Registration for Spring 2019 will open on November 12, 2018

This page contains the listing for both English and WRTG. 

We thought that you might like to see descriptions of a few of the courses we are offering.  Please make return visits to this site as changes are often made to course details.  If one or more of these descriptions catch your eye and you would like to register for them, please go to to see if they fit into your schedule.

Course Descriptions

 WRTG F214 F01 Arguing Across Context

Subtitle:  Life on Mars: Inventing Our Future Through Science Fiction

Instructor: Andrew Luft


 Do you believe the only way for humans to avoid extinction is for us to become a space-faring race? Are you simultaneously thrilled and freaked out by the societal, biological, and technological advances that are becoming a part of our daily lives? Dr. Etienne Augé, founder of the Community for Histories of the Future, believes that science fiction has the ability to both prevent and invent the future. In this class, we will examine and follow sci-fi stories as they lead humanity to Mars and beyond. Featured works will include the film Ex Machina, an episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror, the hit graphic novelSaga, and much more. Your writing will take many forms, but ultimately you will be using these gems of popular culture to aid you in your argument for humanity’s future. This class will ask you to consider the bigger picture of human existence as you argue and write within contexts that are both familiar and strange


WRTG F214X F02 Arguing Across Contexts

Subtitle: From Page to Screen and Especially In-Between: A Critical Examination of Text-to-Film Adaptations

Instructor: Adrianne Blackwood

Marilyn Monroe once said, “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” This class will explore the souls of various short stories and novels, focusing on the themes they contain and the messages they convey. We will then take a critical look at their movie adaptations—What is sacrificed during their transition to film? What is gained? Among others, we will be reading (and watching!) “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber, “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, and “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx. Assignments will include writing a 500-word critical review for each film, researching a short story or novel of your choosing, writing a proposal about adapting your chosen text into a film, “pitching” your movie adaptation idea, and adapting a scene into script format. Popcorn not included, but welcome.

WRTG F214X F03 Arguing Across Contexts
Instructor: James Ruppert

Instruction and practice in written research-supported arguments for a variety of audiences,
with an emphasis on rhetorical strategies across a variety of public and academic contexts.As Demand Warrants
WRTG F214 F06 Arguing Across Context
Subtitle: Is She a Bad Witch: Exploring Female Villains in Fantasy Literature and Pop Culture 

Instructor: Cheyenne Corty

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Surely Glinda the Good Witch is a good witch...or is she? In this class, we will explore female villains in fantasy literature and pop culture. We will aim to answer the questions that arise when interacting with female villains through varying academic theories, namely the question of what makes them “bad.” As a class we will examine the impact the vilification of women in literature has had on pop culture, as well as contemporary societal norms, and the implications of the vilification process. Throughout the course of the semester we will interact with texts such as, but not limited to–– selections from “Beowulf,” selections from “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” and Marissa Meyer’s 2016 novel “Fairest.” Your writing will take on many forms, but ultimately you will be asked to critically analyze female villains in fantasy literature and pop culture through various academic lenses; these lenses will include Women Gender Studies, Queer theory, and cultural studies

WRTG F214 F07 Arguing Across Context
Instructor Daniel Lyew
What kind of life is a life worth living? Is it a life of bodily pleasure? A life of intellectual pursuits? Or a life of selfless devotion to others? In this course we will examine these visions of the good life, exploring and engaging with a variety of literary, philosophical, political, and scientific texts by figures such as Laozi, Epicurus, Dostoevsky, Darwin, Flannery O’Connor, and Martin Luther King Jr. Students will develop and hone their rhetorical and argumentative writing skills as they respond to these texts and discern their own answer to the question, what is the good life?
WRTG F214X F08 Arguing Across Contexts
Subtitle: Talkin' Trash: Diving into the World of Disposables
Instructor Brandi Jo Petronio Nyberg
Do you ever wonder what happens to your trash? Or have you considered what the life of a plastic bottle is like after the beverage is consumed? Do you know anything about nuclear waste? In this class, we will dive into the world of disposables and think critically about the waste we produce – whether it be recyclables, things that could be reused, food scraps, or just plain junk. Throughout the course of the semester, we will engage in many texts on the topic, including essays like Lars Eigner's "On Dumpster Driving," Macklemore's song "Thrift Shop," and documentaries such as Wasteland. Your writing will take on many forms, but ultimately you will be researching and arguing for the trash topics of your choice. This class will ask you to consider the bigger picture of humans and the waste we create as you argue and write within the context of a disposable dazed society.
WRTG F214X FE1 Arguing Across Contexts
Subtitle: "Writing on Seas of Change: Internet Piracy as Cultural Symbol."
Instructor: Nancy James
The symbol of piracy speaks powerfully in our postmodern era. This class covers the recent history of the invention and development of the computer industry, while studying the ethical issues that piracy raises.  Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs used the symbol of pirate as they led the computer revolution that created new rhetorical and communication techniques.  As we focus our study on recent decades, we will also turn back to the master of rhetorical strategies, Aristotle, for wisdom on creating sophisticated and effective arguments. We will research internet piracy while studying advanced rhetorical techniques of writing and communication that the computer revolution helped develop.  Dr. Nancy James


