English

To read literature is to see the world anew through others’ eyes. To write is to wield one of the most powerful tools of social change. Students studying English at Wesleyan College become strong readers and writers as they work with texts from a range of cultures, periods, and perspectives. Discussion-based classes invite students to consider the power of language in shaping experiences of place, gender, race, class, and other essential components of culture and identity. Through coursework, individual and collaborative projects, and interactions with faculty, students practice critical thinking, analytical reasoning, empathy, and creativity. Together with writing and speaking skills, these attributes ensure that English majors are prepared for the workplace and for the important task of communicating across cultures and in a variety of genres, both traditional and evolving.

Students choosing to study English at Wesleyan College read broadly in American, British, and world literature. They also focus in depth on such topics as globalization, sustainability, digital culture, science fiction, African-American literature, Victorian and Edwardian drama, Southern women writers, and African women’s fiction. They discover various theoretical approaches to literary analysis in an Introduction to Literary Criticism class, and they strengthen writing skills through persuasive and creative writing courses. Students conclude their studies by designing a creative or scholarly project integrating their studies in English with some other area of scholarship, and they have the opportunity to engage in internships and other professional activities.

Upon completion of their work in English, students will be able to

I. Write clearly and cogently;
II. Analyze individual texts from a range of genres, periods, and authors;
III. Explain the dynamic relationship between individual texts and the social, political, and historical contexts in which they were created;
IV. Produce original scholarly or creative work.

While every class in the English curriculum enables students to strengthen these skills, each class foregrounds one or two, which are noted parenthetically below. In addition to completing 39 hours of coursework, the major includes an integrative experience (completed as part of ENG 401: Senior Seminar in English).

Major Requirements: English (39 hours)
 
I. Required (9 hours)
ENG 111 Analyzing Literature (I, II) 3 hours
ENG 210 Introduction to Literary Criticism (II) 3 hours
ENG 401 Senior Seminar in English (IV) 3 hours
 
II. Required (9 hours; select three)
ENG 201 Survey of British Literature I (II, III) 3 hours
ENG 202 Survey of British Literature II (II, III) 3 hours
ENG 211 Survey of American Literature I (II, III) 3 hours
ENG 212 Survey of American Literature II (II, III) 3 hours
 
III. Required (3 hours; select one)
ENG 357 Persuasive Writing Workshop (I, IV) 3 hours
ENG 361 Creative Writing Workshop (I, IV) 3 hours
 
IV. Required (15 hours; select five)
ENG 300 Literature and Film (III) 3 hours
ENG 337* Seminar in American Literature (III) 3 hours
ENG 338* Seminar in British Literature (III) 3 hours
ENG 347* Seminar in World Literature (III) 3 hours
ENG 353 Seminar in Race, Class, Gender (III) 3 hours
ENG 396* Special Topics in English (III) 3 hours
 
*May be repeated once for a total of 6 hours credit in the English major. A student's transcript will indicate the focus of the seminar so as to distinguish the two classes.
 
V. Required (3 hours; select one)
ENG 205 Perspectives on World Literature (II) 3 hours
ENG 217 African-American Literature (II) 3 hours
ENG 221 Readings in Race, Class, Gender (II) 3 hours
ENG 235 Narratives of Nature (I, II) 3 hours
ENG 240 Writing for the Web (I, II) 3 hours
ENG 253 Women Writers (II) 3 hours
ENG 302 Digital Culture (II) 3 hours
A 4th 200-level survey (ENG 201, 202, 211, or 212 ) (II, III) 3 hours
ENG 357/361 (the one not taken to satisfy area III, above) (I, IV) 3 hours
 

Integrative Experience.

In the senior seminar (ENG 401), the English major – in consultation with her instructor – will select an interdisciplinary project that integrates scholarship from her general education and elective courses with work in her major. This project requires students to incorporate material from at least one academic discipline other than English. Each student is responsible for selecting her own topic and determining the parameters of her project. Representative topics might include:

  • Pre-Raphaelite poetry and art
  • the influence of the Civil War (or another significant event) on the American imagination
  • representations of religion in a particular piece of literature
  • the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance
  • the New Woman in fact and fiction
  • Shakespeare in the twenty-first century
  • Darwinism and 19th-century literature

Projects may take several forms, including (but not limited to) a research paper, a website, a course syllabus, a conference presentation, or a portfolio. Each student will decide upon the most appropriate mode of presentation for her proposed topic.

Minor Requirements: English with a Literature Emphasis (18 hours)

The minor with a literature emphasis gives students the opportunity to strengthen close reading skills and enables them to see literary works in broader contexts. The minor consists of 18 hours distributed as follows.

