Selected Course Descriptions

ENGL 2138:  Writing, Editing, and Style

This course moves beyond a "micro" focus on grammar and punctuation basics to work on "macro" issues of polish and persuasion.  It teaches you how to recognize and recreate varying complexity in sentence structure and expression, to understand appropriate writing styles for different contexts, and to strengthen your writing through careful attention to transitions, strong/active word choice, coherence, and persuasiveness. It will help you appreciate the stylistic choices that writers make for rhetorical effect as you learn how to achieve these effects in your own writing.  As you learn how to edit and strengthen your and others' writing, you will improve the sophistication and elegance of your prose.   ENGL 2135 Grammar and Punctuation leads naturally into this course but is not a prerequisite.   

ENGL 3040: Advanced Writing: Argumentation  

This course focuses on the theory and practice of argument, approaching argument as a process of inquiry, of carefully considering alternative views and multiple sources, and of building your own reasoned arguments.  At this historical moment in the United States, a number of philosophers, journalists, analysts, and scholars have underscored the importance of argument in the functioning of democracy. Besides studying the principles of classical argument as an important preparation for diverse careers and your role as a citizen, you will learn Rogerian communication and listening rhetoric as a means of having what social conflict managers call "difficult conversations," leading to cooperative and collaborative problem solving.  As you write different genres of argument (academic and civic) and different types of arguments (definition, causal, evaluation and proposal) for audiences of your choice, you will hone your rhetorical skills and develop control, elegance, and grace with your prose style.  This foundational course in the Writing Studies Minor is useful to all majors, especially to students heading for careers in law, education, the arts, public leadership, business, the environmental field, and English studies.

English 3050: Composition Theory and Practice  

This course offers an opportunity to think about writing, its cognitive demands and its personal rewards, as you focus on yourself as a writer.  The course's three main goal are (1) to acquaint you with the developments in composition theory and the teaching of composition from the last thirty years; (2) to give you an opportunity to work creatively and reflectively on your writing from the vantage point of this theoretical knowledge; and (3) to help you think out ways you might use writing as a professional in your career, or perhaps as a teacher, tutor, or supervisor.  In order to further your growth as a competent, confident writer, this course examines different theoretical approaches to writing and the teaching of writing as well as discusses writing process strategies, including ways to generate ideas and tap your creativity, overcome writer's block, and revise your writing more effectively. The writing for this course-in personal, academic, and civic genres-will give you different writing experiences to nurture your development as a versatile, reflective, sophisticated writer.

ENGL 3014: U.S. Ethnic/Non-Western Literature in Context  

Literatures of the United States of America express a multiplicity of perspectives, imagined realities, and lived experiences although the diversity of literatures of early America have sometimes been erased or eclipsed by focusing on only well-known texts and authors. This course discusses how to engage in a multicultural and multiethnic examination of American literary history, with a specific emphasis on multiethnic rhetorics and the importance of written expressions to civil rights movements. An examination of diverse perspectives in American literature offers glimpses into the past and an understanding of various literary, social, and multicultural movements while simultaneously challenging readers of today.  This course is designed to prepare you to understand advanced literary inquiry and participate in written debates as well as to write clearly and concisely for various audiences.

ENGL 3080: History of the English Language  

This course explores the historical development of the English language from its origins to the present time. In order to understand this development fully, you will be introduced to basic concepts in linguistics, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. This course traces the development of English by studying both its internal history (changes in sounds, vocabulary, inflections, syntax) and its external history (political, social, and cultural factors that have influenced such development).  This study involves a significant amount of memorization, but it also promotes lively debate and critical thinking about language: What is language? Why do languages evolve? What are the forces that influence their development?   What particular factors have contributed to language change at specific moments in the history of English?  The end of the course will explore English in our contemporary world and will discuss the question of English and globalization as well as controversial issues such as "Ebonics" and the English Only movement.

ENGL 3170: Travel Writing: Stories Near and Far  

Recently, with the smashing success of bestsellers like Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love , travel writing has become so popular that major New York publishing houses have begun to devote entire imprints to a steady supply of tourism-based work from "writers who travel." At the same time, cultural critics caution writers-particularly those from countries with relatively more economic and political power-about the potential dangers of typecasting or misrepresenting the people and practices that they encounter abroad. This class examines both historical foundations and contemporary trends in tales and testimonies of travel and explores various motivations for travel writing-journey, discovery, politics, storytelling, meditation, commerce, and self-discovery-as well as the ethical complexities that accompany them. You will learn the pertinent craft components of storytelling as you write about place, travel, and community in a variety of formats. In addition, this class discusses the commercial aspects of travel writing, including publication venues, paying markets, and the lifestyle of a travel writer.

 CMJR 3200: Persuasive and Critical Writing

This course is geared toward writing opinion for public readership in the form of Op-Eds, personal and political essays, critical arts reviews and guest columns in a variety of media platforms including print and digital writing. Students learn strategies for generating ideas and persuasive arguments  for editorials, columns and reviews; students build blogs and develop a persuasive and critical voice needed for writing in digital formats. This course teaches journalistic research, source development, and writing for shaping public opinion in traditional and new media.


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