Undergraduate Courses: Spring 2013

English 214: Writing in the Professions

Global Business Communication
Sonia Khatchadourian
Section 1 | TR, 9:30-10:45 a.m.

This course counts as an elective for the BA in Global Studies & the International Studies Major This course will introduce and familiarize students with fundamental aspects of global business communication. Topics that will be included are:

  • The values and practices of other cultures that affect their communication styles
  • The role that technology, especially e-mail, has in global business communication
  • Appropriate format, organization, and writing style of documents (letters, e-mails/memos) for an international audience (region/culture specific)
  • Appropriate communication channels for an international audience (region/culture specific)
  • Oral and non-verbal communication (covered in a limited capacity).

Other topics that may be included are:

  • A comparative analysis of business ethics.
  • Website analysis

We will discuss readings, analyze documents, do writing exercises that focus on format, style, organization, and content appropriate for other cultures, conduct interviews and locate sources for research-related projects, and share our findings. Required Text: Varner, Iris and Linda Beamer. INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION IN THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE (5th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill, 2010. ISBN: 978-07-337774-2.

More info: soniak@uwm.edu

English 233: Introduction to Creative Writing

David Bowen
Section 5 | Tuesdays, Thursdays, 9:30 AM-10:45 AM

This course has three main objectives: To introduce you to elements of writing craft, to prepare you for future writing workshops, and to make you more familiar with contemporary writers and the literary landscape—particularly literary magazines and journals. You will leave this course having practiced a variety of forms and techniques, studied prominent literary figures writing in multiple genres, and learned how to give and receive constructive feedback in a writing workshop setting. Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing will serve as our primary course reader.

More info: dbowen@uwm.edu

English 236: Introductory Topics in Creative Writing

Digital Storytelling and Role-Playing
Trent Hergenrader
Section 1 | Mon/Wed, 9:30-10:45

In this course students will use role-playing games and gaming principles to collaboratively construct a deeply immersive world. Students will populate this world with people to meet, places to find, and things to discover, and then will develop well-rounded characters who will explore this created world through role-playing gameplay. Students will then write a series of flash fiction stories describing the unique experiences of their characters. We will spend a significant amount of time in role-playing sessions and discussing the narratives that emerge from role-playing.

More info: wth@uwm.edu

English 243: Introduction to Literature by Women

Voices from South Asia: Literature and Culture
Suchi Banerjee
Section 1 | Mondays, Wednesdays, 2.00-3.15pm

This course will focus on South Asian literature and culture. It will frame women’s literature by looking at pre and post-colonial history and analyze how women have been represented and how representations have changed. The class will use literary texts like novels, short stories and memoirs along with documentaries and films to further our understanding about South Asian culture.

More info: banerje4@uwm.edu

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

W.B. Yeats
Michael E. Beebe
Section 1 | Mon/Wed 11a-12:15p

William Butler Yeats (b. Dublin, Ireland; 1865-1939) has been called “the greatest twentieth-century poet of our language,” but that description alone fails pitifully to encompass the depth and breadth of his significance. In one of the truly monumental of all literary lives, Yeats was a writer, a publisher, a patron, a politician, a national symbol and a celebrated embodiment of the heroic artist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 – a time when, we now know, his greatest works were still yet to be written. His career ultimately spanned six decades; in that time his homeland, Ireland, would be violently transformed from a colonial backwater to a free nation fighting to define its place in the modern world. Yeats’s intellectual and artistic development amid that turbulent national climate ensured his complex, but lasting, transcendence in Irish culture. For, while his early career was marked by patriotic energy, his perception of a changing Ireland and of his own works would lead to bitterness, disillusionment and obsession later in life. Yeats is now known as much for his fascination with mortality and the occult as for his grand literary vision or national importance. I encourage you to join me for a semester with W.B. Yeats. The course literature will include many works that have helped shape our contemporary literary discipline. Our discussions will consider nation, history, myth, modernity, art, aesthetics and Yeats himself – a man at the place where those powerful constructs collide.

