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English Department Course Offerings - Spring 2024
EN 200.01 - M/W/F 1:00-1:50 PM
Dr. Katherine Shloznikova
The Romantics often found their inspiration and consolation in nature: in trees, rivers, clouds, birds, landscapes. Following Rousseau, they endowed nature with love, innocence, and benevolence, which allowed them to explore their inner being -- its longing, maladies, and melancholy. In this course, we will carefully read British Romantics, American transcendentalists, and indigenous poetry, to explore how nature can be poeticized and exploited at the same time. We will also study the eco-feminist writing of Mary Shelley, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and the genre of the “female Robinsonade.”
EN 200.02 - T/TH 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. Gary Slack, Jr.
What makes the detective? Is it the deerstalker hat? Or is it the calabash pipe? Regardless of how we signify the detective, they are almost always game to solve a mystery, even if they are not formal “detectives.” In this course, we will read works of detective fiction spanning from ancient religious texts to contemporary potboilers. The writers we will read include, but are not limited to: Paul Auster, Roberto Bolaño, Octavia Butler, Chester Himes, Shirley Jackson, and Haruki Murakami. We will also familiarize ourselves with the literary elements of detective fiction, including its archetypes, structures, and subgenres. Finally, you will be expected to produce criticism in the form of literary analyses and research papers. And yes, we will watch Detective Pikachu.
Major Writers: Special Topics: Humor
EN 200.03 - M/W/F 11:00-11:50 AM
Dr. 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 both 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 watch old comedies by Charlie Chaplin and Luis Bunuel; new comedies by Coen Brothers and Kevin Hart; and of course, we will discuss stand up comedians.
Fable and Embodiment: Genre and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
EN 200.04 – T/TH 10:50-12:05 PM
Dr. Justin Hastings
At the heart of this course is a single over-arching question: what does fable allow us to understand about how embodiment was understood, given the complexity of socio-religious thought about the mind-soul binary in Europe between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries? This in turn raises a host of related questions. What relationship between literature and lived experience can we glimpse? What do these literary works reveal about the ways in which sex and gender were actually understand by people who were not scholastic philosophers? Does reading embodiment through fable allow us to understand anything about the ways in which space and place as inhabited by bodies were conceptualized in the centuries under study? How do racialized, queer, and disabled bodies figure into these discourses? Does fable allow for a more nuanced understanding of the universal/particular binary?
Works to be read include: Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Ovide Moralisé; Chaucer’s Manciple’s Tale and Nun’s Priest’s Tale; Robert Henryson’s Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian; Shakespeare’s Coriolanus; Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World; and John Gay’s Fifty-One Fables.
The theater can be incredibly communal and even vulnerable for the performer and the audience as they occupy a shared physical space. Alongside these powerful emotions, it be an especially immediate, useful, and impactful way to (literally) stage a protest or commentary on the writer’s society and culture.
Literature Onstage, Yesterday and Today
EN 215.01 – T/TH 3:05-4:20 PM
Dr. Hunter Plummer
In this course, you will dive into the often abrasive, provocative, and experimental world of modern and contemporary theater. You will study plays and musicals as works of literature—not just things to produce onstage—to develop and hone the skills needed to analyze scripts and performances in the same way you would prose and poetry.
While likely dominated by English-language drama from the United States and United Kingdom, this course will also draw freely from Argentina, Nigeria, and beyond—including translated works—to expose you to a global vision of the last 150 years of drama. You will explore how theater fits into major artistic and literary movements (modernism, realism, etc.) and forms unique to the stage (absurdism, farce, musicals, etc.) and cultivate a unique perspective about how literature both shapes and reflects the developments and problems of a community.
Among the works we may study are The Skin of Our Teeth (Thornton Wilder), Six Characters in Search of an Author (Luigi Pirandello), The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window (Lorraine Hansberry), Sunday in the Park with George (Stephen Sondheim), The Camp (Griselda Gambaro), Fefu and Her Friends (María Irene Fornés), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask), and A Strange Loop (Michael R. Jackson)
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.
Justice & Hope: Writing the U.S.
EN 265D.01 – M/W 3:00-4:15 PM
EN 265D.02 – M/W 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. Juniper Ellis
Dive deep into classic and contemporary works that front what Frederick Douglass calls “truth, love, and justice”—a journey showing that out of the very worst that humans can experience, the very best may also be created. About this class, a student declared, “there is hope for people to learn. This speaks to me as a African American male. Reading about how people like me are treated, and how it is discussed in this class gives me hope for a better future. Everyone in this class was open to understanding the problems of racism, classism, and just difficult topics that go on in our world today. It gave me hope to hear how people around me talked about it and hope that they will teach their children what is right.” This course meets the University's Diversity Course Requirement, focusing on domestic awareness. Service-learning option.
