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Course Descriptions Spring & Summer 2016


English Classes (ENG)

ENG 1050        Understanding Literary Language                                                   Curtis

In this general education English course, students will focus on the craft of reading and understanding texts in a variety of genres such as poetry, fiction, drama, and the essay while developing the technical literary vocabulary required to write about them. Students will learn to perform close readings of texts and should thereby gain a heightened appreciation of connections, patterns and themes. Students will also be introduced to the study of grammar, syntax, and etymology.  As the first of four core courses for undergraduate English majors, this course aims to begin students on a four-year (and ultimately lifelong) path to better, stronger, more critical reading and writing skills.  

ENG 2000        Critical Reading and Writing                                                                        John

This course is designed to introduce English majors and minors to the nature of critical reading and writing. Students will be exposed to a number of theoretical approaches that they will practice applying to several major literary works. We will also spend the semester cultivating effective, critical writing skills. This is both a reading and writing intensive course. The class will also foster serious critical discussion and effective oral communication. Course texts will include Atonement, Passing, and The Handmaid’s Tale.

ENG 2000:  Critical Reading and Writing                                                                 Trout

This course is designed to introduce English majors and minors to the nature of critical reading and writing.  You will be exposed to a number of theoretical approaches that you will practice applying to several major literary works.  You will also concentrate on writing an effective essay on literature.  This is both a reading and writing intensive course.  The class will also foster serious critical discussion and effective oral communication.  We will consider several novels, including No Country for Old Men, The Handmaid’s Tale, and East of Eden.

ENG 2895        Digital Literacy                                                                                   Overall

In this course, students will work to cultivate a digital literacy.
In order to do so, students will critically analyze and compose within a variety of multimedia genres such as digital stories, web texts, podcasts, Prezis, digital archives, etc. In addition to learning industry-standard publication and design software such as iMovie, Adobe Creative Cloud, and HTML/CSS coding, students will work with many modes (words, image, sound, hypertext, arrangement) of texts and will produce a variety of products that involve many different media, as well as explore some of the most recent theories regarding the challenges to authorship these types of products invoke. Students will investigate the process and the rhetorical consequences of authoring in these digital environments—from conception to publication to distribution. One central theme for this course is that authoring multimedia does not necessarily require the latest technology and software. Students will be reading and composing many media that rely on current digital technologies as well as more familiar technologies: the principles students will explore in this course are intended to apply as much to “low-tech” media as they do to “high-tech” media.               

ENG 3000        Junior Seminar in English                                                                 Trout

(Pass/Fail, 0 credit hours). Prerequisite: Students should be in their Junior Year.   This requirement for all English majors, though open to English minors as well, is designed to be taken in the junior year. Students prepare for their future, considering such issues as preparation for graduate school, teaching, and writing as a profession.  Guest speakers and graduates of the program will help introduce students to a variety of career paths.

ENG 3960        Internship                                                                                           Overall

The purpose of the writing internship course is to provide practical application of classroom learning in an off-campus professional setting.  Students enrolled in the course are in the process of performing the work of an internship designed and approved the prior semester in collaboration with Dr. Overall, the English Department’s Internship Coordinator.  The number of hours you must complete in your work as an intern at your chosen workplace varies according to the number of credit hours for which you are enrolled: 3 hours Belmont course credit = 8 hours/week (approximately 96 hours total); 2 hours Belmont course credit = 5 hours/week (approximately 60 hours total); 1 hour Belmont course credit = 3 hours/week (approximately 36 hours). Class sessions are devoted to discussions of workplace writing issues and strategies. Students write reflections in which they describe their internship experiences; complete a series of short professional-writing “cases”; and compose and design a digital portfolio with documents they produce on the job. Half of the course grade will be determined from the above assignments while the internship supervisor evaluation will determine the other half.

