Undergraduate Courses: Spring 2010

English 205: Business Writing

Business Writing is an introductory course designed to help students develop and refine their writing skills. In this class, students’ writing skills will be “fine tuned,” and students will communicate more effectively in a business environment. The three main goals for Business Writing are as follows:

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

In this course, students can expect to plan, compose, and edit their own writing; evaluate written communication, their own and the writing of others; and connect oral presentation skills with writing skills. Three sections of English 205 (sections 201, 202 and 203) will be offered online.

English 206: Technical Writing

Christopher Lyons
Section 201 | Online

Technical Writing prepares students to be effective communicators, particularly effective writers, in their 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:

  • 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 Science Writing

Nancy Walczyk
Section 1 | MW 9:30-10:45 am

Health Science Writing is taught under the rubric of Business and Technical Writing. It is taken by students enrolled in pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, nursing, occupational therapy, speech, and related 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.

This writing course is designed for students from a variety of health science disciplines; for that reason it does not focus on writing tasks or formats particular to any one medical specialty. Students will gain practice in applying general business and technical writing principles to the health field. Assignments may include writing letters to clients, instructions, policy and procedures statements, internal memos, reports, patient information brochures, a literature review on an ethical issue, and one argumentative research paper on a current health issue. Most business assignments use the case approach, which means that students are given a scenario and a persona and are asked to write a document appropriate to the situation. Prerequisite: Completion of the English composition requirement (a passing score on the English Essay Exam or a grade of C or better in English 112).

English 209: Language in the United States

Professor Patricia Mayes
Section 201 | Online

Have you ever wondered how many varieties of American English there are? (Why use good morning, why not w’s up?) Have you ever wondered why we have different varieties of speech, or why it’s easy to tell a speaker from the south from a midwesterner? Is there really a standard spoken language, or are language standards only for writing? How do people perceive the different varieties and accents of American English, and what do people in other parts of the country think about the Wisconsin accent? (Is it really just about cheeseheads and bubblers?) What is the role of other languages in our changing multicultural society? And what do our ways of speaking say about our identities? (Are ya a Yooper, eh?)

We’ll explore these and other questions in English 209. We’ll also investigate the future of our language: What’s the likely effect of new forms of technology and global communication? We’ll use short readings, discussion boards, and web sites like “Do You Speak American?” to look at these and other important issues affecting our evolving American speech patterns. y dont u sign ^ 2day!

English 209 satisfies Humanities GER credit and is a requirement for “Plan D” English majors. Note that this is an online course. You must have access to a computer and be able to access D2L to take this course.

English 233: Introduction to Creative Writing

Craig Medvecky
Section 11 | TR 2:00-3:15 pm

An introduction to the writing of poetry and fiction.

English 234: Writing Fiction

Structure and Technique
Dave Yost
Section 1 | MW 11:00 am-12:15 pm

In this class, we will examine, discuss, and experiment with key techniques of the fiction writer’s craft, including the following:

  • selecting evocative, concrete details to represent and replace abstractions
  • creating and maintaining suspense
  • shaping intriguing yet believable characters
  • creating persuasive, sensory-based settings
  • writing “clean,” uncluttered prose

To help guide our discussions, we will study the craft of contemporary authors from around the world as possible models for our own work. In addition, we will look at alternatives to the traditional short story form, including micro/flash fictions, prose poems, metafictions, visual narratives, and hypertext. The bulk of our time, however, will be spent workshopping new fiction produced by students for the course.

Students will also have the option of attending readings to make connections in Milwaukee’s local fiction community, and the opportunity to discuss strategies and venues for publication of their work. No previous experience with creative writing is required, and students from all majors are welcome.

English 236: Special Topics in Creative Writing

Revising the Past: Fictionalizing History & Memory
Ann Stewart
Section 1 | MW 9:30-10:45 am

This is a fiction/nonfiction fusion course in which students will be retelling and revising “true” events in history and/or in their own lives. Ultimately, students will be producing fiction, but the class seeks to examine the intersections between truth and fiction and the ways in which they work with and against each other. In some ways, this is a course that teaches the art of lying, but the intent is to interrogate the distinction between what is deemed “fact” or “truth” and what makes a good story.

English 240: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

Writing (about) Comics
Andy Buchenot
Section 1 | MW 2:00-3:15 pm

Writing (about) Comics builds on recent scholarship in English studies that argues students should learn:

  • how to interpret visual compositions and
  • how to compose visually.

To this end, this course asks students to analyze comics rhetorically and put their observation into practice by making their own comics. We will be writing, drawing, revising, discussing, and workshopping student comics. Although the course does require students to engage in visual production, it does not require students to be accomplished visual artists. In other words, you do not need to be able to draw to do well in this course.

