From the earliest pictographs to the latest stories and essays, we read and write to make meaning, to find a place for ourselves in the cosmos. Our reading and writing abilities are therefore much more than a “skill set” for that next career; they are genuine life skills, compensation and comfort as we face the mysteries of our short existence
I believe in finding the joy in teaching and in learning. Learning to think, to read, and to write well doesn’t have to be chore. I strive to engage my students with stimulating readings, lively discussions, and useful writing assignments. I’m always connecting what we do in the classroom to “real life,” because I want students to know how they can use their English skills to enrich and enlarge their lives.
I teach 1010 and 1020 each semester. Courses above the 2000 level are not offered every semester; check the current schedule of classes to see what I will be offering.
English 1010 English I: Composition
In this course we will develop and hone the writing, reading, and thinking skills that you will need in order to succeed in academic discourse. At its most basic level, this is a writing course, as the subtitle implies. Thus, you should expect to write often (about 30 pages) this semester.
English 1020 English II: Composition
In this course we will examine a broad range of texts and discuss their place in the canon of literature. In so doing, we will learn the language of literary discourse and develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. With these new skills we’ll stretch our minds around several theoretical approaches and learn to look at literature (and the world it reflects) in fresh, new ways – and maybe (just maybe) we’ll have some fun along the way.
And yet, at its most basic level, this is a writing course. Thus, you should expect to write often (about 30 pages) this semester.
Note: Students who have native or near-native fluency in English will find this course challenging; students who lack such fluency will find this course impossible.
English 2145 War Literature
Our texts will include letters, poems, stories, songs, speeches, propaganda, and film, and we’ll try to approach them as objectively as we can. Perhaps we all can see how a war literature class with a political agenda might easily become trite and boring. Instead we’ll try to keep things lively, with interesting discussions of the assigned works – and we’ll try to be realistic in our coverage of the genre. It’s simply too large to do an adequate survey in sixteen weeks, so you might think of this course as a means of whetting your appetite for more.
In this course we will examine a range of texts that deal with the human experience of war. From Sir John Keegan’s assertion that war is a central component of the human condition, to Tim O’Brien’s confrontation with truth in war stories, we will explore the “mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love” of war. War stories exist at the nexus of two fundamental human drives: the drive to create and the drive to destroy. We’ll spend some time investigating the ways in which art strives to represent the extreme clarity of war, perhaps with an eye toward gaining a better understanding of ourselves as warrior creatures.
English 2210 English Literature I
Thus we’ll look at some major themes, some historical contexts, as well as some major and minor works of short fiction, poetry, and drama in order to equip you for your journey.
In this course we’ll examine England the early literature that reflects it. Since this is a survey course, it’s best not to think of this course as all you need to become an expert on English Literature. In fact, given our time constraints, you may find that this course merely whets your appetite. If so, good – for what is education but an invitation to go exploring?
English 2490 Shakespeare in Literature and Performance
A fresh look at Shakespeare, aimed at increasing students’ appreciation and enjoyment of his works. We’ll study a variety of different performances, examining and responding to the interpretations of actors, directors, and literary critics in order to arrive at a more complete understanding of Shakespeare’s plays – both as literature and performance. Poetry, history, theory, religion, and culture will blend with laughter and good old-fashioned fun as we reverse-engineer, recite, re-enact and respond to some of Shakespeare’s most artfully rendered works. Over the course of the semester, students will write short critiques and complete at least one longer project, as well as a midterm and a final. To fulfill the four-hour course requirement, students occasionally will attend film screenings and other out of class activities (e.g. play rehearsals, presentations, literary and dramatic events, etc.). Students from all disciplines are welcome; skeptics and Bardophobics are likewise encouraged to enroll.