For more information, see http://www.joeloverall.com/courses/ENG3960/

ENG 4900        Seminar in English Studies                                                               McDonald

In Senior Seminar, you will consider “where you have been” by reflecting on your academic and co-curricular experiences at Belmont and how your study of the Humanities fits into your understanding of the education that you have gained over the past four years. You will also consider “where you are going” by exploring where your path will take you after graduation and how your English major will inform your efforts to “make a life” as well as to “make a living.” You will revisit old writing, write reflectively about your experience as an English major, and write analytically and creatively in response to several works:  The Upstairs Wife by (Belmont graduate) Rafia Zakaria; The Stranger by Albert Camus and the recent reimagining of this novel in The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud; and a volume of poetry (likely by Philip Levine or Seamus Heaney). You will also enter into the lively conversation about the field of English Studies by reading widely in essays and commentary on the study of English and the humanities, and produce a major research project about your individual future interests.  


Literature Classes (ENL)

ENL 2120         British Literature II: 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries                           Murray                      

Poetry, drama, and novels from Romantic, Victorian, Modern and Post-Modern Periods.  Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Bronte, Jane Eyre; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Rushdie, East, West

ENL 2210         American Literature I: From the Beginnings to the Civil War       John (online)​   

This course will examine the formation of America’s cultural and literary identity from the colonial period to the Civil War.  We will analyze literary texts in relation to their cultural and historical contexts.  This course expects that students demonstrate not only a knowledge of the historical development of the culture from which these texts come, but also an ability to apply analytical and interpretive skills to the examined texts and contexts through reading, writing, and critical thinking. As this is an online course, students are expected to maintain a vigorous level of self-directed reading and writing.

ENL 2220         American Literature II                                                                       Trout

American Literature II surveys the development of America’s literature and cultural identity from the Civil War to the present.  We will read the works of authors that are most often placed into convenient “isms”—Realism, Modernism, Postmodernism.   We will identify these movements in America’s literature and question the validity of these handy categories.  The literature of this country will be addressed from a number of historical, social, and critical perspectives.  This course will foster better critical reading, writing, and research skills and encourage thoughtful oral communication.  American Literature I is not a pre-requisite.

ENL 2310         European Literature II                                                                       Paine

In this course we will discuss major works and authors of European Literature from1650 to the present day. Much importance will be placed on careful reading of and reflection upon these texts. Authors will include Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Franz Kafka, Anna Akhmatova, and Gabriel García Márquez, among others. We will seek to uncover not only their literary value, but also their contributions to an emerging modern European culture and their importance to us today. This course is for fulfillment of general Humanities credit as well as English credit. There is no prerequisite beyond ENG 1010.          

ENL 3740         Victorian Literature                                                                        Sisson

Our overarching topic will be “Culture and Society: Victorian Literature and the Rise of Modernist Thought.” We will focus on Victorian poetry, fiction, and essays while exploring how many of the issues the Victorians addressed and techniques they used in their writing prefigured many of the ideas and literary techniques of the Modernists.

Within our overarching topic, we will explore, on the social side of things, The Woman Question, Evolution and Science, Industrialism, Poverty & Wealth, Community, and Imperialism, which gave rise to Colonialism and then Postcolonialism. On the cultural side of things, we will examine Realism, Aestheticism and the Decadent movement, and early Modernism, as well as narrative poetry and the dramatic monologue, the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and the Arts & Crafts movement.

We will read selections from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2. Besides poetry and essays, our main texts for the course will be Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (novel), Charles Dickens’ Hard Times (his shortest novel), George Eliot’s Silas Marner (her shortest novel), Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd (novel), George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession (play), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (novella), Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (novella), Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (play), Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (novella), and E. M. Forster’s Howards End (novel).

ENL 3800         Special Topics in World Literature: Time and Memory in European Literature  Paine         

This course will examine the evolving kaleidoscope of human time and memory in European literature. We will discuss texts from Augustine’s Confessions, The Lais of Marie de France, and Rousseau’s Reveries of a Solitary Walker to Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, Sebald’s Immigrants, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist, among others. We will explore both individual and collective memory as they spiral through time in these works.

