English 192: First Year Seminar
Translation Games: Hidden Meanings in Language
Section 4 | MW 2:00 – 3:15
Does “I feel trapped” mean the same in male-speak as it does in female-speak? When a girlfriend says, “Are you hungry?” you know it means SHE is hungry. What does it mean when a professor says, “I don’t formally take attendance, but…”? Why does an international student misinterpret your friendly suggestion to “help yourself”? We will explore hidden and (mis)understood meanings between males and females, between advertisers and consumers, between politicians and voters, between Caucasians and African-Americans, between internationals who speak English as a second language and native speakers, between mainstream speakers of American English and non-mainstream speakers. We will also examine the language of political correctness, propaganda, text messaging, etc. You will have the opportunity to interact with someone who speaks English as a second language, and will learn to recognize and observe various dialects, genderlects, sociolects, and idiolects. This will in turn make you more aware of the ways you and those around you use language. Your metalinguistic awareness will increase. Students will discuss articles and metalinguistic awareness fieldwork assignments in small groups in class, listen to/watch audio and video clips of dialects and various language issues, take notes on information given in class, take three exams, and meet once a week (10 times) for an hour with an international conversation partner. The grading formula is 20% for each of three exams, 20% for conversation partner participation, and 20% for class participation and posting your language observations.
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English 210: International English
Laura L. Ambrose
Section 1 | MW 2:00-3:15
As English has made—and continues to make—its way around the globe, radical changes to local languages and cultures have occurred. At the same time, however, English itself has been modified, adapted, and expanded, sometimes in unfamiliar and unrecognizable ways. This course is a survey of English from its origins in the British Isles to its introduction and development in the Americas, Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Several principal examples will be studied in detail. In doing so, we will also uncover many issues that accompany language globalization; such as, language change, loss of language and identity, language policy and standardization, and teaching and learning English.
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English 212: English Grammar and Usage
Laura L. Ambrose
TR 2:00-3:15; MW 4:00-5:15
Precise, powerful, and sophisticated writing starts with 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 talking about the structure of the language, but we will also explore how this knowledge can be leveraged to create and edit texts more effectively.
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FilmStd 212: Intermediate Topics in Film Studies
Participatory Culture: Audiences, Viewers, and Fans
From audiences sitting in the dark of the theater, to impassioned fans at conventions, there are many ways to engage with media texts. Popular media inspires our passion, our anger, and sparks public conversations around the role of media in society. This class will explore different theories of audiences, viewers, and fans and look at film, television, and digital media texts through these lenses. Over the course of the semester we will investigate how different media organize reception and the ways that viewers have responded to popular media. The course will ask students to take an active role in the class by reflecting on their own experiences as viewers and producing creative and critical responses to media texts. Students will also investigate historical contexts for different media texts and celebrities, placing their own experiences with media texts in conversation with others.
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English 214: Writing in the Professions
Writing for Social Media and Careers
Section 1 | Online
The resume isn’t dead, but it’s not enough! Most people find their jobs through networking, and that’s not new. But networking now means building and maintaining a well-crafted, professional online presence and standing up to the scrutiny of recruiter searches and data mining. This course will go well beyond the standard advice (don’t post drunk pictures on Facebook) and help you develop a positive, well-designed online presence that will position you well for the job market of the 21st century. Among other things, you will learn, discuss, and write about the following:
- The culture of the job market
- Data mining
- Social media and traditional networking
- Job searching tools and strategies
And you will create or vastly enhance the following:
- Cover letters
- Social media presence
- Online portfolio
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English 230: Writing With Style
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 2:00-3:15 pm
In this workshop-based course, students develop and enhance their expository writing style by: reading short essay selections, sharing & analyzing their favorite writers, writing in a variety of rhetorical styles, reviewing & discussing each other’s writing.
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English 236: Introductory Topics in Creative Writing
Section 1 | Tues & Thurs 9:30-10:45
In this creative writing course we will be working with little writing in small spaces. Our goal will be to see how much we can say in the fewest words possible! Short shorts, flash fiction, 10-minute plays, micro-graphic stories, and tiny poems. We will be reading examples, talking about how to craft our own writing, and making our own little writings.
