Loyola University Maryland

Department of English

Course Descriptions

English majors and minors should consult the course cycle before registering for any course.

English majors and minors are encouraged to complete the advising template (PDF) before meeting with their academic advisors. Those who choose to register online might consider filling out the document in Word, saving it to a file, and then e-mailing it to their advisors as part of the "permit to register" request.

English Department Course Offerings - Spring 2023

200-Level Courses

EN 200.04
Major Writers: Special Topics:  Harry Potter
EN 200.04 – M/W/F 1:00-1:50 PM
Dr. Victoria Barnett-Woods

This course will read through and examine the major works of the Harry Potter series, the popular story of a boy who suddenly realizes that he is an important and powerful wizard. As we explore the magical world of Harry Potter, we will read through the literary references and historical connections to witchcraft and the series' portrayal of fantastic creatures. As this is a literary course, we'll also be reading the series through multiple critical lenses as a means to get to some of the complications that Rowling's vision of the Harry's narrative arc presents. We'll read most of the novels and some supplementary contextual materials. There will be one small paper, a midterm, and a final exam that will serve as the primary modes of assessment for the course.

EN 200.05
Major Writers: Special Topics: Humor
EN 200.05 - M/W/F 1:00-1:50 PM
Ms. Katherine Shloznikova

When it comes to humor, we are all experts in the field. We just know when something is funny or not. But humor is not an easy matter. Why do humans laugh but not animals? Why is comedy sometimes more tragic than tragedy? What exactly makes a joke funny? In this course we will investigate what makes humor humor, i.e., what elements produce the effect of “funniness.” We will examine different theories of humor as well as the psychology behind it. 

Our readings will be of two kinds: theoretical and fictional. The theory of humor will cover conceptual aspects of humor and will include cultural analyses of comedy today. Fiction will include plays and short stories by various writers, from Shakespeare to Mark Twain to Junot Diaz. We will also watch old comedies by Charlie Chaplin and Luis Bunuel; new comedies by Coen Brothers and Kevin Hart; and of course, standup comedy.


EN 201.03
Major Writers: English Literature: Monsters and the Monstrous
EN 201.03 - T/TH 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. Gayla McGlamery

The flowering of science and technology in the late‐eighteenth and nineteenth centuries markedly improved people's lives, but progress brought with it unintended consequences. The fears that scientific theorizing and experimentation unleashed reveal themselves in the "monster" literature of the period, most notably in works of Mary Shelley, the Brownings, Christina Rossetti, Bram Stoker, and H.G. Wells. This literature aims to evoke horror but also to raise philosophical and moral questions. In "Monsters and the Monstrous, we'll examine the intersections of science, technology, and the monstrous in the 19th‐ and early 20th‐centuries and examine shifting conceptions of the natural and the unnatural that still influence us today.


Naked Eye
Major Writers: English Literature: The Naked Eye: Victorian and Modern Ways of Seeing 
E
N 201.04 - T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM
Dr. Nicholas Miller 

This course will explore the continuities and discontinuities of Victorian and Modern literature in relation to two watershed events in visual culture: the invention of the photograph in 1826 and the invention of cinema in 1895. With the advent of still- and moving-picture cameras, the human act of seeing was transformed into a mechanical process, no longer grounded entirely in the biological instrument of human perception, the “naked eye.” Taking this as our point of departure, we will investigate Victorian and Modern “ways of seeing,” the ideas about perception that drew on both science and art to give rise to optical toys and instruments, ultimately transforming the visible world by transforming vision itself. Our primary focus will be on sight-related tropes and themes—observation, perspective, illusion, insight, blindness, visibility and invisibility, the public and private dynamics of seeing and being seen—as they emerge in the short fiction and novels of these adjacent literary periods. Authors to be studied will likely include Lewis Carroll, H. G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jeanette Winterson, and Art Spiegelman, among others. We will also look at some early photographs and pioneering cinematic works by the Lumiere brothers, Georges Melies, Dziga Vertov, Emile Cohl, and Winsor McCay. In addition to reading and viewing assignments, requirements will include brief weekly response posts, two short papers, one longer research paper, frequent quizzes, a midterm, and a final examination.


