Special Topics and Course Descriptions

Fall 2018


EN 414/514: History of the English Language

Monday/Wednesday 4:00-5:40pm Instructor: Dr. David Boe, dboe@nmu.edu

EN 414/514 provides a broad overview of the historical development and current dialectal variants of the English language.  We begin by discussing the emergence of the field of diachronic linguistics, and we then examine the history of English from its earliest origins as part of the Indo-European family of languages to its present status as an international lingua franca, with attention given to the various ways in which English has changed over time.  We will also consider some structural aspects of contemporary English, including discussion of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics.  Finally, we will discuss the global plurality of the English language today, as characterized by the varieties of American English now in existence, and by the emergence of various indigenized World Englishes.


EN 430/530: Jonson and Donne

Monday 4:00-7:20pm Instructor: Dr. Robert Whalen, rwhalen@nmu.edu

Together, Ben Jonson and John Donne stand at the head of two divergent but related streams of literary influence: the one classical, formal, and poised; the other formally innovative, colloquial, intellectually complex, and wide-ranging in voice and attitude. Both were deeply engaged with the tensions and conflicts--political, religious, and cultural--of the era in which they lived. Attending to that fascinating historical context, this course concentrates on close reading of poems in a variety of genres. Recommended for students interested in the period that saw the invention of English literature in its modern forms, the course will also benefit creative writers who wish to learn from two masters and innovators of poetic form and style.


EN 495/595: South African Literature: Queering the Rainbow Nation in Fiction and Film

Tuesday 6:00-9:20pm Instructor: Dr. Jaspal Singh, jsingh@nmu.edu

In this course, students will read South African literature to examine narratives by queer writers within an intersectional and transcultural framework. We will investigate queer Black, Coloured, and diasporic South Asian writings and films to analyze them through their intersections with Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. In particular, postcolonial and feminist critique of fiction and representation will be considered for queer subjects who face violence and death on ideological, epistemological, ontological and personal levels on a daily basis. How then do the writers queer national and cultural spaces for personal empowerment? How can the narratives lead to a sense of national belonging for the members of the LGBTQAI community in the Rainbow Nation?


Winter 2019 - TBA