Department of English

Fall 2022 Electives


ENGL 309 Creative Writing: Poetry 

This course is intended for students who want to develop and expand their skills in writing poetry. Students will explore a range of poetic genres and immerse themselves in the reading and writing of poetry. Class sessions will be devoted to the discussion of poetry, creative invention and writing activities, and student presentations and readings. Other work for the course may include writing literary analysis and responses to required readings. We will begin the course by analyzing poetry with aesthetic awareness and appreciation. Students will be expected to develop familiarity with the specialized concepts and language to both free and formal verse. Throughout the semester, students will work on drafting and revising a portfolio of poems that they will share and perform at the end of the semester.


ENGL 312 Technical Writing  

This writing intensive course is designed to prepare students for careers that require clear and concise writing to convey complex technical information efficiently, effectively, and ethically. The technical writer is constantly placed in the challenging position between the inherent messiness of language and the objective ideals of scientific and technical professions. Course projects will therefore challenge students to mediate the purpose of the writer, the needs of the audience, the complexity of technical information, and the constraints and expectations placed on such writing by institutions, organizations, and the public. Students will learn to produce rhetorically effective documents for a diverse range of professional contexts and audiences, including technical descriptions, instructions and procedures, usability testing, formal technical reports, and professional memos. This course will also cover other critical topics relevant to technical writers today, including document design, collaboration, user experience design, and ethical behavior in the workplace.


ENGL 315 Composition Tutoring  

Composition Tutoring serves two main purposes: 1) as an upper-level writing course, it gives students opportunities to improve writing skills and to gain insight into their own writing habits and process and 2) as a course focused on one-on-one tutoring, it offers hands-on training in assisting others to improve their writing and is required of students who wish to tutor in the Writing Center. The course focuses on topics such as writing assessment, the dynamics of tutoring, the writing process, grammar, style, and mechanical conventions, as well as writing across the curriculum, ESL writers, and linguistic diversity. Although the course is clearly beneficial to those who want to tutor or teach writing, it is also useful to students contemplating careers in any field that requires good communication skills (oral and written) such as editing and publishing, technical writing, counseling, legal work, helping professions, and so forth. This course also counts toward the Writing Minor and carries both the Writing Flag and the Diversity Flag. Interested undergraduates should exhibit a commitment to writing and have earned a grade of B or better in ENGL 101 or ENGL 115.




This course covers the development of the English language from its early status as a little-known Germanic dialect to its establishment as one of the world's most influential international languages. Though emphasis will be placed on the sociolinguistic factors which affect the structure and use of the language, attention will also be given to syntactic, phonological, and lexico-semantic factors which continue to affect its development.



This course examines the novels and short fiction of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino writers, translated into English.


ENGL 367 Queer Theory: Questions of Embodiment 

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. The course progresses through four main phases: first, we will set up the terms, histories, and issues of the category “queer,” as well as the important correctives from queer of color critiques to the theoretical model; next, we will discuss the political cruxes of (some) queer debates; then, we’ll consider the additional questions that the discourses of Trans Studies, Disability Studies, and Affect Studies have added to conceptions of Queer Theory; and finally, we will leave the course by meditating upon the issues raised by queer theory’s more recent turn to issues of material reality and embodiment. Butler’s canonical work in the field will bookend the course, allowing us to chart the way in which one particular theorist’s ideas have changed through time and responded to new cultural and intellectual developments and challenges. 


ENGL 410: Chaucer

In this class we will complete a close reading in Middle English of some of the major tales in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as well as a few longer poems.  The course will emphasize the cultural, historical, and philosophical elements in the texts, focusing especially on problems associated with interpretation.  We will consider characters’ interpretive practices (reading texts, reading one another), our own reading practices, and textual authority generally.  We will also use the texts as a reflective tool for strengthening your critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Discussions will play a key role in each class session and will be supplemented with presentations by the instructor (on major topics related to Chaucer’s life and the fourteenth century, medieval literary genres and tropes, English poetry, and the Middle English language) and presentations by you (on a range of topics that place Chaucer’s texts in historical context).


ENGL 450: British Romantic Literature

ENGL 450 focuses on British Romantic literature, but don’t be fooled by the title: this is not a course about love poems. “Romantic literature” refers to texts written during the later 1700s-early 1800s when Europe exploded with enormous changes, reshaping everything from politics, to art, to science. This is an era of Gothic novels, “deep” nature poems, and in-your-face political writing. It’s an era a lot like today when people looked anxiously to the future and nostalgically to the past.
In ENGL 450, we’ll sample a range of Romantic texts, including socially-conscious poetry, a novel about a global pandemic, and more. You’ll learn about this era’s heavy-hitters, such as Mary Shelley and John Keats—as well as some writers you may not know, such as John Clare. Visual art and other artifacts will accompany our literary texts. No experience with British literature is necessary to take this course: its purpose is to give an overview of British Romanticism.


ENGL 481/681: American Revolutions


 Boston’s tea-partying and John Revere’s midnight-riding were part of a revolution, but not the only one in the Americas. About twenty years later, the enslaved people of Haiti succeeded in overthrowing their government, too, and in doing so orchestrated the most successful slave rebellion in world history. Despite the proximity of the two revolutions and their profound impact on each other, we often think of the American Revolution as exceptional and know little, if anything, about the Haitian Revolution. In this class, we’ll learn about the two revolutions in the Americas in relation to one another. Our readings will span from the arrival of white settlers on North America to the years immediately preceding the American Civil War. We will think about the motivations for, and consequences of, revolutionary violence; about why freedom is such a tendentious ideal; about why certain histories are, according to Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “silenced”; and about how the stories we tell about our past affect the way we live today.


ENGL 499: Senior Seminar

Senior Seminar is the required capstone course for graduating English majors. The theme of this seminar will be “Researching Cincinnati.” Units will include literature set in Cincinnati (such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved) and distinct Cincinnati institutions (such as King Records). Student projects will vary in terms of topics and approaches, but all will have some connection to Cincinnati. You will produce a Senior Thesis as your capstone project, and you will share the results of this project in a public presentation at the end of the semester.