Fall 2015 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

ENGL 56A:  British Literature Survey to 1800

Eastwood, MW 10:30-11:45

This course is a survey of British Literature from its earliest works through the eighteenth century.  The goals of the course are to help students to gain an overview of the major literary periods, genres, authors, and works of English literature.  We will discuss these texts from a variety of perspectives, including the dynamic relationship between heroes and villains throughout early English history, considering what these representations reveal about the various societies that produced them. 


ENGL 56B: English Literature Late 18th Century to Present

Wilson, TR 4:30-5:45

Major literary movements, figures, and genres from the Romantic age to the present. Writers may include Austen, the Romantics, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Dickens, the Brontes, George Eliot, Hardy, Yeats, Joyce, Lawrence, Forster, Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Auden, and Beckett.


ENGL 68A: American Literature to 1865

English, TR 9:00-10:15

English 68A American Literature to 1865.  Readings include Native American orature and works by Bradford, Bradstreet, Franklin, Wheatley, Irving, Emerson, Douglass, Poe, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson; plus the first American comedy, a seduction novel, and The Scarlet Letter.  Classwork assignments, one midterm, and a non-comprehensive final.


ENGL 68B: American Literature

Mesher, TR 1:30-2:45

Survey of American literature from the end of the Civil War to the present. Representative readings in poetry and prose of the development of American lit, with emphasis on the major authors, works, and literary movements of the period, but with time to enjoy some of the quirky writers and unconventional texts that make American literature fun.


ENGL 71: Creative Writing (ONLINE)


An online introductory creative writing class using Canvas, the eCampus learning management system.  Students will draft and revise original works of poetry, creative nonfiction, and short-fiction, learning the basic craft of writing these genres through reading the work of published poets and writers, guided by the instructor.  In our class workshops and in small writing groups, students will discuss each other’s work, making revision suggestions facilitated by the instructor and T.A’s. During the semester, everyone will participate in the workshops as both an author and a peer-critic.  ENGL 71 is a prerequisite for taking upper-division creative writing workshops (ENGL 130, 131, and 135), and also fulfills the C2 Letters area of the Humanities & the Arts General Education requirement.  3 units.


ENGL 71: Creative Writing

Ashton, TR 12:00-1:15

O’Sullivan, TR 9:00-10:15

Schragg, MW 12:00-1:15

Chen, MW 12:00-1:15               

Logan, TR 9:00-10:15

Lindelof, W 16:00-8:45                

Mouton, TR 4:40-5:45

Examinations of works of poetry, creative nonfiction, and short fiction as expressions of human intellect and imagination, to comprehend the historic and cultural contexts, and recognize issues related to writing by men and women of diverse cultural traditions. Students will also write poetry, creative nonfiction, and a short fiction.


ENGL 78: Introduction to Shakespeare: William Shakespeare and Popular Culture

Adrienne Eastwood MW 3:00-4:15

In this course we will grapple with the question: does Shakespeare still matter in the twenty-first century?  Students will study several of Shakespeare’s plays in depth, and then analyze modern film adaptations of those same works.  Some of the pairings we will discuss include: The Taming of the Shrew 10 Things I Hate About You (Dir. Gil Junger); Othello – “O” (Dir. Tim Blake Nelson); MacbethScotland PA (Dir. Billy Morrissette); Romeo and Juliet Romeo + Juliet (Dir. Baz Luhrmann) HamletHamlet (Dir. Almereyda, with Ethan Hawke).  In each case, we will tease out the decisions made by each director in their attempt to remake or reinterpret Shakespeare’s work.  


ENGL 100W: Writing Workshop

Stork, MW 9:00-10:15

Intensive practice in writing about literary topics, especially poetry, short stories, and a drama review. We will attend a performance by the San Jose State Theatre Department and focus on a wide range of poetry and poetic techniques. The main research project is a textual history of one poem.


English, TR 10:30-11:45

Fiction, drama, poetry, and more poetry.  W:t by Margaret Edson and Lying Awake by Mark Salzman are the longer works; poetry will be from Best of the Best American Poetry: 25th Anniversary Edition.


Rohatgi, MW 1:30-2:45

Advanced workshops in Reading and Composition, Creative Arts, English Studies, and Technical Writing. A Writing Workshop is also available for foreign students.