EN 203.05
Major Writers: American Literature: Protest Literature 
EN 203.05 - T/TH 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. James Hunter Plummer

Through a diverse collection of texts across genres and from the early Republic to the present day, this course approaches literature of the United States of America through a lens of protest: literature about protest, literature as protest, and protest as literature. Together, these works explore various social ills and the activism initiated to change them through poetry, novels, personal narratives, plays, and more. Students will be exposed to both traditional major writers (Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Langston Hughes, etc.) and those on the periphery of society and academia (Zitkala-Ša, María Irene Fornés, little-remembered songwriters, etc.), thus expanding their understanding of who and what is “canonical” and how such conceptions perpetuate systemic oppression.


Comics
Comic Books as Literature, TV & Cinema
EN 220.01 – M/W 3:00-4:15 PM
Dr. Brett Butler

The impact of comic books, graphic novels, and manga have had on popular cultural is massive. However, it is only in the last couple decades that these mediums have become the topic of proper scholarly debate and criticism. This course exposes students to a variety of comic book and graphic novels and teaches them how discuss them in academically. Whether they are dedicated comic book fans or mildly interested newcomers, students learn to develop a more profound appreciation for visual storytelling.

EN 265D.01
Justice & Hope: Writing the U.S.
EN 265D.01 - M/W 3:00-4:15 PM 
EN 265D.02 - M/W 6:00-7:00 PM
Dr. Juniper Ellis

Dr. Juniper Ellis Focusing on the ways writers develop a language and a literary form that is distinctively American, this course examines the ways writers present diversity and solidarity as founding principles of the United States.  We examine writers from many differing communities, creating an ongoing investigation into the way people define themselves and others.  Many of the writers we read provide distinct but complementary perspectives on personal and national identity:  for example, Walt Whitman’s poems and Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming create innovative literary forms that depict the ways our ideas about race may affect both black people and white people.  Though the works are written more than 100 years apart, and though one writer is black and the other white, the works share common ground in experimenting with ways to tell stories that promote freedom and justice.  The course offers a strong foundation in both time‐honored American fiction, drama, and poetry, and contemporary multi‐ethnic classics.  This course meets the University's Diversity Course Requirement, focusing on domestic awareness.


EN 291.01
Race, Law, and American Literature 
EN 291.01 - M/W/F 2:00-2:50 PM
Service-Learning
Dr. Stephen Park

This course will explore complicated questions of race and justice in America through a careful study of law and literature. While laws seem to be based on statutes and courtroom arguments, there are also deeply-embedded narratives which animate American law and which we, as students of literature, are well positioned to untangle. For instance, the type of “stand your ground” law that allowed George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin and go unpunished is based on very old American narratives of white supremacy. The law begins with unspoken assumptions about who is threatening, who has the right to feel threatened, whose safety matters, and whose doesn’t. All of these narratives and the ways in which they circulate in our culture make it possible for Zimmerman’s act of aggression to be defended as “reasonable.”

We will begin the semester by learning to read the law as literature, applying skills from narrative theory and Critical Race Theory in order to uncover and analyze the stories concealed within American law. We will then read an array of 20th- and 21st-century literature which engages with the racialized injustices embedded in the legal system. African American literature will be central to the course, and we will read literary works by Ralph Ellison, Claudia Rankine, and James Baldwin, among others. We will also consider how Asian American authors, such as Julie Otsuka and Fae Myenne Ng, have come to terms with the US’s history of exclusion, internment, and racialized immigration laws. We will conclude by reading works by Louise Erdrich and Layla Long Soldier in order to reflect on the role of legal narratives in perpetuating injustices against Native Americans.

This is a service-learning course, and students will have the opportunity to work with the non-profit law firm, Maryland Legal Aid. Your service will involve speaking with their clients (virtually or in person), listening to their stories, and summarizing their cases in order to help them obtain pro bono representation.

This class counts toward the African and African American Studies (AAAS) Minor and is part of Loyola’s Pre-Law Program.