Growing up Modern
EN 280.01 - T/TH 9:25-10:40 AM
Dr. Mark Osteen
Childhood and adolescence are modern inventions. Building on that premise, this course explores how the literature of the past two centuries has depicted childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Among the questions we ask in the course are these: what trials and triumphs do children and adolescents endure on their way to adulthood? How do children, teens, and young adults respond to authority? How do unusual people (such as disabled youths) challenge norms? Is coming of age the same across different cultures and ethnicities? How have representations and beliefs about childhood, adolescence and maturation changed over the decades? Readings will include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, short stories by James Joyce and Alice Munro, and a selection of recent novels that may include Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys. Each student will complete a research projectand deliver an oral presentation. Students will also write two brief papers in which they reflect on their own identities and disabilities.
Race, Law, and American Literature
EN 291D.01 (Service-Learning) - M/W/F 2:00-2:50 PM
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 read works by Native American authors, such as Louise Erdrich and Layli Long Soldier, which consider the historical inequities of American law. We will conclude my considering how more recent legal narratives have racialized Muslim Americans, as we read works by Ayad Akhtar and Moja Kahf.
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. More information about Maryland Legal Aid can be found at: www.mdlab.org
This class counts toward the African and African American Studies (AAAS) Minor and is part of Loyola’s Pre-Law curriculum. It also counts toward the Diversity-Justice Requirement.
Shakespeare: Comedies & Romances
EN 311.01 - M/W 3:00-4:15
Dr. Thomas Scheye
What else is there to say about Shakespeare? Perhaps his contemporary and rival, Ben Johnson, said it best: “He was not of an age, but for all time!” And after 400 years, Shakespeare remains our contemporary, both timeless and timely. This course will trace the development of his genius from the early sonnets through the mature comedies:
In springtime, the only pretty ringtime,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding
Sweet lovers love the spring
The subject is love, every kind you can think of!
Shakespeare I is NOT a pre-requisite.
Renaissance Literature: Shakespeare and Race
EN 313.01 – T/TH 9:25-10:40 AM
Dr. Robert Miola
The current cultural and moral crisis in race relations demands that we confront our past and our present. In this course we will read a selection of Shakespeare’s plays—histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances—with an eye to early modern and modern ideas of race and ethnicity. Together we will approach the plays—intense explorations of human passion, power, love, suffering, evil, and death—to see what they assume and profess about race, skin color, and culture. We shall look to theatrical performance, to the many possibilities for interpretation and realization, and to a range of critical materials—books, articles, interviews, and podcasts. We will see performances on film and, if possible, in the theater. Areas of exploration will be the early modern history of race relations (including the slave trade and colonialism), actors of color, African and Global productions, and contemporary adaptations. Students can enjoy dramatic readings of Shakespearean scenes. Study questions enliven discussion as will selected video clips from a wide range of international productions. Mid-term, final, and a paper. Readings will include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, Macbeth, The Tempest, and others.
American Lit to the First World War: Dissent
EN 366D.01 - T/TH 3:05-4:20 PM
Dr. Sondra Guttman
"I would prefer not to.” -- Bartleby, the Scrivener
“Power concedes nothing without a demand.” -- Frederick Douglass
The United States is a nation famously founded on the power of dissent. What can American literature tell us about protest and power, about the path from narration to positive social transformation? This semester we’ll explore expressions and depictions of this American impulse, tracing its contradictions and complexities and reflecting on its implications for U.S. society today.
We’ll explore dissenting literature around the topics of abolition, feminism, Indigenous rights and worker rights. Readings are by a few writers you may be familiar with (Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau) and many others that you’ve probably not heard of (Harriet Jacobs, Zitkala Sa, William Apess, Sui Sin Far). A past student reflected:
I’ve never had a class like this before, where we focus on dissenting voices that center marginalized identities. The ability to bring the subaltern voices to the center is something that I will carry with me in future classes. Discussing privilege, power, marginalization, and virtually all the concepts we talked about this semester is something that we can do to ameliorate the world around us in a tangible way.
Requirements include blog posts, collaborative discussion leadership, one close reading essay, a midterm exam, and choice of final research essay or exam. This course fulfills the 19th century literature requirement for the EN major and the Diversity course requirement for graduation.
