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Miscellaneous Course Descriptions

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Native American Literature (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

Native Americans, First Nations people, American Indians, Indigenous people – we debate terms but it is their ancestral land we now walk upon, and, there is now a nationwide movement to recognize the contributions of marginalized people of all backgrounds in America. In this special topics class, we will discover and discuss literature that represents various aspects of Native American life and culture, from a collection of Native American Creation Stories to the Pulitzer Prize finalist Tommy Orange’s novel, There There. We will discuss various events that have impacted Native Americans greatly such as the Trail of Tears and the Osage Murders. We will look at life both on and off the reservations and look at recent court cases that are determining the fate of Reservation lands and tribal identities.

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Literature of the Middle East (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

It is exceptionally important that we examine the human, international story as we define policy, technology, politics, and consequence in a fully global world. This course focuses on contemporary literature (fiction and nonfiction) from the Middle East, stories of war, friendship, perseverance, violence, and gender. We will read Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner), Khalil Gibran (The Prophet), Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist), Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran), and Mohsin Habid (Exit West), and Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban).

As Youssef Rahka argues in “Beyond The Thousand and One Nights: Contemporary Arabic Literature: Breaking Down Common Western Perceptions of Middle Eastern Writing, “…these stories and extracts demonstrate how intelligently and creatively Arabs are reclaiming traditions that are by now arguably as exotic to them as they are to Westerners, while dealing with society and politics in the same breath. They bear testimony to a collective worldview that not only subsumes but also transcends news reports of the troubled Middle East. And they make a statement on the human condition as lasting and universal as it is specific.”

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Girls (and Boys) of Summer (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

“There is no one else but us / in this house on the land spit. / The sea wears a bell in its navel.” – Anne Sexton

Summer is a time for hitting the beach, hanging out with friends, experiencing the early tinges of love, gathering on street corners, dusting off the bat and glove, and occasionally rumbling with rivals. All of these are part of life and therefore part of literature. In this course students will explore themes of summer, such as languor (“A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J.D. Salinger), restlessness (“The Santa Ana” by Joan Didion), young love (“A&P” by John Updike), street fighting (Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz), and even a little bit of baseball (The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn) plus discussions of other short stories, excerpts from novels and memoirs, poems, and songs. Writers and musical artists we’ll meet also include Toni Morrison, Anne Sexton, Langston Hughes, The Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, The Kinks, and Madeleine Peyroux.

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Existentialism on the Beach (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

We have spent an entire year mostly indoors which has led to much introspection, and this course will give students an opportunity to reflect through a variety of writing activities. The summer is a vibrant time of life, and students will use their own experiences in the summer to compose writing around existential questions. Readings will provide context for weekly core concepts and will include topics such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, and liminality. Authors will include Nietzsche, Kundera, Sartre, Hesse, and Heidegger, as well as contemporary existentialists. Students will work towards a final writing portfolio, exploring the course’s essential questions.

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: LGBTQ Literature (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

“You tried to tell your story to people who didn't know how to listen.”
- Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House

LGBTQ voices have been lifted and accepted in the last few years in a way we have never seen before. This course will focus on extremely modern works written from 2017 to 2020. Students will experience LGBTQ literature that spans genres from the literary fiction (Sarah Winman’s Tin Man, Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under) to satirical fiction (Chuck Palahniuk’s Adjustment Day) to nonfiction collections (David Sedaris’ The Best of Me and Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House). Students will see ranging LGBTQ authors, voices, and characters. Students will be able to analyze not only how the characters and their identities affect their experiences, but the political and cultural issues that shape how LGBTQ literature is formed. This course welcomes all students, particularly those interested in identity, sexuality, and subversive works of literature. This course does challenge ideas of comfortability and students must enter the course with an open mind.

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Memoirs (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

This Spring 2022 Special Topics course will focus on memoir. Memoir, according to William Zinsser, is the art of inventing the truth. In this reading and workshop-based class, we’ll engage with those ‘invented truths’ as both readers and writers. We’ll read a varied selection of contemporary memoirs to examine how memoir works as literature; we’ll use close reading and textual analysis to see how memoir is constructed as story – not autobiography – and how writers satisfy the sometimes-conflicting demands of fact and truth.

We will also look at memoir from a writer’s perspective; the primary assignment for the course will be a memoir crafted over the semester. We’ll consider where to begin, how to select compelling scenes and details, how to render the people in our lives as characters. Most importantly, we’ll grapple with the task of creating a story that renders our uniquely personal experiences in a way that allows readers to discover their own truths as they engage with ours.

