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English

Readers, Writers and Thinkers Encountering the World

Overview   |   Meet an Earlhamite   |   Our Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses  

 

The English major at Earlham is centered around how literature shapes the world, including a specific section of courses on literature and social justice.

Our students read literature from various canons, hearing voices that have been silenced throughout history, as well as those that have influenced literary scholarship for centuries.

Each student takes classes that focus on methodologies, on genres, and on the themes of peace and justice in literature. We have a transnational approach, with an emphasis on both international and U.S. diverse voices.

When Lisa Wolpe, actor, director and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company, visited campus our students had the opportunity to ask "How do you use Shakespeare to make the world a better place?"

More from the English Department:

Highlights

Many of our students travel overseas for the London Program. On a recent experience, they developed digital multimedia guides about The Lonely Londoners, Voyage in the Dark, and The Emigrants.

Earlham students have access to a number of postgraduate fellowships, including Fulbrights and the Watson. Students find that their English degree has prepared them for all sorts of graduate programs.

Our alumni have used the English degree as a foundation for various careers involving many forms of communication and research, including novelists, poets, teachers, librarians, journalists, lawyers, and people working in both the non-profit and business worlds.

Meet An Earlhamite
Josh Friedberg
Finding Context

Josh Friedberg ’10 says he’s been able to put to good use a lot of what he has learned at Earlham and in life.

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Stephanie Petry
In Her Element

As a double major in two demanding fields, chemistry and English, Stephanie Petry ’18 doesn’t back down from a challenge.

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Yasmin DaSilva
Lives Into Words

Yasmin DaSilva ’19 would love to have 24 hours every day to write. “I would love to be able to write every day and just focus on that. I’m studying to be a professor, but if I’m being honest, I want to be an author.”

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Our Faculty

Nate Eastman
Associate Professor of English; Teaching and Learning Consultant

Scott Hess
Professor of English

Kari Kalve
Professor of English

Mary Lacey
Professor of English

Shena McAuliffe
Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

Sarah Morris
Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Joann Quiñones
Associate Professor of English

Rebekah Trollinger
Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Tracy Lautzenheiser
Administrative Assistant
Plan of Study

General Education Requirements

Depending upon the semester and the instructor, many English Department courses may fulfill the General Education Requirements.

The Department offers seven Writing Intensive courses, ENG 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208 and 302; three courses that fulfill the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, ENG 203, 204 and 463; one course that fulfills the International component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, ENG 364; two courses that (depending on topic) fulfill either the Domestic or International component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, ENG 206 and 353. The Department also offers Earlham Seminars.

The Major

Introductory Courses

These courses are appropriate for first-year students. Students can select one of the following courses:

  • ENG 203 Women and Literature
  • ENG 204 African American Literature
  • ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology
  • ENG 206 Literature and Identity
  • ENG 207 Literature and Film
  • ENG 208 Contemporary Literature

Required Courses

  • ENG 302 Foundations of Literary Study
  • ENG 401 Junior Research Seminar

Content Courses

Students choose six of the following upper-level literature courses, with at least one course in each category: Peace and Justice, Theoretical Approaches, and Genre.

English 350, 351, 353, 358, 370, 371, 372, 378, 379, 380, 382, 384 and 463 may each be taken more than once if the topics are different.

Peace and Justice

  • ENG 309 Prophetic Black Women
  • ENG 350 Contesting America
  • ENG 351 Class and Ideology in Literature
  • ENG 353 Topics in Peace and Justice in Literature
  • ENG 358 Gender and Sexuality in Literature
  • ENG 364 Postcolonial Literature
  • ENG 463 Topics in African American Literature

Theoretical Approaches

  • ENG 369 Contemporary Literary Theory
  • ENG 370 Topics in Literary Theory

Genre

  • ENG 359 Shakespeare
  • ENG 378 Romances, Epics and Quests
  • ENG 379 The Novel
  • ENG 380 Drama
  • ENG 381 Topics in Literary Periods
  • ENG 382 Topics in Genre and Narrative
  • ENG 383 Understanding Poetry
  • ENG 386 Reading and Writing Short Fiction
  • ENG 387 Reading and Writing Poetry