ENL 3895         Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances                                           Yeo

Note:  To highlight the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (April 23, 2016), the English Department is offering Shakespeare courses in both the fall and spring semesters.  The spring course (described below) will be taught by Dr. Yeo and focus on the tragedies and romances (the Fall class, taught by Dr. McDonald, focused on the histories and comedies).  For English majors and minors:

You may take either or both courses; both courses can count towards your English major or minor requirements, including the single-author and the upper level hours requirements. 

Professors McDonald and Yeo are currently planning year-long, collaborative projects. We anticipate having a grand Shakespeare session at BURS in the spring of 2016 involving students from both courses.

This set of two courses is for this academic year only; next year (2016-17) will return to the one-semester Shakespeare: Representative Selections.

In the Spring 2016 class, we will begin with King Lear, including the performance in our very own Troutt theater by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival in January. King Lear will inaugurate our unit on the tragedies, which probe questions of power, ambition, desire, and above all, justice. At the end of his life, Shakespeare flipped the coin on violence to investigate its reversal: forgiveness. Encompassing magic, journey, and deliverance, his romances (a genre more related to Arthurian legend than modern-day rom-com) explores the possibility of redemption from the tragic world. Our class will be active and interactive, investigating the historical texts and contexts of the plays as well as stage and film performances. We will also explore the artistic, cultural, and political movements that Shakespeare’s work inspires, including a revolutionary movement in Thailand, a banned high school curriculum in Arizona, and an educational program in a Kentucky prison. Texts will include Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, and assignments will include short play responses, (possibly) staged readings, and a final seminar paper.

ENL 3930         Realism and Naturalism in American Literature                           Trout

This course will ask students to carefully survey the literature of America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  We will investigate the nature and accepted definitions of “realism” and “naturalism,” terms that are still useful to identify a distinctive phase of American writing from the Civil War to World War I.    Throughout the semester, we will focus on prose fiction and consider how authors of the period understood and represented reality, from the drama of the drawing room to the horror of the urban ghetto.   We will also investigate the rapidly changing industrial American culture and the effects of urbanization, class conflict, gender, race, and Social Darwinism.   Authors will include William Dean Howells, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Charles W. Chesnutt, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser.  A reading list is available upon request :  sue.trout@belmont.edu

Writing Classes (ENW)

ENW 2430       Intermediate Creative Writing                                                         Finch

This course is designed to introduce you to the beginning writing of poetry and fiction.  The course will also be used to develop and foster a community of working writers.  Through workshopping and class discussion of your own work and readings of creative and critical texts, you will learn 1) what makes a poem or story effective to the audience of your choice; 2) how to manipulate your own life experiences, even the small, seemingly insignificant ones, into powerful poems and stories; and 3) how to learn about your own writing through the close reading of your classmates drafts.  This class will set the groundwork for future writing by leading you through the motions of writing, revising, and rewriting.  You will also gain insight into the creative process by reading past and present masters of fiction and poetry.  With this new set of skills, you will be ready to embark on further writing away from class with a basic foundation in how not just to write but how to be a writer. This semester, we will focus on fiction and poetry.

ENW 2510       Art of the Essay                                                                                 Stover, Hobson

What is an essay, exactly? You may be relieved and surprised to learn that the genre is far more varied, intimate, and malleable than the reductive five-paragraph structure we have come to call an “essay.” Instead, true to Michel de Montaigne’s notion of the essay, it is a “trial” or an “attempt” to follow the pattern of one’s thinking when examining one’s experiences, observations, and inner life. We will read a wide variety of essay forms (braided, segmented, lyric), along with the distinctly hybrid forms of the imagessay and the video essay.  After reading literary criticism of the genre and essays ranging across time (from Montaigne to David Foster Wallace), students will be responsible both for their own theoretical reflections on the genre and for their own “essais” or attempts at producing the genre.