I. Required (6 hours)
ENG 111 Analyzing Literature 3 hours
ENG 210 Introduction to Literary Criticism 3 hours

II. Required (6 hours; select two)
ENG 201 Survey of British Literature 3 hours
ENG 202 Survey of British Literature II 3 hours
ENG 211 Survey of United States Literature I 3 hours
ENG 212 Survey of United States Literature II 3 hours

III. Required (6 hours; select two)
ENG 300 Literature and Film 3 hours
ENG 337 Seminar in American Literature 3 hours
ENG 338 Seminar in British Literature 3 hours
ENG 347 Seminar in World Literature 3 hours
ENG 353 Seminar in Race, Class, Gender 3 hours
ENG 357 Persuasive Writing Workshop* 3 hours
ENG 361 Creative Writing Workshop* 3 hours
ENG 396 Special Topics in English 3 hours

*A student may take either ENG 357 or ENG 361 to fulfill requirement III. The other two courses must be selected from ENG 300, 337, 338, 347, 353, or 396.

Minor Requirements: English with a Writing Emphasis (18 hours)

The minor with a writing emphasis serves those whose academic and professional careers will demand advanced writing skills, and is appropriate for students majoring in any field. The writing minor enhances students' understanding of the theoretical, interdisciplinary, and professional aspects of writing. Courses in the minor will teach students about various forms of writing, provide opportunities to experiment with their writing processes and reflect on those processes, and teach techniques for modifying their writing styles for different audiences and formats. The minor consists of 18 hours as follows.

I. Required (6 hours; select two)
ENG 101 English Composition: Essays 3 hours
ENG 111 Analyzing Literature 3 hours
ENG 161 Creative Writing 3 hours
ENG 235 Narratives of Nature 3 hours
ENG 240 Writing for the Web 3 hours

II. Required (3 hours; select one)
ENG 201 Survey of British Literature I 3 hours
ENG 202 Survey of British Literature II 3 hours
ENG 211 Survey of United States Literature I 3 hours
ENG 212 Survey of United States Literature II 3 hours

III. Required (9 hours; select three)
ENG 302 Digital Culture 3 hours
ENG 357 Persuasive Writing Workshop 3 hours
ENG 361 Creative Writing Workshop 3 hours
ENG 452 Field Study 1-3 hours
COM 310 Rhetorical Criticism 3 hours

Resources for Non-Majors. English courses are open to all students who satisfy the required prerequisites. English courses provide an excellent complement to nearly all majors because the study of literature and writing enables students to read, think, speak, and write well -- necessary skills in professional life. 

Postgraduate Opportunities. Students who major in English think critically and analytically, write cogently, and develop the empathy needed to communicate effectively. Students recently completing majors in English have enrolled in graduate programs in English, creative writing, digital humanities/communication studies, women's studies, rhetoric and composition, library and information science, and international relations. Others have gone on to careers in teaching, journalism, academic administration, law, and public service. English graduates are also especially suited for careers in web content creation, human resources, technical writing, editing, marketing, and advertising.

English (ENG) Gen. Ed. Course Descriptions

111: Analyzing Literature.
Goal: Students will read, analyze, and discuss different genres of literature to think critically and strengthen their intellectual curiosity. They will organize and articulate their thoughts and contribute independent judgment to class discussion.
Content: Students will explore various literary genres (short story, poetry, drama) to strengthen their skills in close reading and literary analysis.
Taught: Fall and/or spring.
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of College writing proficiency requirement.
Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Writing Competency; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
161: Creative Writing.
Goal: By reading and studying models of writing, emulating these models, and using them to inspire their own original work, students will develop their expertise in creative writing.
Content: Reading and writing short stories, poetry, and drama.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisite: WIS 101 or ENG 101.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Thinking and Expressing Creatively; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.

205: Perspectives on World Literature.
Goal: Through close reading and discussion of literature from primarily non-Western cultures, students explore such topics as the legacy of colonialism in world literature, challenges of cross-cultural literary analysis, and strategies writers use to shape their identities or engender social change. Students will identify issues arising from increasingly complex global connections; analyze how components such as socio-economic status, ethnicity, race, and religion shape beliefs and behaviors; and communicate and interact effectively across cultures.
Content: Each semester this class selects a particular perspective from which to consider authors' use of creative writing to address issues in their lives and the lives of their communities. Such perspectives may include a particular geographical region, cultural phenomenon, or component of writers' identity (for example, African literature, globalization, or expatriated writers).
Taught : Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101 and one Exploring general education course.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Diverse & Interdependent World; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as AST 205 (for Asian content only).
 