Senior Capstone

  • ENG 488 Senior Capstone Experience

The Minor

Choose one of the following:

  • ENG 203 Women and Literature
  • ENG 204 African American Literature
  • ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology
  • ENG 206 Literature and Identity
  • ENG 207 Literature and Film
  • ENG 208 Contemporary Literature

Required:

  • ENG 302 Foundations of Literary Study
  • Three Other English Courses at the 300 or 400 level (excluding ENG 470 and ENG 471)

Creative Writing Focused English Minor

Students complete five courses:

  • One Introductory Course from the following:
    • ENG 203 Women and Literature
    • ENG 204 African American Literature
    • ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology
    • ENG 206 Literature and Identity
    • ENG 207 Literature and Film
    • ENG 208 Contemporary Literature
  • One 300-level or higher English course
  • ENG 221 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Two Creative Writing Courses chosen from:
    • ENG 470 Advanced Writing Workshop
    • ENG 385 Reading and Writing Poetry  
    • ENG 386 Reading and Writing Short Fiction
    • ENG 471 Playwriting
Courses

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

*ENG 150 EARLHAM SEMINAR (4 credits)
Offered for first-year students. Topics vary. (ES)

*ENG 203 WOMEN AND LITERATURE (4 credits)
An introduction to the study of literature by and about the lives of women, written in a variety of genres and periods, from a number of cultural traditions. Explores ways in which a study of a writer's ideas and techniques and a text's background (e.g., biography of the author, political climate, religious tradition) can lead to greater appreciation and understanding of a work, a writer, a reader and a time. A variety of critical points of view with particular attention to Feminist and Womanist theories. Appropriate for first-year students. Also listed as WGSS 203. (WI, D-D)

*ENG 204 AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE (4 credits)
An introduction to the study of literature focusing on the works of Americans of black African ancestry, with possible attention to works of African Caribbean. Special attention to major developments in form and themes, major writers and the evolution of an African American literary tradition. Introduction to issues of black literary theory and criticism. Appropriate for first-year students. Also listed as AAAS 204. (WI, D-D)

*ENG 205 AMERICAN LITERATURE AND ECOLOGY (4 credits)
A study of American environmental literature and its imaginative forms in relation to environmental concepts, movements and philosophy, including changing ideas of nature and wilderness; representations of space and place; the deep ecology, ecofeminism, bioregionalism and environmental justice movements; urban nature; the impact of climate change and the Anthropocene; and the relation between human ideas and language and the more-than-human world. Includes attention to cultural issues of ecology, such as how ecological imagination affects sense of identity and social and economic practices. May include writers such as Thoreau, Muir, Aldo Leopold, Margaret Atwood, Linda Hogan and Helena Viramontes. Appropriate for first-year students. Also listed as ENST 205. (WI) (AY)

*ENG 206 LITERATURE AND IDENTITY (4 credits)
This course focuses on the way literature can be used as a vehicle to explore issues of identity. Topics may include but are not limited to: Irish Literature, Literature of Immigration, Coming-of-Age Narratives, Early Modern Literature. Appropriate for first-year students. (WI; D-D or D-I depending on topic)

*ENG 207 LITERATURE AND FILM (4 credits)
Introduces film analysis skills that focus on technical details of the cinematic medium, and how they influence narration, character and theme. Highlights important topics in film and literary theory and analyzes the functions and forms of film as a medium in comparison to other forms of media that use words. Appropriate for first-year students. Also listed as FILM 207. (WI) (AY)

*ENG 208 CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE (4 credits)
This course covers the contemporary literary scene with particular attention paid to bestsellers and prizewinners in multiple genres such as the novel, short story collections, poetry and non-fiction. Appropriate for first-year students. (WI) (AY)

ENG 221 INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING (4 credits)
An introduction to creative writing and the writing workshop process, focusing on the genres of poetry and short fiction but also occasionally exploring other genres (such as playwriting or creative non-fiction). Includes intensive writing and discussion of the craft and process of writing. Appropriate for first-year students.