More info: mebeebe@uwm.edu

English 248: Literature and Contemporary Life

Queer Theory and the Novel
Shawna Lipton
Section 1 | MoWe 9:30AM – 10:45AM

This course provides an introduction to Queer Theory alongside five novels by diverse authors. We will develop an understanding of gender and sexuality that emphasizes shifting boundaries, ambivalences, and cultural constructions that change depending on historical and cultural context. By thinking through the relation between literature and queer studies, we will examine the connections between aesthetics and politics, culture and society, story and life.

More info: selipton@uwm.edu

English 248: Literature and Contemporary Life

Growing Up in Comics and Graphic Novels
Mark Heimermann
Section 2 | Tu/Th, 11:00-12:15

In this course, we will be reading comics primarily written for adults that all focus on youth. We will consider children who never age, youth who are marked as different, and youth as a liminal stage — neither child nor adult. What do these (and other) constructions of youth reveal about our culture and ourselves? We will also be discussing a variety of themes based on the individual readings. No prior experience with comics or other graphic narratives is required. The course texts are still being determined, but will include the following: Alison Bechdel’s FunHome, Charles Burns’ Black Hole, Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World, and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

More info: heimerm5@uwm.edu

English 260: Introduction to Poetry

Pirated Poetics
Ching-In Chen (listed as Elizabeth Chen)
Section 1 | Mondays, Wednesdays, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Our class will investigate poetry using some form of piracy (including borrowing, stealing, collage, assemblage) as a creative strategy. We will read a wide range of texts with a focus on contemporary poetry, drawing from various traditions such as hiphop, spoken word and performance poetry, assemblage and other visual arts, electronic and digital poetry, neo-benshi (live narration of film) and documentary poetics, with the goal of becoming better readers, writers, and critics of contemporary poetry. Students will make their own forms of pirated poetry, based on techniques we discuss and learn about in class. Course texts will include Doug Kearney’s The Black Automaton, Craig Santos Perez’s From Unincorporated Territory [Hacha], and selections from Saul Williams, Bhanu Kapil, Mark Nowak, M. Nourbese Philip, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jai Arun Ravine, Christian Bok, Cathy Park Hong, Damian Lopes, Sharon Bridgforth, Brian Kim Stefans and others.

More info: ecchen@uwm.edu

English 277: Introduction to Ethnic Minority Literature

Hurricane Katrina, Race, and Film
Lee M. Abbott
Section 1 | MW 11-12:15

English 277 is described by the UWM Schedule of Classes as a “survey covering literature by three or more of the following ethnic groups: African American, American Indian, Asian American, U.S. Latino/a and Caribbean American.” Our particular section will more narrowly focus on writing and filmmaking that responds to the circumstances of Hurricane Katrina and explores the culture of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, where new cultural practices in literature, film, activism, and architecture respond to the social upheaval of Hurricane Katrina. In particular, we’ll take a look at:

  • testimonials and memoirs from survivors and those continuing to rebuild the city
  • social movements and activism
  • documentary films
  • poetry and fiction responding to the disaster
  • new directions in architecture and neighborhood rebuilding
  • the continuing work to recover New Orleans’ famous social and cultural heritage

The study of literature and film in post-Katrina New Orleans cannot be separated from the study of the social and economic circumstances that have systematically marginalized women, the elderly, the poor, and communities of color. The cultural response to Katrina, in fact, represented a national awakening to these circumstances as artists and writers have struggled to respond to it. Drawing on their works, we will be learning how the circumstances and struggles of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast enabling us to think critically about race, class, gender, and inequality in America today.

