The Department of English and Communication prepares students to be skilled communicators who can navigate any rhetorical situation and offer creative and compelling responses. Through the study of literature, creative or professional writing, social media, mass-mediated messages, or interpersonal conversations, students will gain valuable skills for a wide range of professions. Our programs offer flexible majors and minors that can be easily paired with other majors across the College. Internships and study abroad experiences can be used toward the majors or minors as well. By emphasizing transferable skills, our programs ready students to adapt throughout their careers and meet the needs of an ever-changing world.
Text, lecture, discussion and laboratory exercises emphasizing relationships, the self, perception, verbal communication, assertiveness and listening skills, nonverbal communication and conflict management.
Introduces black and white photography: basic camera operation, film and print development, exposure and photo history and aesthetics. Students will also learn about photojournalism and digital photography. A 35 mm manual camera is required. Film and paper must be purchased by the student.
Analyzes the relationship between media and society through the interaction of technology, business, audiences, culture and government. Through lecture, discussion, field trips and other in-class activities, the course reviews the history and theories of mass communication as they relate to specific media.
Topics in Communication and Media Studies.
Studies the elements that make compelling presentations and provides space for students to practice. This course will examine leaders, celebrities, media and political figures to get to the root of what makes a presentation effective. Students focus on the visual, vocal, and verbal components of preparation and delivery related to informative and persuasive speeches.
Traces the evolution of nonfiction (documentary) and fiction film forms from 1895 to the present; summarizes research describing persuasive effects by means of lectures, screenings, assigned readings and oral presentations.
Explores the zone system for 35mm and various black and white print and film processes including infrared and kodalith stocks, print toning and other special effects. Students will also work with studio lighting, view cameras and become familiar with both fine art and commercial studio photography aesthetics and practices.
Introduces students to the fundamentals of media writing, as well as to increase students’ knowledge of local, national, and international current events. The emphasis of this course is placed upon writing in a variety of formats under deadline. Specific attention is focused on print news reports, feature stories, media reviews, radio newscasts, press releases, advertising copy, and lateral reporting for the Web.
A genre is a category. To define a genre is to identify a constellation of elements that when brought together in a certain way create a unique entity. This course will examine a specific film genre to identify its organizing principle.
Text, lecture, discussion and laboratory exercises emphasizing relationships, the self, perception, verbal communication, assertiveness and listening skills, nonverbal communication and conflict management.
Employs lectures, documentaries, assigned readings, role playing and research to understand the cultural forces that determine communication behaviors. The course prepares the student to enter another specific culture and communicate more effectively.
World Cinema examines a wide variety of artistically acclaimed non-Hollywood films from around the world both through stylistic and cultural analysis. We will engage films in this course by situating them within particular artistic film movements and unique socio-historical contexts. We will examine the collaboration and collisions of art and politics through both classic and contemporary films. Movies will be screened in their native languages with English subtitles. Films will be viewed through the critical lens provided by interactive lecture/discussions, screenings, written work, and assigned readings.
Introduces digital image making. Students work with digital SLR cameras and the latest photographic software to produce an entirely digital portfolio. Composition and visual aesthetics are emphasized. Digital SLR cameras are provided by the school.
Introduces the basic concepts of postmodern media production and networking with an emphasis on creative digital media. The course provides an examination of past, present, and future trends in media production and the development of a postmodern digital media workflow. The latest trends and debates in the field of digital media are explored, including social networking and the latest methods of generating, editing, and syndicating various digital media (text, audio, video, and photo). Other topics include digital radio, iPods and podcasting, the growth of Google and YouTube, social network syndication, cable and Internet advertising. Students develop a working knowledge of practical principles that will be useful for a career in the electronic media, with an emphasis on creating new digital media content in a studio lab environment.
Introduces students to mass-mediated representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. We survey historically and/or culturally significant artifacts in this course in order to interpret evolving representations.
Addresses special topics as student interest and faculty expertise warrant.
Introduces students to media theory and research. The course engages students in the processes of thinking theoretically and researching effectively. The course introduces research tools associated with both the humanities and social sciences.
