Spring 2019 Featured Courses

ENGL/AFRA 3213W-001: 18th & 19th Century African American Literature

Instructor: Shawn Salvant

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011; open to juniors or higher. Sophomore Honors students should email Prof. Salvant for a permission number.

This course provides a survey of eighteenth and nineteenth-century African American literature. We will examine early African American literature, reading work by authors such as James Gronniosaw and Phillis Wheatley with emphasis on their transatlantic production, religious themes, and contributions to the development of the African American vernacular tradition. We will study the African American oral and rhetorical traditions as exemplified in anti-slavery speeches and essays by Sojourner Truth, David Walker, Frederick Douglass and others. In a unit on the slave narrative, we’ll discuss the literary and political dimensions of this genre so influential to the development of 20th and 21st Century African American literature. We’ll conclude by examining early African American novels and novels of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction era by such figures as Charles Chesnutt. Students will become familiar with the development of African American literary history and the recurring themes of the period as well as the literary and cultural significance of each text and author. We will also track the forces shaping this period of African American literature—historical and political movements (slavery, emancipation, reconstruction), modes of expression and production (literacy and orality, authentication), and literary forms (imagery, symbolism, narrative, genre, style). Primary texts will be supplemented by scholarly secondary readings. Final grade will be based on quizzes, discussion question assignments, midterm exam, participation, 1-2 short essays, final paper and/or a final exam.

(CA 4)

ENGL 2413-001: The Graphic Novel

Instructor: Katharine Capshaw

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011 

This course explores the history and theory of the graphic novel.  We will explore a variety of approaches to the genre, from superhero narratives to graphic memoir, from manga to contemporary experimental texts.  While no single course can offer a comprehensive summation of such a vast and various body of work, our class will address the field’s major generic threads. We will also develop an understanding of the ‘grammar’ involved in reading a panel, page, and entire comics sequence. Alongside the narratives we will read secondary sources that explore aesthetic and theoretical debates within the field.  One of our objectives is to support each other as we engage the critical discourse around comics and graphic novels: we will share sources and insights and offer constructive feedback as we work together to produce informed and incisive term papers.

(CA 1)

ENGL 1701-002: Creative Writing I

Instructor: Sean Forbes

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011

The Speaker: The Eye of the Poem and the Short Story

According to Frances Mayes, “the poet ‘finds’ the right speaker and the right listener, usually by trying out several approaches.” In this introduction to creative writing class we will examine the different approaches that a writer can take when trying to establish a speaker in a poem or short story. We will look at exemplary works of poetry and fiction from writers like Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Marilyn Nelson, and Justin Torres. Students will produce a final portfolio of their original work. Class participation is an essential component to this largely workshop-based course along with weekly writing prompts such as writing in iambic pentameter and challenging prose sketches.

ECON 4206: Mechanism Design

Instructor: Vicki Knoblauch

Prerequisite: ECON 2201

Recommended preparation: Well developed mathematical reasoning skills, ability to work in small groups on an independent project. Prof. Knoblauch is willing to waive the ECON 2201 prerequisite for Honors students who possess the recommended mathematical and analytical reasoning skills.

One-semester introduction to mechanism design. Mechanisms are designed to induce people to act in such a way as to promote social welfare. Topics include public goods provision, 2-sided matching markets and peer evaluation of performance. The project in this course may serve as a good start for an Honors thesis or other piece of research.