Current courses


                                                Fall 2016 Course Descriptions

                                                    Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 2123-001: Creative Writing 

Professor Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

MW 1:30-2:45pm

 This course is designed for the very beginning creative writer, one who has not published in peer-reviewed journals, or produced a volume of original creative writing. The reading of poetry, the reading of fiction, the writing of poetry and the writing of fiction will be emphasized in this class.

ENGL 2223: Poetry and Poetics: An Introduction

Vincent B. Leitch

TR 3:00-4:15

In this introductory general education course, students study British and American English-language works, focusing on poetic themes, forms, and techniques. The course examines twenty major poets from Shakespeare to Plath and fourteen short landmark texts of poetic theory from Plato to Rich. Writing skills sharpened include literary response, close reading, and cultural critique.

ENGL 2413.002: Introduction to Literature

Henry McDonald

MW 4:30-5:45  

This course is designed to offer an introduction to the literary genres of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. Focusing on American literature, we will study literary works by authors of various cultural backgrounds, focusing on the many ways in which these authors use common literary techniques across genres and historical periods. To explore literary works within their broader social, historical, and cultural contexts, we will discuss key generic conventions such as plot, character, setting, point of view, tone, and style. Students will learn how to read, think, and write critically about literature through close readings of texts as well as in-class discussions and presentations.

ENGL 2413: Introduction to Literature

Eve Tavor Bannet

TR 3:00-4:15 

Stories are a fundamental way we make sense of our experiences. Stories are also how we share our experiences and virtually live the experiences of others. We tell each other stories every day. Our media are full of stories and of talk about them. Many of these stories are short—just glimpses or episodes. Some have continues. Some we follow, some we don’t. In this course you will be reading a variety of mostly short stories, some of them no more than a page or two, and thinking both about the issues they raise, and about how we read and talk about them. In the process, you will also be developing skills and awareness that will be useful to you in our information culture.


ENGL 2283: Critical Methods- Psychoanalysis and Horror

Daniela Garofalo

TR 10:30-11:45

This course will examine psychoanalytic theories about Gothic Literature. We will read some classics of the genre such as Frankenstein and Dracula and study psychoanalytic theories about gender, power, sexuality, the unconscious, race, and capitalism among other topics. Students will be required to write several short papers.


ENGL 2433.001: World Literature to 1700

Dr Su Fang Ng

MW 3:00-4:15pm

Surveying the world’s literary production from the invention of writing till the early modern period, this course begins with the earliest literature produced in Mesopotamia that have influenced later works such as the Hebrew Bible and Homeric epics.  From there we fan out to various parts of the Eurasian continent, reading Ancient Greek literature (Homer, Sophocles, Euripides), to early Chinese poetry, to Indian epics, and to Roman literature (Virgil and Ovid) from before the Common Era.  The second half of the course will treat later world literature (after the Common Era), including Indian classical literature, Tang-era Chinese poetry, Islamic literature (Arabic and Persian), western European vernacular literature from the medieval period, and Japanese vernacular literature (such as the Tale of Genji), before ending with the early modern period.

Our scope is broad as we try to account for the world’s major literary traditions.  While we read to understand the various literatures and linguistic traditions in their own terms, we will also examine the broader patterns of contact and cultural exchanges amongst world literatures.  How have different literary traditions borrowed from each other in terms of themes, character-types, and genres? How have trade and exploration brought peoples of the world in contact with each other and how has that history influenced literary productions?  Even as we take the bird’s eye-view of world literature, we will also learn to appreciate the details of literary craftsmanship through the close-reading of selected texts.

Required Text:

Sarah Lawall, et al., The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Package 1 (Volumes A, B, C): Beginnings to 1650, 2nd ed.  New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2003.

