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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

English View this department's website

The English Department offers language, literature and writing studies on several levels. It provides varied experiences in the careful reading of literary texts and it promotes Willamette's writing culture.

Requirements for the English Major (10 Credits)

Core courses

  • ENGL 201 Close Reading (1)
  • ENGL 202 (IT; W) Introduction to Literary Theory (1)

Two courses in literature written before 1800, only of which may be a Shakespeare course (2)

One course in American Ethnic or Post-Colonial Literature, at the 300 or 400 level (1)

  • ENGL 337 African-American Literature I (1)
  • ENGL 338 African-American Literature II (1)
  • ENGL 357 Ethnicity and Race in American Literature (1)

Four additional courses (4)

  • Two additional electives at the 300 or 400 level (2)
  • Two additional electives (2 (at least one course besides Sr. project at 400 level)

Senior Experience (1)

  • ENGL 490 Independent Study (1) (with permission) or
  • ENGL 499 (W) Senior Seminar in English or
  • HUM 497 (W) Humanities Senior Seminar (1)

The advisor and the student will develop together a major program that ensures the study of a wide variety of literary texts and varied interpretive strategies.

Individual research is encouraged through Reading and Conference (ENGL 390 and 391) and, for students with excellent academic records in their English studies, Independent Study (ENGL 490). Senior evaluation for the English major will usually consist of a senior thesis developed from a Humanities Senior Seminar or in the senior seminar in English. Some advanced students may produce the senior thesis or a directed creative project in Independent Study (ENGL 490).

English majors are encouraged to take courses from the following related fields: theatre, music, religion, classical studies, philosophy, art history, history, and interdisciplinary arts courses.

To be eligible for honors in the department, a student must complete at least two 400-level courses besides the Senior Seminar and have a GPA of 3.8 in the department.

Requirements for the English Minor (5 Credits)

The minor program in English consists of five credits-two required courses and the options listed below-selected in consultation with an English Department advisor from the following:

  • ENGL 201 Close Reading (1)
  • ENGL 202 (W) Introduction to Literary Theory (1)
  • Two credits chosen in consultation with your English Department advisor from English courses numbered above 300 (2)
  • One other English credits (1)

Requirements for the Writing Minor (5 Credits)

Three of the following courses, two numbered above 300 (3)

Students who are majoring in English are not eligible for the Minor in Writing.

Faculty

  • Gretchen Flesher Moon, Professor of English, Chair and Director of the Writing Center
  • Gerard F. Bowers, Professor of English
  • Linda G. Bowers, Associate Professor of English
  • Michael Chasar, Assistant Professor of English
  • Allison Hobgood, Assistant Professor of English
  • Lynn Makau, Assistant Professor of English
  • Tobias C. Menely, Assistant Professor of English
  • Frann Michel, Professor of English (Sabbatical 2009-2010)
  • Scott Nadelson, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
  • Kenneth S. Nolley, Professor of English (Sabbatical Spring 2010)
  • Belinda Rincon, Assistant Professor of English
  • Michael H. Strelow, Professor of English

Course Listings

ENGL 116 (IT; W) Topics in American Literature (1)

A study of topics in American Literature ranging over the history of American letters. Topics may be organized around a major author, an idea, a genre, a major work, a literary movement, or a critical approach. Topics, texts and emphases will vary according to the instructor. Intended primarily for non-majors.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 117 (IT; W) Topics in British Literature (1)

A study of topics in significant texts from British literature. Topics may be organized around a major author, an idea, a genre, a major work, a literary movement or a critical approach. Topics, texts and emphases will vary according to the instructor. Intended primarily for non-majors.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 118 (IT; W) Topics in World Literature (1)

In this course students examine the principle literary genres and authors in world literature from various time periods (for example, Medieval, Renaissance, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries). We analyze these texts, on the one hand to understand their genre and stylistic attributes and literary value, and on the other hand to reach an understanding of cultural and historical values. While the focus is literary, discussions will include cultural material of relevance to the literature: influence of one national literature on another, cultural interaction in matters of the formal beauties of literature, cross-national influences of literary theories and the dynamic processes of literary aesthetics-literary ideologies and movements. Intended primarily for non-majors.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 119 (IT; W)) The Forms of Literature: The Art of Reading Poetry, Drama, Fiction (1)

An introduction to the art of reading imaginative literature: poetry, drama and prose fiction. Emphasis on understanding and enjoyment of literature as a rich part of our cultural heritage. Intended primarily for non-majors.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 134 (W) Writing Across Cultures (1)

