Spring 2023 Course Descriptions

Below is a partial listing of English Department courses—both ENGL and WRTG—for the Spring 2023 semester. We'll continue updating this page as we receive more descriptions. You can find a complete listing of courses at the UA Class Schedule Search webpage. Registration for Spring 2023 opened on November 14, 2022 for UAF degree students and November 28, 2022 for all others, including nondegree students. You can view past semesters' descriptions at these links: Fall 2020 courses, Spring 2021 courses, Fall 2021 courses, Spring 2022 courses, Fall 2022 courses.

WRTG F211X, 001
Writing and the Humanities: Identity and the Digital Self
Delivery mode: Asynchronous, Online
Instructor: Audrey Coble
What does it mean to "be online"? In this class, we'll refine our rhetorical analysis skills through an exploration of how we construct ourselves and others in the digital space. We'll explore concepts of Self, Other, and community in the technological realm. Assignments will include writing exercises and projects that span topics from cancel culture and resultant apologies, to influencers and the commodification of trauma, to Bo Burnham's Inside. Students will be required to submit weekly writing assignments, reading responses, a midterm pair project, and a final research project for this course. Additional minor assignments may be added as we go, based on the work we do together as a class and interesting rabbit trails that come out of it! Your instructor will be meeting and providing feedback to students on assignments on a weekly basis.

WRTG F211X, 002
Writing and the Humanities: Place, Environment, and Identity
Delivery mode: Asynchronous, Online
Instructor: KJ Janeschek
Where are you from? is one of the first questions people ask when they meet someone new. Why? What does where we are from have to do with who we are? What if we don't feel like we are "from" anywhere? In this course, we will look at stories, essays, and poems that explore how place shapes who we are. Materials will include writing from regions all over America—from the Midwest to the South to the Pacific Northwest—but there will be a special emphasis on Alaskan writing. Along the way, we will think about the urban/rural divide, definitions of nature, what it means to be an insider or outsider, and identity's relationship to the environment. Students can expect to write essays about place, environment, and identity for both academic and public audiences.

WRTG F211X, 903
Writing and the Humanities: Detectives, Deductions, and Solving the Murder Mystery
Delivery mode: T/Th 9:45-11:15am, in-person
Instructor: Cade Yongue
It's Elementary, my dear Watson! What is? Why, the case of course. Whodunit. In this course we will don the cape and cloak of super sleuths to piece together what makes a successful, compelling, and effective mystery story. We will survey a wide variety of works spanning over a century. The course will take us from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic Sherlock Holmes, to Agatha Christie's transcendent short story collection Miss Marple, to young adult favorite Nancy Drew. We will also examine television and film productions, such as Knives OutBatman: The Animated SeriesMurder, She Wrote, and Scooby-Doo. We will also look at other types of entertainment, such as the board game Clue. Our focus will be analyzing the rhetorical choices artists make to create intricate, engaging mysteries. The writing assignments will be tailored to this idea, with essays that give you the opportunity to delve into your favorite works from class. Our goal is to pursue the truth, make deductions, and figure out whodunit.

WRTG F212X, 001
Writing and the Professions 
Delivery mode: Asynchronous, Online
Instructor: Liz Bolton
Writing in a business setting isn't always work -- it can be fun! Clear communication and concise writing are important in the workplace, and these days there is a lot more to consider too: how to help your company stand out as a brand; ways to use blogs and social media to reach your target demographic; how to communicate appropriately with colleagues, bosses, and even global audiences. We will learn the basics of professional communication, from designing a resume to building an effective presentation, and there will be an opportunity for students to pursue their own professional or technical writing interests as well. 
WRTG F213X, 001
Writing and the Sciences: Practical Magic
Delivery mode: Asynchronous, Online
Instructor: Jane Jacob
The focus of this course will be to investigate the science behind things that are applicable in students' daily lives, hence the "practical" aspect of "Practical Magic." These things can be related to cooking (fermenting, pickling, baking), illnesses (frostbite, COVID, autoimmune disorders), sports (kinesthetics, aerodynamics, human capabilities), or really anything that's practical and relevant. Current proposed assignments are: research paper / literature review, grant proposal, and a public audience project (can be podcast, PSA poster, movie, or anything else relaying scientific information to the public). We will also have weekly discussion posts based on science-related readings and other activities. All materials will be supplied by the instructor, but students should have access to a working computer with internet access and a camera for recording videos.

