Fall 2023 Course Descriptions

Below is a partial listing of English Department courses—both ENGL and WRTG—for the Fall 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 Fall 2023 opened on March 27, 2023 for UAF degree students and April 3, 2023 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, Spring 2023.

— More course descriptions coming soon! —

WRTG F211X, 004
Writing and the Humanities: Memoria in Fugue: Writing and the Senses
Delivery mode: asynchronous, online
Instructor: Manuel A. Melendez
In this course, we'll investigate how the structure of a musical fugue can help you understand memory-making, build specific memories of your own, and dive deeper into them by using each of the senses. We will experience a curated selection of texts across multimodal formats (including excerpts from literary works, film, television, music videos, and even art) that highlight the world of the senses and emulate the musical fugue. The course will focus on composition experimentations and discussions that will reflect your individual self and its various voices as you learn to craft sensory-vibrant writing. Enter the vastness of your own minds and witness for yourself who you are on the page in the clearest and most vivid form imaginable!
WRTG F211X, 005
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, 901
Writing and the Humanities: Writing Lessons from the Russian Greats
Delivery mode: in-person, MWF 9:15–10:15am
Instructor: Tim Ott
In the Nineteenth Century, a series of literary geniuses living and working in the Russian Empire changed the literary landscape forever, revolutionizing the way people write novels, short stories, and many other forms, all while giving us a new way of looking at humanity itself. From the perspective of being writers, what can we learn from these masters of the craft of writing? What styles of writing did they innovate that can be adopted today? What content did they take on that was unique to Russian literature, and how is that relevant to a writer in the Twenty-First Century? In this course, we will study short stories (with a few samples of other forms such as excerpts from novels), parse out the lessons we think these works have to teach us, then put those lessons into practice, either with our own creative writing or with analytical critiques (whichever the student is more comfortable writing). Much of the course will be inspired by A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders, which is based on the course on Russian short stories Saunders teaches at Syracuse University.
WRTG F211X, 902
Writing and the Humanities: What Is Love?
Delivery Mode: in-person, TTh 11:30am–1pm
Instructor: Lia Ferguson
Is romantic love a social construct? Is it an innate need? What forms can love take—romantic, platonic, spiritual? Should all these feelings be contained in one word? And what role do stories and art have in shaping our perspective on love? In this class, we'll explore love across time and cultures through readings, movies, songs, and other art. We'll examine love from many perspectives, including historical, sociological, and psychological. Students will be asked to respond to class material through discussions, writings, and extended research for which they'll spend time with a topic of their choosing related to the vast subject of human love.

WRTG F211X, 903
Writing and the Humanities: Screeching Across Contexts: The Gothic/Creepypasta/Everything In Between
Delivery Mode: in-person, MWF 1–2pm
Instructor: Nóra McIntyre
In this course, writers will engage in various forms of writing surrounding the horror genre. We'll explore traditions in horror, subversions, and the role of the horror genre in contemporary culture. We'll also examine topics of identity within the genre. We'll dive into just a few of the various sub-genres within horror, such as the Gothic, Folk Horror, Urban Legend, the Paranormal, and Slashers. Students can expect to watch a film a week, as well as read short stories and samples of critical theory and analysis as it pertains to our discussions. Course materials will be free and/or open access. Carrie, The Wailing, Scream, Suspiria, Cabin in the Woods, and Us are a few examples of what we'll be watching. As for course work, students will have the chance to write creative and/or analytical pieces inspired by what we are watching/reading in class, as well as weekly journals reflecting on their writing. We will also write a few larger projects, including a group presentation on a film/reading, a critical research paper, and a creative piece, such as a short story, short film, or art piece.

WRTG F212X, 002
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, 901
Writing and the Sciences: Psycho-Drama: From Oedipus to Black Swan, Black List, and Beyond
Delivery mode: in-person, TTh 11:30am–1pm
Instructor: Fidelis Feeley 
In this class, we'll explore the interrelation between pop psychology and popular theater, film, and TV.  Psychology is an evolving science. How do shifting views of mental health and psychological norms influence popular stories? Students should expect to read or watch one play, movie, or TV show a week and read related psychology popular at the time of its release. For their final projects, students will analyze either a single contemporary narrative or a prevailing trend in contemporary media through the lens of pop psychology.

WRTG F213X, 005
Writing and the Sciences: Growing, Aging, and the Bildungsroman
Delivery Mode: asynchronous, online
Instructor: Julia Rutherford
In this course, readers, writers, and viewers will be looking at film and literature examples of the classic Bildungsroman, or the coming-of-age story. What does "coming-of-age" mean? How do our childhood experiences shape us? What are some of the ways that we've changed or stayed the same as we've aged? Students can anticipate reading both scholarly texts and fiction/nonfiction stories, as well as viewing popular film examples of the bildungsroman. We’ll specifically be exploring sociological and psychological theory on childhood development, as well as what occurs throughout adolescence. In studying the social binaries of girlhood and boyhood (and critically examining this dichotomy) we'll also gain a greater understanding of the way that gender norms and performance impact childhood and development. Some course texts may include Persepolis, excerpts from David Sedaris collections, fragments from The Kite Runner, and more. Course films may include Lady Bird, Moonlight, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower

WRTG F214X, 002
Arguing Across Contexts: Cowboys, Katanas, and Spaceships: An Exploration of the Western
Delivery mode: asynchronous, online
Instructor: Matthew Dominick
Ever wonder why Kurosawa's samurai epics and Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns feel so similar? Is a cowboy the epitome of a man? Is the duel about honor or something else? From its early beginnings of idealizing adventure and freedom to its most recent, grittier iterations, the Western has taken many forms since its inception. This course will explore the connective themes of the Western, such as gray areas of the law, post-war societal discontentment, trauma, masculinity, morality, individualism, freedom, and honor. We will look at some of the most influential movies, subgenres, and modern iterations of the Western using examples from cinema, literature, anime, television, and scholarly articles as our points of focus. Proposed course examples: True Grit (novel), Shane (novel), Deadpool, Hondo: A Novel, For a Few Dollars More, Yojimbo, Hell or High Water, Unforgiven, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Students will use critical analysis to identify and break down major themes, story elements, and motifs in the genre course examples. Using evidence from that analysis, students will make compelling arguments in online class discussions, semi-formal reading responses, skills-based writing assignments, two formal argumentative research papers, and a creative writing final project (or an additional academic paper).

WRTG F214X, 901
Arguing Across Contexts: Examining Sex, Gender, and Culture through Science Fiction
Delivery mode: in-person, TTh 9:45–11:15am
Instructor: Kathy Kitts
Science fiction is known as the literature of change, and what has changed more over the course of the last century than how we view sex, gender, and culture? In this class, we will read and discuss a dozen science fiction short stories by authors who span age, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Inspired by the ideas, concepts, and topics these stories explore, you will write one essay each in Toulmin, Classical, and Rogerian styles (the types you are most likely to run into here at UAF), and one science fiction short story. Why a creative fiction story? As we will discover, genre fiction has persuaded more people to a particular viewpoint than all the other argumentative styles combined. The instructor will provide all course materials, but the student is expected to have access to a computer and the Internet.

ENGL F270X, 002
Introduction to Creative Writing
Delivery mode: asynchronous, online
Instructor: Joseph Holt
In this class we’ll work toward sharpening our perception as readers, with the ultimate goal of improving as writers. We'll learn key terminology and apply it to the published works in our textbook (Serious Daring: Creative Writing in Four Genres by Lisa Roney). Then we'll also produce our own creative work—poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction—and introduce it to one another in workshops, discussing how to effectively critique and how to utilize criticism. This course is part of the undergraduate curriculum in creative writing at UAF. It should prepare you for intermediate and advanced creative writing courses, which are often specific to particular genres.

ENGL F307, 001
Survey of American Literature: Civil War to the Present: The Environmental Imagination
Delivery Mode: asynchronous, online
Instructor: Jennifer Schell
Rachel Carson might have launched the modern environmental movement in 1962 with the publication of Silent Spring. She was neither the first nor the last American author to tackle environmental issues, however. This semester we will study the development of the American environmental imagination between 1865 and 2023, a period which witnessed dramatic alterations to many, if not most, American ecosystems. As we will see, authors from diverse backgrounds felt compelled to respond to these changes. As they did so, they adopted myriad styles, perspectives, and approaches to their material. Thus, among other things, our readings will include Zitkala-Sä’s autobiographical essays, Marianne Moore’s poetry, Octavia Butler’s science-fiction, and a little bit of everything in between. 

ENGL F360, 001
Multiethnic American Literature: Hauntings
Delivery Mode: asynchronous, online
Instructor: Jennifer Schell
Haunted houses, histories, minds, bodies, ecosystems, and texts. We will examine examples of multiethnic American literature that employ ghost imagery as a means of talking about and thinking through pressing social and environmental issues. We will read a selection of memoirs, novels, poems, short stories, and graphic novels by authors such as C Pam Zhang, Rivers Solomon, Craig Santos Perez, and Darcie Little Badger, among others. We will travel back and forth in time and space, visiting antebellum Georgia, present-day Guam, and near-future Texas. And we will discuss matters of social justice and civil rights, as well as problems of environmental justice and climate change. Along the way, we will encounter all manner of supernatural occurrences and creepy creatures (ghost mammoths!).

ENGL F661, 001
Mentored Teaching in English
Delivery mode: individual meetings / office hours
Instructor: Joseph Holt
In this course for UAF writing instructors, we will reflect on your teaching practices. Our goals are to enrich your classroom experience and to prepare you for future opportunities in education. Beyond that, we'll assess the effectiveness of your teaching style and methods. In doing so, we'll work to establish strong foundational habits, which can ease the stress of teaching and encourage a more rewarding classroom experience for you and your students. Although this course will focus on your work as an instructor, we also want to discuss how you can best balance teaching with your other academic pursuits—namely, your literary research and your creative writing. This course is required for all teaching assistants assigned a section of WRTG 111X, 211X, 212X, 213X, or 214X.