300-Level Courses / 400-Level Courses

EN 320.01  
Milton
EN 320.01 - M/W 3:00-4:15 PM
Dr. Thomas Scheye

In his essay, The Reason of Church Government, Milton describes his ambition this way: “That what the greatest and choicest wits of Athens, Rome . . . and those Hebrews of old did for their country, I, in my proportion, with this over and above of being a Christian, might do for mine.”  In choosing to tell the story of the Fall of Man, Milton is deliberately courting comparison with Moses as the author of Genesis.  In plotting his career from the pastoral Lycidas to the epic Paradise Lost, and its sequel Paradise Regained, he is comparing his achievement to that of Virgil.  And near the end of his career in Samson Agonistes, he composes a tragedy in the style of Sophocles.  Such ambition may suggest something of the challenge that reading Milton inevitably entails, but something of the rewards as well.  In Paradise Lost, he promises “Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.”  Careful readers will conclude he keeps his promise.


EN 373D.01
Black Lit Matters
EN 373D.01 - T/TH 3:05-4:20 PM
Dr. Sondra Guttman

Black Lives Matter.  How does Black lit matter, as well? In 1967, residents of Newark, New Jersey, were moved to violence by police brutality, inadequate housing, unemployment, and poverty. During the unrest, the poet Leroi Jones was arrested on a concealed weapons charge. A poem he’d published was entered into evidence at his trial.  
 
THE COURT: This diabolical prescription to commit murder and to steal and plunder and other similar evidences -
JONES: I’m being sentenced for the poem. Is that what you are saying? 
THE COURT: - cause one to suspect that you were a participant in formulating a plot to ignite the spark on the night of July 13, 1967 to burn the City of Newark and that - 
JONES: You mean you don’t like the poem, in other words.  
 
Jones’ conviction (for poetry!) demonstrates the power of Black literature. This course traces the art and authority of the African American literary tradition from the 18th to the 21st century.  Some questions we’ll ask: How and why is Black literature different? How does Black literature tell truths under nearly impossible conditions? What does Black literature tell us about what race is? How can literature be revolutionary? Some writers we’ll study: Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, Toni Morrison and Yaa Gyasi, Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen and Danzy Senna, Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez. 
 
Requirements include weekly written responses, collaborative discussion leadership, one close reading essay, a midterm exam, and a choice of final exam or essay.


EN 390D.01
Literature of the U.S.-Mexico Border
EN 390D.01 - M/W/F 11:00-11:50 AM
Dr. Stephen Park

This course will explore the literature and culture of the borderland, from the violent creation of the US-Mexico border in 1848 to the present day. Throughout the semester, we will read a historical range of texts, almost exclusively written by Chicanx authors. We will consider how this body of literature has been shaped by the lived reality of the US/Mexico border, by the tension between English and Spanish, and by the lasting effects of internal colonialism. By examining more closely the poetry, fiction, and life writing produced in the borderlands, it becomes clear that this seemingly peripheral region is central to the United States and to the longer story of US Literature.

We will begin with a study of Gloria Anzaldúa’s foundational work, Borderlands/La Frontera in order to give us a theoretical lens through which to view the borderlands. We’ll then read early works of Chicanx Literature, such as María Ruíz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don and Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gómez, as well as works by contemporary authors, such as Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, and Cormac McCarthy. This course will also consider how the US/Mexico border has been represented in film, television, and music.

This course counts toward the Minor in Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS).

Past and current participants in Loyola’s immersion program with the Kino Border Initiative are especially encouraged to enroll.


EN 437.01
Seminar: 18th Century Caribbean Literature
EN 437.01 / EN 337.01 - M/W/F 2:00-2:50 PM
Dr. Victoria Barnett-Woods

This course is designed for advanced undergraduates and will critically engage our historical and literary understanding of the eighteenth-century Caribbean. It will discuss issues that have cultural relevance to the present day, from the formation of the “pirate” as a renegade underdog of the imperial frontier, to the more serious matters of racial discrimination and African displacement during the transatlantic slave trade. This course will historically follow the rise and fall of the British imperial reign in the Caribbean, from its start in the late seventeenth century and end on how present-day authors wrestle with the legacies of slavery and an imperial past. 


