What Do We Do When We Do English?

The learning goals of this course are twofold: first, it will introduce students to thinking about the discipline of English studies from a theoretical point of view. We all know "theory" is important in English studies, but not everyone feels very comfortable plowing their way into it. Most of us find it slow going, and we may not be very clear about why one would do it at all. So one thing we’ll do is read a little theory, and explore how this theorizing helps one understand what this thing called an English Major really is. But second, this course also aims to give its students a place to work on their English writing skills. Students sometimes complain that while we English professors ask them to write paper after paper, we don’t always take the time to help them develop the writing skills they need to do that. This course will devote a lot of its time to writing—working in class with papers, thinking about what makes an English paper good, and how one can get better at writing one. Evening Degree students only, Registration Periods 1 & 2.

Texts: Robert Scholes, The Rise and Fall of English; Michel Foucault, The Foucault Reader; Graham Swift, Ever After; David Madden, ed., A Pocket Full of Poems.