Beauty and Death surveys different aesthetic theories of the sublime throughout the history of philosophy. Sublime experiences, whether found in nature or art are traditionally considered the most intense of all possible aesthetic feelings. Whereas beauty promotes notions of formal unity harmonizing within limits, the sublime contemplates chaos, death, and feelings that overwhelm the human imagination. The resulting affect has been at times called a feeling of 'negative pleasure' where feelings of beauty and horror become inextricably entangled. As an aesthetic concept the sublime has changed drastically in meaning from classical Greek thought to Enlightenment philosophy and its contemporary rebirth in postmodern aesthetics. However, what all these theories have in common is a focused attention placed on the problem of contemplating the unknown. Thus, in relation to art, nature, and perception the primary aesthetic question of the sublime is deeply involved with dilemma of how to 'present the unpresentable.' Readings of primary texts will be supplemented by illustrative paintings, music, poetry, fiction, secondary literature, and weekly screenings of films that both correspond and clarify each week's readings.
Explores communication processes within the context of the small group, emphasizing interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, leadership, and participant functions.
Film Topics engages a changing variety of advanced issues of cinematic representation and genre discussion in Film Studies at an Upper Division level with a Writing Intensive focus. Topics change annually, but course requirements remain the same. Readings are advanced and students write about films, meetings, proposals, draft revisions and an in-class writing workshop. The goal is to engage advanced topics in Film Studies through writings and discussions linking film form and content. The ethics of representation is a key focus of discussion along with formal analysis of ‘how’ identities are aesthetically represented.
Emphasizes the principles and practices of photography for newspaper and magazine publication. Composition, newsworthiness, impact, as well as camera handling, exposure, lighting, darkroom techniques and digital photography will be covered.
Studies color photographic aesthetics and theory; these principles are then applied to the practice and technique of landscape photography. Digital SLR cameras are required and are provided by the school.
Examines the elements of persuasive speaking and argumentation. Begins with persuasive presentations and progresses to the formal study of argumentation framed by the Toulmin model of reasoning. Using this model, students will study the four primary types of warrants and the four primary types of argumentative claims. The class concludes with the argument of cases.
Research, writing and production of video and audio news stories, mini-documentaries, commercials and features. Lab assignments include location recording of actual events and studio production experiences for both video and audio. An introduction to video and audio editing.
Addresses special topics as student interest and faculty expertise warrant.
Explores the design principles that characterize successful Web sites and use modern tools for creating Web sites. Design issues will include the differences between print and electronic media, working within the limits of the technology, and how the user's contexts and goals affect Web design. Web sites will be critiqued from both an aesthetic and functional standpoint and students will be required to design and build fully functional Web sites.
Learning advanced reporting techniques, news judgment and news gathering skills for feature writing, column writing and editorial writing in print and online media. The course includes researching, interviewing, developing sources for various stories, as well as the principles and practices of editorial decision-making from copyediting to layout. Includes the skills to use social networking and online publishing as a journalistic tool.
Studies the life, significant work, and unique artistic choices made by different historically significant film directors. The directors studied can be considered auteurs insofar as they establish consistent artistic signatures as authors of films while successfully working within the restrictions of the film industry.
Applies a variety of critical-theoretical perspectives to consider issues of media production, texts and audiences.
Studies first Amendment rights, government regulation, Supreme Court decisions and ethical standards and conflicts are analyzed. Case studies address libel, privacy, regulation, and ethical issues.
Compares written and cinematic texts. A variety of film theories will be discussed in conjunction with image creation. Narrative issues - theme, style and characterization - will also be covered. This course can only be accounted to one Veritas area.
Explores late 19th and early 20th century printing techniques as alternatives to modern photo methods. Students use the sun as a light source to print cyanotypes (blue prints), van dyke (brown prints) and gum bichromate images. Modern techniques such as infrared photography are also included.
Deals with the wide variety of persuasion theories focusing on the study of attitude change. We will focus on the social scientific approach to Persuasion.
Done in a professional business setting or other appropriate setting related to the student's field of interest. The student is supervised by a site supervisor. Evaluation of performance will be completed by the site supervisor, internship advisor and student. Students may obtain additional information about internships from the CME chair.
Special topics are addressed as student and faculty involvement warrant.
Individual research or production projects are chosen by the student and approved by instructor. May be taken twice for credit, each time in a different area. Pre-requisite: At least one academic or production course in chosen area.
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.
Framed by the question of why reading matters, this course explores the history of recent book bans and challenges—documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries—and the related histories of censorship and debates about age-appropriateness. We will focus on close reading and analysis of at least three novels that have been frequently challenged since the end of the 20th century; the specific requests or legal actions taken against them; the political, social, and cultural contexts of those actions; and the implications for both individual readers and the common good. The reading list may also include children’s or young adult fiction. Students will choose an additional text that has been recently challenged for the focus of their final project.
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.
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.