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English 240: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture
Laughing in the Face of Logic
Section 1 | MW 12:30 – 1:45
This course will examine the dynamics of humor broadly, ranging from its function in interpersonal relationships to its role on the national stage. We will examine diverse texts and approaches to analyzing humor, and we will apply their methods to a broad range of laughter-inducing events, including students’ personal experience with friends & family and other texts of their choosing (films, shows, youtube videos, etc) . Readings, approaches, and the nature of students’ work will vary greatly over the semester, ranging from written analysis to taking in a comedian or funny show, and culminating in a creative project of students’ own choosing in collaboration with the instructor. Humor is a fascinating phenomenon, both logical and anti-logic, abstract and bodily, and it transforms the stressful, tense, and sometimes dark aspects of our lives into happy little moments that somehow bring us closer to those around us. The course will be about understanding these paradoxical aspects of humor in ways relevant to students’ lives.
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English 247: Literature and Human Experience
Literature and Democratic Society
T/Th 12:30pm to 1:45pm
Democracy: ghost or spirit? That is, does the idea of “democracy,” however we choose to define the term, haunt us by reminding us how we fail to live up to its standards? Or does it unite us, inspiring us to work together to continue creating the society that it allows us to imagine? This is the question we will try to answer in English 247: Literature and Democratic Society. This class will survey an eclectic selection of literary texts written in many different forms, from short stories to poetry, prose, novels, graphic novels, TV, and film; in geographically and historically diverse contexts, from ancient Greece, to the United States during the Civil War and the Cold War, Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa; to settings imagined in both utopian and dystopian futures; and will cover a variety of different literary modes ranging from tragedy to farce, young adult literature, speculative literature, parodies, satires, odes and more. Our goal in reading these diverse texts is to discover both how democracy and democratic society has been defined in different cultures and at different times, and to explore the problems and conflicts inherent in the practice of democratic decision making. Ultimately, all of these considerations will come together to help us ask our most pressing question as inheritors of the various democratic traditions we will explore: How and in what ways will the idea of democracy continue to influence our political future?
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English 248: Literature and Contemporary Life
Queer Theory and the Novel
MoWe 9:30AM – 10:45AM
This course provides an introduction to Queer Theory alongside five novels. We will develop an understanding of gender and sexuality that emphasizes shifting boundaries, and definitions that change depending on historical and cultural context. By thinking through the intersections between literature, gender, and sexuality, we will examine the connections between aesthetics and politics, discourse and society, story, and life.
- Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality
- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
- James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
- Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues
- Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body
- Course Pack
- 3 x 3-page papers (on texts read for class)—1/6 of the grade each.
- Take-Home Final Exam—1/6 of the grade.
- Discussion Leader—1/6 of the grade.
- Class Participation (attendance, participation)—1/6 of the grade.
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English 248: Literature and Contemporary Life
Section 2 | Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:45pm
Information overload is a contemporary cultural concern with a rich past. This course will cover a broad sampling of texts from different time periods and genres to consider how our current confrontation/struggle with digital technologies both is and is not new. We will pay attention to the various forms that information overload takes: a pathological condition, a burden on attention and social bonds, a renaissance of knowledge access and production, and even a non-issue. Most importantly for our purposes, the texts we read and view will help us ask how our understanding of knowledge, literature, and even ourselves evolves alongside technological innovations. Assignments will include contributing to a class archive of links and resources, short reading responses (blog posts) every two or three weeks, a take-home midterm, and a final paper. The required readings are still under consideration, but most of our readings are available online. We’ll read selections from Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Vannevar Bush, Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, Cathy Davidson, and Clay Shirky. In addition, we will read a novel like Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops (which is more like a novella), or Don DeLillo’s White Noise.
More info: email@example.com and http://courses.rachaelsullivan.com/248/
Ethnic 250: Special Topics in Ethnic Studies
Performing South Asian Diaspora: Bollywood and Beyond
Section 1 | Mondays, Wednesdays, 8.00-9.15 a.m.
This course will look at South Asian literature and culture within postcolonial diaspora.
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English 263: Introduction to the Novel
The Irish Novel
Section 1 | Mon/Wed 11a-12:15p
This course will introduce students to the boisterous, intellectual and comical world of Irish writing through one of its most important forms, the novel. Beginning in 1800 with Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent, we will journey across the development of the modern Irish novel up to the present day. Works by such literary icons as James Joyce, Flann O’Brien and Samuel Beckett will figure prominently in the syllabus. Discussions will deal with historical, political and aesthetic contexts that contribute to the enduring value of the literature. The study of Irish culture and its most important questions and debates will inform students’ reading and writing. Most crucially, we will ask: What can we learn about our world today through the study of Ireland, its people, and its literature? The writing workload of the course will be as follows: four short responses to assigned readings, a mid-term paper of 3-5 pages, and a final paper of 4-6 pages. The mid-term and final papers will be expected to analyze a theme or feature of one assigned novel as a literary and/or cultural object of study.