ENGL 101: Introduction to Literary Criticism

Brada-Williams, MW 10:30–11:45 AM

Study of various historical and contemporary approaches to literature, including New Criticism, structuralism and post-structuralism, New Historicism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, post-colonialism, feminism, queer theory, and ecocriticism.  An emphasis will be placed on learning to apply these different methods of interpretation through a workshop format.


ENGL 103: Modern English

Mitchell, MW 9:00-10:15

Mitchell, MW 1:30-2:45

The growth and structure of modern English, including its phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Attention to social and regional varieties, with implications for language development and literacy among native and non-native speakers.


Stork, MW 10:30-11:45

An historically-informed, linguistically-based introduction to Modern English Grammar, ranging from the phoneme to the nominal clause. Attention to complex prose texts (i.e., The Gettysburg Address) and modern colloquial speech ("Chill out" as a phrasal verb).


ENGL 105: Seminar in Advanced Composition

Moriarty, TR 1:30-12:45              

Advanced expository writing.


ENGL 106: Editing for Writers

Thompson, MW 3:00-4:15

In this class, we cover all the fundamentals that writers need to know about editing and working as a professional editor. This includes proofreading and copyediting, as well as sentence-level and docu­ment-level editing. The Basics? Fix gnarly sentences. Make ugly paragraphs pretty. Learn how to work with other writers. Gain the confidence to explain your edits and defend them against the howling mobs! Required class for Professional and Technical Writing concentration.


ENGL 107: Professional and Technical Writing

Thompson, TR 12:00-1:15

In this survey of technical and professional writing, you’ll learn how to write and design persuasive documents that get real things done in the real world. Projects include resumes and cover letters, proposals, instructions (video and writing), presentations, and user manuals for phone apps. We also learn a number of digital tools used to author and publish writing in the current tech landscape, such as Adobe InDesign, SnagIt, and Madcap Flare.


ENGL 109: Writing and the Young Writer

Browne, M 4:30-7:15    

This course is designed to strengthen participants’ writing skills in both creative and expository genres, and to develop participants’ knowledge and skill as future teachers of writing.  Students will write a short memoir paper, present a selection of poetry, and create a multigenre research paper.  Expect discussion and discovery!


ENGL 112A: Children's Literature

Krishnaswamy,  MW 9:00-10:15, MW 12:00-1:15

Study of literature for elementary and intermediate grades, representing a variety of cultures. Evaluation and selection of texts.  


ENGL 112B: Literature for Young Adults

Warner, W 4:30-7:15

In ENGL 112B, we read After the First Death, Speak, Whale Talk, Witness, Prisoner of Azkaban, and We Were Here. Two additional texts—Literature for Today's Young Adults and Adolescents in the Search for Meaning—introduce YA literature’s genres, demonstrate the complexity of the best YA lit, and provide author/book resources. Book Talks and a unit of study/annotated bibliography requirement further knowledge of YA literature.         


ENGL 117A: American Literature, Film, and Culture

Engell, T 1:30-4:15         

The focus of this class will be California Noir and Neo-noir, though strictly speaking not every literary work and film we will study in the class is “noir.”   These works are, however, all set primarily or entirely in California and are typically “dark” in tone and subject. We will cover novels and their film adaptations, an original screenplay, a collection of essays and stories, and other works. NOVEL Frank Norris.  MCTEAGUE (1899), FILM:   Erich von Stroheim, director GREED (1925); NOVEL:  Dashiell Hammett.  THE MALTESE FALCON (1929), FILM:  John Huston, director.  THE MALTESE FALCON (1941); NOVEL:  Raymond Chandler, THE LONG GOODBYE (1953), FILM:  Robert Altman, director.  THE LONG GOODBYE (1973); FILMS:  David Lynch, director.  MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001), Roman Polanski.  CHINATOWN (1974).


ENGL 123B: Literature for Global Understanding: Africa

Mesher, TR 3:00-4:15

The focus of the course will be on works originally written in English by novelists from Africa since the middle of the twentieth century, but we will also read works in translation from other languages, as well as some drama and, if time permits, poetry. Among the authors who may be covered are four Nobel laureates in literature—J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Naguib Mahfouz, and Wole Soyinka—as well as writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farrah, Bessie Head, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and others.