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Displaced - Writers in Diaspora (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

A diaspora is the forced resettlement of people, usually caused by famine, war, or political or economic upheaval. Dispersed from their homelands, writers have worked through the complexities of identity and belonging while transcending the physical borders of the places that once define them. This course will explore the works of writers from various backgrounds whose lives have been shaped by the reverberations of diasporas. By exploring themes of identity, home, belonging, and nostalgia, we’ll interrogate the complex relationship between writer and the various cultural influences that have touched their journeys.

ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: Women in Literature - A Study in Female Agency (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

This course will explore the quintessential literary hero’s journey through the perspective of the female characters. We will read and examine texts that exemplify this traditional motif and seek to answer questions such as: In what ways do authors restrict and/or promote a female character power and heroism? What characteristics exemplify a heroic woman in literary works? Employing three phases of feminist theory, students will analyze both the explicit and nuanced portrayals of women in literature. With each text, we will unpack the situation the author has created for the character and the ways that the character deals with the constrictions of the author’s plot.

ENGL213M - Creative Writing: Read Global, Write Local (3-0-3)

Recent events have made us all the more aware of how interconnected and interdependent the world is, especially given the looming and daunting challenges of climate change, which impacts us all and makes it all the more urgent that we think on a global scale. To write at this moment is to be poised at the intersection of self, mind, community, and world; how, then, to navigate their complexities? In this class, we’ll traverse vast distances in order to consider how reading work from around the world can inform, shape, and enliven writing, while devoting equal attention to the worlds of experience and imagination closer to home. By examining full works and excerpts in a variety of genres, including Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, Sue Hwang’s Bodega, Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities, and many others, we’ll consider how language, structure, culture, and identity might converge powerfully on the page. In turn, we’ll explore writing in a variety of genres through a series of exercises and longer pieces, while learning to workshop and revise.

ENGL213M - Creative Writing: Experimental Fiction (3-0-3)

Students learn and practice the techniques of creative writing using a combination of lecture, writing exercises and workshops. Using the writing process, students produce finished works of fiction and poetry, exploring and incorporating elements such as point of view, dialog, characterization, setting, imagery and poetic form and structure. Course readings are used for discussion, inspiration and idea development. Peer review and instructor feedback constitute a significant component of the course. Prerequisite: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

The Irish virtuoso of the short story William Trevor famously said “I think all writing is experimental.... I experiment all the time but the experiments are hidden.” In this class, we’ll look at writing that bends reality – and occasionally breaks it – and plays with language, structure, form, and narrative in a wide variety of ways. But this course isn’t only for writers who are striving to be “experimental.” Rather, we’ll explore how innovative and subversive strategies can open up writing of all types, and how all writers benefit from stretching the boundaries of convention. We’ll explore metafiction (which can be traced back to works like The Thousand and One Nights and Don Quixote), surrealism and magical realism, and stories written in the form of menus, PowerPoint presentations, Slack threads, and dating profiles. Whether you want to generate writing that is ostentatiously experimental or hide your experiments in plain sight, this class will give you an array of techniques and opportunities to set them loose.

Some writers we might consider are Georges Perec, Lesley Nneka Arima, Cristina Rivera Garza, Italo Calvino, Lance Olsen, Adam Haslett, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Can Xue, Svetaslav Basara, Kelly Link, Garielle Lutz, Karen Russell, the Best Experimental Writing 2020, ed. by Carmen Maria Machado and Joyelle McSweeney.

HIST203M - Topics in History: Slavery in the United States (3-0-3)

This course is designed to introduce students to the major events, themes, issues, and debates in African American enslavement from its African origins to emancipation within the United States. It serves as a general overview of the African American experience. Some of the specific topics covered may include Sub-Saharan enslavement, Transatlantic slave trade, and Caribbean slave experience to include the Haitian Revolution. American enslavement will focus on the colonial era, early republic, antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction Era challenges. Students will gain an understanding of how enslaved African Americans lived and intersected with the American population. A special emphasis will include the enslaved of U.S. presidents and the plight of women.

Satisfies a Social Science or General Elective.

HIST203M - Topics in History: The Holocaust (3-0-3)

This course offers a wide-ranging examination of the Jewish Holocaust from its roots in the evolution of antisemitism in medieval and modern Europe through its post-World War II legacy. Topics to be covered include the origins of modern antisemitism, escalation of Jewish persecution in Nazi-controlled Europe, Nazi efforts to exterminate the Jews, other victims of the Holocaust, resistance, rescuers, and women and the Holocaust. Emphasis will be placed on the examination and discussion of primary sources.