217: Readings in African-American Literature.
Goal: Students will read and respond, both orally and in writing, to works from the African-American literary tradition to enhance their abilities to analyze texts and to explore connections among texts, and between texts and the cultures that produced them.
Content: Works by African-Americans such as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X, Jean Toomer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, and Tayari Jones.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101.
Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Speaking Competency; (HUM)
Credit: 3 hours.
 
221: Readings in Race, Class, and Gender.
Goal: This course helps students to understand and analyze how race, class, and gender are expressed on personal, cultural, and historical levels through the analysis of various literary genres such as poetry, short stories, and novels.
Content:   Students will read works of literature that explore how the categories of race, class, and gender represent a complex and dynamic relationship between individual experience and socio-historical contexts. Topics will vary.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisite: WIS 101 or ENG 101.
Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Speaking Competency; (HUM)
Credit: 3 hours
 
235: Narratives of Nature: American Literature and Environmental Studies
Goal: Readings will enable students to contextualize a history of environmental debates in the U.S. Students will develop and strengthen writing, discussion, and critical thinking skills.
Content: The imagined divide between nature and civilization has inspired both Manifest Destiny dreams and anxious apocalyptic nightmares throughout the history of American literature. This course will explore the role of the environment in the American literary imagination and may include not only fiction and poetry, but also science writing, nature journals, and ecocritical/ecofeminist philosophies. Texts will help students consider how tensions between nature and technological progress play a foundational role in American culture, yet selected readings will work to complicate pat concepts of a nature/culture divide.
Taught: Alternative years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101.
Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Writing Competency; (HUM)
Credit: 3 hours.
 
240: Writing for the Web.
Goal:  Twenty-first century college graduates preparing to enter any professional field must be ready to market themselves and their work through an ever widening variety of online applications and media platforms. In this writing competency course, students will consider personal branding best practices, the ethics of online identity, and the ways in which traditional academic writing skills can be combined with online design features to craft a consistent, innovative, and professional reputation. 
Content:  This course offers students the opportunity to explore the ever evolving and unique rhetorical challenges online writing presents.  Students will also learn to select an appropriate medium, tone, style, and design to suit the purpose and target audience for various Web-based professional writing tasks. 
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisite:  WIS 101 or ENG 101; and satisfactory completion of College writing proficiency requirement
Gen. Ed. Category:  Developing; Writing Competency; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
253: Women Writers.
Goal: This course introduces students to women writers from a cross-section of cultures, historical periods, and literary genres.
Content: Topics will vary.  A given instance of the course may encompass an overview of various traditions or analyze women’s literature through the lens of a specific time period, genre, geographical area, cultural experience, or philosophical or theoretical tradition.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisite: WIS 101 or ENG 101
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women’s Experiences; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as WST 253.
 
300: Literature and Film.
Goal: Students in this course will examine connections between and differences among various works of literature from multiple genres (e.g., short stories, novels, and plays) and film adaptations of those works with the aim of examining both benefits and limitations to storytelling in different modes.
Content: Students will gain the tools and vocabulary to complete both literary and film analysis, and they will use these skills to observe, comment on, and write about effective techniques in each medium.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101 and one Expanding general education course.
Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.

302: Digital Culture.
Goal: Students will analyze works of art, literature, film, video games, websites, and other modes of cultural production, in order to better understand their experience of the contemporary digital media landscape.
Content : Students will consider the significant social changes that have taken place since the rise of digital communications, including areas as diverse as copyright and ownership, artistic and literary production, privacy rights, corporate media control, fandom, and grassroots social movements. A history of writing technologies will help students to see the computer as one of many such historical shifts in human consciousness and social institutions.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101 and one Expanding general education course.
Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 

English (ENG) Other Course Descriptions

101: English Composition: Essays.
Goal: To introduce rhetorical principles that will enable students to produce clear, concise, and effective prose. Through attention to fundamentals of grammar, mechanics, usage, and style, to guide students in writing correct and organized short essays, including essay examinations.
Content: Reading and writing essays.
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of College writing proficiency requirement.
Credit: 3 hours.

201, 202: Survey of British Literature I, II.
Goal: To introduce students to the general literary characteristics and to the principal authors of British literature.
Content: Survey of British literature: ENG 201, from its beginnings to the 19th century; ENG 202, from the 19th century to the present.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101 and ENG 111.
Credit: 3; 3 hours.