More info: abbott@uwm.edu

English 278: Introduction to World Literature

Literature from the Middle East
Dalia Gomaa
T&TR 2:00-3:15

In this course we will specifically focus on what is politically called the “Middle East.” All the books and the movies that we will work with are in English; so don’t worry about your lack of familiarity with a different language. We will read texts about/from Iran, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco. We will start with geographically locating these countries and explore/critique stereotypes that prevail their representations in media. This course is organized in such a way that it does not only aim at informing and familiarizing you with writings by writers from the “Middle East” but also urges you to do some research on your own and attempt taking a part in the theoretical/academic conversations going on between these writers who we will read. You will be asked to put a weekly short comment on the class D2L website on the readings that we cover during the week. Almost every week, each one of you will be asked to lead the discussion and write a one and half or two page presentation about the assigned reading.

Required Readings (tentative):

  • A Sister to Scheherazade (by Asia Djebar, 1993)
  • Palace of Desire (by Naguib Mahfouz, 2006)
  • Persepolis (by Marjane Satrapi, 2003)
  • Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology (by Shakir Mustafa, 2008)
  • Open Closed Open: poems (by Ehuda Amichai, 2006)
  • Waltz With Bashir: A Lebanon War Story (by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, 2009)
  • Sitt Marie Rose (by Etel Adnan, 1982)
  • Hikayat: Short Stories by Lebanese Women (by Roseanne Saad Khalaf, 2007)
  • Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood (by Fatima Mernissi, 1994)
  • Wild Thorns (by Sahar Khalifeh, 2000)

More info: dmgomaa@uwm.edu

English 290: Introduction to Film Studies

Tasha Oreon

Love movies? Learn about the basics of film style, criticism, story structure and what makes movies work. This course introduces students to the basics of film analysis, formal elements, genre, and narrative structure and helps develop skills to recognize, analyze, critique and enjoy film as an art and entertainment form. The class includes weekly readings and (online) screenings, writing assignments and online discussion.

More info: tgoren@uwm.edu

English 306: Survey of Irish Literature

Jose Lanters
Section 1 | Tuesdays 3:00-6:10 PM

Irish literature is as rich and varied as the country’s history. “Irishness,” however, is not an innate quality, but a cultural and political construct that is constantly re-“invented.” Beginning with the earliest extant poems and legends (translated from the Irish), and moving via the Anglo-Irish period of the eighteenth and nineteenth century and the Irish Literary Revival of the turn of the twentieth century to a more urban and cosmopolitan contemporary perspective, this course offers an introduction to Irish writing and an exploration of several varieties of “Irishness” as they are expressed through the literature.


  • Two papers
  • Midterm exam
  • Final exam


  • Marie Heaney, Over Nine Waves. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571175185, circa $14.00.
  • J. Harrington, ed. Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393932435, circa $25.00.
  • Roddy Doyle, The Commitments. Vintage. ISBN 0679721746, circa $14.00.
  • Bernard MacLaverty, Cal. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393313328, $14.00.
  • William Trevor, ed. The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories. Oxford. ISBN 0199583145, circa $20.00. Course reader (Clark Graphics): circa $15.
  • More info: lanters@uwm.edu

English 328: Forms of Experimental Literature

Monstrous Progeny
Stuart Moulthrop

“Experimental” in this case means trans-media: the course looks at three texts that exist in print, cinema, and some digital mediation, exploring these transformations through the lens of Promethean invention, or “monstrosity.” Appropriately, we begin with _Frankenstein_ and make our way to Alan Moore’s _Promethea_, with _Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy_ in the middle. Writing assignments mix traditional research papers with creative and experimental options. Discussion and other weekly business in D2L forums.

More info: moulthro@uwm.edu

English 414: Special Topics in Creative Writing

Literary Journal Production
Valerie Laken
Section 1 | Mondays 6:30-9:10 p.m.

Ever wonder how a magazine comes to be? In this course we’ll learn the process step by step, working as a collective to produce a literary and arts journal showcasing work by UWM students. We will develop a budget plan; solicit, generate, and edit content; develop a design scheme and promotional campaign; manage page layouts and typesetting; and work with a printer to produce a finished product we can be proud to distribute. Along the way, we will meet with local and nationally renowned editors and learn a variety of skills that will help you in today’s job market.

