English

Majoring & Minoring

Major requirements ensure that majors are exposed to a broad range of issues and texts representative of the discipline.

The major features courses that present the historical and cultural range of literary production in English, a deliberate encounter with interpretive strategies under the heading of critical theory, and, under “emergent literatures,” a set of courses that exceed established, national canons of literature. Special topics courses (10-304) are frequently offered that, where designated, fulfill these requirements.

English 10-244 is strongly recommended to the prospective major or minor, as is one or more courses among 10-154, 164, and 174.

Major in English

Literature Concentration

9 courses (Majors consist of a minimum of 30 credits.)  English 10-244; one course in English literature written before 1785 from 10-154, 604, 614, 624, 634, 654; one course in English literature written since 1785 from 10- 164, 664, 674, 684; one course in American literature from 10-174, 714, 734, 754; one course in emergent literatures from 10-834, 854, 864, 874; one course in critical theory from 10-404, 434, 444, 454; 10-934 (Capstone); enough additional hours of English to total 30 credits overall, and at least 18 hours above the introductory level.

Film and Literature Concentration

10 courses (Majors consist of a minimum of 30 credits.)  English 10-244; 10-254; one course in English literature from 10-154, 164, 604, 614, 624, 634, 654, 664, 674, 684; one course in American literature from 10-174, 714, 734, 754; one course in emergent literatures and popular cultures from 10-834, 854, 864, 874; one course in critical theory from 10-404, 434, 444, 454; three courses from 10-504, 514, 524; 10-934 (Capstone).

Minor in English

5 courses (Minors consist of a minimum of 18 credits.) English 10-244; one survey or period course in English literature written before 1785 from 10-154, 604, 614, 624, 634, 654; 3 additional courses in English, with sufficient upper-level courses such that the student will take at least three upper-level courses in the minor.

It is possible to complete a 15-course paired major in English and Feminist Studies by double counting three of the five courses cross-listed in English and Feminist Studies: Feminist Film Studies (10-454), Topics in Romanticism (10-664), Topics in Victorian Literature and Culture (10-674), Topics in Women’s Literature (10-854), and Topics in Contemporary Literature (10-864). The department frequently offers other, more specialized, cross-listed courses that might substitute for one of these cross-listed courses with the approval of both the English and Feminist Studies chairs.

Tutorials and Independent Study (10-901, 902, 903, 904 and 10-951, 952, 953, 954) are open to majors and minors who wish to develop special projects.

See the Education Department for information regarding teacher certification in English.

 

Upcoming English Courses

Summer:

English 504.01: Texas Movies
Professor J. Kilfoyle
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday | 9:00 - 11:30 | Remote

Texas has an outsized presence in film and in the public imagination. This course will examine representations of Texas and its people in mainstream and on occasion not-so-mainstream film. Movies will include Giant, The Last Picture Show, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Lone Star, No Country for Old Men, Bernie, and Hell or High Water. Readings will include discussions both of Texas film and of Texas as a distinctive and distinctively contested place.

  • Film

 

English 304.01: Melodrama, Misogyny, Movies   
Professor M. Saenger
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday |1:30 - 4:00 | Remote

In melodrama, emotions are given dramatic priority over reality and logic. In the Jacobean period, and in Golden Age cinema, renditions of melodrama are tightly bound with anxieties of female power. We will begin with John Ford’s extravagant and gruesome ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (ed. Massai) and then we will watch a series of movies, including All About Eve (1950), Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Little Foxes (1941), The Children’s Hour (1961), City Lights (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), A Star is Born (1937 and 2018), Call Her Savage (1932). Our focus will be on the themes of the femme fatale, male anxiety, and the opportunities for camp, homoeroticism and rebellion within traditional genres.

  • Film

Fall:

English 124.01: Great Reads: Identity Crisis
Professor M. Saenger
Tuesday, Thursday | 8:30-9:45

Who am I, really? Who am I, playfully? Who must or can I become? This course is focused on the theme of identity confusion and clarification. We will read books from Ancient Rome, London, Soviet Russia, and our own time. We begin with Plautus’s Menaechmi, and discuss Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, and the British series We Are Lady Parts.