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English 263: Introduction to the Novel
Gender, Realism, and the Rise of the British Novel
Section 2 | Tuesday / Thursday 3:30-4:45
During the eighteenth century, the novel developed into a popular literary genre for private consumption that was somewhat distinct from earlier romance or allegorical prose. Many early novels experimented in depicting realistic individual experiences in relatable places and social contexts that connected with readers. Both men and women were active participants in the development of the eighteenth-century novel as writers, audiences, narrative voices, and subjects of the texts as well. This helped to expand the voices and experiences depicted within the novel. In addition, the novel historically evolved alongside the rising middle class. It became a popular medium to teach both male and female readers middle-class ideologies about individual subjecthood, gender roles, relationships, and also civil society. British realist novels of the eighteenth and nineteenth century generally demonstrated and encouraged self-awareness and moral growth for the readers as the characters learned life lessons throughout the narrative. In this course, we will question what seems “real” about these narratives. We will also determine and analyze how realism is used within popular texts to depict and construct gender roles for men and women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition, the class will evaluate how didacticism, sentimentalism, etc. also serve to reinforce or distort realism in these novels. Some of the novels include: Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Burney’s Evelina, Wollstonecraft’s Maria, George Elliot’s Silas Marner, and other late nineteenth-century realist authors.
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English 268: Introduction to Cultural Studies
Section 1 | T/H 11:00-12:15
We will read comics and graphic novels published outside of the mainstream comics presses, such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World. Students will engage in formal and thematic analysis, and I will provide historical contextualization.
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English 269: Literary Forms and Genres
Ching-In Chen (listed as Elizabeth Chen)
Tuesdays, Thursdays, 2-3:15pm
Speculative literature is a term describing the broad (and much-argued-over!) field of fantastic literature that often is thought of to include (but not limited to) futurist, utopian/dystopian, historical fiction, hard science fiction, epic fantasy, ghost/horror stories, folk and fairy tales, slipstream, magical realism, modern myth-making and fabulism. Poet Cathy Park Hong has said, “It’s almost impossible for us to perceive the present because it’s all around us. Speculative landscapes give us a binocular perception of the present moment—it’s a strategy of indirection.” In our class, we will discuss Hong’s ideas about speculative writing along with others and consider what possibilities are opened up by writings which speculate and conjecture experimentally, futuristically and fantastically. We’ll investigate texts by speculators including Octavia Butler (The Parable of the Sower), Cathy Park Hong (Dance Dance Revolution); Larissa Lai (Salt Fish Girl); Sesshu Foster (Atomik Aztex); Salvador Plascencia (The People of Paper), and Bhanu Kapil (The Incubation of Monsters), and selections from Will Alexander, Julio Cortazar, Nalo Hopkinson, Anthony Josef, and others.
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English 316: World Cinema
Latin American Cinema
Gilberto M. Blasini
Section 1 | Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:00 – 3:30 PM
This course provides a comprehensive survey of different cinematic manifestations in Latin America. Due to the availability of films with English subtitles, the course emphasizes filmic works from the 1960s to the present. Screenings and readings will be divided by countries (e.g., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico) allowing us to think about the specific role that cinema has played in the formation of different national contexts. Along with this nation-based approach, films will be analyzed in relation to the continental category of “Latin American Cinema.” To that end, the course will also pay close attention to the indigenous theories of cinema that emerged as part of the movement known as “The New Latin American Cinema.” This term refers to a transnational cinematic movement that emerged during the 1960s and that called for the creation of a distinct cinematic language for representing the particular social, cultural, political and national realities and concerns of Latin American countries. Part of our intellectual inquiry when analyzing post-1980s films is to assess if they still follow or not the precepts postulated by the New Latin American Cinema theories. Additionally, questions related to cultural difference, particularly in relation to class, gender and sexuality, will be central to our discussions of the films screened in class. Finally, the course has a longer class meeting time (2 hours twice a week) in order to accommodate film screenings.
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English 380: Media and Society
Section 2 | Tuesdays 3-4:50, Thursdays 4 or 5:00
This is an introduction to games (video- and otherwise) as substantial cultural work: games as discourse, games as persuasion, games as art. Lectures, readings, and discussions are supplemented by critical play. Examples span from board and card games to PC, console, and multi-player computer games, and role-playing campaigns.