In addition to student works, we will be reading texts from Jessica Abel, Kevin Huizenga, David Mazzucchelli, Scott McCloud, Chris Ware, and comics practioners. Readings will also include works from comics theorists like Will Eisner, Thierry Groensteen, Charles Hatfield, and Pascal Lefevre.

This course also asks students to write about their experiences interpreting and composing visually. These written assignments offer students valuable opportunities to articulate ways of understanding “the visual” and its increasing importance in contemporary textual production.

This course offers excellent opportunities for students from across the university including–but not limited to–English, art, communications and education majors. In sum, Writing (about) Comics encourage students to think about comics as a form of composing and not only as texts fit for examination.

English 245: The Life, Times, and Work of a Literary Artist

Flannery O’Connor
John Couture
Section 1 | MW 9:30-10:45 am

In English 245, we will read and examine Flannery O’Connor’s works in their cultural, historical, and biographical contexts.

Readings include O’Connor’s fiction (novels and short stories), essays and occasional prose, letters, and selected criticism on her work.

Themes we will pursue in the course include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • religion (Christianity–both Catholicism and Protestantism)
  • region and regionalism (the American South)
  • race
  • gender
  • class

English 247: Literature and Human Experience

Hypertexts and Interactive Fiction
Cara Ogburn
Section 1 | MW 11:00 am-12:15 pm

This class will explore the uses of interactivity in print and electronic texts–from Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novels to hypertext fiction and poetry. Although hypertext and electronic literature are able to use the affordances of the digital medium to do so more obviously, many different texts have asked their readers to make decisions in the reading process that affect the reading experience and, in turn, change the text to be multiple. We will read a variety of these texts in order to consider what the uses and limitations of this genre might be.

Possible readings include:

  • Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves
  • William Gibson, Agrippa: a book of the dead
  • Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl
  • Michael Joyce, afternoon
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
  • Stephanie Strickland, slippingglimpse

And more!

English 277: Introduction to Ethnic Minority Literature

Southeast Asian American Literature and Life Stories
Professor Mary Louise Buley-Meissner
Section 1 | TR 12:30-1:45 pm

Extraordinary stories often are told by ordinary people: stories of courage, sacrifice, strength, and hope. As we read life stories by and about Southeast Asian Americans, we can better understand the histories, sorrows, and dreams of people who have come to this country from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to build new lives. Through our study of autobiography, family biography, and contemporary writing, we will learn how political forces intersect with personal circumstances in shaping individual identities, family bonds, and enduring community values.

Central to our work together will be learning how such tragic events as the Vietnam War and the Cambodia Holocaust have affected entire generations. For example, what inner resources do people draw on as they struggle to survive (physically, mentally, spiritually) during times of war and political turmoil? On what basis can identity and integrity be strengthened as people face the challenge of rebuilding their lives after war? When refugees from Laos have settled in the United States, why has it been difficult to bridge differences between traditional Hmong and modern American views regarding the interrelationship of self, family and society?

As we investigate such questions, we also will consider the ethical issues involved in understanding and responding to human suffering. Films and documentaries (including Heaven and Earth and The Killing Fields) will provide background for our discussions. Overall, through our work together, we will see how life stories offer new views of the past, important questions about the present, and valuable lessons for shaping the future of our multicultural country.

English 366: Non-Fiction Prose

The (Not So) New Journalism
Professor Valerie Laken
Section 1 | MW 2:00-3:15 pm

In 1973, Tom Wolfe declared that a new style of journalism, eschewing the dry voice and rigid formulas of standard reporting, had stepped out of the shadows of the great American novel and become “literature’s main event.” Journalists like Joan Didion, Truman Capote, and Hunter S. Thompson went beyond the bare bones of “who, what, where, when, why” reporting and adopted the tactics of fiction writers to involve themselves and their readers in their stories.

In this course we’ll study the work of several prominent New Journalists and trace the effects of their work on journalism and literature. We’ll discuss some of their potential antecedents, from Addison and Steele to Mark Twain to Lillian Ross, to determine whether their journalism was, in fact, all that “new.” Finally, we’ll study the work of some New New Journalists, such as Jon Krakauer, Susan Orlean, and Eric Schlosser, and examine the ways in which New Journalism has evolved and gained prominence in the decades since Wolfe championed it.

English 416: Poetry Workshop

Professor Brenda Cárdenas
Section 1 | MW 9:30-10:45 am

In this course, students will engage in various in-class writing exercises, as well as drafting and revising poems outside of class. Assignments might include persona, extended-metaphor, non-literary form, ekphrastic, found/collage, and collaborative poems, as well as experiments with formal structures and constraints. Students will also read, analyze, and discuss both published contemporary poems and their peers’ poems-in-progress, paying attention to what the poem aims to achieve or evoke and how the poet has constructed and crafted the poem toward this end. Finally, students will critique each other’s work, offering suggestions for how their peers might alter various aspects of the poem to achieve the desired effect.