Satisfies a Social Science or General Elective.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: A History of Race in America, The 1619 Project (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

The 1619 Project sponsored by The New York Times and the Pulitzer Foundation is described by its developers as follows.

“The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to re-frame the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative” (NYT 19).

This course will examine the 1619 Project as a view of American History in a range of perspectives rather than unilaterally where we often declare which perspective is or is not true. It provides an opportunity to critically think, discuss, research, argue, and write about current issues. We will seek answers in history, literature, music, poetry, art, social media, and journalism from the 17th century to the present. The course will focus on critical reading and application of the past to better understand our present and prepare for an ever-changing future.

We will look for answers in history, literature, music, poetry, art, social media, and journalism from the 17th century to the present, while suspending judgement in favor of understanding based in knowledge.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: Superheroes, A Modern Mythology (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

This course will explore the origins of superheroes in comic books and examine how the superhero has escaped the confines of a trivialized medium to represent the principles of American culture. We will also look at how superheroes reflect older mythologies and also respond to the needs and interests of modern society. We will consider not only printed comics but also new expressions of the characters in other areas, such as television, film, and digital media.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: Critical Thinking (in a Distracted World) (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

This course presents a skill-based approach to critical thinking and attention management as a way to explore and evaluate ideas in the digital era of high-speed information, hyper-connection, and mass distraction. Students will be grounded in critical thinking's basic formative skills of distinguishing fact and opinion, making inferences, detecting biases, and reasoning inductively and deductively, while simultaneously developing the observation, mindfulness, and attention skills necessary to counterbalance the current effects of omnipresent digital stimuli.

This course infuses the core course content with the writings of such Stoic philosophers as Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius who remind us that we can only control our personal responses to external events outside of our control. Awareness of this concept will help students develop greater confidence in their ability to make rational choices and proper decisions. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: The Self, the Other and the Arts (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

The purpose of this course is to explore our humanness through a study of artists and their art. We’ll look at painters, like the self-confident Frida Kahlo and the self-sabotaging Jackson Pollock. We’ll read poets like Allen Ginsberg who expressed himself fearlessly, breaking new ground. We’ll read short stories by authors like James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Kate Chopin, and others, who grappled with themes of identity, race, religion, class, and gender. We’ll even dabble in some music and film. By the end of the course, each student will have compiled a “Gallery” of their own favorite works, reflecting upon their personal growth in understanding of themselves and others through the arts.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: History of Television (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

This course provides a historical overview of television from its inception to the present day. Emphasis is placed on television as both cultural artifact and institution This course will examine this medium through a Humanities lens, exploring the impact it’s had on our understanding of people and the diverse human story. Students will also develop the technical vocabulary needed to interpret, analyze, and appreciate television. The course will analyze creative elements such as narrative, characterization, casting, directing, and design. Television’s technical elements (the “making” of good television including writing, rehearsing, production--with a special eye on pandemic production) will be considered as well.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: Friendship (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

What makes a good friend? What makes a best friend? Did you know that friendship is one of the most important human relationships we have, but we don’t talk about it as much as we do romance or family? Why is that? This class endeavors to tackle it all, from choosing your family to knowing when to walk away from toxic relationships. What does it mean to be a friend?

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the role of friendship in our everyday lives. We will examine the role of friendship through multiple lenses and discuss topics like what factors determine a friendship, when it is appropriate to end a friendship, why do people drift from each other, why do people ghost each other, gender dynamics in friendship, chosen family systems, and more. We will discover these core inquiries about “friendship” through literature and philosophy.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: Narratives of Nurses and Healers (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

This course challenges students to consider how the narrative form (story) intersects with healthcare, specifically the nursing profession and patient care, and how these narratives shape our perceptions. Through this exploration, students examine the use of literature, film, creative non-fiction, and autoethnography in shaping the role, relationship, and experience of both caregiver and patient. Students will engage with research and scholarship and study story composition through their own personal construction of narratives.

POLS215M - Topics in Political Science: Social Justice Movements (3-0-3)

This course examines current and past national and international social justice movements of race, ethnicity, gender, and other issues of marginalized groups of people in the United States and globally. Applying principles of political science (description, evaluation, analysis, etc.), students will develop an understanding of various social justice movements, their dynamics, and the outcomes they produce.

Satisfies a Social Science or General Elective.

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