Requirements: papers, examinations, quizzes, attendance and participation

ENGL 2543: English Literature to 1700

Kenneth Hodges

Section 001: MW 1:30 – 2:45

Section 002: TTh 12:00 – 1:15

From the deceptive simplicity of Beowulf to the revolutionary eloquence of John Milton, from a few bold women using religion to make their voices heard to the popular theater of Ben Jonson, and including Geoffrey Chaucer’s and William Shakespeare’s magnificent polyvocal triumphs that shaped not just literature but the English language itself, this class provides a vital framework for the further study of English. It provides an outline of English literary history and introduces writers who have shaped the literary issues, debates, and techniques still current.

The required text is The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edn, vol 1 (parts A-C) (New York: W.W. Norton, 2012). ISBN: 0393913007.

Grading will be based on three papers (5-6 pages each), a midterm, and a final.

ENGL 2773.001: Pre-Civil War American Literature, 

Henry McDonald

MW 1:30 – 2:45                            

This course will survey early American literature before the Civil War with an emphasis on the influence of the classical tradition of republicanism during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Among the authors we will read are John Winthrop, Royall Tyler, Hannah Webster Forster, Thomas Paine, John and Abigail Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, and Rebecca Harding Davis.

TEXTS:      1. Norton Anthology of American Literature, Beginnings to 1820, Volume A, Eighth 

                       Edition. Nina Baym, General Editor. ISBN 978-0-393-93476-2.

                   2. Norton Anthology of American Literature, 1820-1865, Volume B, Eighth Edition.

                       Nina Baym, General Editor. ISBN 978-0-393-93477-9.


In-Class Writing, quizzes                                          20%

Exams:                                                                       30%

Final Paper (8-10 pages)                                           30%

Presentations                                                             10%

Class Participation and Attendance                          10%

ENGL 3103: Creative Nonfiction Writing 

Rilla Askew

T 3:00-5:45 

Prerequisite ENGL 2123.

Introduction to writing forms of creative nonfiction including memoir, lyric essay, personal reportage, environmental writing. Analysis of literary models, intensive reading in contemporary markets, and class attention to writing process, style, technique, and revision.

ENGL 3113: Nature/Environment/Science Writing

Gabriela Raquel Rios

MW 1:30-2:45

In this course, we will use an ecocomposition framework to study the relationship between discourse and the environment, broadly defined. Ecocomposition scholars, Sidney Dobrin and Christian Weisser argue "ecocomposition is about relationships [...] it is about the production of written discourse and the relationship to those places it encounters." As such, we will read across a variety of genres to better understand how texts shape and are shaped by public/popular debates about the environment as well as personal relationships to place. Students will also focus on rhetorical strategies such as audience awareness and persuasive appeals to analyze texts and to compose their own texts about place. Major goals of the course is to encourage students to become more aware of their relationship to the places they inhabit and to consider how place affects their writing habits.

ENGL 3123: Fiction Writing 

Rilla Askew

M 2:30-5:10

Prerequisite ENGL 2123

Intensive writing of short stories, with class attention to writing process, style, technique, revision and contemporary developments in the genre. Coursework will include assigned readings from the text and written responses to the readings as well as written and oral analysis of fellow writers’ work presented in class.

ENGL 3143: Studies in Literacy and Rhetoric- Rhetoric, Literacy and Sexuality

Dr. Sandra Tarabochia

TR 10:30-11:45

Grounded in the scholarship of notable queer theorist and composition scholar/teacher Jonathan Alexander, this course examines sex and sexuality as vital dimensions through which to understand issues of literacy and rhetoric. Taking our cue from Alexander, we will “explore more nuanced and sophisticated understandings” of the intersections of rhetoric, literacy, and sexuality as they “function socially, culturally, politically, and personally.” Toward that end, we will examine the rhetoric of sex and sexuality in a range of discourses in order to investigate the ways sexuality and literacy intertwine in 21st century society. Through intensive reading, writing, and discussion, we will learn “to work knowledgeably, engagingly, and critically” with the discourses of sexuality that shape our personal and collective lives. Writing students produce for class will play a major role in the course. Additional course texts may include: Excerpts from Alexander’s Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies; Zan Meyer Goncalves’ Sexuality and the Politics of Ethos in the Writing Classroom, Alexander and Rhodes “Queerness, Multimodality, and the Possibilities of Re/Orientation,” Rhodes and Alexander Techne: Queer Meditations on the Writing Self , Clare Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation, David Wallace Compelled to Write: Alternative Rhetoric in Theory and Practice, Will Banks’ “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing,” among other possibilities.