More info: laken@uwm.edu

English 414: Special Topics in Creative Writing

Ambiguous Utopias, Alternate Worlds
Jim Chapson
Section 2 | TR 3:30-4:45

This course will investigate the concept of literary utopias and dystopias. The first half of the semester will focus on several classic texts; the second half will be a writing workshop in which students will develop fictional narratives of their own with feedback from the instructor and the class.

More info: jchapson@uwm.edu

English 430: Advanced Writing Workshop

Carol Ross
Sections 1, 2, 3 | Tuesdays, Thursdays 9:30, 11:00, and 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. How writers say something will be as important as what they say. Students will have the opportunity to read and write short narratives in different genres of literary nonfiction: memoir, character, and essay of place. 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_ (ca. $11 new). Other texts are optional; other required readings will be on library reserve. Sections 001, 002, and 003 are intended for juniors, seniors, and university special students and do not carry graduate credit.

More info: cross@uwm.edu

English 431: Topics in Advanced Writing

Social, Political & Ethical Issues in Scientific & Technical Communication
Scott Graham
Tuesdays 4:30

Students in this course will investigate social, political, and ethical issues in a wide variety of scientific and technical communication contexts. In so doing, students will interrogate the very nature of technical communication practice and research, exploring how different theoretical models of technical communication create varying ethical commitments and problems. Students will further explore the social and political issues that arise from the communication of complex scientific and technical information in popular culture, law, and public policy. Specific course units will include 1) ethical issues which arise from the humanist/instrumentalist debates in technical communication, 2) critical-interventional theories of technical communication, 3) the ethics of visual design, 4) legal and cultural appropriations of technical information, and 4) the role of technical communicators in science and technology policy.

More info:http://sscottgraham.com/archives/355, grahams@uwm.edu

English 439: Document Design

Dave Clark
Section 1 | Tuesdays, 5:30 – 8:10

This course provides a practical and theoretical overview of document and information design. We begin with examinations of design theories and conventions coming from graphic artists, usability experts, cognitive psychologists, and technical communication scholars, and then critique those theories and conventions as we apply them to the analysis and creation of technical and professional documents. Topics include typography, color, text and page layout, data displays (e.g., tables, charts, graphs), diagrams and illustrations, and the managing, storing, tagging, and reuse of information. Throughout, we will focus on document usability in print and online production. This course is appropriate for all students with an interest in information design or who see themselves producing professional documents for a future workplace.

More info: dclark@uwm.edu

English 504: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Sex and Enlightenment
Professor Kalter
MW 2-3:15

English 504: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Sex and Enlightenment 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, 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 615: Advanced Workshop in Fiction

Valerie Laken
Section 2 | Wednesdays 4:30-7:10 p.m.

In this course you will discover what it is like to live as a writer. You will do this by writing and reading every day, sharing your work and feedback with your peers, and doing the difficult work of revision. We will review the craft skills essential to fiction writing, such as characterization, plot, tension, and setting, and will begin to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the ways in which successful stories can defy convention, manipulate expectations, and expand the art of fiction. We’ll study published stories that model strategies such as point and counterpoint, nonlinearity, adapted and experimental forms, rhyming action, and more. We’ll do experiments to help generate and develop stories and to refine our sense of what a story should do and be. Each student will write and workshop two new stories and carefully revise one of them.

More info: laken@uwm.edu

English 631: Seminar in African American Literature

The Harlem Renaissance in Literature, Music, and Film
Gregory Jay
Wednesdays 4:30-7:10

Harlem. New York City. 1920. “The New Negro” revolution sends shock waves through American culture and politics. Writers such as Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston remake modernism through the resources of race consciousness. Blues singers such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday give voice to black women’s experience in songs that shatter the traditions of popular music. African American actors, dancers, comics, and jazz bands appear on stage and in the movies, deconstructing old stereotypes and creating new forms of expression quickly taken up by Americans of every skin color. In this course we will examine how the Harlem Renaissance happened, how it blossomed and waned, and the ways its legacy still shapes culture in the United States and around the world.

More info: gjay@uwm.edu