*ENG 302 FOUNDATIONS OF LITERARY STUDY (4 credits)
This course lays the groundwork for English majors and minors by addressing the question “Why study Literature?” in relation to a wide range of literary texts and theoretical approaches. The class will study a variety of works and genres from American, British and World literary traditions, including attention to literary history, influence and periodization. Students will develop the fundamental skills of literary interpretation, including interpretive writing and research, while also learning about future professional opportunities for English majors. Appropriate for first-year students with a strong writing background and significant interest in majoring in English. (WI)

ENG 309 PROPHETIC BLACK WOMEN (3 credits)
This course is a study of Black religious women in the U.S., and how they wrote about their religious beliefs and experiences. Students will encounter leaders who changed or led established movements such as Zilpha Elaw and Jarena Lee, women who had religious visions such as Shaker Rebecca Cox Jackson, and literary writers who interrogated religious groups and practices such as Nella Larsen. Students will be asked to consider how religious belief and practice might shape the way people conceptualize what it means to be a Black woman in the U.S. Also listed as AAAS 309 and REL 309.

ENG 350 CONTESTING AMERICA (4 credits)
A study of U.S. literature and notions of “America,” with possible inclusion of literatures from other American countries. The primary focus will be on literature written in English. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. This class requires extensive readings as well as additional meetings for group work, writing instruction and other activities. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 351 CLASS AND IDEOLOGY IN LITERATURE (4 credits)
An analysis of the topic of class and ideology in literature in English from different periods. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

*ENG 353 TOPICS IN PEACE AND JUSTICE (4 credits)
Selected topics determined by the instructor that address issues of peace and justice in relationship to literature.  Readings may be interdisciplinary and will focus on literature written in English. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. (D-D or D-I, depending on topic)

ENG 358 GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN LITERATURE (4 credits)
Using key concepts from feminist, womanist and queer theorists, this course looks at how literature can be the site to document the intersections between issues of race, class, gender and sexuality. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 359 SHAKESPEARE (4 credits)
A study of the poetic and dramatic art of Shakespeare through an examination of six to ten plays, including tragedies, comedies, histories and romances. Approach varies between attention to the written text and the text as performance. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. Also listed as THEA 359.

*ENG 364 POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE (4 credits)
An examination of the widely-debated term "post-colonialism" and its relation to other intersecting terms and critical concepts, such as the "Commonwealth," "Third World," "imperialism," "Orientalism" and "neocolonialism." Uses literatures from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia to explore questions such as: How have writers from the previously colonized world used literature to respond to the economic, political and cultural realities of (de)colonization? What does it mean to "write back" to the Empire? Authors include Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiong'O, Jean Rhys, Mahasweta Devi and critical essays by Frantz Fanon, Edward Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, among others. Includes attention to issues of empire, nation, race, class, gender and sexuality. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. (D-I)

ENG 369 CONTEMPORARY LITERARY THEORY (4 credits)
An introduction to some of the major trends in contemporary literary theory, such as Marxism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Reception Theory and a variety of Feminist approaches. All theories applied to works of literature. Sample theorists are Saussure, Bakhtin, Freud, Gates, Jameson, Showalter, Spivak, Barthes, Derrida, Kristeva and Butler. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of the instructor.

ENG 370 TOPICS IN LITERARY THEORY (4 credits)
This course focuses on specific kinds of literary theory, critical techniques, and/or interpretive approaches. It may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. (AY)

ENG 378 ROMANCES, EPICS, AND QUESTS (4 credits)
A study of how romances, epics, and quest narratives reflect on the social, political and cultural conflicts of the time. May focus primarily on one of these three areas or may compare all three. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 379 THE NOVEL (4 credits)
An examination of the genesis and development of the novel, with particular emphasis on its role in literatures written in English. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 380 DRAMA (4 credits)
Studies in the nature, techniques and appreciation of plays approached through the reading of selected plays written in English across various time periods. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. (AY)