Course: ENGL 310—Literary Criticism
Instructor: Jen Schell
Have you ever asked yourself what it means to be a literary critic? Or what
relationship literary criticism has to your writing? Join us this semester as
we try to answer these questions and many more. Throughout the course,
we’ll explore the development of literary criticism over time, discussing
different ways of reading and understanding texts. We’ll also talk about
some of the more current schools of thought developed by scholars
interested in cultural and environmental studies. And we’ll discuss
strategies for working with literary criticism in your own research-based
ENGL F318 F01: Modern English Grammar
Instructor: Burns Cooper

"Grammar" means different things to different people, but in this course we'll focus mainly on how English words are put together into phrases and sentences. In fancier words, we'll study the syntactic and morphological structure of the language.  Students will learn some terms and methods for describing a variety of phrase and sentence structures, learn how to argue for or against different grammatical analyses, learn how to diagram sentences, and occasionally stop to look at some practical applications of these ideas.  Students should gain a greater appreciation for the grammatical complexity and systematicity of English.  Some very basic grammatical knowledge is assumed: basic terms such as subject, verb, preposition, and tense will be reviewed early on, but the course may be challenging for those who have never been exposed to these concepts.

Course: ENGL 410—Studies in American Literature to 1900
Subtitle: “Seafaring Adventure”
Instructor: Jen Shell
Do you want to read stories of mutiny, murder, and mayhem on the high
seas? Do you want to travel to exotic ports of call? Do want to encounter
whales, walruses, or wobbegongs? Or do you just like to mess about in
boats? Then, you should take this course! This semester we will examine
nautical literature written by such famous eighteenth- and nineteenth-
century authors as Olaudah Equiano, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville
(we’re not doing Moby-Dick), and Jack London. We will also take up the
works of several lesser known authors. And we will complete a research
project in an online archive of nineteenth-century dime novels (some of
which represent very early examples of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror).
Course: ENGL 427: Studies in Film
Subtitle: The Horror Film
Instructor: Sara Johnson
Horror films are often considered “low art,” as exploitative and gratuitous schlock,
but many such films are deceptively complex. A study of the American horror film reveals
deep insights into sociopolitical and cultural fears and anxieties, including collective traumas,
and how such fears and anxieties have transformed across generations. In this course,
we will watch and analyze the American horror film from the 1920s to the present,
with an eye for how these films reflect the cultural contexts in which they were created.
Along the way, we will learn about film theory and criticism, and how to “read”
films as active critics, rather than merely watch them as passive spectators. 

ENGL/WGS 433: Women on Trial

Instructor: Sarah Stanley


This multidisciplinary, collaborative course will study public and imagined trials of women through the lens of race, class, gender, nationality and sexuality constructs. We will be collaborating with women who are willing and able at Fairbanks Correctional Center as we decide on our course goals, scope, and capstone project. Each week we hope to host a diverse set of perspectives brought in by UAF faculty expertise and interest in a specific trial and inquiry. That is, the course will ultimately take the shape of the participants and collaborators. Students will be expected to agree to background checks for access and class held at Fairbanks Correctional Center three times over the semester. Transportation provided.

