Special Topics and Course Descriptions

Winter 2017


EN311Z: India

Instructor: Dr. Jaspal K. Singh; jsingh@nmu.edu

This course will introduce you to the literature of the Indian subcontinent, a multiethnic and culturally diverse area, which involves examining the impact of British colonialism, the subsequent nationalist movements and Globalized and Neo-Colonial Nation-State of India on cultural productions.  As India attained independence from British colonial rule in 1947 after almost 200 years of British presence, the Indian subcontinent was divided into two separate nations—Pakistan and India. We will examine historical accounts, novels and theoretical texts in order to understand the social and historical formation of a nation. What is communalism and what was the impact of the British “divide and rule” policy on different religious and cultural groups in India?  How did colonial discourse construct and represent Indians in English literature?  How do the colonized resist such representations in postcolonial literature?  What is the meaning of citizenship for Indians in post-independent India in an era of globalization? 


EN313/PY313: Introduction to Linguistic Theory

Instructor: Dr. David Boe; dboe@nmu.edu

This course is offered on Monday and Wednesdays from 4-5:40pm. This course is an introduction to the formal study of language. We will begin by discussing the early twentieth-century development of structural linguistics, followed by an overview of the various theoretical developments leading up to the appearance of Chomskyan generative grammar in the 1950s. Some current issues in contemporary linguistics will be considered, including the distinction between “language” and “communication.” We will then turn to the major subfields of formal linguistics, including examination of the analysis of words (lexion and morphology), sentences (syntax), and meaning (semantics). Finally, we will examine the relationship between language and the human mind/brain, and we will consider the debate between linguistic behaviorism and the innateness hypothesis.


EN345: The Teaching of Literature
(For all Secondary English Education majors and minors)

Instructor: Dr. Kia Jane Richmond; krichmon@nmu.edu

This course is scheduled on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6-7:40 p.m. Prequisites for this course are having already taken/passed EN 304 and admission to the pre-methods phase of teacher education or with permission of instructor. 


Note: EN 345 cannot be applied toward a non-teaching major or any minor in English.  Remember that EN 350 (English Methods) will not be offered again until the Fall 2017 term. Please plan accordingly.  


EN495/595: The Writer's Room: Episodic Screenwriting in the Age of Prestige Television

Instructor: Monica McFawn; monrobin@nmu.edu

This course will serve as an introduction into the process of pitching and writing episodic television.  Students will analyze recent critically-acclaimed shows to better understand the craft, scope, and possibilities of episodic scriptwriting.  Because most television shows are written collaboratively, students will practice working in a "writers' room" environment by brainstorming, writing, and story-building in groups.  By the end of the class, students will write a spec script for an existing show as well as create an original pilot.

Students will also learn how to pitch and market scripts, and how to build a career writing for television.  


EN512: Teaching Literature

Instructor: Dr. Lisa Eckert; leckert@nmu.edu

Winter 2017, Wednesday 6-9:20pm

Throughout the semester we will focus on the essential and central role of the humanities in education—and how to articulate this essential role in designing individual lessons, curricular goals, and interpreting educational policy. In addition to examining classic texts, this course will include analysis of contemporary text as in inherent aspect of articulating pedagogical goals in secondary and post-secondary literature classrooms (e.g. community college, 100-300 level general literature university courses).


This class will include analysis of research-based, active literature curricula and individual lessons which are grounded in theory but demonstrate innovative practices.


EN570: Bipedalism in American Literature: Movement, Bodies, Land

Instructor: Dr. Amy Hamilton; amyhamil@nmu.edu

Winter 2017, Monday 6-9:20pm 


The United States has a long and rich history of walking. From Indigenous traditions, to nature writers, to settler-colonialists, to competitive  walking in the nineteenth century (walking marathons were some of the first events held at Madison Square Garden), to U.S./Mexico border crossers, to cross-country walkers in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, walking suffuses American experiences. It is not surprising, then, that walking emerges as an important trope in many American literary traditions. Walking, both as symbol and as material experience, connects human bodies to the nonhuman world in complex ways.

In this class, students will examine texts from Indigenous authors, Chicanx authors, and Euroamerican nature writers. Engaging with historical and cultural contexts and theories of Material Ecocriticism articulated by theorists such as Karen Barad and Stacy Alaimo, students will consider how physical movement functions in these diverse narratives: what kinds of stories does walking allow authors to tell? What  allusions (literary, cultural, religious, etc.) does walking create? How does walking transcend the symbolic to engage the material?

How does walking enhance connections between the human walkers and nonhuman nature? How does human walking reveal the agentic capabilities of the nonhuman world? Students will emerge from the class with a better understanding of American  literary traditions, the materiality of American representations of the land, and some of the fruitful intersections among American literatures. 


EN595: Experimental Literature in Theory & Practice

Instructor: Dr. Patricia Killelea; pkillele@nmu.edu

Difficult poems, innovative fictions, and non-traditional essays: what does it mean to categorize a piece of literature as experimental? While typically associated with the postmodern era, the history of experimental literature in theory and practice goes back much further in the English language. Drawing from American, British, and Irish texts, this course will explore the critical discourses surrounding questions of innovative techniques and textual accessibility while reading and writing about experimental poetry, fiction, and essays.  


In addition to the usual suspects, such as Surrealism, Modernism and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E movements, we will also consider the longstanding relationship between technology and literature, which will carry us into the contemporary period with its emphasis on experimental digital literatures and multi-modal texts.