  • Early Modern Studies

 

English 254.01:  Introduction to Film Studies
Professor E. Cleere
Tuesday OR Thursday | 1:00-4:50

This course is designed to introduce students to the academic area of Film Studies, an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the aesthetics, history, theory, and criticism of cinema.  Like literature, film is a symbolic system that can be ‘read,’ studied, and analyzed as narrative, revealing familiar textual elements like characterization, plot, and theme. Students will also explore the more technical vocabulary of film analysis, and develop an understanding of the importance of cinematography, editing, sound, and casting in the production and interpretation of film meaning. The course is organized both thematically and chronologically, allowing students to explore how evolving cultural ideas about gender, race, class, and sexuality are embedded within gothic, romantic, tragic and comic modes of representation. Finally, we will learn all of these things while constantly thinking about the pleasures provided by visual narrative, and by discussing and analyzing our own viewing pleasure (and possibly displeasure) as we move from film to film. Directors we study may include: Capra, Hitchcock, Tarantino, DuVernay, Bigelow, Peele, Jenkins.

 

English 10-354.01 Brave on the Page: The Art of the Personal Narrative
Professor C. Campbell
Monday | 2:00-4:50 

Through literary discussion, workshop, and radical revision, this class will take a deep dive into the genre of creative nonfiction. We will hone our skills in personal narrative by crafting memoir, nature writing, and magazine profiles. This class will incorporate visual art, music, and food writing into the drafting process. We will take big leaps to complete polished portfolios of work and learn the art of critical feedback in a supportive, creative community.

 

English 10-504.01: Science Fiction Film
Professor R. Evans                 
Wednesday | 1:00-4:50

This course will follow the development of science fiction cinema, from the silent shorts of the early 20th century to today’s blockbusters. As we explore this history, paying attention to formal and aesthetic elements of the film genre, we’ll also trace how science fiction has reflected the circumstances and concerns of its moment, emphasizing three recurrent and intertwining themes: technophilia and technophobia; emergent geopolitical formations (neocolonialism, neoconservatism, neoliberalism); and the increasingly porous boundaries of “the human.” Our film screenings will be paired with readings drawn from science fiction literature and criticism as well as social and critical theory. This is a class that invites rich interdisciplinary connections and “Paideia moments”: as we learn about the history of science fiction as a film genre, we will also use our growing knowledge of that genre to ask critical questions about how science and technology are inextricable from issues of power and embodiment, and how popular culture circulates, reflects, and refracts these complex realities.

  • Film

 

English 10-604.01: Chaucer
Professor J. Kilfoyle
Monday / Wednesday | 9:30-10:45 

We will be reading Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and a few earlier works in Middle English. We will learn something about the Middle Ages in general, and how the study of a great medieval poet can sharpen our thinking about our own lives. Lively and stimulating discussions guaranteed!

  • Pre-1785 British

 

English 10-654: Restoration Drama          
Professor J. Kilfoyle   
Tuesday / Thursday | 2:30-3:45

We’ll be reading selected plays from one of the most robust and controversial eras of English-language playwriting and play-acting. We’ll examine plays by William Wycherley, Aphra Behn, George Etherege, William Congreve, Susannah Centlivre, and others. Cheating, lying, stealing, gender-bending, sword-fighting! Women on stage for the first time! You name it! A high-octane visit to the 17th and 18th centuries!

  • Pre-1785 British

 

English 10-674.01: Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte (Austen/Bronte)
Professor E. Cleere
Tuesday / Thursday 10:00-11:15

This course is a concentrated exploration of two of the most celebrated, overexposed, and possibly misunderstood women novelists in English history, Jane Austen (1775-1817) and Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855). While Austen is often identified as the formal and charming Aunt Jane, dispensing romantic wisdom with appropriately delicate wit, she was also a biting and sardonic critic of her contemporary economic, social and sexual milieu.  Likewise, Charlotte Bronte is often seen as the popularizer of the Byronic hero for women’s fiction, and is less known for her fascinating explorations of gender performance, female poverty and depression. When possible, we will immerse ourselves in the historical and social context of these writers through contemporary source material. Novels studied will include Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility (Austen) and Jane Eyre (Bronte).

