Undergraduate Courses: Fall 2011

English 192: Freshman Seminar

Feminist Writing
Jane Gallop
Section 4 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 pm

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to feminist writing about literature, to familiarize students with the practice of “close reading,” and to work on students’ own academic writing.

English 192: Freshman Seminar

Southeast Asian American Life Stories
Mary Louise Buley-Meissner
Section 12 | TR 12:30 – 1:45 pm
Section 19 | TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

English 192: Freshman Seminar

Traditional Stories
Jacqueline Stuhmiller
Section 18 | TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Traditional stories can take many forms: myth, legend, folktale, fable, and parable, just to name some of the most well-known. Such stories typically have no set form and change depending on who’s telling them and who’s listening. Traditional stories tend to be populated by “flat” characters and recounted in highly formulaic language; they may or may not have clear “morals” or messages. To most Americans, such stories seem only appropriate for children, but in fact traditional stories are neither simple nor childish, and they are typically more difficult to understand than most contemporary literature.

Please note that some of reading for this class will contain strong sexual content, and that we will be analyzing several Biblical texts from a literary perspective.

Readings will include: Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron; Ovid, Metamorphoses; excerpts from the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament; Maria Tatar, The Classic Fairy Tales; Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing Hitchhiker.

English 205: Business Writing

Business Writing is an introductory course designed to help students develop and refine their writing skills. In this class, students will learn to communicate more effectively in business environments. The three main goals for Business Writing are:

  • Develop workplace writing based on knowing the purpose and understanding the audience
  • Acquaint students with workplace writing situations and tasks related to audiences with whom they will communicate in a business/working environment
  • Introduce students to the most appropriate writing styles for different work-related situations that they may encounter

English 206: Technical Writing

Sonia Khatchadourian
Section 1 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 pm

Technical Writing prepares students to be effective communicators, particularly effective writers, in technical professions. Students will develop workplace writing skills and apply the technical and rhetorical principles that are the foundation of workplace writing. The course will introduce students to some of the basic issues, elements, and genres of technical writing including:

  • Writing for various audiences and purposes
  • Addressing social issues related to writing, such as ethics and gender
  • Defining, analyzing, and attempting to resolve workplace writing problems
  • Conducting primary and secondary research for writing
  • Writing collaboratively
  • Developing an effective professional tone and style
  • Incorporating effective visual elements into document design
  • Writing various technical documents (e.g., descriptions, proposals, instructions, and reports)

English 207: Health and Science Writing

Nancy Walczyk
Section 1 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 pm

Health Science Writing is directed at students enrolled in nursing, pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, occupational therapy, speech, and allied health fields. The goal of the course is to teach students how to communicate clearly and effectively and to prevent misunderstandings that can interfere with good client or patient care. It also covers the basics of writing—such as letters, memos, and reports—that all professionals should know. Assignments may include writing instructions, policy & procedures statements, protocols, letters, memos, reports, patient information brochures, a literature review, a bibliography based upon medical databases, and one argumentative research paper on a current health issue.

English 212: Grammar and Usage

Laura Ambrose
Section 1 | MW 4:00 – 5:15 pm
Section 2 | TR 2:00 – 3:15 pm

Precise, powerful, and sophisticated writing starts with clear, well-constructed sentences. This course is an in-depth study of these fundamental building blocks of English. Not only will we develop a vocabulary of basic grammatical terms and concepts for understanding the structure of the language, but we will also explore how this knowledge can be leveraged to create and edit texts more effectively.

FilmStd 212: Intermediate Topics in Film Studies

Genres of Romance Across Media
Katie Morrissey
Section 2 | MW 9:00 – 10:50 am

Historical and contemporary, chick-lit and chick flicks, vampires and Prada… This class is about falling in love and guilty pleasures. Over the course of the semester we will explore a wide variety texts representing many different popular romance genres. If genre is a space where we work through different social and cultural ideas, what issues do genres of romance raise? What social conflicts do they seek to resolve? How do these stories represent desire, love, partnership, gender and sexuality? This course will take up these questions by examining what romance looks like in print, in film, on the television screen and, most importantly, by taking “bad romances” very seriously.

English 235: Writing Poetry: Forms, Styles, Voices

Susan Firer
Section 1 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 pm

Course Objectives: To introduce you to some basic structures and techniques through the analysis of a wide range of poetry. In combination with your reading and discussion, you will also implement what you have learned by writing a ten page manuscript which is tied to the poetry studied in class for structure and technique.