A writing-centered course with a focus on developing the skills necessary for effective cross-cultural discourse. Working from readings about, as well as examples of, effective cross-cultural communication, students will explore and analyze the diversity of styles and genres appropriate to writing across cultures. The course will alternate focus to include such topics as Japanese culture, Middle East culture and alternate cultures within American society.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: L. Bowers

ENGL 135 (W; CA) Creative Writing (1)

Writing and analysis of short fiction, poetry, or drama at the beginning level. Writers will explore verbal and imaginative resources and the act of creation with language.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Fall/Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 137 (W) Writing Workshop (1)

A course in expository writing. We begin writing brief critical responses to single texts and move on to papers which engage several texts. We will focus on classical and recurring problems: how does one find a topic? articulate a thesis? find support? organize the material effectively? express one's ideas clearly?

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Moon

ENGL 201 Close Reading (1)

This course is intended to serve as the first course in the department for English majors and minors, providing training in the disciplinary conventions of close reading and academic writing. Focus on attention to form and structure. Definitions of genre and examples of a variety of genres (poetry, fiction, drama, possibly film), with particular emphasis on poetry.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 202 (IT; W) Introduction to Literary Theory (1)

Continued study of literary conventions and practice, including periodization and theory as modes of approaching literary study. Examples of historical periods and movements, canonical and non-canonical works, conceptual and applied study of various literary theories.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: ENGL 201

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 239 (CA) Poetics and Practice (1)

An entry-level creative writing course which balances the reading of poetry with the writing of poetry. Equal emphasis is placed on poetry, poetics and practice.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: G. Bowers

ENGL 242 (W) The Essay (1)

A writing-centered course which will examine a variety of classic and contemporary writing through a thematic/genre focus (e.g., nature writing, autobiography, race and sports). Students will read, analyze and explore by means of their own expressive and expository writing processes an array of genres, regions and styles of representative writing. Creating in the Arts and Environmental Cluster with nature writing focus.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Annual
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 253 (IT) Diversity in American Literature (1)

Late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American culture and literature are marked by social and stylistic diversity. This course draws on poetry, essays, drama and prose fiction to explore literary responses to the increase in immigration, the gap between rich and poor, the different lives of men and women and what was called the "problem of the color line." Emphasis will be on close reading and on discussions of the relations between form and content.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 254 (W) Literature of the American West (1)

This course will examine the connections between literature and the specific culture of the American West as reflected in a variety of works of prose, poetry, and drama.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Strelow

ENGL 255 (W) Literature of the American South (1)

This course will examine the connections between literature and the specific culture of the American South as reflected in a variety of works of prose, poetry, and drama.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Strelow

ENGL 256 (W) Literature of the American Northwest (1)

This course will examine the connections between literature and the specific culture of the American Northwest as reflected in a variety of works of prose, poetry, and drama.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Strelow

ENGL 311 The Avant Garde as a Critical Tradition (1)

A study of the development of critical alternatives to the traditional narrative cinema. The course will consider experimental films beginning in the 1920's and stretching to the present, focusing on ways in which the avant garde cinema has set about to reveal and question mainstream practice. The course will include early experimenters like Dziga Vertov, the American independent cinema, the French New Wave, and the work of directors such as Bunuel, Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman and others.

Prerequisite: ARTS 216, ENGL 135RHET 125, or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Nolley

ENGL 319 (IT) Literary Genre and Literary Interpretation (1)

This course examines the concept of genre: for example, epic, tragedy and novel; and explores the difference that genre makes in the representational possibilities and limitations of literary works. It also considers how genres embody and convey cultural values.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 329 (W) Creative Non-fiction (1)

Through a combination of reading and writing, students will explore the treatment of various kinds of subject matter in various modes of creative nonfiction; investigate the use in creative nonfiction of techniques from various genres, including poetry and narrative fiction; and develop their ability to construct a range of written voices, from colloquial to formal, while also achieving an individual voice in their writing.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: A 200-level writing or writing-centered course or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Annual
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 331 (CA) Imaginative Writing I (1)

Practice in the writing and analysis of short fiction, poetry or drama (depending on the interests of those enrolled each semester) to explore and develop one's own verbal and imaginative resources.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

Prerequisite: ENGL 135 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Hallie Ford Chair, visiting writers

ENGL 332 (CA) Imaginative Writing II (1)

Practice in the writing and analysis of short fiction, poetry, or drama (depending on the interests of those enrolled each semester) to explore and develop the student's own verbal and imaginative resources. Although ENGL 331 is not a prerequisite for ENGL 332, students continuing from ENGL 331 will have the opportunity to work on longer projects such as a novel or group of related short stories, a series of poems, a play or screenplay.