WRTG F214X, 001
Arguing Across Contexts: Cowboys, Katanas, and Spaceships: An Exploration of the Western Genre
Delivery mode: Asynchronous, Online
Instructor: Matt Dominick
Ever wonder why Akira Kurosawa's samurai epics and Sergio Leone's Italian Westerns feel so similar? Is a cowboy the epitome of a man? What is up with the duel? From its early beginnings of idealizing adventure and freedom to its most recent, grittier iterations, the Western genre has taken many forms. This course will explore the connective themes of the Western genre, such as gray areas of the law, societal discontentment, masculinity, morality, individualism, freedom, and honor. We will look at how the genre has evolved using examples from cinema, literature, anime, television, and scholarly articles. Some proposed texts: Stagecoach, Yojimbo, Cowboy Bebop, The Lone Ranger TV series, True Grit, Shane, The Great Train Robbery, Rango, Unforgiven, No Country for Old Men, and For a Few Dollars More. Students will use rhetorical analysis and critical theory to identify and break down major themes, characteristics, and motifs in the genre course examples. Methods of study will include argumentative research papers, annotated bibliographies, reading responses, skills-focused writing assignments, and asynchronous online class discussions. As the final project for this course, students will write their own Western, whether that be a short story, short film script, the first chapter of a novel, anime, or comic.

WRTG F214X, 901
Arguing Across Contexts: Music and the Environment
Delivery mode: T/Th 11:30-1pm, in-person
Instructor: Courtney Skaggs
In this course, we will explore the intersection of music and the environment in our collective imagination. To do so, we will practice analyzing elements of popular culture—including songs, music videos, comics, and films—in the same ways we are often asked to do with more traditional forms of literature. Throughout our semester together, we will consider the following: How do we, as humans, interact with and use music and what impact is this having on our planet? How might that differ from the ways nonhuman beings (animals, plants, fungi, etc.) interact with or use music? What might music reveal about our histories, cultures, and selves? What deeper meanings might be found within song lyrics? What do these lyrics have to say about nature? As we explore these and other questions, we’ll be listening to and reading work from a wide selection of musicians and writers. 

ENGL F449, 901
Northern and Environmental Literature: Alaska's Greatest Hits
Delivery mode: MW, 3:30-5:00pm, in-person
Instructor: Eric Heyne
We'll be reading the greatest hits of Alaskan literature, starting with that Cheechako Jack London and then jumping to more recent fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by real Alaskans like John Haines, Nancy Lord, John Straley, Tom Kizzia, Velma Wallis, Peggy Shumaker, Richard Nelson, Ernestine Hayes, and David Marusek.

ENGL F455, 901
Studies in 20th & 21st Century American Literature: Climate Fiction
Delivery mode: T/Th, 9:45-11:15am, in-person
Instructor: Eric Heyne
Cli Fi! We're going to read climate fiction, the latest subgenre of science fiction, with brief detours into fantasy and across the pond to an English author or two. How do you write an enjoyable story about a really gloomy topic like global warming? Is it possible to change the world with a made-up story about the future? And, really, what's love got to do with it?

ENGL F414, 001 & 901
Research Writing
Delivery mode: Asynchronous, Online (001) & MWF, 11:45am-12:45pm, in-person
Instructor:Tara Knight
If you have a topic you are interested in researching, want additional support writing your undergraduate or graduate thesis, or have a general interest in research writing, this course is for you! In this course, we will journey through the research writing process, first producing a research prospectus, then a literature review, and finally a polished research paper. You will delve deep into the topic of your choosing, conducting primary and secondary research and reporting on your findings through the three main assignments. Instruction will take place across face-to-face and asynchronous modalities, so we will collaborate through a variety of online platforms. Throughout the semester, we will study the different forms of research writing, participate in group writing workshops, and identify conferences and journals to which we can submit abstracts of our research.

ENGL F475, 901
Practicum in Literary Publishing
Delivery mode: M, 6-9pm, in-person with limited remote option
Instructor: Joseph Holt
In this course, students will manage the publication of Ice Box, the undergraduate literary journal for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Students will form an editorial team, review creative submissions, then edit, design, produce, and promote the journal. In the process, we'll hone our skills as copyeditors and literary decision makers. We'll discuss the market for books and journals, and we'll explore careers in editing and publishing. If time allows, we'll discuss how students can develop strategies to submit their own creative work for publication. (This spring is the first offering of ENGL F475 as a permanent course; it will count toward students' Creative Writing minor requirements. Please contact the instructor for more information.)

ENGL F682, 901
Forms of Fiction
Delivery mode: R, 6-9pm, in-person with limited remote option
Instructor: Joseph Holt
"Artists tend to be an unruly bunch," says Jerome Stern. "No sooner do they learn their craft than they stretch the boundaries, test their limits." In this course, we'll assess traditional novels and stories, as well as more experimental ones. Along the way, we'll discuss narrative technique, narrative strategy, and literary genre. Students will guide critical discussion on our assigned readings, and they'll draft original work in several modes and voices. Ultimately, we'll survey the possibilities of fiction writing so that students might become strategically unruly—honoring traditional forms while nonetheless subverting them. Our readings will include Madame BovaryMy ÁntoniaGo Tell It on the Mountain, and several other novels and story collections.