English 236: Introduction to Special Topics in Creative Writing

The Graphic Novel
Melissa Morrow
Section 2 | TR 3:30 – 4:45 pm

This course is designed to introduce students to the world of comics and graphic novels. Students will read a variety of comics and graphic novels, and will have the opportunity to develop their own comic panels and scripts as part of the course’s final project. Students will analyze and discuss comics and graphics novels as they relate to history, culture, identity, society, genre, medium, technology, and production/production values. Primary texts include: The Arrival (Shaun Tan), “A Contract with God” (Will Eisner), The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (Art Spiegelman), Palestine (Joe Sacco and Edward Said), Incognegro (Mat Johnson), Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman), Blankets (Craig Thompson), Batman: The Long Halloween (Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale), and Watchmen (Alan Moore).

English 240: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

Refugee Narratives & Rhetorics of Global Mobility
Michael MacDonald
Section 1 | MW 9:30 – 10:450 am

This course is designed for students to study the rhetorical constructions surrounding the category “refugee.” Discussion and coursework will revolve around close and careful analysis of the term as it is traced across multiple texts, including stories written by and about refugees as well as academic scholarship on globalization and refugee studies.

Because of the success of books like What is the What by Dave Eggers, we will focus most of our attention on stories written by and about the group of refugees known as “The Lost Boys of Sudan.” These stories will often be paired with scholarly articles that address issues such as identity, language, audience, privilege, border-crossing, and transnationality. We will use our writing gain a wider perspective of the ways in which people move throughout the world within the contexts of “globalization.”

Because this is primarily a writing class, we will spend a lot of time writing about our responses to these emotional and often vivid depictions of human suffering. We will explore “reflective” modes of writing as our main approach to these texts, that is, writing which examines our own assumptions and previous engagements with stories like these and why we respond to them the way we do. This mode of writing asks us to constantly question our assumptions, especially those that are false or unfair, and in the realm of refugee experience, these assumptions are many.

Writing will often be shared with colleagues in class in a “workshop” format.

English 243: Introduction to Literature by Women

Madwomen in Attics
Ann Stewart
Section 1 | MW 2:00 – 3:15 pm

In honor of PMS, of hysteria, of bitches, witches, uncommon scolds and crazy cat ladies, this course examines work by and about women who couldn’t take it anymore. As women, we all step outside the bounds of those norms that confine us at one time or another. Whether we stopped shaving our legs or stopped smiling and staying quiet, went insane or went to work, women have struggled to occupy public space. We will investigate the ways women writers since the 19th century have expressed their anger and frustration in a world where women are expected to be pious, chaste, and submissive—expression that often made them outcasts and drove them deep into the attic of public consciousness…

We will read:

  • Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories 978-0618565863
  • Gayl Jones, Eva’s Man 978-0807063194
  • Harriet Wilson, Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black 978-0307477453
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre 978-0307744227
  • Toni Morrison, Sula 978-0586049808
  • Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea 978-0140818031
  • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own 978-0156030410

Course texts will be available at People’s Books Co-op or online. The books are inexpensive, short, and having the version (ISBN number) listed above is not totally necessary, so if you have a copy already, you may use that. The syllabus will be available soon.

English 247: Literature and Human Experience

Imagining the Network/Networking the Imagination
Matt Trease
Section 1 | TR 3:30 – 4:45 pm

2007 marked the first year that a class of incoming college freshmen were born after the opening of the world wide web to the public in 1989. For the current generation of college students, “the network” has become a central metaphor for social relations. At every turn, we are encouraged to network by texting, Tweeting, FaceBooking, Googling and blogging. In this class we will explore the net via the imagination of artists and writers across the globe. We will begin by looking at how networks and network logics were imagined in the early decades of the 20th century, before the advent of the personal computer and the internet. We will also work to establish a basic technical understanding of terms from computer science like: bit, memory, code, interface, and protocol. We will follow that with an exploration of more contemporary work that exploits the unique possibilities for creative work that exist on the internet.

English 248: Literature and Contemporary Life

Naturalizing the Unnatural
Christina Clancy
Section 1 | MW 9:30 – 10:45 am

The modern world is presented in literature as one in which pollution and toxicity are so rampant that it becomes almost impossible to discern what is natural from what is unnatural. Ecocritism explores the relationship between literature and the physical environment, asserts the importance of place in literature, and examines how human culture is connected to the physical world, as we are affecting it, and are affected by it. Our texts, including novels, short stories and films, reveal much about contemporary pollution anxieties. We will ask: what is natural and unnatural? Real, “hyperreal” and artificial? Dirty and clean?