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English 383: Cinema and Genre
Horror Cinema, 1960 – 1985
Gilberto M. Blasini
Section 1 | Mondays & Wednesdays, 4:30 – 7:00 PM
The course surveys the gradual transformation of horror films—mostly but not exclusively in the U.S.—from B-movie status to a popularly and critically praised genre during the 25-year period between 1960 and 1985. The release of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom in 1960 marks a transition in terms of thematic, ideological and narrative approaches to conveying horror filmically. The historical changes that took place after 1960 (the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the women’s movement, the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the end of the Hays Code and the appearance of the MPAA ratings system, among others) further transformed the cinematic configuration of the horror genre, giving many directors the opportunity to create socially relevant and aesthetically challenging texts that were able to engage a wide variety of audiences (e.g., the youth, African Americans). We will study a number of filmmakers who emerged as horror auteurs during these years—Wes Craven, George A. Romero, Brian de Palma, Larry Cohen, Tobe Hooper, and David Cronenberg. In order to understand the social relevance of these films, the course will pay close attention to their relationship to their historical context. Thus, we will examine how these films engage discourses related to gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality. Finally, the course has a longer class meeting time (2 hours twice a week) in order to accommodate film screenings.
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English 404: Language, Power, & Identity
Section 1 | Wed, 4:30-7:10
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 404 can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit. Materials consist of articles and book chapters on the library’s e-reserve site, as well as the following text: Lippi-Green, Rosina (2012). English with an Accent, 2nd Edition. Routledge.
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English 430: Advanced Writing Workshop
Sections 1, 2, 3 | Tuesdays and Thursdays. 9:30, 11:00, 12:30
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 short narratives in three different genres of creative nonfiction: memoir, character story, and essay of place. Students are expected to have very good control already of grammar and mechanics since these are basics of writing. Required textbooks: a class reader prepared by the instructor each semester and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Other readings are on library reserve/e-reserve. We also use D2L for online discussions of writing. These sections are intended for juniors, seniors, and university special students and do not carry graduate credit.
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English 444: Technical Editing
This course is ideal for undergraduate or graduate students who are considering a future career that will involve editing. It is a hands-on practicum in which students are responsible for both individual and collaborative editing projects. Students learn that in work contexts, the scope of editing tasks can vary dramatically: In some cases, editors “fix up” minor grammatical and usage errors (copyediting); in other cases, editors question, “re-envision,” and then reshape major aspects of a document such as its purposes, target audiences, content, style, organization, and design (comprehensive editing). The primary goal of this course is to prepare students to handle both copyediting and comprehensive editing tasks — and to edit both hard copy and electronic documents — in future work contexts. A secondary emphasis is on helping students better understand the roles and responsibilities of editors, the ethical dimensions of editing, how editors contribute to document effectiveness, how editors relate to writers during a document’s life cycle, and what is involved in becoming a successful editor.
Weekly course assignments are likely to include discussion forum posts on ethical issues and the editor-writer relationship, in addition to “mini assignments” aimed at developing skills and practice in copyediting; relearning (or learning for the first time) the fundamentals of English grammar, spelling, mechanics and usage; and gaining competence in proofreading and editing visuals and quantitative material. Major editing assignments are likely to include copyediting and comprehensive editing tasks on actual work documents from a variety of content areas (such as public policy, science, and health/medicine). A final collaborative course project will involve working in a small team to conduct a comprehensive edit on an actual organization’s document, website, or set of documents.
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English 449: Writing Internship in English
This flexible-credit internship is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to gain “real world” writing or related experience that can supplement their academic credentials and broaden their marketability for postgraduate positions in both academia and industry. Internship placements are available in publishing, public relations/advertising, and non-profit agencies and larger businesses or corporations. Students might be called upon to complete a variety of tasks in an internship placement, but typically their work involves research, writing, editing, design, proofreading, and other activities related to creating quality documentation.
Students can enroll for ENG 449 for 1-4 credits per term and if they wish, they can take the course multiple times (at the same internship placement or different placements) up to a total of 9 credits. Most students prefer to take the course for 3 credits, which means that they will spend an average of 10-15 hours each week on internship work.
If you are interested in setting up a fall internship, contact Rachel Spilka at email@example.com between April and August 1, 2013. Note that it commonly takes between 3-5 weeks to move through the process to find and then finalize a placement, so if you are interested in taking ENG 449 this fall, do your best to contact Dr. Spilka at least a month before the fall term begins.
