A row of books.

English Courses

English classes in our department range from general survey courses to classes that offer a more in-depth look at a literary genre, writer, literary time period, and theoretical approach. Below is the list of English courses offered in Spring 2024. Please see the University Catalog for a complete list of courses offered by our department.

ENGL 124
American Fictions

Anne Fearman

Section 01
MWF 10:00-10:50

Students will explore through literature primary historical texts and/or other genres and media central U.S. myths and cultural narratives. Individual sections will examine particular themes chosen by the instructor.

ENGL 127
Becoming Americans

Mary Weiser

Section 01
Online

Students will delve into historical and recent American literature across multiple genres and in relation to multiple institutions and media that relates to the experience of "becoming Americans."

ENGL 132
Word and Sound

Alison Pipitone

Section 01
Online

Section 02
Online

This course will ask students to consider songwriting in several ways. First, students will explore some fundamental aspects of the sound of songwriting, including rhythm, meter, tempo, hooks, arrangement, and production. We will also consider the lyric with a focus on word choice, rhyme, image, tone, and voice. Next, the class will explore the role that songs have in reflecting and influencing a culture. To that end, we will consider the concept of resilience as is evidenced by influential songs of the 1930s (The Great Depression), the 1960s (the Civil Rights Movement), and the 21st century (pandemic, social justice, political upheaval, etc.). What do songs across so many decades have in common? What themes emerge that help to define a uniquely American sound? In addition, how is that American sound influenced by--and some would argue, created by--the technology used to create and disseminate the song?
This course explores the sound of words and the sound of music. How does the sound of American English become a part of the sound of a song? How do sound (words, music, production) and word (literal and figurative meaning) combine to create a uniquely American music?
In short, the course aims to help students become skilled in decoding the role that sound plays in popular music, as well as to take on active creative roles as practitioners of sound use (and re-use) in their own texts. These experiences will help them be connected to—and critically aware of—the ways in which sound itself can be used to construct inclusive communities.

ENGL 144
Reading Humanity

Prof. Daniel Laurie

Section 01
TR
2:00-3:20

This section of Reading Humanity focuses on group dynamics and the sense of belonging. The key questions we will consider are: What does it mean to belong? What does it mean to be an outsider? And what’s at stake in conformity?

ENGL 167
Border Crossings

Dr. Iclal Vanwesenbeeck

Section 02
ONLINE

This section of the course, “Border Crossings: Away from Home” will focus on the experience of refugees, exile, and migration in parts of the world affected by war, conflict, and political unrest. While the focus will be global rather than strictly American or Western, the course will also problematize the shortcomings of globalism when it comes to crises of migration and exile. This course also aims at exploring the experiences of homelessness and displacement in literature, especially in current climate hot spots and conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. Students will study literary narratives (multi genre) about homelessness, displacement, memory, nostalgia, melancholia, in specific relation to war and armed conflict.

ENGL 206
Survey of American Literature

Dr. Emily VanDette

Section 01
TR
11:00-12:20

This class looks at the diverse traditions of American literature. We will read and discuss literature from a variety of perspectives from the Puritan era through the post-Civil War era. We will move rapidly from one author and historical movement to the next, in the true spirit of a survey. In order to develop an understanding of the roots and evolution of what we consider to be “American literature,” we will examine a wide range of literary texts, representing diverse author identities and genres. Some key themes we will attend to throughout our readings this semester include: the making of American identity through literature; literary responses to the democratic experiment; the writing of resistance, revolution, and reform.

ENGL 213
Texts and Contexts

Dr. Scott Johnston

Section 01
TR
3:30-4:50

 

Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck

Section 02
TR
9:30-10:50

This course will encourage you to build on (and rethink!) what you learned in ENGL 106. Rather than approaching the relationship between texts and contexts as one of lenses and/or schools (e.g. Formalism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalysis …), this course will focus on just three enduring questions as they have been posed by twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary critics across such paradigms. What is literature? How does language work? Do we become those whom we lose?

ENGL 217
Fantasy Fiction

Dr. Bruce Simon

Section 01
TR
9:30-10:50

Historical comparative and generic survey of fantasy fiction through representative works and major authors; examination of its relationships with other kinds of literature.

ENGL 227
Stage/Screen Queer Cinema

Dr. Shannon McRae

Section 01
T
3:00-6:00
R
3:00-4:00

In this class, we watch movies about subversive queerness and social transgression. Some of them will be horror movies, because horror tropes traditionally encode sexuality and sexual desire that exceeds the constraints of normativity. Some will be cheesy or bad, because queer expressions often deliberately exceed the constraints of good taste. Some will be perfectly acceptable mainstream Hollywood productions with discernably queer subtexts, made during a time when LGBTQ people stood to lose jobs, homes, and families, and face imprisonment or hospitalization simply for being who they were. Along with discussing represents of transgressive sexuality, we’ll also focus on gender, race, and constructions of identity.