English 263: Introduction to the Novel

The American Novel: Post World War II
Craig Medvecky
Section 1 | TR 12:30 – 1:45 pm

English 263 (“The American Novel: Post World War II”) is a reading and writing intensive course that offers a survey of American novelists from mid-twentieth century to our contemporary era. The reading list focuses primarily on novels that represent and explore the increasingly unstable ‘post-war’ constructs of social reality in a nuclear age. In addition to the novels, students may also be required to read critical essays, or ancillary materials in other forms such as historical materials, short stories, or reviews, which in turn invite discussion of the various contexts that shape and reshape the value systems in which these authors and their works are present. Through extensive practice in reading and responding to these texts, students will be given the opportunity to build on existing close reading skills and to elaborate on their knowledge of how texts operate—i.e., how they represent, construct, and imagine the world. Accordingly, students should come away with greater awareness and appreciation of their own roles and responsibilities as writers and readers in the discipline of English studies, as they gain confidence in their ability to think and communicate in complex forms with clarity, coherence and depth. Further, through critical engagement with the ways in which human values are created and maintained in the literary, aesthetic and intellectual media, the course provides students with a means to fulfill a General Education Requirement for the Humanities.

English 268: Introduction to Cultural Studies

Dalia Gomaa
Section 1 | TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

This class focuses on what it means to be “American” and what the term “new” American means. Emphasis will be on cultural aspects that shape definitions of these terms: TV shows, ads, movies, talk shows, newspapers, and fictional and non-fictional texts.

English 281: African American Literature

Novels and Plays
David Yost
Section 1 | TR 9:30 – 10:15 am

In this course, we’ll explore 20th and 21st century African American novels and drama through text, film, and attendance at a live performance of the students’ choice. Your assignments will consist of readings of plays and short novels, participation in online and in-class discussions, and two 3-5 page papers (the second of which will have a creative option). Authors we’ll look at include Charles W. Chesnutt, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Paule Marshall, Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, Dael Orlandersmith, and a final novel to be selected by class vote. This course fulfills GER requirements for Humanities and Cultural Diversity.

English 380: Media and Society

Stuart Moulthrop
Section 401 | W 11:00 am – 1:40 pm

DIS 601 with Trent Hergenrader: M 11:00 – 11:50 am
DIS 602 with Trent Hergenrader: M 12:00 – 12:50 pm

This is a first course in the critical study of games, especially videogames, and the culture of participatory media to which they belong. It will introduce the concept of games and play as part of a meaning-making activity; it will survey forms, conventions, and practices that inform the design and reception of games; it will outline major theoretical trends within the emerging field of Game Studies; it will examine the place of games in contemporary culture, and consider some of the problems and challenges they pose.

English 404: Language, Power, and Identity

Patricia Mayes
Section 1 | W 3:30 – 6:10 pm

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the relationship between language and society. In investigating this relationship, we will consider how language is involved in the construction of social identity and power structures. Our investigation of social identity will include not only examining how individuals construct their identities but also how language is implicated in the formation of social groupings such as class, ethnicity, gender, and regional affiliations. The approach taken in this course is both descriptive and critical in that we will examine how language is implicated in creating and maintaining power for certain groups through such constructs as standard dialects and more broadly through public policies.

English 414: Special Topics in Creative Writing

Whitman’s Children
Susan Firer
Section 1 | MW 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

In Whitman’s Children we will try to answer the question Lawrence Ferlinghetti asks in “Populist Manifesto”: “Where are Whitman’s wild children…?” We will study several contemporary writers, looking at ways their works extend, converse with, separate from, and in some cases transform Walt Whitman’s literary legacy. For those who haven’t been exposed to Whitman’s writings before, we’ll start with a review of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. We will consider collections by Adrienne Rich, Galway Kinnell, Lucille Clifton, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bukowski and, of course, Allen Ginsberg. We’ll spend the last half of the session looking at a sampling of contemporary writers who are Whitman’s literary offspring, including Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, Mary Oliver, Lorca, Neruda, and others.

English 430: Advanced Writing Workshop

Carol Ross
Section 1 | TR 9:30 – 10:45 am
Section 2 | TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Section 3 | 12:30 – 1:45 pm

English 430 is a small, 15-member advanced composition workshop, designed for already capable writers who have done considerable writing in the past and who want to further develop their prose style. Its focus is literary/creative nonfiction—that is, writing in which the content is based on experience and observed or researched facts (nonfiction) and writing in which the style is creative (literary/narrative). How writers say something will be as important as what they say. Students will have the opportunity to read and write narratives in different genres of literary nonfiction: memoir, character story, nature, and culture. Students are expected to have very good control already of grammar and mechanics since these are the basics of writing.