ENG 381 TOPICS IN LITERARY PERIODS (4 credits)
This course will explore a specific literary period or periods in terms of the genres of literature written during that period, literary influences, and broader historical and cultural contexts. Periods might include: Early English; Renaissance; Restoration and 18th Century; Romanticism; Victorian; Ante-Bellum American; American Realism and Naturalism; or Modernism (other periodizations are also possible). The course will include some attention to how and why such periods are defined, together with potential challenges to those definitions. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 382 TOPICS IN GENRE AND NARRATIVE (4 credits)
This class will examine some aspect of how genres (types of literature) and/ or narratives work, including narrative forms, structures and other characteristics. The class may focus on a specific genre (e.g. detective novels, fantasy, Southern Gothic) and/ or a type of narrative (e.g. folklore, postmodern, narratives addressed to children). The course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 383 UNDERSTANDING POETRY (4 credits)
Studies in the nature, techniques and appreciation of poetry approached through the reading of selected poems written in English across various time periods. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 386 READING AND WRITING SHORT FICTION (4 credits)
Combines the analysis of short fiction with the creation of short fiction. Students will produce both analytical writing and short stories. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

ENG 387 READING AND WRITING POETRY (4 credits)
This class analyzes the craft of writing poetry by combining analysis of published poems with workshops of students’ own poetic writing. Students will produce both analytical writing and poems. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor.

*ENG 401 JUNIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR (4 credits)
This course offers an intensive experience in scholarly research and writing. Students will learn advanced techniques in finding and using research sources; figuring out which sources are most important or relevant to specific research questions; establishing one’s own position in dialogue with existing scholarship; writing and revising research-based essays; and making public presentations. The class will culminate in each student writing a 15-20 page seminar paper, with the goal to create a potential graduate school writing sample and/or publishable scholarly article. English majors should aim to take this course if possible in their junior year. Prerequisite: ENG 302 or consent of instructor; for declared English majors only. (WI, RCH)

*ENG 463 TOPICS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE (4 credits)
Topics include particular writers or literary movements as well as interdisciplinary or thematic concerns. For example: an exploration of the Slave Narrative and its influence on contemporary Black fiction; a close study of the Harlem Renaissance. May include the nonfiction prose of DuBois, Morrison, Lorde and Baldwin. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. This course may be taken more than one time for credit when the topics are different. Also listed as AAAS 463. (D-D)

ENG 470 ADVANCED WRITING WORKSHOP (4 credits)
Focuses on one genre or theme of the instructor’s choosing. Examples include lyric poetry, prose poetry, science writing, the novella, writing about grief, or breaking the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. Students read and discuss current examples of books and shorter pieces within this genre or theme. Students also produce longer, more complex pieces than they produced in intro to creative writing, and they devote more time to the full-class workshop. In this course, students also learn more about publication processes. May be taken more than once. Prerequisite: ENG 221 or consent of instructor.

ENG 471 PLAYWRITING (3 credits)
This course will focus on the tools and craft of playwriting — how to write dialogue, shape characters, create scenes and structure whole plays. Through reading, writing and discussion the class will seek practical application of the concepts that are explored. In brief, this is a writing workshop — where the practice of playwriting begins not with brilliance, but by finding the time and space and presence of mind to write.

ENG 481 INTERNSHIPS, FIELD STUDIES AND OTHER FIELD EXPERIENCES (1-3 credits)

ENG 483 TEACHING ASSISTANTS (1-3 credits)

ENG 484 FORD/KNIGHT RESEARCH PROJECT (1-4 credits)
Collaborative research with faculty funded by the Ford/Knight Program.

ENG 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
Intended for the advanced student. An investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty adviser.

ENG 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (4 credits)
An exploration of a literary theme or subject matter with cross-disciplinary dimensions, and at a level which requires the student to bring an accumulation of literary and analytical skills and value judgments to bear. Subject determined by the instructor in consultation with the Department. Prerequisite: Senior standing and ENG 302.