ENGL 3133-001 Beginning Poetry Writing

Professor Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

MW 3:00-4:15 pm

Description of Beginning Poetry Writing: This course is designed for the intermediate poet, one who has been writing for a bit of time, but who still is looking to find their voice. Students will home the craft of writing a poem; learn to discuss the critical means and terms of sonnets, meter, and free verse; and make critical assessments of poems written by their peers.

ENGL 3253: Special Topics in American Indian Literature: Indians, Oil, and Water 

Kim Wieser

TR 10:30 - 11:45

This course traces the complex relationship between tribal nations and people and non-Indians involving natural resources, in particular, oil and water, and how that relationship has been depicted in American Indian Fiction. The course will begin with a survey of oral traditions and beliefs related to water. We will also include in the class a survey the history of Indian nations in regard to oil, particularly in the state of Oklahoma.

Some attention will also be paid to the legal structures that guide natural resource extraction on Indian land and to activism regarding natural resource extraction, particularly in regard to the recent intertribal, international movement Idle No More, along with site-specific activism in the past two decades. The class will then turn attention to the primary subject matter of the course, depictions of this relationship in American Indian Fiction.

ENGL 3483: Native American Writers

Gabriela Raquel Rios

MW 3:00-4:15

For some time now, Native American literature has garnered much attention in both popular and academic circles.Taking its cue from the hemispheric turn in Native Studies and the indigenist turn in Chicanx studies, this course will take a comparative approach to studying the works of American Indian and Chicanx writers, focusing on themes related to borders and identity. We will consider how the histories and lived experiences of American Indians and Chicanx have intersected or diverged in relation to the creation borders (geographic, cultural, social) and migration. In particular, we will look at works by Sherman Alexie, Ana Castillo, and Deborah Miranda. We will also consider the works of writers from the indigenous comics collection, Moonshot. Students will also learn about the art of making comics and try their hand at creating their own comics. (Nonwestern Culture)

ENGL 3653: Bible as Literature 

Alan Velie

TR 1:30-2:45

Introduction to the Old and New Testament from a literary and historical perspective. Readings include Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomic Histories, selections from Writings in Old Testament, and all four Gospels, Acts, Paul’s letters, and Revelation in New Testament. Midterm, quizzes, term paper, and final.

ENGL 4283: Hip Hop as Poetry, Literature and Cultural Expression - 3:00-4:15pm
Catherine John

4283 001-TR 3:00-4:15

4283 002- TR1:30-2:45pm

In this class we will examine the phenomenon known as Hip Hop from three different angles.First, we will examine the social and political context that has produced the music and made it into a cultural phenomenon. To this end, we will read various texts and watching visual material that give us an historical context for understanding the politics of race relations and the social concerns that have shaped the U.S. and the Hip Hop Nation. Fernando Orejuela’s Rap and Hip Hop Culture as well as Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation will be the textbooks for the course. In addition, short essays, songs, music albums and documentary films are also a part of the required material. All of the required short essay readings will be posted on D2L. The visual material is a primary part of the course and should be taken very seriously. Secondly, we will analyze the lyrics from assigned songs and albums looking at the philosophical worldview, regional outlook, male and female notions of power, and the social commentary at stake. Albums will be analyzed as a whole, treating them like literary texts with beginnings, endings, thematic commentary and even authorial intention. Third and finally, we will deal with the poetics of the form while thinking about the role and significance of the performance of the music and poetry itself.