ENW 3020       Theories of Writing                                                                           Lovvorn

Designed as an introduction to the study of writing, this course invites you to examine in-depth and from a wide variety of perspectives how, when, where, and why people read and write. Drawing on the work of theorists, educators, and writers, we will consider how the writing act ranges across various descriptors—classical to modern, cognitive to social, personal to academic, material to digital, private to public. You will be asked to read key texts connected to these perspectives, examine the nature of your own writing, and analyze writing practices as they exist in the wider world. 

ENW 3420       Creative Writing: Poetry                                                                  McDowell

Richard Hugo tells us, in his essay, “Writing off the Subject,” that “all truth must conform to music.”  In other words, how we shape our experiences to the music of our language creates poetry.  We owe reality nothing and the truth about our feelings everything, and yet still we find it hard to move beyond mere experience and memory to create image-driven, sonically pleasing poems.  In order to practice doing so, we will read widely among contemporary poets, one of which will be visiting campus, and through writing exercises and imitations (poems written under the influence of the poets we’ll be reading) in both verse and prose, we’ll create a polished and varied portfolio of original poems.  Other requirements will include active participation in workshops and written responses to our readings.  This is a workshop-style course in the writing of poetry, so come prepared to read, write, and have fun learning not only how to write but how to be writers.

ENW 3680       Literary Editing in Context                                                               McDowell

In this course we will, from the ground up, conceive, edit, and produce the 2015 edition of The Belmont Literary Journal.  We will split into Editorial teams (for Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, Art, Managing, and Design editors) and advertise for and accept submissions; select poems, stories, essays, and artwork for inclusion in the journal; design the journal (which is, for the first time, transitioning to an online format!); work within our monetary budget; and advertise, celebrate, and represent the final product across campus, the Belmont/Nashville community, and the entire web.  In addition, we will read literary journals from all over the world to learn what makes good writing, what makes good journal design, and what makes a literary journal a sum of its many, many parts.  If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Gary L. McDowell at gary.mcdowell@belmont.edu. TIP: If you like/KNOW web design, we NEED you in ENW 3680!!  

ENW 3530       Writing About Place                                                                         Hodges Hamilton

place (noun):  a particular region, center of population, or space/location.

place (verb): to find a home or location.

As Maya Angelou reminds us in All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Writing About Place is a workshop-based creative nonfiction writing course where students will write about a range of places (n.) and their placement (v.) within those spaces. We will also consider our placement and/or displacement in both local and global places through a range of lenses: memoirs and other forms of life writing, psychological analysis, as well as through our own and peers’ writing processes

ENW 4010       Writing Seminar: Portfolio                                                               Lovvorn

Prerequisite: ENG 1010. This course serves as the capstone for students completing the Writing Minor. Students will compile a professional portfolio of their best writing for public exhibitio

Graduate Offerings (Spring 2016)

ENG 5730        Pedagogical Studies                                                                          Smith Whitehouse

English 5730, Pedagogical Studies, is a course that explores a range of methods and issues in the field of teaching writing and literature. Because this is a course about teaching and learning, we will engage in some of the work we will learn to ask of students. Similarly, as in most good composition and literature courses, much of the work done in this course will have a collaborative element. Group work, active class discussion, and communication (electronic and otherwise) with all members of the class are imperative.

When the faculty teaching the MA in English program thought about this course, they determined students completing Pedagogical Studies would be able to:

Disseminate discoveries and constructions of knowledge to a public audience by creating academic presentations and delivering them in a professional manner

  • Write with a sense of purpose, audience, and voice
  • Demonstrate professional expertise in academic research, using both print and digital resources
  • Make appropriate use of independent academic research in written work
  • Demonstrate an ability to construct knowledge through deep, independent study as well as group discussion and inquiry

Execute—in a professional manner—a sustained, independent written project that demonstrates significant development of an original idea.