210: Introduction to Literary Criticism.
Goal: To introduce techniques of literary analysis, including terminology, strategies, and assumptions of recent influential theorists and critics.
Content: Theoretical and literary texts.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101, ENG 111, and one of the following: ENG 201, ENG 202, ENG 211, ENG 212, or permission of the instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

211, 212: Survey of United States Literature I and II.
Goal: To familiarize students with the range of American literature through intensive study of major American authors and texts.
Content: Writings by important literary figures from America, from the Puritans to modern times. ENG 211 covers the 1600's through 1865; ENG 212 covers 1865 to the present.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101, and ENG 111.
Credit: 3; 3 hours.

291: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To provide an opportunity for intermediate-level independent study.
Content: Independent work of interest to the student and approved by the instructor and program director.
Taught: Fall, Spring.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor and program director.
Credit: 1-6 hours.

337: Seminar in American Literature.
Goal: To study a movement, theme, genre, era, or writer(s) in American literature. The focus of each seminar will vary. Representative topics might include southern women writers, the American novel, American drama, American modernism and postmodernism.
Content: Texts by poets, dramatists, essayists, and/or novelists as appropriate to topic. Critical essays pertaining to relevant works.
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisites: ENG 211 or 212, and ENG 210.
Credit: 3 hours.

338: Seminar in British Literature.
Goal: To study a movement, theme, genre, era, or writer(s) in British Literature. Focus of each seminar will vary. Representative topics might include Shakespeare and his contemporaries, 18 th century satire, the Romantic era, 19 th century female novelists, Victorian and Edwardian drama, modernism.
Content: Texts by poets, dramatists, essayists, and/or novelists as appropriate to topic. Critical essays pertaining to relevant works.
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisites: ENG 201 or 202, and ENG 210.
Credit: 3 hours.

347: Seminar in World Literature.
Goal: To study a movement, theme, genre, era or writer(s) focusing primarily on works outside the American and English traditions. The focus of each seminar will vary. Representative topics might include Chinese poetry, the African novel, revolutions in world literature, the Russian novel.
Content: Texts by poets, dramatists, essayists, and/or novelists as appropriate to topic. Critical essays pertaining to relevant works.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: ENG 210.
Credit: 3 hours.
 
353: Seminar in Race, Class, and Gender.
Goal: This seminar explores literary works at the intersections of race, class, and gender with a focus on developing advanced literary analysis and research skills.
Content: A combination of critical, theoretical, and literary texts will explore the dynamic relationship between social, cultural, and historical positioning and literary production. Topics will vary.
Taught: Alternative years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101, and ENG 221 or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

357: Persuasive Writing Workshop.
Goal: Students who want to improve the clarity and sophistication of their own writing will learn the critical analysis, writing, and research techniques necessary to synthesize information from multiple sources and "join the conversation" in their chosen field of study with persuasive scholarly arguments of their own.
Content: In this upper-level writing course, students will study and practice advanced rhetorical strategies (for structure, organization, content development, research integration, style, and tone) to research and develop persuasive, scholarly arguments in response to a variety of topics.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101, and satisfactory completion of the College Writing Competency Requirement.
Credit: 3 hours.

361: Creative Writing Workshop.
Goal: To enable advanced students to develop their skills writing poetry, fiction, and/or drama.
Content : Drafts of student work, professional models of writing, texts on the craft and business of creative writing.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: ENG 161 or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

396: Special Topics in English.
Goal: To allow students to concentrate on a major writer, genre, theme, or limited period of literary history.
Content: Topics vary, depending on student needs and interest. Representative special topics might include Writing for the Web, Gothic Literature, or Women in/and Science Fiction.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: WIS 101 or ENG 101; ENG 111; ENG 210; ENG 201, 202, 211 or 212; or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours. A student may take a maximum of six to eight semester hours (two courses) of special topics in any one field.
 
401: Senior Seminar.
Goal: To enable senior English students to apply their accumulated knowledge to critical analysis of selected issues in literary studies. To encourage independent thought and judgment while providing a forum in which students demonstrate their knowledge of current research, communicate that knowledge effectively, and prepare for post-graduate professional opportunities.
Content: Study and discussion of literary and critical texts. Content may vary from year to year.
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisites: Senior standing and successful completion of ENG 210, three from ENG 201, 202, 211, 212, and one 300-level ENG course, or consent of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

451: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To allow students to select authors, works, genres, or themes to study in depth.
Content: Varied; a topic agreed upon by student and professor and approved by the program director.
Taught: Fall; Spring.
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.
Credit: 1-6 hours.

452/199: Field Study.
Goal : To provide practical experience for the student to apply what she has learned.
Content: Student will perform professional, creative, or research functions under professional supervision.
Taught: Fall; Spring.
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and program director.
Credit: 1-12 hours.

499: Honors Thesis. (Fee required)
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