ENGL 274 Social Justice and the Written Word

Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck

Section 01
11:00 - 12:20

A study in which writers and others use the written word as a form of social critique and to effect social change.

ENGL 274
Social Justice and the Written Word

Dr. Christina Jarvis

Section 02
TR
2:00-3:20

This course will explore key U.S. social justice movements and voices from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. In addition to examining central principles, strategies, and ideas from these movements, we will analyze the societal factors and individual and group identities that inspired people to create social change.

 

ENGL 274
Social Justice and the Written Word HONORS

Dr. Christina Jarvis

Section HR
Honors
9:30-10:50

This course will explore key U.S. social justice movements and voices from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. In addition to examining central principles, strategies, and ideas from these movements, we will analyze the societal factors and individual and group identities that inspired people to create social change.

 

ENGL 291
The Bible as Literature

Dr. Shannon McRae

Section 01
TR
11:00-12:20

The Bible is one of the foundational texts of Western thought. Although it contains concepts and precepts that have shaped Western literature, art, culture, ethical thought and social structures for over 3,000 years and has been among the most popular and revered books for centuries, most people have not studied it as a cultural document within a larger historical context. In this class, we read the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as literary, historical, and cultural texts.

ENGL 296
American Identities

Dr. Susan McGee

Section 01
TR
9:30-10:50

An exploration of the historical construction of American gender, ethnicity/race, and class; their present status; and their literary and cultural representations. This section aims to put recent trends and events that influence and reveal the infrastructures of American identities in a broad historical, political, legal, social, cultural, and economic context. While examining how selected fiction writers, memoirists, historians, legal scholars, cultural critics and political activists represent and reflect on what is enduring and what is changing about American identities this century, we will consider the traditions they draw on and revise, the tensions they respond to and play out, and the perspectives they enable us to gain both on our own times and our own identities.

ENGL 312
Renaissance Literature

Dr. Iclal Vanwesenbeeck

 

Section 01
MWF 9:30-10:50

Get ready to read Renaissance bestsellers. Love poems, handbooks on how to raise a child, essays on thumbs and sleep, Utopias, and adventure stories or picaros and swindlers. There are no prerequisites for the course. If you have questions about the course content, email Dr. Ici Vanwesenbeeck at vanwesen@fredonia.edu
Assignments: Presentation, response papers, research project

ENGL 314
Women Writers

Dr. Emily VanDette

Section 01
ONLINE

This section of Women Writers will focus on women’s reform and advocacy literature from the 19th century, including writings that focus on abolition, racial justice, women’s rights, prison reform, voting rights, environmental stewardship, educational equity, and more. This section of ENGL 314 is entirely online, asynchronous.

ENGL 345 Critical Reading

Dr. Bruce Simon

Section 01
2:00-3:20

 

Focus on critical race theory and critical university studies and their relevance to national, state, and local issues.

ENGL 373
Grammar for Everyone

Dr. Susan Spangler

Section 01
ONLINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview of basic grammatical concepts and structures, including punctuation and basic usage. Students will learn to recognize and correct grammatical errors in their writing and in everyday examples. They will also be able to explain why something is grammatically correct or incorrect, enabling them to impart their knowledge of grammar to others in their future professional workplace or classroom. While the course is designed with everyone in mind, the needs of future teachers are taken into special consideration. Additional topics will vary with instructor but might include differing approaches to grammar and style depending upon audience, purpose, and genre; the power of dynamics implicit in choosing one grammar over another; and the art of grammar - how writers use and abuse grammar artfully for expressive purposes.

Together we'll study the underpinnings of the language we use every day. We'll make connections between the forms we use and what we mean. This hands on course will allow plenty of opportunities to try things out and gain confidence with grammar.

ENGL 381
Film: Narrative Film after 1940

Dr. Shannon McRae

T 6:00-9:00
R 6:00-7:00

 

In this class, we study films made from WWII to the present, within a historical, cultural, aesthetic and economic context. As intersections of art, technology and commerce, films express the preoccupations of the time and place in which they are made. We'll therefore be looking at several film genres from various countries from technical, artistic, historical and cultural perspectives. Canonical Hollywood classics and film study staples will be included, but we also explore experimental works, non-mainstream films, including “b-movies,” experimental films, and works from several countries.

ENGL 399
Special Topics: The Campus Garden

Dr. Christina Jarvis

Section 01
TBA

Only By Permission of Instructor. See Dr. Jarvis for details.

