The Program

The English Department teaches classes in literature and in writing; both types of courses aim to spark curiousity and pleasure while improving students’ skills as readers, writers and learners.

English classes are designed for students who wish to become sophisticated readers, attentive to the way imaginative works are made and how those works interact with the lives of human beings. These courses introduce students to influential and beautiful literary works written in English from around the world. Students read literature from various canons and the Department strives to include works from voices that have been silenced throughout history as well as those that have been central to literary scholarship for centuries.

Every literary analysis in an English class begins with careful attention to the text under consideration. Students become skilled at examining the rhetorical techniques that help create the emotions and ideas of the text. Students also learn to recognize the intertextual nature of literature — that is, the way that all writing is affected by other writings. Students work with a variety of methods with which to approach and analyze literary works, drawing on different literary and cultural theories. Courses introduce a variety of contexts for literary study, and students learn to employ a variety of critical approaches and research strategies.

The research interests of the professors in the English Department include ecology and literature, Puerto Rican literature, alternative methods of publication, medieval popular literature, Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Rich, Shakespeare and famine, Indian literature, and the relationships among literary markets and literary production. Professors work on these research areas with students and continue to develop new areas of interest while also helping students to develop their own. Teachers seek maximum student participation using diverse teaching techniques. The goal is a pedagogy that helps students to speak with integrity and listen with respect.

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; two courses fulfill the Applied component of the Arts Requirement, ENG 321 and 470; and one course that fulfills the Theoretical/Historical component of the Arts Requirement, ENG 359. 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 Research Seminar in English Literature
  • One course outside of the English Major that complements the Major.

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, 384 463 may each be taken more than once if the topics are different.

Peace and Justice

  • 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 359 Shakespeare and Social Problems
  • ENG 364 Postcolonial Literature
  • ENG 463 Topics in African American Literature

Theoretical Approaches

  • ENG 369 Literary Theory and Criticism
  • ENG 370 Advanced Topics in Literary Methods and Criticism
  • ENG 371 Theories in Depth
  • ENG 372 Debates in Approaches to Literature

Genre

  • ENG 378 Romances, Epics and Quests
  • ENG 379 The Novel
  • ENG 380 Drama
  • ENG 382 Special Topics in Genre
  • ENG 383 Understanding Poetry
  • ENG 384 Narrative and Intrigue
  • ENG 385 Reading and Writing Poetry
  • ENG 386 Reading and Writing Short Fiction

Senior Capstone

Complete both:

  • ENG 488 Senior Capstone Experience
  • Comprehensive Exams to be taken in January of the Senior year

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 Content Courses: One each in Peace and Justice, Theoretical Approaches, and Genre

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 321 Creative Writing Workshop
  • Two Creative Writing Courses chosen from:
    • ENG 470 Advanced Writing Workshop
    • ENG 385 Reading and Writing Poetry  
    • ENG 386 Reading and Writing Short Fiction

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
  • (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
  • (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
  • (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
  • (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 WMNS 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 philosophy, including changing ideas of nature and wilderness; representations of space and place; the deep ecology, ecofeminism and environmental justice movements; and the overall relation between human language and value and the non-human world. Attention also to cultural issues of ecology, such as how our ecological understandings affect our sense of identity and our social and economic practices. May include writers such as Thoreau, Abbey, Muir, Snyder, Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams, Leslie Marmon Silko and Mary Oliver. Appropriate for first year students. Also listed as ENPR 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) This course explores the connection between literature and film and covers such topics as narration, character and adaptations. 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 302 FOUNDATIONS OF LITERARY STUDY (4 credits)
This course lays the groundwork for English majors and minors by raising the question, “Why study Literature?” and will cover research methods and theoretical approaches to literature. A variety of texts from the British, American and World literary tradition will be studied. Working as a cohort, students will become familiar with the requirements of the major, prepare for the Senior Capstone experience, and learn about professional opportunities as an English major. Prerequisite or co-requisite: 200-level English course. (RCH, WI)

*ENG 321 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. Prerequisite: An Earlham Seminar or consent of the instructor. Also listed as JNLM 321. (A-AP)

ENG 350 CONTESTING AMERICA (4 credits)
A study of US 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. 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 AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS (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. (A-TH)

*ENG 364 POST-COLONIAL 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 ADVANCED TOPICS IN LITERARY METHODS AND CRITICISM (4 credits)
This course focuses on at least two theoretical approaches to literature and examines current debates in the field. 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 371 THEORIES IN DEPTH (4 credits)
Focus on one or two types of literary theories, such as New Economic Criticism, Environmental Criticism, Feminist Criticism, Narrative Theory. 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 372 DEBATES IN APPROACHES TO LITERATURE (4 credits)
Examines one or two debates or topics as they are considered from a variety of critical / theoretical approaches. Topics may include:  subversion / containment; the role of the author; (Con)texts. 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 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 382 SPECIAL TOPICS IN GENRE STUDIES (4 credits)
Selected topics determined by the instructor. May include topics such as “Complex Poetic Forms,” “Utopias,” “The Gothic and Grotesque in Southern Literature,” or may include a comparison of different genres by the same author or different genres addressing a similar topic. 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 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 384 INTRIGUE AND NARRATIVE (4 credits)
This course traces the development and evolution of narrative structures, with particular attention paid to literary techniques that create intrigue, suspense and surprise. 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 385 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 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 401 RESEARCH SEMINAR IN ENGLISH LITERATURE (4 credits)
This course offers an intensive experience in research and writing, at the cutting edge of literary studies. Students will learn advanced research techniques and how to write a scholarly essay on literature, in dialogue with other published scholarship. The class will focus on a specific area of the instructor’s scholarly interest, and will culminate in each student creating 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 in their junior year. Prerequisite: ENG 302 or consent of instructor; for declared English majors. (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 321 (A-AP)

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.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
47374-4095
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