Courses In English


This is an unofficial list of English courses that will be offered in Summer 2018. It is strictly for the use of expanded course descriptions. For the complete official course offerings, please consult the UIC SCHEDULE OF CLASSES.

ENGL 101: Understanding Literature
CRN: 21669/21670
Instructor: Schoenknecht, Mark
In this section of ENGL 101, we’ll consider great works of literature in the Western tradition from the late 19th century to the present. Our inquiry will take a genre-based approach, focusing on elements of form and craft. However, we’ll also attempt to situate the texts we read in their broader literary and historical contexts, tracing the development of Western literature from modernism and its immediate precursors through postmodernism and into the contemporary moment. Readings will include short fiction (Chekhov, Kafka, Borges, and Carver), drama (Strindberg, Brecht, and Beckett), poetry (from Whitman and Dickinson to Carl Phillips and Natalie Diaz, with many others in between), and two relatively short novels (by Dostoevsky and Vonnegut). Most written assignments will take the form of low-stakes, exploratory response papers, with the exception of a formal literary analysis at the end of the term.
Note: While students will be expected to purchase the two novels assigned for this course, all other readings will be available for free online or via Blackboard.

ENGL 102: Introduction to Film
CRN: 19843 / 19844
Day(s)/Times: MTRF 1:00-3:55
Instructor: Sterritt, Brooks
According to Steven Soderbergh, "a movie is something you see, and cinema is something that’s made." This course is an introduction to the history of cinema via selections from a variety of periods and forms, including film's origins, the silent era, the "Golden Age" of Hollywood, experimental film, film noir, animated films, various New Waves, and digital cinema. We will focus on how to read a film, the principles by which a film is put together, and how its various parts relate to one another. Likely viewing will include films by Griffith, Chaplin, Riefenstahl, Eisenstein, Vertov, Kurosawa, Antonioni, and Denis.

ENGL 120: Film and Culture - Subversive Cinema
Day(s)/Times: TR 1:30-4:00
Instructor: Berger, Jessica
This course will explore the intersections between film and American culture with an emphasis on so-called subversive, often counter-cultural and/or “cult” texts. In examining a wide range of classic, troublemaking films from the silent era to today, we will explore the shifting definitions of subversion and seek to ask and answer significant questions about our visual culture and its symbiotic engagement with our sociopolitical beliefs. Namely, we will be keenly interested in opening up questions of how definitions of “subversion” and “transgression” have shifted over time in regard to both form and content, and what sorts of film texts can be described using those terms today.   Films viewed will include titles as diverse as Daisies, Breathless, Get Out, and The Rocky Horror Picture ShowStudents should expect to write a number of short papers, prepare at least one short presentation, and engage in research/viewing outside of class time.

ENGL 240: Literary Theory: Words and Power - An Introduction to Literary Theory
CRN: 18247/18248
Day(s)/Times: MTRF 1:00 - 3:55
Instructor: Agnani, Sunil
The Greek philosopher Socrates found writers and poets to be so dangerous he wanted them exiled from his ideal Republic. But what did he fear in a reckless imagination and a creative re-making of the external world? More recently in the 20th century both totalitarian and democratic regimes have had, arguably, ways of regulating words, spreading myths (“fake news”), and mitigating dissent. This course explores links between literature and the world it describes, with a specific focus on the question: what are the links between words and power? Chronologically, the focus will be on four broad eras as we trace how this analysis has shifted and developed from antiquity to the present: (1) classical Greece (Plato & Aristotle) as we think of how the sophists related to public debate; (2) Enlightenment/18th century Europe, where challenges to monarchical and despotic power found expression in a new type of writing on art and literary texts (Hume, Burke, Kant, de Staël); (3) the 19th century (Marx, Baudelaire, Nietzsche); and finally (4) the modern and contemporary era, where a range of literary theories re-visit and reformulate this question (Saussure, Roland Barthes, Benjamin, Foucault, Edward Said). By moving between literature, philosophy and a broader cultural history, the goal is to provide students with an analytic “toolkit” that can be used to think critically not only about literary texts, but also “social” texts, society and cultural works (art, photography, film and web-based media).

This course argues that literary theory serves as a bridge between literary study and other disciplines (such as psychology, the study of society and mass-media, anthropology and, closer to home, linguistics). You will have a more fleshed-out sense of what is at stake in different schools of criticism beyond their names: Marxism, the Frankfurt school, structuralism, deconstruction, and postcolonial thought. By the end of the course, if you seek it, you will be more adept at working with (or rejecting) these styles of thought and criticism. There is only one required book for this course.

ENGL 241: History of English Literature I: From Beowulf to John Milton
Day(s)/Times: MTRF 9:00-11:55
Instructor: Reames, Robin
This course surveys English literature from its beginning to 1660 - from Beowulf to Paradise Lost. The literature of this time is full of mystery - gods, monsters, faeries, demons populate its stories. It was a world quite different from our own; but at the same time, it contains the template for what our world would become - the world in which we live now. In this course we will survey English literature from this other-worldly world, with particular attention to how the people of this era used language to shape and structure their experiences and lives - perhaps one of the most important things you can do in college. We will study texts from the medieval and early modern centuries with the following goals: to explore the development of literary and rhetorical forms; to become acquainted with various kinds of literary and rhetorical analyses and approaches; to examine the ways that texts participate in history; and to consider the changing literary representations of issues that bear on our own time and experience, such as gender, social class, religion, race and heroism.

In the normal semester, this class is taught as a large lecture course. Take advantage of the smaller class size and more one-on-one contact with the professor in the summer session.