ENGL 400
Senior Seminar

Dr. Christina Jarvis


Section 01
TR
12:30-1:50

This capstone course will provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their learning experiences in the major and to explore the roles of literature and writing in our ever changing, increasingly connected, never boring world. This seminar will balance intellectual inquiry and pragmatism; it will offer a learning community where you can share in the joys of reading and analysis while also further polishing your research interests and writing and public engagement skills.

ENGL 435
UG Research in English-Regional War Memorials

Dr. Iclal Vanwesebeeck

Section 01
TBA

Undergraduate Research is an opportunity to conduct research in the fields of English. Students will join a research team with a specific focus and carry out the research tasks that will lead to submission of presentations or publications.

ENGL 435
UG Research in English-Manuscript Editing

Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck

Section 02
TBA

UG Research in English-papers, and engage in a major research project. Note: Students are recommended to have taken ENGL 106 and/or 213 before enrolling in this course.

ENGL 465
English Internships

Dr. KimMarie Cole

TBA

English internships. Interns work 40 hours for 1 credit hour. Enrollment requires a completed Learning Contract and permission of the department.

ENGL 510
Major Writers:Woolf

Dr. Jeanette McVicker

Section 01

TR
2:00-3:20

Growing up in the Victorian era, Woolf’s career as a writer and publisher helped define literary modernism. Through her experimental fictions, extensive essays on the literary tradition, expansive diary and letters, Woolf explored what it meant to live and write as a (middle class, white) woman while also challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes; she criticized the medical establishment, supported women’s suffrage and pacifism, and offered devastating critiques of fascism and authoritarianism that located their origins in the patriarchal home. Her work remains relevant in a multitude of ways for us today.
For students preparing to become English teachers, this course will offer a strong focus on “how” Virginia Stephen became Virginia Woolf: as a young teacher and apprentice writer. She taught classes in Greek mythology and English literature at Morley College, a working men’s college, from 1904 to 1908. She practiced how to find her own literary voice by writing reviews of contemporary literature and essays that explored the tradition; she read ancient texts in Greek (and also read in French) and wrote extensively about Russian literature. Students will engage with the way Woolf invented a new way to read, informed by her pedagogy and her sense of marginalization as a woman who was not allowed to attend university (as her brothers did at Cambridge). As the daughters of Sir Leslie Stephen, the editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, and Julia Stephen, a Victorian “angel in the house”, Virginia and her sister Vanessa (who became an important painter), had the freedom to explore their father’s extensive library; after their parents’ death they moved from Kensington to the Bloomsbury district in London, forming with their brothers (and their male, mostly queer friends from Cambridge) a new society for discussing art, culture, gender and politics. The Bloomsbury Group, as it became known, broke social, gender and artistic conventions, and played an extensive role in moving English cultural life from its stuffy Victorianism into the modern world.
Woolf’s marriage to writer and international policymaker Leonard Woolf was also a working partnership after they bought a printing press and launched their own publishing company, the Hogarth Press. They published nearly all of their own works as well as a wide range of crucial texts of the period, including T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and Katherine Mansfield, as well as the Complete Standard Edition of the translated works of Sigmund Freud. Woolf also had a significant affair with the poet and travel writer Vita Sackville-West. Virginia and Leonard’s names were on the extermination list of the German army during the bombing of London; Virginia’s suicide in March 1941 following years of fighting mental illness (neurodivergence) became a cultural touchstone.Readings: TBD but likely to include her memoir Moments of Being; novels Mrs Dalloway; To the Lighthouse; The Waves; Between the Acts; her polemical essay Three Guineas and several short stories and short essays. We'll also read excerpts from Beth Rigel Daugherty, Virginia Woolf’s Apprenticeship: Becoming an Essayist (Edinburgh UP, 2022); from Hermione Lee's award-winning biography Virginia Woolf (Vintage, 1996); and from The Bloomsbury Group Reader, ed. S.P. Rosenbaum (Wiley-Blackwell, 1993).
Assignments: students will help lead discussion through short presentations, write reading reflections linking Woolf’s work to her historical contemporaries, and engage in a major research project comprised of either a substantive analytical paper, or a three-week teaching unit on Wool/modernism/feminism, or engage in directed research contributing to an essay that I’ll be working on for a new volume (The Routledge Companion to Virginia Woolf).

ENGL 514
Comparative Approaches to Literature

Dr. Emily VanDette

Section 01
W
6:00-8:20

This course focuses on the recovery of 19th-century U.S. women’s literature, specifically the “scribbling women” who dominated the literary marketplace in the middle of the century. In addition to reading and studying a cohort of women writers, the course will introduce students to the scholarly methods of recovery that have restored attention to many of the authors on our syllabus. Authors on the reading list will likely include Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Fanny Fern, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Frances E. W. Harper, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and more. Students will learn about and participate in critical research and writing, archival research, and editorial practices.

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