Style” analyzes the literary significance of Henry VIII’s own version of Brexit, which led to his nation’s break from Rome. Focusing on the most important texts that demonstrate the political and religious turmoil of the period, students discover and analyze the varied voices of dissent or agreement, while considering the division that inevitably followed this seismic shift in national religious identity. At all times, the power of English literature to persuade, cajole, or subvert will be foremost in our minds. Likewise, consideration of the social and political implication of sixteenth-century literary endeavor will ensure a contextual appreciation for the social justice implications of this period’s Brexit changes, while offering moments of reflection on similar populist and nationalist movements in the twenty-first century. "What," we will ask, "can sixteenth-century literature tell us about our own lives and how to live according to those values we hold dear?"
Survey of major historical developments in theatre from the birth of theatre performance in ancient Greece through Roman theatre to medieval liturgical drama. The course concludes with Elizabethan theatre and includes study of technical developments as well as historical contexts. Classes focus on production as well as the literary perspective.
Survey of major historical developments in theatre from the Restoration through the 20th century. The readings focus on the change in realism with the influence of psychoanalysis, absurdist, surrealism and ethnic theatre. Literary and historical components of the plays are addressed. Classes focus on production as well as the literary perspective.
Explores the dramatic output of playwrights during the socially distinctive reign of King James I, hence the period’s designation, Jacobean. This course will provide an in-depth examination of non-Shakespearean theatrical production in the seventeenth century, thus bridging the divide between studies of Shakespeare, later Restoration drama, and beyond.
Discovering the significance of the seventeenth-century’s greatest Puritan writer, John Milton, while situating his poetic and polemic literary endeavors in the contexts of their time, students of “War and Paradise Lost” will study a wealth of material related to the tumultuous years that led to the beheading of King Charles I. Close reading of literature produced by protagonists from both sides of a bloody civil conflict allows us to consider the social justice implications of written communication as a weapon of war and peace, and as oppression of minority voices, especially women. Turbulent times that are mirrored in the divisiveness of today’s social and political upheavals offer insight into the power of English literature to inspire, persuade, and ultimately lead a nation down a path of self-destruction through religious dissent.
Surveying British literature from the beginning until 1500, Pre-Modern British Literature includes a range of narrative, lyric, and dramatic texts. Introduces early stages of language (English, French, Irish, Latin, Welsh, Norse), with attention to late Middle English. Examines literature within literary, linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts.
Examines literary texts that engage the problem of embodiment and the proliferation and representation of diverse bodies during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). This course focuses on close reading and analysis of literature alongside some of the cultural, political, scientific, and theological texts whose discourses shaped and classified Victorian bodies.
Emphasizes the writing process as appropriate to the management situation. Students complete a series of writing assignments including letters, memos, proposals, problem-solving reports, informational reports and group writing projects. The emphasis is on audience adaptation, clarity of purpose, adequacy of support and correct format. Students will be introduced to writing for the electronic media. Students must be juniors and have some professional experience before enrolling.
Studies focused on, for example, marriage in women’s fiction, mother-daughter literature, or Asian-American women writers.
Investigates the novel in the 19th century, with a focus on identity and social environment. The course emphasizes analysis and discussion of noteworthy novels, and includes readings on theories of place and the history of the novel in English.
Analyses and discusses Irish literature and its cultural and nationalistic context. The course begins with mythology, folk tales and epic, then examines their transformations in the writings of Yeats, Joyce, Synge, Heaney, Boland, etc. Attention is paid to thematic and linguistic manifestations of "Irishness" and their subversion.
Rhetorical theory situated in the modern and contemporary; provides brief foundation of classical rhetoric texts. Emphasis on Black, Indigenous, women, queer, and PoC who have contributed to rhetorical theory. Study of writing, speeches, and digital media to understand how power and knowledge produce or challenge ideology in given spheres.
Rhetorics of Health and Medicine is an interdisciplinary field concerning communication in healthcare. In particular, it attends to how language and symbols are used in medicine, nursing, communities, and public health. It can include patient-provider communication, pharmaceutical advertising, and health literacy. In this course, we pay particular attention to reproductive justice, women’s health, and disability, as well as how racism, transphobia, and homophobia manifest in health communication.