Required textbooks: a class reader prepared by the instructor (estimated cost $11); Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style (about $11 new). All other texts are optional; other readings are on library reserve.

Sections 001, 002, 003 are intended for juniors, seniors, and university special students and do not carry graduate credit.

English 431: Topics in Advanced Writing

Professional Writing for Nonprofits
Sally Stanton
Section 201 | Online

This course explores the theory, practices, lore, and written communication used by professional writers in nonprofit or social sector workplaces, such as theatres, museums, libraries, social service agencies, art centers, humane societies, and other community organizations. Students will:

  • Learn the purpose and defining characteristics of the nonprofit sector.
  • Understand the critical role of written messages in communicating social sector values and results.
  • Explore persuasive writing strategies for nonprofits (including case statements, donor and constituent messages, and proposal-related communications).
  • Adapt business communication theories and strategies to the nonprofit sector.
  • Apply sector-specific theory and approaches to producing annual reports, websites, social media, grant reports, and unique documents such as artist statements and resumes, exhibition catalogs, and advocacy materials.

Students will gain practical experience in researching, designing, and writing documents commonly prepared by nonprofit professionals. Assignments will also require learning effective strategies for managing writing projects, audience analysis, and collaboration.

English 433: Creative Nonfiction for Publication

Carolyn Washburne
Section 1 | W 4:30 – 7:10 pm

In this course, students will write in a number of creative nonfiction formats, including the personal experience article, personal opinion essay, review, and profile, as well as a researched article using a creative nonfiction approach. The course will explore using fiction and poetry techniques, such as metaphor, dialogue, voice, and point of view, to make the nonfiction writing more eloquent and compelling. The course will also cover how to get nonfiction work published. To illustrate the principles being discussed, the class will critique published articles and evaluate each other’s work in peer editing sessions and class workshop discussions.

English 435: Professional and Technical Writing

Nancy Nygaard
Section 1 | Online

This course is an orientation to the work and field of professional and technical writing. Students will develop foundational skills in researching, planning, drafting, and revising common types of workplace documentation as they complete individual and collaborative projects for either hypothetical or actual clients. Students will also gain skill in adapting documents for different types of audiences and analyzing writing projects rhetorically, contextually, and from a problem-solving perspective. One important segment of this course will be about job and career preparation; as students learn about “best practices” for job networking, interviews, and site visits in this field, they will develop their own electronic resumes, cover letters, and writing portfolios.

English 439: Document Design

Anne Wysocki
Section 1 | TR 4:00 – 5:15 pm

In this class we focus on producing documents that work: given the audience for whom you are creating a document, and given the purposes you hope to achieve with that audience, what strategies—of layout; size and material; typography; use of photograph, illustration, chart, or diagram; readability and usability—are appropriate? In other words, this is a course in the rhetoric of document design. Through producing and analyzing many different kinds of print documents (from simple, text-only single page layouts to multi-page instruction sets), you will learn how to work with differing current expectations about the strategies named above. This course is appropriate for all students with an interest in or need to produce documents for professional contexts. Students from all plans and majors are welcome.

English 442: Writing Center Tutoring Practicum

Margaret Mika
Section 1

This course is designed to prepare peer tutors to work one on one with writers who visit the UWM Writing Center. We will begin to examine writing and tutoring processes on theoretical and practical levels. Specific topics will include the role of the peer tutor, the rhetorical situation, strategies for talking with writers at different stages of the process, different genres of academic and personal writing, cultural perspectives in writing and English as a Second Language issues.

In many ways, learning to tutor well is a baptism-by-fire enterprise requiring hours of on-the-job practice. This course provides Writing Center tutors with a foundation of concentrated study and supervised practice from which to begin. Therefore, the first two-thirds of class will be frontloaded, i.e., conducted before the semester starts and 3 weeks before the Writing Center opens. We will meet for 10 hours over two days during the week prior to the first day of classes and again for 1.5 hrs, one Friday each month to complete the course requirements. As important as these formal classes will be the many day to day opportunities for tutors to talk with the director, the graduate assistant coordinator and fellow tutors once the Center opens.

Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission required to enroll. Students must have attained junior status, successfully completed the Writing Center application process and hired as a prospective Writing Center tutor. All majors, especially non-English, are welcome.

English 443: Grant Writing

Sally Stanton
Section 201 | Online

Grant Writing combines richly descriptive storytelling and subtle persuasion within technical limits established by potential charitable funders of these organizations. The practical skill of preparing clear, concise grant proposals is valued and desired by employers in higher education, engineering, science and medicine, human services, the arts, and cultural institutions.

