Topics Courses

Fall 2017

Every quarter, the English Department offers variable topics courses such as English 315 (Studies in a Literary Genre), English 324 (Studies in Literary Topics) and English 515 (Senior Seminar) on selected topics. The topics for these courses change each quarter, and the courses may be repeated for credit as topics change. Those scheduled for Fall 2017 are described below. If you'd like further information about these courses or other English Department offerings, please contact the instructor. You'll find their contact information on our faculty information pages.

ENG 319: Studies in Literary Diversity: Literature by Women of Color, Prof. Gil-Gomez, Online

Literature by Women of Color will explore multiple genres including fiction, non fiction, comics, poetry, theater and multimedia texts by authors who identify as from African American, Asian American, Chicana/Latina and/or Native American communities. We will explore texts that both present and critique racial and ethnic,  sex/gender and other cultural identifiers as a way to give voice to unique lives and experiences.

ENG 440: Studies in a Literary Period: British Modernism, Prof. Henry, TR 2:00-3:50 pm

The course explores literature by major British authors and the cultural context out of which Modernism emerged.  The course will include readings in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and possibly drama.

ENG 515: Senior Seminar: Slave Narratives, Prof. Pak, TR 4:00-5:50 pm

The genre of the slave narrative mobilizes arguments for the humanity of African slaves and the abolition of the Slave Trade and chattel slavery. How did writers of these slave narratives define, demand and defend humanity, freedom and liberation? How -- and why -- do writers of neo-slave narratives grapple with slavery? Our senior seminar will ask these and other questions by reading slave narratives, neo-slave narratives and critical scholarship on these genres, including works by, but not limited to, Harriet Jacobs and Colson Whitehead. Course requirements include a research proposal, annotated bibliography and final research paper. 

ENG 316: Introduction to Creative Writing: Specialized Genres: Writing Horror and Monstrosity, (Faculty TBA), Tuesday, 1:00-4:50 pm, Palm Desert Campus

In this course, students will read and compose poetry and literary fiction that exploits the narratives, themes and tropes of horror and monstrosity.

ENG 463: Advanced Studies in a Literary Topic: American Radicals: Emerson, Thoreau and the Transcendental Rebellion, Prof. Chad Luck, Wednesday 9:00-12:50, Palm Desert Campus

New England Transcendentalism was arguably the most important intellectual and aesthetic movement to emerge in America during the first one hundred years after the American Revolution. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and dozens of other writers, thinkers, and reformers came together to produce an incredibly vibrant and influential body of work, a body of work that dramatically altered the course of American literature.  But the rise—and fall—of Transcendentalism is a story of conflict, a narrative of new ideas struggling to gain a hold against entrenched ways of seeing the world.  Transcendentalists fought with the established church, they fought with scientists and philosophers, they fought with poets and novelists, and, perhaps most of all, they fought with one another.

This class will map the fertile field of Transcendentalist conflict.  We will begin the quarter considering the Romantic roots of the movement and reading some of the seminal texts by Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller and others.  As the quarter develops, we will turn our attention to other nineteenth-century American writers who were responding to Transcendentalism in all sorts of complicated ways.  So we’ll look at Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Walt Whitman.  In doing so, we’ll chart the complex web of cultural and historical connections that radiates out from the center of Transcendentalist thought.