English 425: Advanced Business Writing

Professor Rachel Spilka
Section 201 | Online

This special distance education section of English 425 is an advanced level course in business writing designed to build upon students’ current writing skills and prepare them for more complex challenges of writing effectively to resolve problems in business contexts. This course will focus on conducting workplace research, analyzing workplace contexts and problems, choosing effective writing strategies, and creating highly readable documents that succeed in both informing and convincing target audiences. Special focus will be placed on writing for a wide variety of business audiences, including international readers. This course will also improve students’ skills in collaboration, negotiation, project planning and management, time management, and other strategies important to working with a team toward the successful completion of a workplace document.

English 430: Advanced Writing Workshop

Carol Ross
Sections 1, 2, 3 | TR 9:30-10:45 am, 11:00 am-12:15 pm, 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 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, memoir about another person, nature, and culture.

Students are expected to have very good control already of grammar and mechanics since these are the basics of writing.

These sections are intended for juniors, seniors, and university special students and do not carry graduate credit.

English 431: Non-Fiction Book Publishing

Leslie Whitaker
Section 1 | MW 2:00-3:15 pm

Students will gain an insider’s perspective into the quirky business of book publishing, from idea generation to proposal writing to marketing the finished product. Students will work on developing a draft of a book proposal and sample chapter on a subject of their choice over the course of the semester.

Course readings will include relevant articles, a book about book publishing, and one bestseller. (Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.)

English 434: Editing and Publishing

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

In this course, students will learn the essentials of targeting copy for specific audiences, preparing manuscripts for publication (including content editing, copy editing, and proofreading), the production process, the business aspects of publishing, and the fundamentals of layout and design. Although the course emphasizes general audience magazines and books, other types of publications are also covered, including academic, professional, and trade publications. The assignments are as follows:

  • Editor’s column
  • Line editing of magazine manuscripts
  • Analyzing and writing headlines
  • Repurposing an article for a different audience
  • Evaluating book proposals
  • Report on the production process of a local publishing concern
  • Final group project: Publication of a newsletter, magazine, or other publication

English 436: Writing for Information Society

Professor Dave Clark
Section 1 | Online

This course explores theories, practices, and tools used by professional documentation specialists. Our topics will include knowledge management, information architecture, information design, and of course instructional writing. While designing and producing individual and group projects, students will have the opportunity to gain both theoretical and practical experience with designing and writing tools, processes, and languages. Projects will also require learning effective strategies for managing writing projects, audience analysis and usability testing, and collaboration. This course does not assume any prior technical expertise, and 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 1 | T 5:30-8:10 pm

Do you want to help nonprofit organizations serve the public? 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 a writing internship with a community-based nonprofit organization. They will learn how to find and research the sources of charitable funding information available to Milwaukee area organizations and how to effectively organize and present that information for writing grants. Representatives of charitable foundations, professional grant writers, and others will share their knowledge of the nonprofit-funding world and successful grant writing. 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 444: Technical Editing

Professor Rachel Spilka
Section 1 | Online

This course 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 technical material. Major editing assignments are likely to include copyediting and comprehensive editing tasks on actual work documents in a variety of content areas (such as public policy, science, and health/medicine). A final collaborative course project will involve working in a team to conduct a comprehensive edit on an actual organization’s document, website, or set of documents.

English 449: Internship in English

Carolyn Washburne
Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 | M 4:30-7:10 pm (initial meeting only; course does not meet regularly)

This flexible-credit internship for English majors (and selected non-majors) provides students with the opportunity to:

  • Apply their coursework and writing skills while working in a “real world” setting
  • Develop professional skills and experience that are valuable in the marketplace
  • Synthesize course and work experience through progress reports, class discussion, conferences with the instructor, and a final paper

Internship placements have been arranged with a variety of Milwaukee-area organizations and businesses in the following fields: publishing, public relations/advertising/corporate communications not-for-profit agencies, and technical writing firms/departments (see the URL below for more information on placements). As a writing intern, a student may be called upon to do a variety of tasks, including writing, editing, proofreading, and research.

To enroll in this course, students must fill out an application form, which is available at https://uwm.edu/Dept/English/bustech/internship/. The application asks for a summary of their school and work experience, references, and a sample of their writing. A faculty committee will screen applicants for their competency in English grammar, punctuation, and usage, as well as for their ability to conduct themselves appropriately in the workplace.