ENGL 242: English Literature, Global Origins
CRN: 14702/14703
Day(s)/Times: MWF 10:00-11:40
Instructor: Mufti, Nasser
This course is about how British imperialism was essential to the invention of “English literature.” We will read the canonical figures of modern English literature from the beginning of the Restoration (1660) to the end of the Victorian era (1902) and learn how Britain’s colonial exploits during this period (from slavery to massacres to settler colonialism to mass exploitation) were integral to the British literary and cultural imagination. Even though places like India, Jamaica, South Africa, and Argentina rarely find themselves on the pages of writers like Defoe, Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, Dickens, Emily Brontë, Doyle, and Conrad (all of whom, amongst others, we will read), these sites were central to the formation of their national identity as well as their novels, poetry, and non-fiction. In a word, the point of this class is to introduce the idea that “English literature” is not properly English.

ENGL 243: American Literature to 1900
CRN: 14138; 14142 (Please enroll for both lecture and discussion)
Day(s)/Times: Tue. 1:30-4:00; Thu. 1:30-4:00
Instructor: Godek-Kiryluk, Elvira
American Literary Canon and Politics:
This is a survey course, which means that it covers the benchmarks of American literature. We can’t read them all, of course, but we will begin in the 18th century with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and selected Federalist Papers to set up the context for political issues defining the trajectory of the course. We will then read the 19th century abolitionist memoirs of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs and essays by transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau before we discuss the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville as well as the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. In the 20th century, we will read selections from Henry James, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Ishmael Reed, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison.

First Year Writing Program

ENGL 160: Academic Writing I - Exploring the Internet of Things
CRN: 16259
Day(s)/Times: MWF 10:00-11:40
Instructor: Green, Hannah
Twitter. Snapchat. YouTube. Instagram. Facebook. Reddit. LinkedIn. We’re all familiar with some form of online communication and interaction. But how much of you is really out there?
Since its creation in 1990, the internet has evolved from a source of static content for passive users to a dynamic, interactive part of our everyday lives. From social media to streaming, from crowdsourcing to networking, we use the internet to communicate, transact, collect, and share all types of information. In short, the internet shapes who we are and what we do. The rise of smart devices has also influenced much of what we do, making us more connected than ever to a constant stream of information. This Internet of Things, a network of physical devices such as smartphones, vehicles, home appliances, fitness trackers, and other items, receives and shares a constant stream of public and personal data. And, just as the way we use the Internet has changed, so too have the problems we encounter online. The more we connect our lives to the digital world, the more invasive and pervasive it becomes in return. And, because we all live in the tangle of the Internet of Things, you don’t need to be a tech expert to explore and examine the current issues, debates, and controversies surrounding our lives online. In this course, we’ll create four projects: a profile of our many selves online, a class Wiki of current issues and trends in our digital world, an argumentative essay on a related topic of your choice, and an infographic--a visual representation of what we’ve learned about living in and navigating through the Internet of Things.

ENGL 161: Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research – Politics of Energy
CRN: 18181
Day(s)/Times: MWF 12:00-1:40
Instructor: Hiday, Corbin
Debates revolving around access to, use and implementation of energy (nuclear, wind, solar, “green,” more generally), are at the heart of many global and domestic discussions related to global capitalism and climate change. In this class, we will take up questions surrounding the role of energy in this global and domestic context—with particular interest in the rise of industrialization, its connections to imperialism, and extraction as orienting principle of accumulation. We will consider these historical developments in light of more contemporary concerns such as the Paris Agreement at COP21, controversy surrounding the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, and our current political reality of ethno-nationalism, the attempted domestic revitalization of coal and oil production, and climate change denialism. We will also explore the connection between energy and space/place, and what this reflects about our perceptions of class, gender and race. Through the examination and analysis of texts by Andreas Malm, Timothy Mitchell, Naomi Klein, Amitav Ghosh, and Rob Nixon, among others, we will use this topic to develop skills of academic research and writing. Throughout the course, you will identify a topic broadly related to the “politics of energy” and through research and inquiry ultimately produce four related writing projects, culminating in a final research paper.

ENGL 161: Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research – Exploring the Social Impact of Digital Technologies
CRN: 17707
Day(s)/Times: MTRF 9:00 – 11:55
Instructor: Mayo, Russell
What is technology? What are the implications of a world mediated in significant ways by phones, cameras, computers, and digital networks? How might we explore social and ethical impact might these ubiquitous digital technologies? While we design and purchase these tools to work for us, how might we end up working for them? In this course, we will consider the intriguing and complicated world of emergent digital technologies. Through a variety of reading, writing, and discussion activities, we will analyze competing claims about the costs and benefits of digital technologies. We’ll begin by considering our own past and present experiences with
technology, and then proceed by considering possible ramifications of digital  technologies through speculative fiction, as presented by the acclaimed British television show Black Mirror. Through viewing and discussing episodes of Black Mirror, you will identify a particular technology-related issue of particular interest, pursuing this topic for inquiry, research, and writing for the remainder of the course. Guided through the practices of academic inquiry and (re)searching, you will first create an annotated bibliography related to your topic of interest and a brief research proposal about your ideas. Following this, you will develop a three-part, documented research paper that will constitute around 10-20 pages of writing.

Required Course Text: Johanna Rodgers, Technology: A Reader for Writers, Oxford UP, 2015.

DISCLAIMER: Students interested in this course should note that Black Mirror is a sci-fi show involving mature themes related to technology and society. Episodes are fascinating, but also disturbing, as the show features graphic content, sometimes of a violent or sexual nature. Students are advised to take this under consideration before enrolling in the course. Please know that episodes will be carefully selected by the instructor. We watch these episodes together in class as part of a facilitated discussion. This format is a pedagogical tool that transforms the viewing into a shared opportunity for thoughtful learning and critical thinking.