EN 446.01

Seminar: Writing Back: Revising the Classics 
EN 446.01 / EN 346.01 - T/TH 10:50 AM-12:05 PM
Dr. Mark Osteen

Have you ever wondered how Mr. Rochester’s first wife, in Jane Eyre, became a “madwoman?” Does Grendel, the monster in Beowulf, have a story of his own? And what if Shakespeare’s The Tempest were restaged with an all-Black cast on an island near South Carolina? In this course, we will answer these questions by reading classic, canonical literary texts alongside their modern rewritings, in which a later author borrows the characters or narrative from a previous text and rewrites it from a different angle. These second texts allow us hear and see what the original texts suppressed or ignored, particularly the voices and views of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and “monsters.” The pairings also provide new perspectives on postmodern practices as parody and pastiche and help us to consider whether originality is possible or even desirable. In addition to Beowulf and Grendel, the paired texts will include Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea; The Tempest alongside Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day; William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying with Black playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s Getting Mother’s Body; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway next to Michael Cunningham’s queer love story The Hours. These cases of “literary symbiosis” are, as James Joyce put it, “the last word in stolentelling.”            

Each student will give oral presentation, write a research paper, post online responses, watch selected films and read a few critical essays. 

Students may count this course either as a pre-1800 requirement or as a course in twentieth- and twenty-first century literature, depending on needs.


EN 446D.01
Literary Criticism and Theory: Humor Studies 
EN 446D.01 / EN 346D.01 - M/W 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. Juniper Ellis

In this course we investigate the way American writers use humor to present ways of knowing that challenge existing maps of time and space, the body, dress, language, and comportment. We learn from the ways non-dominant traditions use humor to make space for cultures, genealogies, and legacies that reveal the dynamic presence of alternative mappings of what it is to be human, what it is to live in time and space, to be in a human body, to speak, to think, to act in ways that are fully alive and fully human. Tommy Orange (a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nation) uses irony to reveal the entire United States as Indian country. Samantha Irby presents her own body, the body of a large Black queer woman with IBS, as an uncontainable vehicle that expands mainstream conceptions of beauty, value, and love. Jerry Craft offers a graphic novel that makes space for Blackness at a majority white middle school.  David Sedaris offers personal essays that claim his identity as a gay man despite his father’s initial rejection of him. Tiffany Midge (an enrolled Standing Rock Sioux citizen) fuses Indian and pop culture discourses to make room for her own large Brown woman’s body and life. Tyler Perry creates the persona of a Mad Black Woman who speaks truth to power. Maira Kalman uses text and drawings to move through grief and trauma, creating hopefulness for herself and readers.  All of these portrayals expand existing humor theories (superiority, incongruity, release/relief), and help readers explore new ways of perceiving, understanding, and potentially living in a more just and humane manner. Blogs, oral presentations, two exams, good-humored discussion; service-learning option available. 


EN 487
At Home in the World: Place and Displacement in Contemporary Literature
EN 487.01/EN 387.01 - T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM
Dr. Melissa Girard

This course features literature published since 1945 in which writers struggle in various ways to find a home in the contemporary world. We will begin in the U.S., in the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, as writers attempt to retreat from violent global struggles into the new American suburbs. We will read a few defining works from mid-century America, including Sloan Wilson’s The Man In the Gray Flannel Suit (1955), Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1963), and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). We will then follow these themes of place and displacement—the literal and metaphysical homelessness brought on by a century of war—around the world and into the present in Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine (2003), Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex (2002), Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (2017), Solmaz Sharif’s Look (2016), and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (2013). By immersing ourselves in these contemporary works, along with a small selection of accompanying critical essays, we will investigate some of the key ways that literature has changed since World War II. We will ask whether contemporary literature constitutes a distinct period in literary history and, if so, how we might define it. What does it mean to write within and about the present world?

EN 099 English Internships

Students may take one internship course for degree credit. The course counts as an elective, not as a course fulfilling requirements for an English major or minor. Students taking an internship course are responsible for locating the internship and must work at least ten hours per week. For-credit internships include biweekly meetings with Dr. Cole and other fellow interns, and students undertake a series of reflective and goal-setting activities that can be highly beneficial aspects of the career discernment process. Internships may be done locally in the Baltimore-Washington region or remotely, but written or electronic permission of the instructor is required and all arrangements for a spring semester internship must be made prior to the end of the drop/add period. Interested students should contact Dr. Forni (kforni@loyola.edu) , the departmental internship supervisor, before registration.

 

 







Robert Miola
Faculty

Robert Miola, Ph.D.

For this long-time English and Classics professor, the Loyola difference is in the way in which professors teach and by which students learn

English, Classics