Department of English

Fall 2024 Elective Course Descriptions


ENGL 309 Creative Writing: Poetry – Renzi 


This course is designed to help expand your understanding of poetry-both in terms of your critical understanding of other poets' works and in terms of your own development as a writer. As such, we will aim to build on your previous writing experience as we enhance both your excitement about language and your dedication to the craft of poetry. We will spend time reading both individual poems and book-length works by other poets, as one of the best ways to learn about poetry is to read widely. We will also spend time writing and developing your own poems through a series of assignments, workshops, and revisions. Emphasis will be placed on sharing your work often with your peers, at various stages of its development, and on providing meaningful critiques of your peers' works as well. 

10:00-11:15 TR 





ENGL 310 Creative Writing: Fiction - Bassett 


This course will help students to read and write short fiction with enhanced appreciation. The instructor will introduce the elements of fiction--including characterization, setting, plot, and point of view. Students will compose short exercises to develop their craft, gradually moving on to completing full-length stories. Students will also read and analyze published fiction and learn how to give and to receive constructive criticism. The goal is to help each student find his or her own voice as a writer and his or her own ear as an editor of the self and others. 

9:00-9:50 MWF 





ENGL 316: Writing Cincinnati - Kamara 


While Cincinnati is frequently cited for its importance in the advancement of industry, commerce, and sports, its contributions to the (inter)national literary and artistic landscapes are often underrepresented. In this course, students will engage in a study of Cincinnati’s writers and artists and the institutions that have supported the preservation and futurity of this city’s creative production. Just as critical and formative for students’ understanding of place, creation, community, and stake holding, students will perform service-learning tasks with select organizations as well as produce creative writing responses reflective of the course’s themes, which will range from the resurfacing of forgotten histories to examining art’s role in social change 

11:30-12:45 TR 





ENGL 339 Digital Writing - Gerding 


We will analyze different types of sound writing, defined as “a piece of audio that uses the elements of writing but delivers the writing in audio instead of alphabetic media” (Danforth). The larger goal of this course is to understand how different forms of sound writing—audio essays, soundscapes, and primarily podcasts—function rhetorically; that is, how does audio-only media persuade listeners to act, think, and respond in certain ways? What qualities or characteristics make communicating exclusively with sound even more challenging or effective? And what can we learn from producing original audio projects to help us better understand writing and rhetoric in other media? The broader goal of the course is to analyze the influence technology has on writing, persuasion, and expression, and to produce thoughtful, well-reasoned, and effectively designed digital writing intended for public audiences. While we will spend a substantial amount of time listening to, analyzing, recording, and editing different genres of podcasts, and other forms of sound writing, this is still a writing course and as such students can expect to produce a range of popular and academic writing genres, including essays, blog posts, rhetorical analyses, and a research project. Blending the traditional strengths of the humanities—critical thinking, rhetorical analysis, and research that explores the human condition—with techniques enabled by digital and auditory technologies, the goals of this course are to analyze the influence technology has on writing, persuasion, and expression, and to produce thoughtful, well-reasoned, and effectively designed digital writing intended for public audiences. By the end of this course, students will have a stronger understanding of podcasting technologies and techniques and the rhetorical dimensions uniquely suited to audio production. 

10:00-10:50 MWF 





ENGL 344/544 Black Major Writers of the World - Nix 


This course is an interdisciplinary study of Black authors and the global expansion of their literary work. We will explore topics including, but not limited to: postcolonialism, globalization, the African diaspora, American imperialism, gender, race/ethnicity, religion, and cultural retentions. Special emphasis will be on African, Caribbean, and African American writers. 

4:15-6:45 W 



4:15-6:45 W 





ENGL 367 Queer Theory – Renzi 


Queer theory has, from its inception, existed in fraught relation to categorizations of self and body found within fields such as gender politics and body theory. The ambiguity that queer theory revels within, however, has clear and concrete bearings on the concepts of self, body, embodiment, sexuality, and community. This course has two aims: 1. to acquaint students with current discourses and issues within queer theory and 2. to assess and explore the way in which such theory addresses issues of embodiment that are pertinent not just to “queer” bodies but, indeed, to bodies in general. As such, we will aim toward focused inquiry rather than broad comprehensiveness with regard to course readings and assignments. 


2:30-3:45 TR 





ENGL 384: Bob Dylan - Herren 


Bob Dylan’s unparalleled musical achievements earned him the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first singer-songwriter ever honored with this most prestigious literary award. This course examines Dylan’s evolving work, his wide-ranging influences, and his major artistic legacy. 

12:00-12:50 MWF 




ENGL 425 Shakespeare – O'Leary 

This class is intended to provide you with an introduction to William Shakespeare's works. We will read each of the major Shakespearean genres: poetry, tragedy, history, comedy, and romance. Throughout the class, we will consider the historical context of the works, their critical heritage, and the question of Shakespeare as cultural icon. In addition to spirited participation in class discussion, requirements will include two short essays, one presentation, one essay exam, and a final research paper. Students will research and present on historical questions about the Renaissance in preparation for their historically-grounded analytical research papers. The course will emphasize cultural, philosophical, and linguistic elements in the texts, focusing especially on problems of interpretation. All of the coursework is designed to strengthen students' critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. 

11:00-11:50 MWF 




ENGL 499 Senior Seminar - Ottum 

Topic to be determined with input from students 

1:00-2:15 TR