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English 460: Writers in American Literature, 1500-1900
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson
Section 1 | Tues, Thurs 12:30-1:45
The nineteenth-century poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson gave birth to a uniquely American poetry, and influenced the writing of several generations of American writers since then. Both wrote out of a moment of crisis in American history, the Civil War, and their poetry is marked by an engagement with both the social world of their day and a spiritual questing. In this course we will study their poems in depth, discussing them politically, thematically, and at the level of form. Students will write two 8-10 page essays and take weekly quizzes on the reading. Texts will include several essays illuminating aspects of the poets’ work, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and The Poems of Emily Dickinson.
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English 461: Writers in American Literature, 1900 to the Present
Mysterious Circumstances: U.S. Detective Fiction
Tues + Thurs 11a to 12.15p
In this course, we’ll survey the American detective novel from its origins in the nineteenth century to its revival in the twenty-first. As this historical scope suggests, detective fiction is one of our most resilient genres. It is also one that has constantly evolved: from the ratiocinations of the first literary detectives to the hard-boiled crime writing of the early-twentieth-century to the “anti-detection” of postmodernism. Across these different moments in the genre’s development, the detective novel reveals itself to be both formal and political: it poses questions about law, ethics, guilt, and sociality while also compelling us to reflect on the nature of narrative itself. Our goal in this class will be to investigate the history of U.S. detective fiction along both of these lines. We’ll be focusing on forms of narrative resolution and irresolution; on problems of truth, facticity, and reliability; on constructions of masculinity and gender; on the role of race; and finally, on the inescapable parallel between detection and interpretation—that is, between the work of the detective and the work of reading itself.
As an object of semester-long study, the detective novel will turn out to have a number of practical uses as well. Students in this course will become familiar with major authors and literary movements of the twentieth century; will learn to practice both close reading and the analysis of narrative form; and will be introduced to larger questions about the logic of literary history and the nature of literary criticism.
Authors to be read will include, among others, Edgar Allan Poe, Anna Katherine Green, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, Chester Himes, Ishmael Reed, and Michael Chabon.
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English 616: Advanced Workshop in Poetry
Microbrews: Prose Poems, Flash Fiction, and Very Brief Essays
Mauricio Kilwein Guevara
When I was a little boy lying on my back in a field of grass in a coal-mining town in southwestern Pennsylvania, I had a sort of awakening about the paradoxical nature of perspective, although such language was completely unknown to me then. A jet was flying across the sky at the same moment that a lightning bug was walking on my index finger. I remember thinking how great the tiny creature was. In fact, because I could attend to it in all its particularity of detail, the little bug—and my finger with its topographic swirls—seemed gargantuan, while the jet, dragging its vapor chalk across the blue, might just have been the tiniest thing in the universe. Human beings hadn’t yet landed on the moon, but within months people would talk to one another from the surface of that bone-bright disk. It’s this kind of miniaturist/maximalist energy and wonder that I hope we’ll try to draw on as we explore how vast or microscopic, hallucinatory or realistic, we can make a paragraph, a sentence, or phrase.
This course, Microbrews, will work on several levels: reading of literary texts; discussing an assortment of very short literary texts for pleasure, understanding, and context; writing, sharing, and discussing our work of this kind; and writing a 5-7pp. critical/researched essay. We will read and write very short forms (anywhere from a few sentences to a few pages in length): our genres of practice will include prose poems, flash fictions, and very brief essays. Please remember that ours is a supportive classroom, where constructive questions and comments are always welcome. I anticipate that you have upper-level undergraduate competence as a literary writer. More importantly, I assume you want to continue to improve, experiment, and to grow as a literary artist and commentator, so that I hope you welcome well-intentioned and sophisticated feedback from me and from your peers.
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English 633: Seminar in Rhetoric & Writing
Writing & Publishing for Mobile Media
Section 1 | Tuesdays 4:30-7:10
We will explore the origins, state of the art, and emerging prospects for literary publishing (all forms and genres) on post-print platforms such as e-readers, tablet computers, and smart phones. Examples and assigned texts will demonstrate a variety of approaches, from basic e-books to advanced interactive media. Critical readings will establish frameworks for consideration of interface design, digital literacies, and impact of of contemporary (especially social) media. Labs and demonstrations will introduce a variety of free or low-cost tools for producing e-texts. Course work includes both critical reflection on existing products and design/production of at least one original text.
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org