This course will be facilitated by Sarah Stanley with collaboration from the Learning Inside Out Network. Maximum participants 20 students.
Course: ENGL 449 F01 Northern and Environmental Literature
Subtitle: "Anthropomorphic Bearly Covers It"
Instructor: Eric Henye
Among many northern peoples the relationship between humans and bears is the stuff of myth and mystery. 
The course will begin by looking at stories of the men who shoot bears and the women who marry them. 
We will then move on to explore fiction and nonfiction about the relations between humans and
other species, especially from an ecocritical perspective.  Our authors, all North American and mostly northern,
include Thomas Bangs Thorpe, William Faulkner, Marian Engel, Norman Mailer, John Straley, Nancy Lord, Jack London,
Margaret Atwood, Seth Kantner, Richard Nelson, Sherry Simpson, and Terry Tempest Williams.
Course: ENGL 470: Topics in Creative Writing
Subtitle: Thinking Outside the Box: Genre-Benders and Hybrid Forms
Instructor: Sara Johnson
Though we typically think of writing as belonging to a certain genre group—fiction, poetry,
nonfiction, and drama—the four major literary genres can be manipulated, mutated, or
merged into works that cannot be categorized as any one literary mode. This course
is a study in the creation and transformation of literary forms, and a conversation about
the usefulness of imposing genre boundaries on literary art. What are the benefits and
limitations of writing the poem that is also an essay, or the video game that is also a novel?
We will study a variety of works that cross genre lines, such as the graphic novel, the lyric essay,
the verse novel, and the narrative video game. We will also write and workshop experiments
in such genre-bending, and consider the ways our own work in our preferred genre
can be pushed in unique ways.
English 472 F01: History of the English Language, Spring 2019
Instructor: Burns Cooper

This is a course on the origins and development of the English language, from its prehistory as a Germanic dialect in Europe to its development as Old English (the language of Beowulf) in the early Middle Ages, to Renaissance English in Shakespeare's time, on through to its modern forms and its spread as a global language.  We will pay some attention both to external historical events that have influenced the way people speak and write (wars, migrations, inventions, etc.) and to internal details of the language as they have changed through the centuries.  These internal details include features such as pronunciation, meaning, the way words are formed, the way phrases and sentences are formed, and the ways the language differs among different groups of speakers.  Along the way, we'll look at examples of writing and (where possible) speaking from different periods and places, to get a sense of the language in use.

Course: ENGL 614: Pacific Literature - Australia, New Zealand, Oceania or Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained
Instructor: Rich Carr
Palm trees, sea breezes, lush greenery, endless vistas of blue sky and sea—mention the Pacific and visions of earthly paradise emerge. Racial tensions, conflicts between the contemporary and the traditional, individual and national struggles to claim a confident place in the world—these themes also define the region. The seminar will explore literature from the Pacific, particularly from those countries once part of the British Empire or those subject to American political influence. We will use the assigned texts to explore the challenges faced by those seeking to replicate European or Western culture in the non-European, non-Western Antipodes and by those searching for the indigenous self either lost or disrupted during the era of European colonization. Fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and film from New Zealand, Australia, the two Samoas, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, and Hawaii will guide us through our Pacific literary and cultural expedition.
As seminar participants, you will guide a discussion, write three short papers—a response to an assigned text, a film review, and an essay exploring an aspect of pacific culture—and a longer piece addressing one or more of the authors or literary texts assigned. AND—you will discover a whole new world of literature.
Barclay, Robert. Melal: A Novel of the Pacific.
Duff, Alan. Once Were Warriors.
Flanagan, Richard. Gould’s Book of Fish.
Figiel, Sia. Where We Once Belonged.
Frame, Janet. Scented Gardens for the Blind.
Grenville, Kate. Lilian’s Story.
Hau’ofa, Epeli. Tales of the Tikongs.
Hooper, Chloe. The Tall Man.
Jones, Lloyd. Mister Pip or Book of Fame.
Scott, Kim. That Dead Man Dance.
Wendt, Albert. Leaves of the Banyan Tree.
Yamanaka, Lois-Ann. Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre.
Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson, W Somerset Maugham, Katherine Mansfield
Course: ENGL 681: Forms of Poetry
Instructor: Sara Johnson
This course is a survey in poetic genre and form at its base, but in our discussions we will soon
find that the boundaries are not always so clear, and that sticking to rules is not always as productive
as breaking them. How might we press on or “open” up a received form like the sonnet to new and
exciting possibilities? How can we manipulate forms in surprising ways? How might we make some ancient
forms, like the pastoral, relevant to 21st century experiences? We will attempt a wide array of forms this
semester, and my hope is that by the end of the term we will have not only a better understanding of
the “forms of poetry,” but also have developed a sense of formal adventure and appetite for
play and experimentation. 



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