English 4533.001: Shakespeare: Tragedies

Dr. Su Fang Ng

MW 1:30-2:45

This course will engage in a close study of selected Shakespearean tragedies, including the late romances.  We will consider the plays both as poetic texts and as theatrical works in order to understand Shakespeare’s language and his culture.  Although Shakespeare’s dramatic works have become canonized and lionized as “great works” in the western literary tradition, they were not perceived as high art in Shakespeare’s time but as works of popular culture.  We will endeavor to keep both of these aspects in mind—the use of Shakespeare as a standard for high culture and his popularity.  We first begin by learning to read his often highly metaphorical language, paying some attention to Renaissance poetic and rhetorical theory and practice.  As we consider the works as playtexts for performances, we will also learn something about the practical components of Elizabethan stagecraft, the material aspects of the theater, and the audiences for these theatrical productions.  The course will incorporate some brief performances and blocking of scenes in class as a method to understand Shakespearean and Renaissance stagecraft.  We will also study the political and social realms in which Shakespeare’s plays and early modern popular theater emerged.  To connect the literary with the historical, we will trace important themes in the Shakespearean canon: gender, social class, performance, the transformative agency of art and language, power, and the nature of kingship. The final paper is a research paper that will be the culmination of the semester’s work.  We should leave the class with a greater facility in reading Shakespeare, a firmer grasp of his dramatic art, and a better understanding of these plays in their historical context.

Assignments: quizzes, midterm and final exams; analytical papers; performance of scene; attendance and compelling participation.

Required Text:

Greenblatt, Stephen et al., ed.  The Norton Shakespeare. 3rd edition. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015.  (You may use any annotated, scholarly edition).

ENGL 4613.001: The Nineteenth-Century English Novel- Sexual Transgression and the Novel

Dan Cottom

MW 3:00-4:15

In this course we will study five nineteenth-century English novels: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813), Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton (1848), Charles Dickens’s Hard Times (1854), Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), and Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886). Sexual transgression is a central concern in all of these works, and so throughout this semester we will pay attention to this topic and others related to it, such as Victorian conceptions of marriage, gender, and the family. I wish to emphasize, however, that our discussions will not be limited to any particular set of topics. These novels also deal with political economy, the class system, industrialization, violent crime, and social ambition, among many other issues, in settings that range from beautiful estates to smoke-choked cities, from schoolrooms to circuses, and from farms, country fairs, and dances to genteel parlors, clamorous union halls, and lonely graves. Our discussions will be open to all questions and interests, and students will be encouraged to contribute in determining where this course will lead us. Grades will be based on class participation and three papers; there will be no exams.

ENGL 4323.001: The Harlem Renaissance

Dr. Rita Keresztesi


This course surveys and evaluates the literature and political agenda of the Harlem Renaissance. During the period between the 1920s and 1940s artists, writers, and musicians employed culture to work for goals of civil rights and social equality. Harlem, a diverse community of African Americans, became home to civil rights organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, and Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. Besides studying the major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, we will situate this movement within a larger transnational context of the African Diaspora.

ENGL 4823: the American Novel since 1920, 

Joshua Nelson

W 3–6pm

The American story has often been conceived in chapters of war, or times between wars, as international conflicts propel the nation into seemingly discrete periods that structure entire facets of our lives, from industry and economics to artistic modes and social relations. For all the differences among the Indian Wars, the Civil War, World War II, Viet Nam, the wars in the Middle East, and more, race has been a strikingly common undercurrent, providing justification, outlet for violence, cause for guilt and grief, and, at times, avenues for progress. This course will explore uneasy intersections in race and war in American novels written since 1920, including masterworks by writers such as Toni Morrison and Cormac McCarthy, together with innovative approaches to form, such as Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel treating the Holocaust in Maus and Leslie Marmon Silko’s hybridization of prose, poetry, and American Indian oral tradition in Ceremony. Works by Oklahoma-based writers Rilla Askew and Geary Hobson (whom we will entreat for classroom visits) will also lend a local dimension to our discussions. Students will be required to write weekly responses to the readings, in a combination of short journal papers and online discussions, and will also compose a 20-page research paper, which we will begin early. As a 4000-level class conducted in a seminar style, expectations for outside research and a polished final draft will be high.

