A list of the courses I teach.
FYS 077. The Dog Course. [W]
“Man’s” best friend? Nature’s most successful parasite? Employing a range of perspectives–literary, philosophical, archaeological, biological and technological–we will examine specific constructions of the dog at various moments in human history. We will consider issues of evoluation, domestication, the morality and technology of breeding, and the psychological comforts of anthropomorphic representation. Because field trips and other required activities will involve contact with dogs, this course is not recommended for those who may be afraid of dogs or have health issues that could be made worse by interacting with dogs.
ENG 100. Introduction to Academic Writing [W]
Focuses on rhetorical awareness. In this course, students will explore the reading and writing practices of the academic community. Through primary and secondary research, and through guided writing practice, students will critically examine what these practices mean and consider how students’ own reading and writing practices fit into those of “the Academy.” While additional texts may be assigned, writing produced by students in the class will serve as the principal texts of the course. Additional texts may include Graff & Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say, Harris’ Rewriting: How to do things with Texts, and Richard Lanham’s Revising Prose. Prerequisite: FYS. Enrollment is restricted to first-year and sophomore students.
ENG 118. Introduction to Children’s Literature. [H, V]
An introduction to selected works and critical and theoretical frameworks central to the study of Anglo-American children’s literature. For the final project, students will compose an original picture book.
ENG 202. Writing Seminar: Representing Animals. [W]
One of the English Department’s writing seminars, courses that make writing and language their explicit subject. Individual sections of ENG 202 focus on different topics, but all seminars emphasize the processes of academic reading and writing and use student writing as a primary text (that is, they give the same kind of critical attention to writing by students as to writing by published authors). Enrollment in all Writing Seminars is capped at 15. Prerequisite: FYS.
The reading and writing assignments in my section focus on the topic of “Representing Animals.” Animals are our companions, our scientific “models,” our evolutionary kin, our food, our genetic playthings, our fashion statements. We experience animals at home, in zoos, in the grocery store, in labs, in the “wild” and throughout the spectrum of popular media such as television and film. This course will investigate how animals are represented in language and the value systems that underwrite those representations. Among our chief considerations will be what our descriptions of animals say about us; the intersections of gender, race, and animality in language; and the question of animals “talking back.”
Sample syllabus. (Note: ENG 202 was originally numbered ENG 253. Same course, different catalog number.)
ENG 205. Literary Questions.
An introduction to the theory and methodology of literary study that focuses on three questions: what is a literary text? how do we read literature? how do we write about it? In considering the rhetorical, aesthetic and ideological issues that determine literary value, we will also examine and reflect on our assumptions about literature.
ENG 206. Literary History.
How has literary history been constructed at different moments? In this course, we examine specific cultural practices that construct “Literature” with readings chosen from British, American and Anglophone literatures and from various genres. Each semester’s inquiry focuses on selected periods. The topic for my section is “Romantics in Context: The Meaning and Making of British and American Romantic Traditions.” Looking at a range of literary and other kinds of writing, we will (1) reconsider selected authors in their historical and cultural contexts; (2) question the logic of dividing lines between centuries (18th/19th), periods (“Enlightenment”/”Romantic”), and nations (British/American); and (3) explore some of the issues in bibliographic and textual studies that have influenced the production of texts and readers since the late 18th century.
ENG 250. Writing Genres. [W]
An introduction to the expectations and purposes of a particular written genre. Practice in composing texts that function within the boundaries of this genre. Students will compose multiple texts in drafts, participate in workshops and discussions, and produce critical analyses and reviews. Sample course topics include the essay, autobiography, hypertext and electronic media, travel writing and science writing.
Topic for fall 2014: The Essay 2.0. Sample syllabus.
Topic for fall 2019: Animal Stories
ENG 341. Nineteenth-Century British Novel. [W]
Cultures of novel reading and writing in Great Britain in the nineteenth century. Through an examination of representative works from the period, we will consider how the novel both reflected and helped to shape public perceptions of some of the major social and psychological problems of the period (e.g., the impact of scientific progress and industrialization on English life and national identity, challenges to a rigid social structure and repressive moral code, attempts to redefine the nature and role of women). Texts may include novels by Austen, Braddon, the Brontes, Collins, Dickens Eliot, Hardy, Shelley, and Wilde; Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor; and other contemporary texts related to the emergence of the novel as a key venue for social and political debate.
ENG 350. Studies in Writing and Rhetoric. [W]
Exploration of topics in writing, literacy, language use and argument from a range of theoretical and practical perspectives.
Topic for fall 2009: “The Politics of Literacy”: What grand narratives dominate cultural conversations about literacy in this country? Within these narratives, how do we define literacy–what skills does it include (and exclude)? How do we define illiteracy? Why is it important to read and write? How do the existing cultural narratives and definitions function to include or exclude certain individuals or groups? Over the course of the semester, students will compose their own literacy narratives. This section also has a service-learning component. Email me for details.
ENG 375. Making English [W]
What happens between a moment of authorial inspiration and a reader’s encounter with printed (or digital) text? Ever wondered how the texts you read in English classes got that way? This course offers students hands-on experience creating a digital text from an archival work in Lafayette’s own Special Collections. Through group and individual projects, we’ll consider how the making of texts shapes knowledge production in our discipline by influencing not only what gets read, but how readers engage with material texts. Co-taught with Prof. Chris Phillips.