English 504: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Sex and Enlightenment
Professor Barrett Kalter
Section 1 | TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm

The Enlightenment is commonly understood as a philosophical movement that affirms society’s progressive discovery of universal moral principles and nature’s laws through the public use of critical reason. Sexuality, by contrast, is often seen as a private facet of identity that emanates in unruly ways from the body and its passions. This course will explore the relation between these contradictory categories as represented in eighteenth-century literature, considering: 1) modern notions of sexuality as products of Enlightenment thought; 2) the challenges sex poses to Enlightenment values of self-control, equality, free expression, normalcy, and consent.

Our discussion will center on the following: the bawdy poetry of the Earl of Rochester and The Libertine, a film of his life starring Johnny Depp; Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess, an early bestseller rivaled in popularity only by Robinson Crusoe; John Cleland’s pornographic Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure; and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, a Gothic tale of religious prohibition, transgressive desire, and revolution. We will also read selections from works by Enlightenment intellectuals, including the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the Marquis de Sade, as well as recent theorists, such as Michel Foucault and Laura Kipnis.

Topics to be discussed include: libertinism as instance of and resistance to political tyranny; romantic love, intimacy, and private life; pornography, censorship, and freedom of expression; prostitution, urban sexual subcultures (e.g., the proto-homosexual mollies), and the legal and medical definition of deviance.

English 616: Advanced Workshop in Poetry

Structures and Constraints
Professor Brenda Cárdenas
Section 1 | W 12:00-2:40 pm

In this workshop, we will explore the effects that various constraints, such as meter, refrain, sound patterns, and self-imposed limits and obstructions have on our poems and our writing processes. We will pay particular attention to how such structures and procedures might serve to make our poems more imaginative, musical, economical, and nuanced. To this end, we will write in formal verse (sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, Sapphic stanzas, and the like), as well as experiment with restrictions in such forms as lipograms, syllabics, palindromes, acrostics, and anagrams, as well as those of our own invention. To accomplish this, we will read and listen to a variety of published texts, complete in-class writing exercises, draft and revise poems outside of class, and bring poems to class to be discussed and critiqued by our classmates.

English 624: Seminar in Modern Literature

Dangerous Fictions
Professor Jason Puskar

This research seminar studies modern American fiction’s interest in risk and danger, often in novels thought to be dangerous themselves. From violent crime to modern warfare, industrial accidents to infectious disease, American novels have a history of seeking out danger, and many of the books that did so were condemned and sometimes banned.

We will study works by Richard Wright, Nella Larsen, James Cain, and Don DeLillo, as well as Orson Welles’s original 1938 radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.” We will pay special attention to the cultural history of certain kinds of dangers, including crime, natural disasters, and riots. We also will read these novels in relation to recent theories of risk and danger from a variety of disciplines, ranging from anthropology to philosophy.

Some questions to be asked: Is fiction more or less dangerous because it is “not true”? How does American culture construct risks and dangers through language? How can we understand the relationship of literature to modern institutions of risk analysis and risk management? This course requires students to complete a guided research project.

English 625: Seminar in Literary History

Carribean Literary History
Professor Kevin Browne

English 628: Seminar in Literature by Women

Captivity, Seduction and Domesticity
Professor Kristie Hamilton

English 629: Seminar in Literature and Sexuality

Contemporary LGBT Literature
Professor Barrett Kalter
Section 1 | TR 3:30-4:45 pm

In recent years, authors have tried to fill gaps in the historical record by imagining the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in periods when such lives were routinely kept secret, ignored, and destroyed. Critics of this act of imaginative reclamation question the relevance of modern identities to earlier periods, and wonder if a past isn’t being so much restored as created anew, as fiction with no counterpart in fact. In this course, we will read some of the most gorgeously written, thematically ambitious, and sexy works of literature to address these issues, works that satisfy the desire for a queer past while troubling the assumptions about authenticity and knowability that stir that desire.

Readings may include: C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems, in Daniel Mendelsohn’s acclaimed new translation; Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex; Colm Toibin, The Master; Sarah Waters, Affinity; Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry.

English 633: Seminar in Rhetoric and Writing

Rhetoric and Everyday Life
Professor Alice Gillam
Section 1 | MW 12:30-1:45 pm

This course introduces students to rhetorical theory and its many everyday practices, including its use in civil discourse, popular culture, and community life. Defined as the ways in which signs influence people, rhetoric permeates every aspect of our daily lives; thus, its study not only offers a framework for critically interpreting the many discourses that we encounter daily but also strategies for participating and intervening in those discourses.

We will begin our study with an overview of rhetoric theory and then turn to texts that focus on particular practices such as Barry Brummett’s Rhetoric in Popular Culture, Ralph Cintron’s Angel’s Town: Chero Ways, Gang Life, and Rhetorics of the Everyday, and Sharon Crowley’s Toward a Civil Discourse. In addition to our readings, students will analyze the rhetoric of various kinds of “everyday” texts as well as compose their own rhetorical performances.