Fall 2022 Course Descriptions
WRTG F211X, 001
Writing and the Humanities: Detectives, Deductions, and Solving the Murder Mystery
Delivery mode: TR 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 favorites like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. We will also examine television and film productions, such as Knives Out, Batman: The Animated Series, Veronica Mars, and Scooby-Doo. Lastly, we will look at board games, including Clue and Deception. 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 F211X, 002
Writing and the Humanities: Place, Environment, and Identity
Delivery mode: MWF 11:45–12:45 pm, in-person
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, 003
Writing and the Humanities: Food
Delivery mode: TR 11:30–1:00 pm, in-person
Instructor: Jane Jacob
Why do we "toast" with wine? What is fish fraud? Can you be addicted to cheese? How does sourdough bread work? In this class, we will explore topics and writing related to food. This includes: food science, food consumption and nutrition, food industry and marketing, food criticism and reviews, food travel writing, food history, food-related critical theory, and current events related to food. Students will engage with poems, essays, academic papers, journal articles, criticism, reviews, podcasts, documentaries, and hands-on experimentation. In this course, students will learn how to identify credible sources, read academic papers, perform rhetorical analysis, and construct research-supported arguments. Students will not be required to purchase any textbooks for this class and all materials will be provided by the instructor.
WRTG F211X, 004 & 005
Writing and the Humanities: Identity and the Digital Self
Delivery mode: online asynchronous
Instructors: Liz Bolton & Audrey Coble
What does it mean to "be online"? In this class, we’ll refine our rhetorical analytical skills through an exploration of how we construct ourselves and others in the digital space. We'll also explore temporality and the digital, comedy in the digital sphere, and creating online community. Assignments will include writing exercises, reading responses, and a research paper & presentation that span topics from cancel culture and resultant apologies, to influencers and the commodification of trauma, to Bo Burnham’s Inside.
WRTG F211X, 008
Writing and the Humanities: Rise of the Anti-Hero
Delivery mode: online asynchronous; second eight weeks (Oct. 24–Dec. 17)
Instructor: Aaron Salzman
Human culture can be examined through the history of the stories that we tell. As societies have emerged, reshaped, fallen, and risen again, so too have the stories that have gained popularity and prominence in the cultural lexicon. In this course, we will aim to analyze the nature of the hero, how the idea of the hero formed, and how the hero has changed over time. Furthermore, we will ask the question; what is the anti-hero, and why has this particular character risen to such prominence in recent years? What does this say about us as consumers, and what does this say about our society? Most importantly, what does it mean for a character to be heroic? Students will engage with ancient texts such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as more contemporary examples of text and media, like The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murrieta, Star Wars, and Breaking Bad, to name a few.
WRTG F213X, 001
Writing and the Sciences: Scientific Writing for Creative Minds
Delivery mode: MWF, 10:30–11:30 am, in-person
Instructor: Lia Ferguson
How do we best communicate scientific findings? And how can we incorporate them into our creative endeavors? At their essence, both science and art are a means of understanding the world around us, and we will be exploring the relationship between these two classifications. Each week, we'll look at cutting-edge and foundational scientific articles in a wide range of fields along with the art in conversation with it. Students will be asked to take a semester-long dive into a field of their choosing, anywhere from quantum physics to social psychology. Students will learn to write for both experts and the public, and the class will culminate in a creative project that communicates student findings from the semester.
WRTG F214X, 001
Arguing Across Contexts: Music and Community
Delivery mode: MWF 1–2 pm, in-person
Instructor: Courtney Skaggs
In this course, we'll explore and analyze elements of popular culture—including songs, music videos, films, and music criticism—in the same ways we are often asked to do with more traditional forms of literature. Together, we will consider the following: How do we interact with and use music? What might music reveal about our histories, cultures, and selves? What deeper meanings might be found within song lyrics? How can we, as writers, effectively express our ideas and opinions about music with our audiences? Finally, in what ways can writing and music serve as catalysts to bring communities together? As we explore these and other questions, we’ll be listening to and reading work from a wide selection of musicians and writers, including MGMT, Hanif Abdurraqib, Michelle Zauner, Tanya Tagaq, and Joan Didion.
WRTG F214X, 002
Arguing Across Contexts: Cowboys, Katanas, and Spaceships: An Exploration of the Western Genre
Delivery Mode: online asynchronous
Instructor: Matthew Thomas Dominick
Ever wonder why Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epics and Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti 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 movies, literature, anime, television, and scholarly articles. Some proposed texts: Seven Samurai, Cowboy Bebop, True Grit, Hell or High Water, Shane, The Great Train Robbery, Stagecoach, The Ox-Bow Incident, and For a Few Dollars More. Students will use critical analysis to identify and break down major themes, characteristics, and motifs in the genre course examples. Methods of study will include argumentative research papers, reading responses, and asynchronous class discussions. As the final project for this course, students will write their own Western, whether that be a short story, short film script, anime, or the first chapter of a novel.
ENGL F376, 001
Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
Delivery mode: online asynchronous
Instructor: Sara Eliza Johnson
This intermediate-level course is a group writing workshop focused on writing poetry. We will read a wide variety of contemporary poets that attempt to process and understand the world in its beauty, terror, and complexity. In the process of reading, experimenting, and writing over these weeks, you will learn how to write in a diversity of forms, how your work connects to/with the work of other poets writing today, and how to critique the work of other writers. Throughout the course, we will also review and deepen our understanding of basic poetic techniques, such as figurative language, voice, sound, form, and the line.
ENGL F470, 001
Topics in Creative Writing: Write Your Novel
Delivery mode: TR 11:30–1 pm, in-person
Instructor: Gerri Brightwell
So, you have a few chapters of a novel on your hard drive? You’ve got a complete draft hidden away and don’t know what to do next? Or may you have an idea for a novel and have decided that you need to plunge in . . . This is a course in which your novel-in-progress will be centre stage. We'll start the semester with student presentations on their novels-in-progress (or about to be in progress). Each week we'll workshop on chapters from novels-in-progress, as well as reading craft essays about writing. We'll also examine two published novels to see how they deal with certain problems and logistics, then finish the semester with information about pitching your work, plus a roundtable with local published writers. This is a course you'll have to throw yourself into. You'll need to write, and write, and write (except when maybe you revise). By the end of the semester you should have a much better idea of how to write your novel, and how to send it out into the world.
ENGL F482, 001
Topics in Language and Literature: Pynchon
Delivery mode: MWF 9:15–10:15 am, format TBA
Instructor: Terence Reilly
This rather experimental course—"Reading Thomas Pynchon"—grew from resources at the Pynchon archive at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA, as well as an international Pynchon conference in Vancouver this past June. The course will feature a number of guest speakers and lecturers—all of whom are world-class Pynchon scholars, and most of whom are from Europe. All classes will take place on Zoom, and then the classes will be transferred to YouTube so they can be accessed by the larger Pynchon community. This course will be a good opportunity for students to work with some of the best Pynchon scholars in the world (and possibly scope out jobs or grad schools in Europe). The reading list includes many primary Pynchon texts; the writing requirements are a journal, and either two short papers (6–8 pages) or one longer, journal-length pape (15-20 pages).
ENGL F608, 001
Studies in British Literature After 1900: Modernism and the Mind
Delivery mode: W 2:15–5:15 pm, in-person
Instructor: Dr. Chris Coffman
Approaching Modernism not as a discrete period in literary history but as a set of formal and stylistic practices extending well beyond the second world war, this course will read significant works of Modernist literature in dialogue with the varied theories of the "ego," the "psyche," the "brain," and the "mind" advanced in the twentieth century. Primary texts will include poetry by H.D. and T.S. Eliot; James Joyce's Ulysses; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and The Waves; André Breton's Nadja; Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood; Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable; Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea; Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet; and H.D.'s and Carrington's memoirs of their psychoanalytic and psychiatric treatments. We will examine these works in light of texts from the psychological disciplines—such as psychoanalysis, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience—as well as theories of gender, sexuality, postcoloniality, and ability.
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.
ENGL F671, 002
Writers' Workshop – Prose: Place & Prosody
Delivery mode: W, 6–9 pm, in-person with limited Zoom option
Instructor: Joseph Holt
In this course, writers will submit original creative work and review the work of their peers. To aid us in our study of prose writing, we’ll focus on two craft topics: place and prosody. More than mere setting, place entails the landmarks, customs, and textures of a location. And prosody, though primarily a poetic term, suggests the rhythm, pitch, and tone of writing—similar to what we often call voice. Taken together, place and prosody are seduction: they lure readers in your written world, then they provide the security and momentum to keep them there. Although students can submit whatever they like to workshop, we’ll begin our critical discussions with these concepts.