Mode of Inquiry: Creating in the Arts

Prerequisite: ENGL 135 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Hallie Ford Chair, visiting writers

ENGL 334 Film Genre (1)

A study of the shaping power of convention in the narrative cinema. This course will examine the structure and development of a particular film genre, considering the numerous aesthetic, social and moral assumptions embodied in that genre's defining conventions.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Nolley

ENGL 335 Film Directors (1)

A study of the work of individual filmmakers with particular emphasis on the nature of their visions and the formal cinematic expression of those visions. The course will also consider theories of authorship in film criticism, their promise and their limitations.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Nolley

ENGL 336 (AR) Visible Evidence: The History and Theory of Documentary Film (1)

This course examines the tradition of the documentary film, considering its historical development, changing presentational strategies and the ways in which it inevitably intertwines evidence and argument.

Mode of Inquiry: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons and Values

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Nolley

ENGL 337 African American Literature I: Slave Narrative & Early African American Literary Tradition (1)

This course is a study of origins of African American literary and vernacular tradition. Formal and Thematic analysis of this tradition in 18th century and Antebellum America (with some examination of Britain). A goal is to understand the influence of this tradition on form and focus on contemporary African American Writers.

Prerequisite: Previous 100- or 200- level English course.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 338 African-American Literature II: Moderen African-American Literature (1)

A study of modern/contemporary literature written by African-Americans. Formal and thematic analysis of the novel with secondary examples from folktale, lyric and drama.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 341 Shakespeare: The Comedies (1)

A study of Shakespeare's comic drama "the farces, romantic comedies, comic histories, problem comedies and romances" giving particular attention to the evolution of Shakespeare's comic vision and craft.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Moon

ENGL 342 Shakespeare: The Tragedies (1)

A detailed study of Shakespeare's tragic drama, illustrating his development from the early plays of the genre into the mature craftsmanship of his later period.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: L. Bowers

ENGL 344 Major Author (1)

Study of the works of a major author (such as Milton, Faulkner, Joyce). Consideration of significant influences, development of literary style and vision through consideration of the author's primary texts; critical appraisal of influence on later authors; survey of major criticism to the present. May be repeated for credit with focus on a different author.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 345 Chaucer (1)

A study of Chaucer in Middle English, including the entire Canterbury Tales and a selection from the short poems and dream visions. Extensive secondary reading establishes Chaucer's context in the 14th century; examines the Classical, French, Italian, and English literary influences on his work; and proposes various theoretical approaches to interpretation in the 21st century.

Prerequisite: 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate odd years in fall
  • Instructor: Moon

ENGL 348 Early Modern English Poetry (1)

This course introduces students to English poetry written in the 16th and 17th centuries. Exploration of this literary period and genre will attend to topics like the development of the sonnet cycle in English; the growth of English courtier culture and the rise of poetry as a profession; the role of women poets in responding to and complicating a traditionally male-dominated poetic canon; poetry as expression of religious devotion and in ecclesiastical politics; the employment of poetry to negotiate private, erotic desire and public, political authority.

Prerequisite: 100- or 200-level literature course.

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Hobgood, Moon

ENGL 353 The Early Novel (1)

Study of the development of the novel in Britain, from Restoration-era spiritual autobiography, fable, and romance to Jane Austen's psychological realism. Attention to questions of form, genre, and canon-formation, as well as the novel's intervention in debates about courtship, domesticity, and female authorship, middle-class individualism and national community, reason and feeling, empiricism and enchantment, and the social value of reading.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Menely

ENGL 354 The Modern Novel (1)

A study of the continuing development of the novel in English from the nineteenth century to the present. Attention to formal characteristics of the genre, including narrative structure and characterization, and to literary movements such as sentimentalism, realism, naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism. Consideration of the novel as an expression or cultural, political, and economic contexts.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Michel, Nolley, Strelow

ENGL 355 (W) Feminist Criticism (1)

Writing-centered study of approaches to literature from a variety of feminist perspectives. Consideration of the impact of feminist thought on literary study, and analysis of feminist innovations, revisions and critiques of critical methods and literary theories. Conventions of feminist critical discourse. Applications of feminist theories to works of literature.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: ENGL 202, or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Michel

ENGL 357 Ethnicity and Race in American Literature (1)

[Crosslisted with AES 357]

Exploration of traditions in America's multicultural literatures: literary representations of relations between and within different ethnic and racial groups. Texts and emphases will vary.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Michel

ENGL 361 Modern Poetry & Poetics (1)

This course is a study of innovation and change in English-language poetry from 1800 to the present including but not limited to Romanticism, Modernism, and Post-modernism. Texts and emphases will vary depending on instructor.