ENGL 125: European Literature: Homer to Dante

Wilson, MW 4:30-5:45  

Classical and medieval literature in translation: Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Virgil, and Dante.


ENGL 129: Introduction to Career Writing

Thompson, TR 10:30-11:45

In E129, students write to get published in the places that they read, drafting and revising about whatever they’re into: food, video games, fashion, high-tech, science—whatever.  Students also write and produce two English Department magazines, an in-class podcast series, a short video, and maintain their own blog. Expand your portfolio, learn some new skills, and march boldly forth with a publishable work in hand. Required class for the Professional and Technical Writing concentration.  


ENGL 130: Writing Fiction

Mouton, TR 1:30-2:45

Engell, TR 10:30-11:45

English 130 is a fiction workshop class in which each student will write two short stories.  Each of these short stories will be workshopped in class, after which each story will be rewritten. Both drafts—pre- and post-workshop—will be included in each student’s end-of-semester Portfolio. In addition to writing two short stories and revising them, each student will be responsible for helping to workshop all stories written by classmates.  And each student will be responsible for reading a number of assigned, published short stories that will serve as models for writing successful short fiction.


ENGL 131: WRITING POETRY (Theme: “Stand Up Poetry:  Making Good Lines”)

Soldofsky, MW 10:30-11:45

An intermediate/advanced-level poetry writing workshop where students workshop poems they are writing for the class while reading and analyzing a diverse selection of published poems — mostly in open and some in closed forms.  The workshop’s thematic emphasis will be on “Stand Up Poetry”: poems whose characteristics include wit, performability, clarity, use of natural language, compelling use of rhythm and line, and that convey a linguistic punch.  Students will use Canvas for posting drafts of their poems to classmates, and may also post audio or video files (if desired) for facilitating workshop discussion. Grades based on a final poetry portfolio and a final poetry reading/performance or digital presentation.  ENGL 131 can be repeated for credit.   3 units.  


ENGL 133: Reed Magazine

C. Miller, T 3:00-5:45

This course is ideally a two-semester sequence in which students produce this year's issue of Reed, the oldest literary magazine west of the Mississippi. In the fall semester students will focus on editorial duties, mainly reading submissions, reviewing art, communicating with submitters to gain hands-on experience in publishing. Previous experience producing a literary magazine is desirable but not required.


ENGL 142: Chaucer

Stork, MW 3:00-4:15

An introduction to the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, read in the original Middle English. Selections from his dream visions, Troilus and Criseyde, and The Canterbury Tales.  Find out what the word "quaint" really means!


ENGL 144: Shakespeare I

S. Miller, TR 12:00-1:15

This course will introduce you to some of the major plays of William Shakespeare.  Each play will be considered both within the context of the cultural and political atmosphere in early modern England and through the critical lenses provided by postmodern theories of literature.  Students will gain a basic knowledge of Shakespeare’s thematic questions and a solid understanding of the language he used to explore these themes.  For example, we will discuss the construction of the family as a mini-commonwealth and the political impact that added to Shakespeare’s dramatic productions.  Similarly, we will consider the relationship between patriarchal and monarchal authority, and the ways in which related ideologies circulated among Elizabethans. 


ENGL 145: Shakespeare and Performance

Eastwood, MW 9:00-10:15

In this course, we will examine in-depth several of Shakespeare’s plays, specifically addressing issues of performance and interpretation. Placing each play in the context of its original performance during Shakespeare’s time, and its life on stage and screen in the ensuing centuries, encourages an engagement with the ways in which re-imagining Shakespeare’s works helps them retain their vitality and cultural relevance. Paying particular attention to modern productions, we will analyze the ways in which production elements such as setting, casting, staging, costumes, editing, and individual performances shape and create meaning (or fail to do so) for the audiences of today.  Placing these plays within this context of performance will raise larger issues about the complex relationships between the Shakespearean canon and its ever-changing audiences.  Students will respond to each Shakespearean play text through both writing and oral interpretation, integrating speech and dramatic performance with an understanding of the complexities of plot, characterization, and dramatic form. Required for the English Single-Subject Credential


ENGL 149: TechnoRomanticism; British Literature in the Romantic Period

Harris, TR 10:30-11:45

The British Romantic-era (1785-1837) was perhaps one of the most intellectually and technologically productive eras in all of England: The Industrial Revolution forced citizens to abandon agrarian life and embrace an urban existence that was full of prostitutes, raw sewage, cholera and scientific experimentation. Literature during this time, 1785-1837, reflects the anxiety caused by this shift, but it also reflects an excitement about England’s potentially terrifying future. In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, our hero(es) embody all of these aspects of British life. We'll read poetry, short stories, and non-fiction in the British Romantic period through Shelley's 1818 text and then read her second novel, The Last Man, a very futuristic view of the nineteenth century.