Further, I will make every effort to provide students in Pedagogical Studies with opportunities to pursue individual areas of theoretical and pedagogical interest. First and foremost, however, this is a course aimed at preparing you to teach writing and literature. The course culminates in a portfolio of teaching materials for a first-year composition or other similar course of students’ own design, along with numerous opportunities for issue exploration and personal reflection.

 ENG 5850        Readings in British Lit III                                                                   Sisson

 This is a Readings course, so we will read broadly and fairly deeply in the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern/Postcolonial periods—i.e. 19th century to the present. Our specific texts will be as follows:

 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein—or The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Marilyn Butler. New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (1818).

  • Charles Dickens, Hard Times. Ed. Paul Schlicke. New York: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (1854).
  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse. Foreword by Eudora Welty. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1981 (1927).
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement. New York: Anchor Books, 2001.
  • Stephen Greenblatt et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2. 9th edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2012.

In addition, you will be assigned to a team that will read one of these two novels; both are Postmodern novels that offer retrospective perspectives on the Romantic, Victorian, and even Modern periods of British literature and culture.

  • A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance. New York: Vintage Int’l., 1990.
  • John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman. New York: Back Bay Books, 1998 (1969).

As in all Readings courses, 50% of the grade is determined by the Final Exam. In this class, 30% of that will be an out-of-class essay, and 20% will be an in-class exam. Other assignments will be weekly Journal Responses and one short paper, presented to the class (i.e. a “Read-Lead”).

ENG 6200         Creative Seminar: Poetry and Faith                                                           McDowell

I wrote once before—as have many others—that at the heart of all successful poetry is one thing: form. This still holds true, but what within a poem gives it its form? Is it ideas? Language? Image? Line- and stanza-breaks? Some conglomeration of those plus others? I propose that what steers formal decisions in poetry is—while always some part of the above mentioned ideas—mostly faith. What do you, deep down there in the cockles of your heart, really believe? Not just spiritually or religiously—though those beliefs will be heavily explored here—but also what do you believe of work, of Time, of family, of place? We will test how poems make form through what their poets believe. We will test how it’s possible to write real poems of faith, not just slimy concoctions that espouse some feeble religious belief. We want the meat and potatoes here, the honest to God truths about the real subjects: birth, death, sex, food. We’ll start by reading voluminously some of the more successful contemporary (and Modern) poets of (varying kinds of) faith (Christian Wiman, Mary Szybist, Kazim Ali, Maurice Manning, Susanna Childress, Jeff Hardin, for example) in order to learn the how and why of these questions. We’ll then, through imitation and experiment, create, over the course of the semester, our own portfolio of poetry that investigates faith.  Grading will reward participation, risk-taking, effort, and process in this workshop-style class.

Graduate Offerings (Summer 2016)

ENG 5860       Readings in American Literature II                                                  Trout

This readings course will examine the formation of America’s cultural and literary identity from the end of the Civil War to the present.  We will analyze literary texts from a number of historical, cultural, and critical perspectives.   Students will demonstrate not only a knowledge of the historical development of the culture from which these texts come, but also an ability to apply analytical and interpretive skills to the examined texts and contexts through reading, writing, and critical thinking.  This is a reading intensive course, as well as a course that relies heavily on your oral and written participation.

ENG 6300        Special Topics in Writing: Space, Place, and Ecocomposition      Lovvorn

 In this course, we will consider ecocomposition, a body of work that positions writing as connected to place and that examines interconnections between place, identity, physicality, and ecology. This work takes up theories of space and place, raises questions about environment, and unpacks ways in which place is connected to social and political impulses. This course offers considerable crossover between theory and readings.  As such, we will examine theoretical texts connected to ecocomposition as well as literary texts that treat place in relevant ways. We will read book-length works like Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Fair and Tender Ladies as well as short stories, critical essays, scholarly articles, and digital projects relevant to ecocomposition. You will be asked to write critical essays connected to our readings and place-driven essays/studies about middle Tennessee.