In this class, students will learn the basics of researching and writing effective, persuasive grants, and will then develop and apply that knowledge in an integrated service-learning project with a community-based nonprofit organization. They will learn how to research and analyze the sources of charitable funding information available to Milwaukee area organizations and how to effectively organize and present that information for writing grants. Students will leave this course with marketable skills and a greater knowledge of the ways in which effective communication adds value to the workplace.

English 445: Composing Process

Teaching Composing Processes
Alice Gillam
Section 1 | MW 2:00 – 3:15 pm

This course is designed to introduce pre-service teachers to composing process theories and pedagogies as part of their preparation for teaching writing. Clearly, no single course, particularly one that does not include actual practice, can adequately prepare future teachers for the complexity and challenges of teaching writing. However, this course aims to begin that process by:

  • introducing theories and debates related to the teaching of writing that can, in turn, serve as critical lenses for teaching and reflecting on practice;
  • suggesting a repertoire of pedagogies that can be adapted and transformed to suit various classroom situations; and
  • offering opportunities to develop and reflect on your own writing practices and identity as a writer.

English 454: Milton

Gwynne Kennedy
Section 1 | MW 2:00 – 3:15 pm

The primary reading for the course will be John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, an enormously influential literary text. We will also read some of Milton’s other poems and prose. The most substantial work we will do in the course is reading Paradise Lost—not easy, but very rewarding. It is a text best read in a group, rather than alone, so class discussion plays a large role. There will be weekly short responses, midterm and final exams, and a short paper.

English 523: Studies in US Latino/a Literature

Contemporary Latino/a Poetry
Brenda Cardenas
Section 1 | T 3:30 – 6:10 pm

In this course we will explore and analyze some of the major themes and aesthetic developments in contemporary United States Latino/a Poetry, with an eye on current trends. Of particular interest will be how the diverse poets we study treat issues of identity, history, place, language, the transnational/transcultural, the poet as public speaker, and the socio-political/geo-political issues of our time. In addition, we will analyze how the poets’ various writing styles, aesthetic influences and approaches underscore, counterpoint, create or contradict the poems’ content and context. Aided by the literary criticism of Latino/a Studies scholars, we will attempt to grasp the trajectory of this incredibly diverse and evolving body of literature.

Books will include one anthology (The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, edited by Francisco Aragon), and five individual volumes by Puerto Rican/Eritean, Chicano, Colombian-American, New Mexican Hispana, and Cuban American poets: Aracelis Girmay’s Teeth, Juan Felipe Herrera’s Loteria Poems and Fortune Cards: A Book of Lives, Maurice Kilwein Guevara’s The Autobiography of So-and-So, Valerie Martinez’s Each and Her, and Emma Trellis’ Tropicalia. The course will include other poets and critical articles on e-reserve.

English 685: Honors Seminar

Chinese American Women Writers
Mary Louise Buley-Meissner
Section 1 | TR 3:30 – 4:45 pm

In the rich history of American multicultural literature, Chinese American women writers have been distinguished by their vivid portrayal of identity, family and community across cultures and generations. Unique as they are in the individual style and subject of their work, all of the writers included in this course challenge us to read with heart and mind − to enter into their stories with a willingness to see the world with new eyes. Challenging popular expectations of what it means to be “American” as well as “Asian,” they ask us to question our own beliefs about similarities and differences across cultures and nationalities. With strong voices and compelling imagination, Chinese American women writers go beyond “typifying” or “representing” Asian American experience; instead their writing explores the diversity and variety of that experience. Three novels (by Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan and Fae Myenne Ng) and two short story collections (by Christina Chiu and Xujun Eberlein) are included in the course. Documentaries and films (e.g., “Talk Story” and “Red Violin”) will provide additional cultural, historical and literary background.

Our main approach will be to analyze and interpret literature as an artistic form of persuasion, that is, as an effort to change our experience (as well as our intellectual understanding) of individual identity, social reality and cultural heritage. To understand possible aims of persuasion, we will consider the historical circumstances under which Asian American literature has been composed. Close reading − attention to the interrelationship of characterization, conflict, point of view, and other fundamental elements of literature − will be essential to our appreciation of authors’ achievements in creative artistry as well as cultural criticism. Overall, our goals will be enhanced abilities in literary analysis; exploration of similarities and differences in the authors’ main concerns; and deeper appreciation of the contributions made by Asian American writers to our country’s literary richness.