ENGL 2011 Sections: Fall 2019

ENGL 2011 (Honors I: Literary Study through Reading and Research) is a four-credit Honors introduction to writing across the curriculum, and it fulfills the freshman English requirement for Honors students. Study of literature—and the development of important critical reading, writing, and information literacy skills—in the university setting is essential preparation for further study in a wide variety of fields.

If you entered UConn without credit for ENGL 1010/1011, we encourage you to consider ENGL 2011 as an Honors introduction to college-level writing. It will fulfill the Arts & Humanities distribution category for University Honors Laureate, as well as count as 4 Honors credits at the 2000-level or higher.

There are two themed “pods” of ENGL 2011 for this semester, each of which consists of multiple sections supervised by an English faculty member.

The Culture of Money

We spend a lot of our time trying to get it, but just what is money? What is its history? What feelings, ideas, and experiences — other than using it to purchase things — do we associate with money? We perhaps give quite a bit of thought to the economics of money – how to get it, how to spend it, how to save it, how to invest it, etc. – but we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the culture of money. That’s what we will do in this course. Students will compose several shorter, exploratory essays as well as a final research paper that will investigate and analyze some aspect of money in modern, American culture. Topics to be covered in this course may include: cultures of cryptocurrency and the dark web, the mythic origins of money, philosophical studies of money, the historical relationship between gambling and finance, the representation of money in literature and film, or the place of money in video game and other virtual environments. It should be noted that students do not need to have a background or major in business, finance, or economics to succeed in this course.


For some cultural and historical reason, there has been a proliferation of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, film, plastic arts, and music in the past five decades, and in the current moment it is a hugely popular genre. Writers around the world, from Laguna Pueblo lands to Shanxi, have appropriated this genre to explore alternate futures for the planet. Some of it is dismal (dystopian). Some of it is hopeful (utopian). All of it is a prophetic offering to our most creative impulses to change the world for the better before it’s too late or to embrace the “revelation” (which is what an apocalypse is) because the new world order (or galactic in some cases) will be better than the old one.

This course explores all manner of apocalyptica and post-apocalyptica. Students will read, view, and listen to some of the most compelling and popular titles in this genre and develop a research agenda revolving around one of these texts (literary, cinematic, visual, or musical). With the instructor’s consent, the research project may also involve a relevant text or texts not assigned in the course. By mid-semester drafts of the research findings will be due and discussed in class, seminar style.

Developing a viable research prospectus, a solid bibliography, and a final research paper will, in part, determine the grade in the course. Class participation (preparedness, attentiveness, respectfulness, and engagement in class discussions) will also determine it. Step by step, the instructor will guide students through the research process and review multiple drafts of the final paper before it is submitted in lieu of the final exam.

The texts we will study this term are: The Children of Men by PD James, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Marrow Thieves by Cherrie Dimaline, and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin.  Together in class we will also develop a short filmography and discography for discussion in class.