Investigates literature and letters of the English-speaking colonies of North America, with connections to the Revolutionary period and the literature of the early republic. Explores writers' responses to the political, social and literary concerns of the period, with attention to issues of form. Readings and discussions focus on works that flout restrictions, exceed received ideas, and upset social norms. Topics addressed include political revolutions, piracy, the supernatural, criminality, and gender variance. The course promotes analysis of writing from multiple genres and modes, and may include secondary readings on history, culture, and theories of literature.
Combines a spring-semester course on campus with a study abroad experience in London, England during May. Students will experience the city after encountering it in fiction and will see performances at multiple venues, visit literary sites and museums, and tour the rebuilt Globe Theatre. This course exposes students to the social and cultural landscapes of London as they intersect with literary and performance texts. Offered every other spring semester. Application required.
Professional editing for technical communication including copyediting, comprehensive editing, proofreading, and document design. Collaborative, team-based technical editing including print and digital-based media. This is a social-justice driven technical communication course and students can expect to collaborate with an outside organization.
Considering the importance of Shakespeare as a tool for advancing social justice in contemporary society, this course approaches five Shakespeare plays as literary and performance constructs. Students interrogate the social justice implications of Shakespeare’s plays, including intolerance and gender violence, food poverty and land justice, racial tension, and, most specifically, the ever-increasing prison population. Equity, diversity, and inclusion on a local/global scale informs the analysis of Shakespeare, not as a long-dead white male, but as an educational tool for empowering the powerless in the USA, and beyond.
Studies one English or American writer, with special focus on the writer's important works and the cultural, historical and literary contexts. Offerings may include, but are not limited to, Geoffrey Chaucer, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence and William Faulkner.
Engaging ways in which language can be used to explore the natural world and humankind’s place within it, Writing Nature takes a seminar approach to analyzing and producing writing that centers on natural and built environments. Emphasis is on reading nature writing, practicing nature writing from field notes to polished essays, and adapting discourse for various audiences and purposes with attention to issues of the environment and sustainability.
Introduces literary theory, ancient to post-modern. The course surveys major theoretical trends in the West from classical, medieval, modern, and post-modern periods. Students will also articulate and examine critically their own theoretical assumptions about literature and literary study. Junior or senior standing or instructor permission required.
Introduces the history of the English language, theories of grammar and major topics in linguistics. Class discussions will focus on a variety of questions: how language got started, what it is, where English comes from, how English has changed, the extent to which there is such a thing as correct English, what dialects are and how they are significant, how words and their semantic values change, what the major approaches to grammar are, how people learn language, how the mind processes language, how linguistics can help teachers and how systems of writing arose and developed.
Provides students with an integrated approach to the teaching of reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing skills in both middle level and high school settings. Topics include: teaching strategies that address the stages of the reading process and the writing process; teaching strategies that help students interpret and evaluate texts in a variety of ways; assessment; technology integration; selection of middle school and high school texts; lesson design and presentation; membership in professional organizations.
Conducted in a professional setting related to the student's field of interest. The student is supervised by a site supervisor. Performance evaluation will be completed by the site supervisor, an English instructor, and the student. Instructor permission required.
Explores advanced English study in an area of special interest to the student. The work must be conducted under faculty direction and receive departmental approval.
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Courses
Study of medieval and Renaissance texts in their historical, cultural, and literary contexts. The course examines various genres and subjects in an effort to understand what texts from a distant past reveal about their own cultures and how they might speak to a 21stcentury audience. Texts are selected from a range of cultures, such as medieval and Renaissance France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, and Wales, as well as Arabia and the Jewish Diaspora.
This course explores the history and theology of pilgrimage and may include a 100 kilometer hiking pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, or a 100 kilometer pilgrimage from London to Canterbury; pilgrimages to Rome or Jerusalem are also possible.
Medieval and Renaissance Studies courses offered on special topics. Each course taught under "Topics" will also have a specific course title listed on the schedule and transcripts.