Seminar in Victorian Literature: Nineteenth-Century Crime, Mystery, and Detection
EN 463.01 – T/TH 4:30-5:45 PM
Dr. Gayla McGlamery
In 1829, the Metropolitan Police Act established the first police force in London with official powers to prevent and detect crime. However, the police detective did not make an appearance in English fiction until 1848. Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin, first introduced to the American reading public in 1841, was a private detective before the term “detective” was invented. By the end of the nineteenth century, policemen and detectives of many kinds populated American and English fiction, pursuing villains and solving both mundane and sensational crimes.
Examining 19th-century English and American crime novels and stories as individual imaginative works and as contributions to the developing mystery/crime genre, we will also consider social contexts—the increase in urban population, the evolution of the police force and crime-fighting methods, and changes in theory and practice involving incarceration and other forms of punishment as they affect nineteenth-century English society at large.
Readings may include W. H. Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard, Wilkie Collins's The Law and the Lady or The Woman in White, and/or Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. We will also read American and British short fiction, including stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Rudyard Kipling, Anna Katherine Green, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others, and view at least one film adaptation.
Requirements: weekly reading responses, a midterm, a final, and a documented analytical essay of 10-12 pages.
Seminar: Modern Poetry
EN 483.01 – T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM
Dr. Melissa Girard
The “Lost Generation,” Malcolm Cowley said, “belonged to a period of transition from values already fixed to values that had to be created.” This new generation of writers, artists, and activists, who came of age during World War I, published in little magazines like transition, Broom (to make a clean sweep of it), This Quarter (existing purely in the present), and Secession. “They were seceding from the old,” Cowley said, “and they groped their way toward another scheme of life, as yet undefined.”
This seminar will provide you with an opportunity for advanced study in the field of modernist poetry. We will read a large selection of poetry and prose by figures such as William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Claude McKay, Amy Lowell, and Marianne Moore, who were residing in New York City in the teens and twenties and helping to foment a revolution in both poetry and politics. We will also read writing by Americans abroad in Europe, including Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, H.D., and Gertrude Stein, to examine how their ideas were both co-opted and critiqued by poets in the U.S. By the end of the semester, you can expect to develop a much stronger understanding of these poets’ aesthetic innovations—poetic experiments such as Vorticism, Futurism, Imagism, Impersonality, Blues, and Jazz—as well as their political achievements. For this generation of artists, vers libre or “free verse” became the preferred vehicle for pursuing a freer world. Alongside modernism’s new aesthetics, their liberatory political campaigns—for racial, gender, class, and sexual equality—changed the course of the twentieth century.
This course does not require any previous background or expertise in modern poetry—only a desire and willingness to explore these difficult and important works together. I hope you will join us!
Seminar in Film and Literature: Hitchcock
EN 486.01 – T/TH 10:50 AM–12:05 PM
Dr. Mark Osteen
The legendary shower scene, complete with slashing knife and screeching violins; a literal cliffhanger beneath the faces on Mt. Rushmore; a German-American woman who marries a Nazi in order to spy on him; a detective with acrophobia who becomes obsessed with a dead woman; a photographer spying on his neighbors: Alfred Hitchcock’s films have given us some of cinema’s most memorable images and scenes. Although he is renowned as a consummate technician and branded the “Master of Suspense,” Hitchcock is far more than a purveyor of thrills. His films, which often feature young female protagonists, investigate the complexities of guilt and responsibility, and implicate audiences in the crimes they depict; they plumb the mysteries of love; they examine the human propensity for violence. And they do all this while entertaining us gloriously. This course will introduce students to about half of Hitchcock’s more than 50 feature films, starting with The Lodger (1927) and ending with Frenzy (1972), pair them with a few source texts, and explore the themes discussed above.
Students will write two scene shot analyses, take a midterm and final exam, and write a research paper. They will also acquaint themselves with some of the most enduringly delightful films in cinema history. Counts toward Film Studies Minor.
Seminar in Literary Topics after 1800: Banned Books
EN 499D.01 – M/W 6:00-7:15 PM
Dr. June Ellis
We study nine frequently-banned books that focus on race, gender, and sexuality. In each reading, we investigate the ways in which the writer offers a freedom dream. We trace visceral revolutionary feelings that transform the very energy of trauma into the energy of healing and freedom. These writers do not only portray oppression and trauma; they also celebrate joy, love, laughter, strength and faith of non-dominant cultures and minority groups. We give equal attention to the liberating ways of knowing and being, the true freedom dreams, that are expressed and lived in these works and the communities they depict. Likely readings include Walker’s The Color Purple, Grimes’ Bronx Masquerade, Thomas’s The Hate U Give, Telgemeier’s Drama, Gino’s Melissa, Dawson’s This Book is Gay. This course meets the University's Diversity Course Requirement, focusing on domestic awareness. Service-learning option.
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 (email@example.com) , the departmental internship supervisor, before registration.