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Summer 2019 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Summer 2019

The following information is subject to change.

For the most up-to-date and comprehensive course schedule, including meeting times, course additions, cancellations, and room assignments, refer to the Banner Class Schedule on the Registrar’s website.

For curriculum information, see the Undergraduate Full-Time Day Programs catalog, also on the Registrar’s website.

Summer I 2019

ENGL 2700 Creative Writing

Instructor: Ellen Noonan

In this online creative writing workshop, we will be using the “frame” of connections and connectedness (and disconnections and disconnectedness) alongside the concepts of translation, adaptation, and borrowing to think about the “tools” that writers use to construct identities— personal, social, private, public: How do you (how might you) use your own reading and writing to create a space in the world? How is identity crafted? How is identity understood by others (your readers, your audience)? What tools are at your disposal as a maker? How do you negotiate the myriad choices of purpose and audience and tone and style? What does it mean to be “original” in the 21st century? These questions have many answers, which I hope to explore with you; there are also many more questions to ask, which will—along with generating lots of “writing”— be our most important class activity.

ENGL 3370 Writing Cultures: Cultural Rhetorics of Incarceration

Instructor: Rachel Lewis
Sequence:  MTWR 1:30-3:10 p.m.

When we visualize incarceration, we might think of isolation and separation from communities and wider realms of free society. But in the era of mass incarceration, rhetorical and literate means of communicating to and from carceral spaces are increasingly common; U.S. prisoners write, circulate, and publish their work through collaborations with universities, religious institutions, and community groups. Increasingly, multidisciplinary research suggests that those of us outside prisons are connected to those inside; in the fields of labor, economics, public safety, and many others, how we think and write about prisoners and incarceration matters. Drawing on a number of sites online and around Boston, we’ll explore the rhetorical reach of incarceration and how it is represented by community advocacy groups, university-prison partnerships, online blogs for incarcerated writers, zines by incarcerated women, alternative sentencing programs, the NU archives (especially their prison newspapers, archived from the Bromfield Street Education Foundation), and activists currently focused on border control efforts. We’ll spend time considering the ways academic research projects about and with prisoners proceed, but our hands-on focus will center on the ways incarceration and detention are present and accessible to us as researchers and community members, how to understand their practice both in Massachusetts and as part of American identity, and the writing networks and rhetorical situations they continue to call forth.

*cancelled* ENGL 3380 Topics in Writing: Writing for Young Adults

Summer II 2019

ENGL 2430 Contemporary Fiction

Instructor: Bret Keeling
Sequence: Online

While we’ll read U.S. and British authors in this course, its focus is less on identifying differences between national literatures than it is on identifying diverse characteristics of a sort of “global” Anglophone literature. In their Introduction to Facing the Crises: Anglophone Literature in the Postmodern World (2014), Ljubica Matek and Jasna Poljak Rehlicki argue, “Understanding Anglophone literature requires a deeper understanding of current cultural, economic and social processes in the globalizing and globalized culture of the West.” They insist that we “read and interpret” literature not only “for its own sake” but also because literature “becomes a means of understanding our existence in the … world.”

It’s questions regarding our ability to “understand[] our existence” that will provide the point of entry for our readings this semester. Of course, as I hope will become clear, the very notion of existence is something we’ll have to re-think. As our authors will likely demonstrate, the alienation and cultural estrangement of numerous social groups from a variety of hegemonic systems may make it impossible for us to understand “our” existence in a monolithic way—but it may help us to understand what Judith Butler means by calling for a way of imagining ourselves so that “the human stands a chance of coming into being anew.”

Writers we might read include: Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, E. L. Doctorow’, Julian Barnes, Ben Okri, Cormac McCarthy, Sherman Alexie, Yann Martel, and Zadie Smith.

ENGL 3663 The African-American Novel: Black in the 21st Century

Instructor: Alanna Prince
Sequence: MTWR 11:40 a.m.-1:20 p.m.

Updated description: What does it mean to be Black in the 21st century? How does the political, social, and cultural climate of the new millennium situate and construct Blackness? Despite differences across geographic locations and origins, socioeconomic statuses, gender identities, and sexual orientations, religions, generations, and education levels, is there any collective experience in Blackness? In this course, we will examine multiple genres of Black American literature including novels, music, poetry, personal essays, movies, and even Black Twitter in order to move towards answering these questions. Course texts include writers Jesmyn Ward, Clint Smith, Hanif Abdurraqib, filmmakers such as Barry Jenkins and Ryan Coogler, as well as musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, and Janelle Monae. This course will also explore a number of contemporary cultural critics and critical race theorists to expand our understanding of the course works and Blackness in general. The course begins with the history of Blackness from the previous centuries in order to create a foundation for the discussions, from there, it moves into and stays in the twenty-first century where it focuses on subtopics like feminism, visual culture, interracial relations, and comedy.

ENGL 2700 Creative Writing

Instructor: Jeremy Bushnell

This course will help new and developing writers to develop an understanding of the craft elements of poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction. Students will also put that understanding into practice by producing a body of creative work, which will receive substantial feedback in a workshop environment.