Course Offerings

Spring 2022 Course Offerings 

English 508: Critical Studies in Film—Cultural Studies in Shakespeare

Fran Connor

CRN 26232

T/R, 2-3:15pm

Some of the boldest Shakespearean interpretations of the past 40 years have occurred onscreen, as directors, emboldened by experimental theatrical productions of Shakespeare in the 1960s and 1970s, broke away from established conventions of Shakespearean film to re-affirm the playwright’s resonance in our increasingly complex information age.  The films we will look at (and plays we will, to a limited degree, read) will look at some recent approaches to cinematic Shakespeare, and will consider what claims these films make about Shakespeare’s continuing relevance (or, possibly, lack of relevance.) 

More generally, our course will consider film as a mass entertainment medium, situating these films among debates about popular culture, making particular use of the realm of theory often called Cultural Studies. As an intersection of elite and popular cultures, mass media, and late capitalism, Shakespearean cinema offers us a unique perspective from which we can address many of the issues raised by CS theorists: can mass entertainment be subversive? Is Shakespeare a hegemonic tool used to affirm the status cultural elite, or can we read his work today as resistant? How do–and should–filmmakers respond to Shakespeare’s cultural prestige? So while this course will very much be about film and Shakespeare, I hope it also encourages us to approach popular culture more critically, particularly in an age that seems to affirm fears that mass popular culture is indeed the opiate of the masses.

This class will be fully in person. Students will be responsible for viewing assigned films on their own, though all will be easily available.

In addition to the standard undergrad assignments, graduate students will be expected to lead a session on a film of their choice, and complete a research-oriented project that they will present to the class. Fulfills elective course requirement.

English 524: Restoration and 18th Century Literature

Katie Lanning

CRN 26231

T 4:30-6:50pm

Old New Media: Print Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century

Mass media. Information overload. Going viral. You’ve likely heard these phrases describe our current moment, and the variety of new digital and virtual media that seems to have overwhelmed us with new ways to communicate. But how might these phrases also work to describe media cultures long before the invention of the Internet? Our course takes this question as its driving theme, studying the surprisingly vast array of texts and media forms that populated – or, indeed, crowded– the long eighteenth century. How did audiences grapple with an overwhelming amount of reading material? How did different print forms clash or harmonize as they developed across the century? To best understand how eighteenth-century readers encountered what we now consider canonical texts within a busy and complex print culture, we will be working with a range of diverse media each week rather than focusing on one text at a time. We will also make use of digital archives to understand how our readings looked (often times in many differing forms and appearances), to construct a more complete picture of the eighteenth- century’s diverse media landscape, and to discover ways our new media can engage with the “old new media” of the long eighteenth century.

Fulfills pre-20th century course requirement and counts as a British period course.

English 576: Advance Studies in the Graphic Novel

Darren DeFrain

CRN 24589


ENGL 576 introduces students to visual linguistics and employs trauma theory and other critical approaches to graphic narratives. This course will explore important, enriching ways graphic narratives are fundamentally different than text-only novels. Students need not have taken ENGL 377 to enroll in ENGL 576, but may need special clearance without it. Fulfills elective course requirement.

English 580AI: Special Topics—Visual Rhetoric and Multimodal Composition

Carrie Dickison


W 4:30-6:50pm

This course is designed to introduce you to two separate but often related subfields of rhetoric and composition: visual rhetoric and multimodal composition. Visual rhetoric is the art of using images to inform or persuade one’s audience. Multimodal composition is the incorporation of multimodality (literally, more than one mode) into what is regarded as the traditional skill of writing: static text on a page. Practical knowledge of visual rhetoric is necessary in order to achieve successful multimodal composing. This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of visual argumentation, including document design (e.g., layout, headings, typography, photos, illustrations, charts, tables, and graphs), for a variety of audiences and contexts. It will situate these rhetorical concepts in the backdrop of multimodal composing, connecting theoretical concepts to real-world writing situations. Graduate students will also consider how these concepts can be integrated with the day-to-day practicalities of teaching writing. Fulfills elective course requirement.

English 680: Theory and Practice in Composition

Melinda DeFrain

CRN  22656


Course description TBD. Fulfills elective course requirement.

Engl 722: Seminar in Renaissance Literature—Editing Early Modern England: Shakespeare and Marlowe

Fran Connor

CRN 26489

R 4:30-6:50pm

Fundamentally, this class analyzes a selection of poetry and drama from two of the major literary figures of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, through the perspectives of textual theory and the history of the book. Practically, in addition to the close and cultural readings expected from literature classes, we’ll get in the trenches and edit texts from both authors. We’ll get a crash course in editorial theory, learn about the history of printing, think about books as expressive forms, talk about the concept of ‘error’, and propose solutions for the many problems that appear in the literary works we read. We’ll do a bit of paleography, think about how the materiality of theatre influences texts, and consider the notion of whether a text is ever (or can be) final.

Expect a good amount of collaborative and hands-on, in-class work. Though we will be working with early modern texts and authors, the ideas and skills you’ll learn here are broadly applicable–every author needs a critical editor!

Expect to focus on the following literary texts:


Romeo and Juliet (Q1 and Q2, most conveniently found in Jill Levenson’s OUP edition)

2 Henry IV (the folio text, but you may want to acquire a traditional version to use as a trot)

Selections from Shakespeare’s Sonnets and The Passionate Pilgrim


Doctor Faustus (A- and B-text versions)

The Jew of Malta

Hero and Leander

Shakespeare(?) and/or Marlowe?: ‘The Passionate Shepherd To His Love’

I would strongly recommend reading both Romeos before the start of class, and there may be some other preliminary reading. Expect the class to be fully in-person. Feel free to contact me with any questions about the class. Fulfills pre-20th century course requirement and counts as a British period course.

Engl 733: Seminar in Contemporary Literature

TJ Boynton

CRN 26234

M 4:30-6:50pm

Course description TBD. Fulfills post-20th century course.