ENGL 167: Four Ways of Looking at John Steinbeck

Shillinglaw, TR 12:00-1:15

Long after he had left California for the east coast, John Steinbeck admitted that he kept “the tone of Salinas in my head like a remembered symphony.” This class will begin by considering Steinbeck’s finely honed sense of place, considering two books about the Salinas Valley, TheLong Valley and East of Eden. Then we will consider Steinbeck as socially engaged writer: Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Will be the focus of discussion. Third is Steinbeck ecological vision, which was enriched by his friendship with marine biologist Edward F. Ricketts: we will discuss Sea of Cortez and Cannery Row. We will close the semester with a unit on Steinbeck’s treatment of Mexico in text and film; the focus will be on the documentary, The Forgotten Village, the novella and film of The Pearl; and Viva Zapata! The course includes a field trip to Salinas and Monterey.


ENGL 169: Ethnicity in American Literature

Karim, TR 12:00-1:15

Study of race and ethnicity in the literary arts of North America. Selected works of authors from such groups as African Americans, European Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanos, Latinos, and American Indians.


ENGL 178: Literary Landscapes; Literature of Creative Nonfiction

C. Miller, R 3:00-5:45

Through the magic of literature, we will take a trip around the world and see how travel writers have created the foreign locale on paper. We’ll examine some of the early practitioners, like Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad and Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa. We’ll head off aboard trains, boats, and planes with texts such as Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar. Along the journey some questions we’ll explore are the difference in how authors write as insiders vs. outsiders, and male vs. female travelers. And to practice what we read, class field trips! (Prerequisite: upper-division standing.)


ENGL 180: Individual Studies

By arrangement with instructor and department chair approval.


ENGL 182: Women and Literature: Considering Violence

Shillinglaw, TR 10:30-11:45 

In this course, we will consider the nature of violence in texts written by and about women: Texts will include Medea, Euripides; “Roan Stallion” by Robinson Jeffers; Beloved by Toni Morrison; White Oleander byJanet Fitch; The Round House by Louise Erdrich.


ENGL 190: Honors Seminar—The Poet and the Queen: The Works of Edmund Spenser

Eastwood, MW 1:30-2:45

It is well known that Karl Marx dubbed Edmund Spenser “Elizabeth’s arse-kissing poet.”  Whether Marx was talking about Spenser’s poetry or some of Spenser’s prose works, critics have echoed the sentiment, and until fairly recently have done little to challenge the assumption. My class will consider some of the more radical aspects of Spenser’s writing against some of the highlights (and lowlights) of Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable 45-year reign. I will argue that Spenser’s position in relation to his Queen is much more complex than many subsequent critics have thought. This course will provide you with a strong historical and cultural background of Elizabethan England against which we will read several of Spenser’s poetic texts including ALL SIX BOOKS of the greatest poem ever written: The Faeirie Queene! The opportunity to read this poem in its entirety is a rare one at any level of scholarship, and this class will enable you to accomplish this impressive feat as an UNDERGRAD!


ENGL 193: Capstone

Shillinglaw, TR 1:30-2:45

The aims of this capstone class are fourfold: to reflect on your years as an English major; to consider books that ask perennial questions (with a focus on family/work); to consider your writing, both academic and creative; to consider your futures—“Why do Humanities matter?”  To address these questions, we will discuss several texts, among them Anne Fadiman, At Large and At Small and Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; The Gathering, Anne Enright.


ENGL 199: Internship in Professional/Technical Writing

Thompson, (time arranged with instructor)

This independent study requires that students secure a writing internship with a local business (while the department can’t guarantee an internship, we can put students in touch with companies that have expressed an interest in SJSU interns). 120 hours of workplace experience are combined with academic readings in professional writing. In a final essay, students compare their workplace experience to the academic literature on workplace writing.