ENGL 4853: Caribbean Literature and Culture

Dr. Rita Keresztesi

T/R 10:30-11:45

In this course we will study nine texts by writers from the English-speaking Caribbean, mostly from Trinidad and Jamaica.  We will study how European colonization of the islands and the African slave trade have impacted their peoples and cultures.  Through a variety of writings styles, such as travelogue, sports writing, political and historical essays, novels and short stories that cover carnival, religion, and coming of age, we will reflect on the human condition in the postcolony.  We will enrich our reading experiences through film and music.

ENGL 4853 002: Capstone

Alan Velie

MW 1:30-2:45

Final course of major, intended to tie together what student has learned to date. Particular subject is poetry and poetics. Covers lyric poetry in English from Wyatt to Collins, dramatic poetry including Hamlet, Tartuffe and Faust, and narrative poetry including Don Juan and Eugene Onegin. Two term papers, writing exercises, and final.


                                                             Graduate Courses

5373: Graduate Topics in Native American Literatures- American Indian Rhetorics

Kim Wieser

TR 12:00 PM - 01:15 PM 

 This course will survey the scholarship on American Indian and Indigenous Rhetorics, covering such books as Earnest Stromberg’s American Indian Rhetorics of Surivance, Scott Lyon’s X-Marks, Birget Rasmussen’s Queequeg’s Coffin, Lisa Brooks’ The Common Pot, Lisa King et al’s Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story, and Jason Black’s American Indians and the Rhetoric of Removal. Students will contribute to a digitally published annotated bibliography of articles and books on American Indian and Indigenous Rhetorics, write a conference and article length version of a scholarly essay on the subject, and produce a material rhetorics object of their choice with guidance from the instructor.

ENGL 5513 Major Medieval Authors

Dan Ransom

MW 1:30-2:45

This seminar will have two focuses, one involving literary history, the other involving the procedures and techniques of producing a variorum edition, specifically an edition of a passage of Chaucer’s great love poem Troilus and Criseyde.  Classroom discussion will largely be devoted to tracking the development of the story of Troilus and Criseyde, from its origin in a 12th-century French narrative of the Trojan War to Shakespeare’s treatment in Troilus and Cressida.  We will examine how the theme of romantic love alters the preoccupations of epic ethos and engenders ethical debate over the claims of personal and public obligations.  We will also explore how the representation of character changes over time, responding to the divergent attractions of typology and mimesis.  We will consider to what extent it is possible to assign cultural causes to differences that exist in the redactions of the story.

Each student will conduct two seminar sessions, presenting a summary and analysis first of a collateral primary text (e.g., portions of Virgil’s Aeneid, Andreas Capellanus’s Art of Courtly Love, Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women), and second of a substantial piece of criticism devoted to one of the class texts.  Also, each student will produce a variorum edition of six stanzas of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.  The process will be divided into steps, and every three weeks students will present a product for each step.  Discussion will take up problems that students have encountered and devise solutions to those problems.

There are two text books for the course.  The first, The Story of Troilus, ed. R. K. Gordon, contains a translation of excerpts drawn from Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Roman de Troie and a translation of the full text of Boccaccio’s Filostrato.  It also provides a text, in Middle English, of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and, in Middle Scots, of Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid.  We will devote some time to examining the language of Chaucer and Henryson, with some translation exercises.  I will provide photocopies of a translation of Guido delle Colonne’s Latin paraphrase of Benoît’s narrative about Troilus.  The second text book is David Bevington’s edition of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida.