Department of English

Students talking in the library

Department of English Mission Statement

Using innovative teaching approaches, the Department of English empowers students to write and communicate across numerous current and emerging fields, to think critically, and to solve problems creatively. At all levels of instruction--from first-year composition through graduate classes--the Department of English establishes a firm foundation for students to begin their exploration of the world and, for English majors, builds on that foundation with opportunities to enrich their cultural and intellectual lives through classes that emphasize deep analysis, careful research, and rigorous writing across several fields including the study of literature, creative writing, and professional writing. The Department of English both serves the needs of the University and strives to become a destination department for those students whose personal goals and intellectual curiosity align with the Department’s mission.

Cool Classes for Summer 2021

Description

This course will provide an overview of Neil Gaiman’s work with both required and optional selected readings.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

Required texts will include American Gods; optional, self-selected texts will include Coraline, The Sandman, Eternals, The Graveyard Book, and Stardust.

Skills Taught

Reading and analyzing an author’s work, learning the process of adaptation for a work into various forms of media.

Why You Should Take This Class

The class will be structured as a "choose-your-own-adventure." Students will get to select which texts to read, explore materials that will help them delve deeper into their chosen texts' origins, themes, and meanings, discuss their findings with their classmates, and synthesize what they learn in a final project in a medium and on a topic of their choice.

Description

This course will focus on Stephen King, his literary works, and impact on the past generations and what that says about society.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

Students will be able to choose from a few different works to satisfy the requirements for the class. The only required text is The Gunslinger. Options in the novel category include The Shining, Misery, Carrie, Pet Sematary, and Salem’s Lot. Novella options are in the collection Different Seasons. The other categories are nonfiction and film/series.

Skills Taught

Critical analysis and writing about texts, supplemental material and literary theories.

Why You Should Take This Class

This course will offer students a chance to delve into some of the more famous works by Stephen King in an effort to familiarize them with an author who has earned a standing in our American literary canon. This course will give fans of Stephen King a new insight into his literary works and films based on his works.

Description

This online class studies films about one’s identity whether it is finding it, losing it, or hiding it.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We’ll study contemporary directors including Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Spike Jonze, François Truffaut, Sofia Coppola, Akira Kurosawa, and John Frankenheimer.

Skills Taught

Ability to watch and analyze films and react with the films artistically while having your own aspect or outlook. 

Why You Should Take This Class

Films are an alternate and effective way to voice a message, and the ability to be able to interpret these messages and have your own analysis of the films is just another step of becoming a creator or director for the students who are interested in pursuing a film career.

Description

This class studies the life and career of the prolific contemporary American novelist Louise Erdrich.

Prerequisite

Enrolled in a JSU graduate program

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We’ll study Erdrich's works from across her career, including her first and most recent novels. The class will focus on how Erdrich draws upon her multi-ethnic heritage, particularly her Ojibwe roots.

Skills Taught

Critical reading and writing about texts.

Why You Should Take This Class

Louise Erdrich creates a multi-dimensional portrait of the Ojibwe of North Dakota and Minnesota, peopling her fiction with different generations of several inter-connected families. Her works capture the voice and culture of her Native American heritage, which is important when examining the history of injustices that Native Americans have faced. In this class, students will have the opportunity to not only gain a new perspective on the Native American experience but also to study a fuller sense of Erdrich's still-growing canon of remarkable literary works.

Cool Classes for Fall 2021

Description

Introduction to Creative Writing is the starting point for all creative writing courses at JSU.  Through reading, writing, and experiencing the creative process firsthand, students will create their own works and receive feedback to help improve their skills.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

The authors who will be covered are mostly living and current authors who hold major prevalence in the creative writing world, and a few classics will be sprinkled in now and then.

Skills Taught

Technical writing, the creative process, and navigating the publishing of each genre.

Why You Should Take This Class

There are stories within us all, and being able to put those onto the page and share them within a safe environment is a great starting point for any aspiring author or creative. Join us and come learn techniques to help refine your craft and be introduced to resources and communities for creative writers.

Description

This class surveys major African American authors and texts from the Colonial period to the Harlem Renaissance.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We’ll study musical and oral traditions such as spirituals and the blues, and writers such as Phyllis Wheatly, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Jean Toomer, and Langston Hughes.

Skills Taught

Critical reading and writing about texts, argumentation, research.

Why You Should Take This Class

Today, more than ever, it is important for us to listen, learn, and actively educate ourselves about the African American experience.  To understand where we are in America today, we must first journey back to the beginning and read Phyllis Wheatley’ s “On Being Brought from Africa to America”; understand W.E.B. Du Bois’s notion of “two-ness,” and his experience of being both Black and American; and learn from Zora Neale Hurston “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.”

Description

In this course, students will read a variety of translations of traditional Native American stories, including origin stories, trickster tales, and hero stories. Students will also read poetry and fiction by contemporary Native American writers, examining how these writers draw from their Native cultures as well as how they depict varied lifestyles of Native Americans today.

Prerequisites

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

In additional to a range of traditional oral stories, the class will read works by such contemporary writers as N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, James Welch, Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie. The class will also look at works written within the last three or four years, including Tommy Orange's 2018 novel There There.

Skills Taught

Literary interpretation, writing, and interpretive strategies.

Why You Should Take This Class

Students often come to EH 305 with rather limited perceptions regarding Native Americans, ones influenced by pervasive stereotypes that have long permeated American popular culture. EH 305 offers an opportunity for students to be exposed to aspects of Native American culture they had not previously been aware of--stories that are touching, funny, infuriating. As in any good literature class, EH 305 will broaden students' understanding of what it means to be human.

Description

This class helps students develop an understanding of the principles of linguistics and the application of those principles in our daily lives.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/ or Texts Covered

Introduction to Language by Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams, and MindTap

Skills Taught

Transcribing English words phonetically using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), understanding structure of the language, collecting and analyzing data from different languages, problem-solving, and identifying differences in communication.

Why You Should Take This Class

What is language? Can animals and computers learn human language? What is language made up of? How do humans acquire language? How do our brains process and represent language? In EH 308 Introduction to Linguistics class, we will be discussing these questions and much more. Also, if you plan to teach language or if you are majoring in Foreign Languages, Education, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, TESOL, or Speech and Language Pathology, you will find this course relevant to you.

Description

The course will concentrate on the social and cultural work performed in film noir, classics, and melodrama films.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We'll study approximately fourteen films (some short, of the B-movie length type), by directors such as Wilder, Huston, Ray, Siodmak, Wise, Tourneur, Preminger, Lupino, Welles, and many other possibilities. The focus in Fall 2021 will be film noir, but we will consider how this generic phrase overlaps with other genre-terms like melodrama.

Skills Taught

Viewing films in an analytical way, critical writing about film.

Why You Should Take This Class

The films are entertaining, and they introduce students to a wide range of intelligent, cinematic meanings that are only possible to access through careful viewing and discussion.  Film studies links to German Expressionism and French Poetic Realism will be acknowledged. 

Description

This class surveys works of science fiction and fantasy writing, covering texts from the 17th through the 21st centuries.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We will start with selections from The Blazing World (1666) by Margaret Cavendish, then move into some late-19th and early-20th century texts including Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) and Yevgeny Zamyatin's We (1921).  We will read texts by J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Octavia Butler, among others, before ending on Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth (2019).  We will also take the time to watch Blade Runner (1982) and Princess Mononoke (1997).

Skills Taught

Close reading, research, and multimodal document design, alongside the more traditional essay writing skills.

Why You Should Take This Class

We will be reading the books you already want to read, traveling to fantastic worlds, and if the stars align, we'll be joined via Zoom by Tamsyn Muir to discuss her novel and the writing process. 

Description

This class will serve as the basis for writing and distributing content online for each of the most popular social media platforms.

Prerequisites

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We will study different case studies and industry publications, as well as Ginny Redish’s Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works and Abby Covert’s How to Make Sense of Any Mess.

Skills Taught

Social media campaign creation and analysis, research, virtual design.

Why Should You Take This Class

There are so many differences in writing for a research paper and writing for a Twitter post. Social media writing puts great emphasis on speaking directly to an audience. It includes visual elements that help spread the message faster and accomplish the goals that have been set out.

Description

Welcome to one of the coolest courses that will give you so much fun! In this course we will be learning how to write a podcast in different styles, as well as research and conduct interview.

Prerequisites

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

Students will be reading and listening to all different styles of podcasts and they will also be reading Everybody Has a Podcast.

Skills Taught

Interviewing, researching, creating narratives and storytelling, conducting discussions, outlining, and video techniques.

Why Should You Take This Class

Students should take this course because they will have fun and will learn a lot. Creating podcasts is one of the best jobs in the world - we see everyone from comedians to journalists podcasting. We encourage our students to take the course and be as good as those who are podcast professionals right now.

Description

This course will concentrate on writing fiction, providing the opportunity to gain greater command of the elements of fiction by reading and analyzing published fiction, reading and commenting on the writing of classroom peers, and writing original fiction for discussion in a workshop format.

Prerequisite

EH 251 or approval of instructor.

Authors and/or Texts Covered

We use one main text, New American Stories edited by Ben Marcus, focusing on the contemporary American short story, supplemented by craft essays and other Writing-about-writing.

Skills Taught

Critiquing short fiction, narrative arcs, three-dimensional characters, dialogue, description, stable voice.

Why You Should Take This Class

A good story provides the opportunity for radical empathy and a deep view into someone else's life. It can move someone else to tears, laughter, or action. To tell one is to make experience come alive.

Description

This class will give students direct experience in publishing. Students in this class will be part of a staff that puts together projects in publishing. For the Fall of 2021, students will be the founders of a new online JSU literary journal that will accept works from undergraduate writers and artists everywhere. Students who take the Publishing Practicum will work on the physical JSU literary journal, Something Else, along with the Writers Club.

Prerequisite

EH 251 and instructor permission

Authors and/or Texts Covered

Students will be working with living writers' work; the required textbook is Editor's Companion by Steve Dunham.

Skills Taught

Copyediting, proofreading, marketing, research, fact-checking, organizational and distribution methods, and navigating the world of publishing.

Why You Should Take This Class

The Publishing Practicum is a class where students will participate in one big hands-on project, other smaller hands-on projects, and learn from real world experience what it means to be an editor and publisher.

Description

This class views and analyzes the motion picture by way of its artistic, technical, and historical contexts.

Prerequisite

EH 102, EH 104, or EH 106

Authors and/or Texts Covered

Approximately fourteen films will be covered, by multiple directors such as Charles Chaplin, Ingmar Bergman, François Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, Éric Rohmer, Wim Wenders, and Andrei Tarkovsky

Skills Taught

Media Engagement, critical film analysis.

Why You Should Take This Class

Films are often casually considered to be mere entertainment rather than art; but especially in the post-WWII era and onward, the concept of “art house cinema” developed. These films are entertaining, of course, but they also introduce students to a wide range of intelligent, cinematic meanings that are only possible to access through careful viewing and discussion. Future film-watching will be enhanced for students who take the course.