  • Post-1785 British 

 

English 10-714.01: American Environmental Literatures
Professor R. Evans
Monday / Wednesday | 11:00-12:15

This course will explore how modern and contemporary U.S. writers have articulated the connections between “nature” and “culture” in the context of environmental and social justice. Paying particular attention to the women writers, queer writers, and writers of color whom mainstream environmental conversations have often excluded, we will consider how divergent visions of nature (as pristine wilderness outside of human reach, as site of/constituted by violence, as not dualistically separated from humanity, etc.) have inflected both American poetics and American politics—and, conversely, how the literature of environmental justice re-maps and re-envisions U.S. politics, histories, and myths.

  • American or
  • Emergent

 

English 934.01: Capstone: Playing with Genre
Professor M. Saenger
Tuesday |1:00-3:50     

The Latin genus gives us both genre and gender. In this seminar we will explore a variety of forms of writing, including decolonialism, historicism, activism, creative writing, analytical writing, adaptation, decolonialism and translation. This spectrum of terms might seem impossibly broad, and indeed we will each never be fully conversant in the entire group’s texts. We will, however, develop a shared set of terms that will function as our collective conceptual lexicon. Each student will identify their own projected writing structure, as well as their primary and theoretical texts early on. From there, they will each move on two tracks: creating, structuring and editing their writing, and exploring how their key concepts can be contested and shared by others in the group. These two trains of thought will ultimately lead to a written capstone essay of about 20 pages, and to a presentation at an end-of-semester event.

Spring:

English 10-124.01: Great Reads: Crime Fiction
Professor J. Kilfoyle               
Tuesday / Thursday | 10:00-11:15

Tough guys with pasts you don’t want to know about. Even tougher dames who’d kill you just as soon as look at you. A cigarette glowing in the dark down by the tracks. The barrel of a gun still warm to the touch. We’ll be looking at crime stories from the time when somebody took a bite out of an apple to the present day. Some sick. Some funny. Some sad. But you just can’t look away from a single one.

 

English 10-154.01: Survey of British Literature I
Professor M. Saenger
Tuesday / Thursday | 1:00-2:15

The purposes of this class are two-fold: on the one hand, it will provide a sketch of the most important elements of British literary development between 1390 and 1755. On the other hand, we will develop a conversation about the history of gender in that period.

  • Pre-1785 British
  • Early Modern Studies

 

English 10-174.01: Borders/Frontiers/Contact Zones
Professor R. Evans
Monday / Wednesday | 9:30-10:45

  • American or
  • Emergent

 

English 10-244.01 and 10-244.02: Introduction to Literary Studies
Professor R. Evans
Monday / Wednesday | 11:00-12:15 or 2:00-3:15

 

English 10-444.01: Speaking Across Languages
Professor M. Saenger
Monday / Wednesday / Friday | 8:30-9:20

This is a course on translation theory that is open to monolingual and multilingual students, from inside and outside the English major. We will study Shakespeare in translation as well as the original, and modern poetry in English and in Spanish, as we explore important issues of translation theory, including various ways to understand what translation keeps, loses, and transforms. Students with foreign language fluency, who enjoy poetry, may take this as their first English course at Southwestern.

  • Theory
  • International studies
  • Spanish, Latin, German, Chinese

 

English 10-504.01: American Documentary Film
Professor E. Cleere
Tuesday | 1:00-4:50

  • Film

 

English 10-524.01: American Movies
Professor J. Kilfoyle
Thursday | 1:00-4:50 

A history of narrative film from its origins to the present with an emphasis upon Hollywood cinema. Historical contexts and technological evolution are emphasized. Griffith, Chaplin, Welles, Hitchcock, Ford, Kubrick, Altman, Coppola, and Anderson are among the directors studied. The Studio System, silent comedies, sound film, genre study (musical, comedy, western and gangster films), New Hollywood and digital technology are among the organizing principles of this survey.

  • Film

 

English 10-624.01: Shakespeare
Professor M. Saenger
Tuesday / Thursday | 8:30-9:45

We will combine a traditional study of several plays with an active engagement in how Shakespeare’s work has crossed national boundaries and become “global”;

Mostly discussion based, with opportunities for students to perform if they wish.

  • Pre-1785 British
  • Contributes to Early Modern Studies

 

English 10-674.01: Victorian Mystery
Professor E Cleere
Tuesday / Thursday | 11:30-12:45

  • Post-1785 British