Prerequisite: A 100 or 200 level Literature course.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Chasar

ENGL 366 Citizenship and Democracy in US Literature (1)

This course will pair the study of constitutional amendments, Federal Indian law, treaties, and Supreme Court cases that define citizenship based on race and gender with a close reading of literature and poetry that challenges and reimagines exclusionary definitions. Students will examine changes in the political and cultural categories of citizenship from the antebellum period through current contestations over the meaning of citizenship. The particular areas of inquiry may include the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, U.S. colonization of Puerto Rico, Japanese-American interment, American Indian sovereignty and enforced assimilation policies, and debates around the status of transnational migrants.

Prerequisite: A 100 or 200 level Literature course.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Rincon

ENGL 372 Modernism in Britain and America (1)

A study of the emergence of Modernism as a literary doctrine. Through a selection of works from various movements (e.g., Impressionism, Imagism, Vorticism) modernist concepts of image, symbol and expression will be traced. Authors such as Eliot, Pound, HD, Joyce, Woolf and Faulkner will be studied in relation to the movement.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 373 Contemporary Literature (1)

A study of contemporary works (works from the last two decades) which students and faculty will read together in order to evaluate and interpret new forms in light of a variety of critical theories.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level English course in literature

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Strelow

ENGL 376 Latina@ Literary and Cultural Studies (1)

The course will focus on major aesthetic and critical trends within Latin@ literary and cultural studies with a focus on Puerto Rican, Chican@ Dominican-, Cuban-, Guatemalan-, and Peruvian-American cultural production. Students will study critical discourses and terms including mestizaje, transculturation, hybridity, and multilingualism. They will also examine how Latin@s negotiate processes of globalization and neoliberalism, migration, and transnationalism. Finally, the course will study issues of Latin@ representation in film and the attempts to forge pan-ethnic solidarities.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level Literature Course

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Rincon

ENGL 390 and 391 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)

To enable a student to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience of literary periods which are not covered by courses offered at Willamette University.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 394 Major Internship I (1)

See the internships section for more information.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 438 Literature and Sexuality (1)

Study of literary representations of sexuality, gender, the body, desire. Analysis of normative literary constructions of sexuality and subversions of norms. Texts will vary, but will be drawn primarily from British and American literature.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Michel

ENGL 441 Tradition and Influence in Literature (1)

The role of tradition, authorial influence and literary history in a broad range of works chosen from English, American and world literatures.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 450 Advanced Studies in Authorship (1)

An intensive study of specific topics arising from close study of an author's works. Topics will vary, but may include historical development of the idea of authorship, theoretical debates about the nature of authorship, and opportunities for upper-level students to apply their skills in analytical thinking and critical writing to problems arising from an author's texts.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 453 Advanced Studies in Literature 1300-1800 (1)

The advanced studies in literature courses are designed specifically for the English major who is contemplating graduate study in English or Comparative Literature. Both courses are in-depth studies of British and American canonical texts. Not open to freshmen.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 454 Advanced Studies in Literature 1800-Present (1)

The advanced studies in literature courses are designed specifically for the English major who is contemplating graduate study in English or Comparative Literature. Both courses are in-depth studies of British and American canonical texts. Not open to freshmen.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 456 Advanced Studies in Genre (1)

Examination of generic conventions through study of exemplary literary texts and critical works. Emphasis will vary. (Possibilities include Lyric, Epic, Novel, Autobiography) Not open to freshmen.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 458 Advanced Studies in Literary Theory (1)

This course will offer students intensive readings in major theoretical texts from Formalism to the present. We will also examine the mutually influential relationships between recent literary theory and such disciplines as philosophy, anthropology, linguistics and psychoanalysis. Possible theories might include: Formalism, Structuralism, Deconstructionism, Reception Theory, New Historicism, Psychoanalytical Theory, Post-Colonialist Theory. Not open to first year students.

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 490 Independent Study (1)

Intensive study of a selected area.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department; 3.5 g.p.a. in major

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

ENGL 499 (W) Senior Seminar in English (1)

The Senior Seminar is a capstone experience for English majors who wish to undertake intensive independent research and writing on a literary text or topic of their own choosing, with the approval of the English faculty. The Seminar will provide instruction in framing a research question, developing a theoretical approach, conducting library research, evaluating criticism, and structuring a substantial essay. Seminar participants will write and revise their papers in stages, read and critique the papers of others, and present their papers aloud. Students who elect this senior experience must submit a proposal to the English faculty a semester ahead.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: ENGL 201 and ENGL 202(W) or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff