Fall Courses

Fall 2021 Courses

For Undergraduate Curriculum click here.

For specific schedules and section numbers, please see the schedule on myuk.uky.edu. 

More course descriptions are coming soon!



Michelle R. Sizemore

This course serves as an orientation to the benefits and requirements of majoring in English. You will learn about multiple fields, including American literature, African American literature, British literature, Creative Writing, and Film. You will meet professors, learn how to earn honors and do internships in English, hear about fellowships and study abroad opportunities, and discover different careers for English majors. You will get to know fellow English majors and have the chance to get involved with extra-curricular activities in the English Department. In addition to providing practical know-how, this class raises philosophical and conceptual questions for our consideration and discussion throughout the semester. How can you make the most of your college experience? Why is it important to study language, literature, and the humanities? How will the English major prepare you for life and a career in the 21st century? This class will put you on a track to excel and get the most out of your major. 1 credit hour Pass/Fail.

Hannah Pittard

Welcome to college. This class will break your heart, blow your mind, and show you what it means to be a creative reader and writer.  In order to learn to write, we must also learn to read. In this class, students will be asked to respond to weekly reading assignments, as well as weekly creative writing prompts. Peer critiques will also be employed throughout the semester. Please note that this is an introduction to the genres (namely fiction, nonfiction, and poetry); students seeking more advanced and particular courses should consider enrolling in ENG 207, ENG 407, or ENG 507. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

Crystal Wilkinson

This course will serve as an introduction to creative writing. Students will take an apprenticeship approach to the art and craft of poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  Students will study and practice writing in various modes as novice writers by reading the work of an array of published writers from diverse traditions and approaches, and by writing original work through exercises and formal assignments. Students will meet in lecture on Mondays and Wednesdays and meet in small groups for close reading of assigned texts as well as discussion of original work on Fridays. Course work includes extensive writing and reading. Fulfills ENG pre-major requirement and provides ENG minor credit. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

Michael Carter

This introductory course in creative writing will explore the various genre: we will play with poetry, fiddle with fiction and nonfiction, as well as grace our souls with other genre. The class will read and discuss literature in various delightful forms to help us understand technique and voice, and practice writing and critiquing our own writing. We will often work in small groups (depending on the number enrolled) as a workshopping method for finding our voices as writers, and for helping our classmates find theirs. By the semester’s end, we will have a mini portfolio of writing. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

DaMaris B. Hill

Writing Craft: Introduction to Imaginative Writing is an introduction to the genres and craft of creative writing, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and ect. Students will study and practice writing in various modes through composition, peer critique, and research. During our class times, we will meet to consider the ways creative writing is expressed in varied genres. The course will challenge students to critique and create writing in many different genres. The course will also discuss how and why authors choose to express themselves using different genres and hybrid texts. Offers credit for the UK Core requirement in Intellectual Inquiry in Arts & Creativity. Fulfills ENG pre-major requirement and provides ENG minor credit. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 130 LITERARY ENCOUNTERS: Revenge!               
Frederick Bengtsson

Revenge: A kind of wild justice, a way of getting retribution when society has failed you, or part of an unending cycle of bloody violence that threatens to destroy society itself? Writers and artists have asked this question for thousands of years, making revenge one of the most enduring literary and artistic themes. From the familial, mythical dramas of the ancient Greeks where spouses kill spouses and children kill parents, to the spectacular violence of Renaissance revenge tragedies where blood flows freely and body parts litter the stage, to the frontier justice of the American Western where the good guys go after the bad guys, this class will consider revenge stories in all their variety. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 130 LITERARY ENCOUNTERS: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Adventures
Jess Van Gilder

“Alice laughed: "There's no use trying,” she said; “one can't believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Surely, Alice must be wrong. We are capable of thinking about and beyond the possible from a very young age. Afterall, imagination is a central component of our cognition and narratives featuring the supposedly impossible are everywhere. From fairy tales to apocalyptic space invasions, these so-called ‘unnatural narratives’ make up a significant part of our culture. The question is why - why are we so drawn to fantastical storyworlds? Is it really just about escapism, or is something else going on here? What is the relationship between fantasy and reality? What function or purpose do these ‘unnatural narratives’ serve? In this course, we will explore our varied engagement with “impossible things” and work together to understand what the pervasiveness of fantastical narratives, or the unreal and the unnatural, can tell us about ourselves. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 130 LITERARY ENCOUNTERS: Social Minds in the Novel       
Lisa Zunshine

This course centers on the development of the novel as a genre, with a particular emphasis on its depiction of social minds. We will start with a brief sojourn in Ancient Greece and then move promptly to England, exploring novels written between 1770 and 1970, with their undercurrent of dark forces lurking beneath the daily comedy of living. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 130 LITERARY ENCOUNTERS: Disasters                 
Jill Rappoport

After a year unlike any we have ever experienced, we have all had or witnessed more than our ordinary share of disasters—whether psychological, physical, or social;  academic, environmental, or political; economic or professional. Reading, at times, offers a welcome escape from life’s ups and downs, solace in a tale that ends happily ever after, the pleasure of fantasy, or relief that a narrative is, after all, neither real nor one’s own. But literature also records and shapes our perception of disasters, both in the moment and in the years that follow, offering us, if not always comfort, at least new perspectives, understanding, and aesthetic experiences. This multi-genre course will use the theme of “disaster” to focus our discussion while also introducing you to ways of appreciating, thinking critically, and writing thoughtfully about a range of poetry, short fiction, and drama. Reading literature that explores disturbing and, yes, disastrous events, we will examine how authors have presented disaster in varied forms—personal and interpersonal; local, national, and even planetary; religious and secular—and attempt to find meaning and inspiration in their accounts of introspection, natural disaster, war, and even death. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

Michael Genovese

How often have you been reading a book and the bad guy seems so much more appealing than the forces of good?  Or how often have you wondered whether the villain in the book is really so guilty of wrongdoing? Is the "good guy" really so clearly beyond reproach? In this course we will explore plays, novels, short stories, and poems in which villains clearly emerge, but our goal will be to look beyond good and evil. What is the nature of the villainy? What is its significance? Does the bad character represent something bigger than himself, or is he an anomaly?  Is evil always some version of the same thing, or does it work differently depending on the context? How does the literature contain the threat he or she poses, and are you buying it?  Readings will be drawn from British and American sources from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century. The class will feature a few papers as well as a midterm and final exam.

Nazera Wright

This course traces representations of black girlhood in early African American print and visual sources in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a span of time that ranges from the early decades of the new republic to the eve of the New Negro Renaissance. During this period, black writers used black girls as tools to advance their social and political agendas. Often these agendas touched upon national issues of concern to the black community, such as safety and survival during the decades when the Fugitive Slave Act was in effect, strategies for achieving full citizenship rights, working for the abolition of slavery, finding work in the post-Civil War industrialized North, and crafting strategies for educating the next generation. Just as often, black writers relied upon black girls as emblems of home and family. Whatever platform they chose for their writing, the black girls they wrote about carried stories of warning and hope, concern and optimism, struggles and success. This course will examine how early black writers had important messages to convey to black girls. Some writers wanted to control them. Others sought to empower them. All of them saw their potential power. 

Emily Shortslef

First written and performed in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England, Shakespeare’s plays have had long and fascinating afterlives within as well as outside of Anglo-American contexts. In this course, we’ll read some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays alongside adaptations of these works from around the world. As we read the plays, we’ll discuss the theatrical culture and social milieu of Shakespeare’s England, but we’ll also consider what makes these plays so suited to reinterpretation and retelling across differences of language, culture, place, and time. The selected adaptations will allow us to examine the interpretive choices that these directors and writers have made in their engagements with Shakespeare, and to explore the implications of those choices. In addition to thinking about how Shakespeare’s dramas have been and continue to be rich sites for exploring cultural difference and cultural exchange, we will consider how—against long and ongoing histories of colonialist and racist uses of Shakespeare—various artists and activists have enlisted Shakespeare for anticolonialist and antiracist purposes. UK Core: Global Dynamics or Inquiry in the Humanities

Jap-Nanak Makkar

This course focuses on several canonical texts of postcolonial and global literature, analyzing them through the lenses of morality and crime, law and lawlessness, right and wrong. You will explore literature’s potential to shape moral principles, taking as a case study the special relationship between morality and the novel. You’ll learn that because novels ask us to sympathize with the main character, they were helpful in establishing the following moral principles and laws: bans on violence, physical abuse and torture; beliefs in the sanctity of the human body; beliefs in the ability of each individual to determine their own life; and the notion that suffering in a fellow human is a reason for empathy. But you’ll also learn that the novel’s account of right and wrong is tied up with a single individual’s perspective—usually the narrator’s or the main character’s perspective. That is, the reader gets only “one side” of the story, not the “full” or objective story. (Think of heist or crime novels: usually, you want the criminals to get away with their crime, don’t you?). Given that this is the case, we’ll ask: what if our sympathy with the main character leads us to inadvertently condone a heinous crime? How can we be sure that we have been told the truth in a novel, or that characters are as right as they seem? Each of the novels or poems we read will include a crime of some sort: the crime of colonialism, perhaps, or the crimes committed in order to win independence.  A central issue for the class will be to discuss whether we should sympathize with the crime or condemn it, and how to decide either way. UK Core: Global Dynamics

ENG 180 GREAT MOVIES: Digital Cinema                 
Jordan Robert Brower

Over the past three decades, along with the rest of the world, filmmaking has undergone a digital revolution. Gone, for the most part, are the 35mm prints, reels, and projectors of old; movies are now edited on computers and distributed in Digital Cinema Packages. Heritage studios like Disney and Warner Brothers compete with Amazon and Netflix to produce and distribute popular and critically successful “content” as they vie to win The Streaming Wars. A phone can record images of professional quality, and anyone can create a video that changes the world. How have these new circumstances affected the stories and styles of the movies we watch? What’s at stake when Sean Baker and Steven Soderbergh shoot on an iPhone, or when Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino insist on 35mm, 65mm, and IMAX formats? Does it matter whether we watch in a reclining chair at the Regal or in the old seats at the Kentucky or on our iPads, and if so, why? This is our cinema; let’s think about it. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 180 GREAT MOVIES: Hitchcock Thriller       
WC Foreman

This course will examine "the Hitchcock Thriller," looking at (probably) thirteen movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980).  The Hitchcock Thriller: always there is suspense and always an interest in manipulating his audience's reactions: arousing and releasing our anxieties, expectations, and fears as we follow his characters through dangerous situations that may involve threatened innocence, unexpected adventure, espionage, romance, and excursions into the dark sides of human nature.  But also there is usually humor.  Most of Hitchcock's movies (and all of the movies in this course) enmesh innocent persons unexpectedly in perilous situations and watch how (and if?) they can extricate themselves (or be extricated).  The movies also examine the very nature of "innocence" and its relation to . . . guilt.  And we should ask: since these movies are so enjoyable, what is it that makes danger . . . fun? UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 180 GREAT MOVIES: Africana Directors                
Kamahra Ewing

Have you ever heard of” L.A. Rebellion” films? This course will introduce Africana films genres from the early 1900s to contemporary times. The course will survey different historical eras such as “race films” during the Jim Crow Era, to Blaxploitation in the 70’s, to L.A. Rebellion films, to the Golden Age of film in the 80’s and 90’s. We will primarily explore Africana directors from the United States but, will include some Black directors from around the world. Students will briefly discuss and or watch films from some of the following prominent directors: Oscar Micheaux, Melvin Van Peebles, Charles Burnett, Spike Lee, Julie Dash, John Singleton, Robert Townsend, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Dee Rees, Haile Gerima, and Victoria Mahoney. Through the Black directors and independent producers’ gaze students will investigate film theory, representation, art, and politics by reading the films as text. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

ENG 180 GREAT MOVIES: Adaptations of True Stories     
Janet Eldred

In this online section, we’ll look at great movies based on true stories about creativity and invention. On an almost weekly basis, you will watch a film, write an informal response, and try your hand at composing storylines, characters, scenes, and dialog. Your final project will be a short screenplay of a true story of creativity or invention. Text: The Art of Adaptation. UK Core: Arts & Creativity

Julia Mae Johnson

This class is devoted to poetry writing by you and others. It is a workshop-based, introduction to poetry, course. You will be given writing assignments and readings designed to unleash your creativity and spark your powers of observation, imagination, and memory.  You might know that we have a first-rate Art Museum on our campus but have you ever spent much time there? Signing up for this course is your chance not only to write poems but also to write ekphrastic poems inspired by visual art. We will visit the UK Art Museum’s current shows as well as its permanent collection several times during the semester. We will collaborate and think about how we, along with our fellow peers in the workshop, enter, explore, and take inspiration from visual art in unexpected and fruitful ways. We will read, as examples, a selection of poems from various early and contemporary poets (including international poets) who have used art as subject and together we will consider the endless possibilities. We will cover key poetic terms and devices by reading an extensive amount of work by modern and contemporary poets. We will discuss the art and craft of writing poetry, and we will learn the art of the workshop, discussing and critiquing one another's work with enthusiasm and care. 

Kevin Bond

ENG 207 is a beginning course focusing on the art and craft of the short story. In this course, students will learn the building blocks of fiction through the exploration of core craft elements, as well as through the careful study of stories by professional writers. Our primary goal is to learn how to read works of fiction critically and how to develop our own works through the revision process. Students will compose their own works of fiction, trying out shorter forms like flash fiction and microfiction, in addition to longer fully realized short stories. This class follows the workshop model, so students should expect to have their work discussed and critiqued by the class in both small and large groups. Regular participation in class discussion about class readings and our own creative works is expected. 

Allegra Solomon

In this class we will be focusing on craft in fiction writing—studying various short stories while writing and workshopping short fiction of our own! The goal for this class is to introduce students to the experience of “the workshop” while also helping them grow as writers and critical thinkers. Students will have the chance to write short stories of their own, revise them with the help of their class, and submit a story of their choice by the end of the semester. 

ENG 230 INTRO TO LITERATURE: 1920s American Literature       
Jeff Clymer

This course fulfills the English pre-major requirement, as well as UK Core Learning Outcome I: Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities.  As such, students will fine-tune their skills of literary interpretation, analysis, and critical writing about literature.  Our course focus will be the major authors and literary movements of the 1920s in the United States.  We will read works by authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, Nella Larsen, Jean Toomer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Langston Hughes.  We will examine their literary works within the decade’s broad artistic contexts, while also paying close attention to the historical milieu in which these artists lived and worked. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

Jillian Winter

In a memorable refrain of her 2019 hit, Billie Eilish’s states, “I’m the bad guy, duh.” Across time and across genres, individuals have met with, been warned of, been harassed by, endeavored to escape from, and even ended up with total “bad guys”: tyrannical, toxic, lazy, reckless, foolish, impertinent, and/or all-around not-so-great people. In this course, we’ll explore narratives that feature “bad guy” characterizations and troubling courtship practices from the 1700s to 2020. Throughout the semester, we’ll examine how authors and creators working in different centuries and in different genres—including poetry, drama, fiction, film, and television—have sought to tackle the ‘bad guy concerns’ of their contemporary moment. How does a bad person assert control or hide their dark intentions and motives? What exactly makes a “bad guy” character so troubling? Who can be a bad guy (*hint: definitely not just men)? Can a “bad guy” ever be truly fixed or redeemed? Why do some bad guys—even when we all know they’re bad—continue to fascinate and attract audience followings? Together, we’ll also look at how writers like Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, August Wilson, Nikki Giovanni, and David Sedaris have captured and reflected significant cultural concerns involving identity, class, gender, sexuality, agency, the rules (and limitations) of courtship in polite society, and the potential to reform an individual. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

Joyce M. MacDonald

English 241 is a survey of the development of British (not just “English”) literature from its beginnings through the early seventeenth century. Obviously, we will not be able to cover all literary developments in a period of more than a thousand years in equal depth. Instead, the course will have four major goals: 1) To give students an overview of the major modes of writing, significant texts, and important authors in the English language over this long period; 2)To trace a history of the development of the English language over time, including how different languages and literatures contributed to English; 3) To provide students with a critical vocabulary for discussing and analyzing pre-modern literature; 4) To introduce students to important research tools for studying and writing about literature. ENG 241 counts toward the survey requirement for the English major and may fulfill other requirements for other majors in and out of Arts and Sciences.

Armando Prats

The works of American literature that you will read in this course, even in abbreviated form, will make you see their inherent relevance to these difficult and critical times in the history of our country. Virtually all the political, cultural, and, yes, moral issues currently in the news can be found, with varying degrees of emphasis and expressed with different measures of insight, passion, and eloquence, in most of the material that we will read for this course.

Consider, especially in the context of recent arguments about immigration or gender or about racial conflict, the seemingly simple question: “What is American?” What might such a question have meant (if anything) in 1492, when Columbus “discovered” America? Or in 1520, during the Spanish-led devastation of the Aztec empire? In 1620 when the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock—a year after the first shipload of African slaves landed in America? Or in 1776, when the colonies declared independence from England? In 1848, following the U.S. defeat of Mexico and the resulting forcible acquisition of what are, today, the U.S. states of New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and western Colorado and southern Wyoming? (Where would the “wall” be built if the U.S. would’ve lost that war?) Or in 1861, when the slave-holding states seceded from the United States of America? Or in 1865, when former slaves became, as it were with the stroke of the pen, Americans?

And these other questions: Where was / is America? If a Spaniard wrote in Spanish in what is today Texas or New Mexico but was then part of “New Spain,” does he or she speak to us as an American? And if America came into being gradually, as a result of colonization, purchase, annexation, and violent conquest, should the conquered people—what’s left of them, at any rate—be excluded or included as Americans? Are they more American for being here first or less so for having suffered conquest? Is America (as distinct from the United States) really, or only, a place or even only a time?

So consider some of the more particular questions, drawn from some of the readings that we will undertake: Can a Spaniard enslaved by Indians in Florida walk all the way to Mexico and arrive as neither Spaniard nor Indian—is he an American? Can an English woman captured by Indians in 1676 tell a story that merits inclusion in a survey of American literature in 2019? Can a woman who killed and scalped the Indians who captured her be the subject of works that can be profitably studied in a course on American literature? What do we learn about Puritan massacres of Indians in seventeenth-century colonial America? How do former black slaves become Americans—is it only because a white man signed a piece of paper, or could it be because the very concept of America transcends skin color? How is America hope?

So we will let American literature speak to us, that we may reflect upon it and learn from the triumphs and defeats of Americans and America, from that which at times makes America seem small and petty and persistently Puritanical, but, above all, from that America that still remains, in Lincoln’s phrase, “the last best hope of earth.”

Adam Quinn

Since 2017, artist Alisha B. Wormsley has been installing billboards in cities across the world that simply read, “There Are Black People in the Future.”  Some cities have criticized the billboards or even taken them down for being too controversial, leading us to ask why imagining a future for Black people is perceived to be so dangerous—or so powerful? Black writers since at least the nineteenth century have been imagining Black futures beyond white supremacy and structural racism, from Black nationalists to Afrofuturists. Sometimes these Black futures are hopeful, as in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ and Roxane Gay’s recent Black Panther run, and sometimes they are bleak, as in Colson Whitehead’s zombie novel Zone One. But the project of imagining alternative meanings of Blackness has been a consistent theme in Black literary history, from canonical figures such as W.E.B. DuBois and Octavia Butler to contemporary writers such as N.K. Jemisin. This class will ask you to analyze these key texts, make connections between them, and dare to imagine your own Black futures. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities. A&S Race & Ethnicity Requirement

Nazera Wright

Course description forthcoming. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities. A&S Race & Ethnicity Requirement

Shauna Morgan

In this course, the first of a two-part sequence offered as an introductory survey of texts and discourses within the African American literary tradition, we will explore foundational works from the late 18th-century through the Reconstruction period.  As we examine critical and creative works including, poetry, pamphlets, novels, autobiographies, speeches, and short stories, we will consider artistic elements, thematic scope, and interrogate political and ideological aims for each work. In addition, we will discuss early Black aesthetics, Black radicalism, womanhood, and notions of citizenship, including how U.S. American culture was informed by race, class, and gender. Authors will include Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Omar Ibn Said, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Frances E. W. Harper, Anna Julia Cooper, and Ida B. Wells Barnett, among others. A&S Race & Ethnicity Requirement

Matt Godbey

An introduction to the study of films as narrative art and cultural documents. The course involves viewing and analyzing films in a variety of contexts, with special attention given to close viewing and analysis and to the role of directors, actors, and genres in shaping the audience’s viewing experience. With regard to the former, students will learn how to view films closely and how to employ the basic terms and concepts of film analysis. And, with the latter, students will learn how to relate films to their contexts. Attention will be paid to student writing, particularly to devising a thesis, crafting an argument, and learning how to use supporting evidence. Viewing films outside of class is required. Offers UK Core credit for Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities. Does not fulfill ENG premajor requirement. Can be taken for ENG Major Elective credit. Provides ENG minor credit. Credit will not be given to students who already have credit for ENG 281. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

WC Foreman

This section of ENG 280 is an introduction to the study of the movies as a narrative art and a cultural document, with emphasis on the former.  The course will develop students' vocabulary and skills for describing, understanding, and interpreting movies and talking about how film narratives work.  The unifying theme of this section will be "Unexpected Adventure," featuring movies in which the central character or characters are going about their "normal" lives when they suddenly find themselves in another story, full of novelty and of danger . . . but also offering an opportunity to grow, to discover their capabilities, to develop relationships with others, that their earlier stories had not.  Most of our characters (but not all) seize these opportunities, either by choice or by necessity.  The stories will examine their fitness for adventure, their physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual resources and powers, their capacities for collaboration where survival depends on it, their abilities to live in a "new" world, and the consequences of success or failure—and how to tell these apart.  The movies we will cover will be chosen from a variety of genres, styles, and time periods. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

Frederick Bengtsson

This course will introduce students to the study of cinema as a medium, and to the tools and vocabulary of film analysis. By learning about and attending to key elements of film production and form (genre, cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound and lighting, etc.) in a variety of films, we will consider the ways in which filmmakers shape our experience of their work and create meaning within it. We will move beyond watching films passively toward thinking about them analytically, both in artistic and aesthetic terms, and in terms of the issues they explore and the ideas they express. Viewing films outside of class is required. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

Justin Roberts

Many of us have seen “bad” movies and asked “What were they thinking?” Many filmmakers have also asked this and similar questions, turning attention not necessarily on movies but on humanity and ask “what and how do we think?” For decades, film theorists and laypeople alike of discussed films as akin to dreams and film-viewing as a type of dream-state. More recently, theorists have sought to figure out what mentally happens when we watched movies. In ENG 280: The World Inside Your Head, we’re not going to get deep into the theory nor the clinical psychology, but we will examine films that encourage us to think about the world inside our heads and, consequently, the world around us and the world(s) created by films. We will examine a range of genres and types of films. Films will include Inside Out, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Matrix, and InceptionUK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

Daria Goncharova

This is America Hollywood. What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean to be a citizen? And how could some of the most celebrated movies from the 1940s to the 2010s help us explore the relationship between these two loaded concepts? By approaching citizenship as not just a formal, legal category, but as the matter of cultural belonging, we will study films as the sites of citizenship production. Specifically, we will explore how movies construct particular bodies as American and others as un-American, some bodies as first-class citizens and others as second-class citizens, as we discuss films’ representations of gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality in relation to their historical context. We will also learn introductory terminology of film studies and practice formulating arguments grounded in visual analysis. Note: Many of the films, we’ll watch in this class have an R rating. If you are offended by graphic language, violence, and/or sexuality, you may want to reconsider your enrollment in this course. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

Shannon Branfield

Medusa. Siren. Harpy. Succubus. Furies. Mythology is rife with female monsters and these archetypes continue to resonate in contemporary narratives that figure women as crazy, as angry, and as sexually dangerous. In this class, we will explore the ways that female authors both write against and rewrite these narratives to portray the lives and experiences of women. Through folklore, literature, and pop culture, we will analyze how race, class, and sexuality impact these gendered depictions. As we explore the relationship between monstrosity and power, this class will deal with a variety of sensitive subjects including graphic violence, harassment, rape, trauma, suicide, and eating disorders. Course texts include Promising Young Woman (2020), Wide Sargasso Sea, and authors such as Dawnie Walton, Danielle Evans, Shara McCallum, and Roxane Gay. UK Core: Inquiry in the Humanities

ENG 307 SPECIAL TOPICS IN CREATIVE WRITING: Flash Fiction and the Ten-Minute Play     
Michael Carter

In this insta-world of blogs, Twitter, Snap, and all the other short-form social media, what is the place of literature, of art? In this course, we will take up the banner of written art in these shortened forms and bring it to life as well. Whether you are an English Major, a creative writer, or a pre-med student, you have stories to tell, stories to discover, and you will, in this class, create these stories as short, short fiction and as short plays to tell these stories. These forms will challenge our word play and our ability to see the atom in the sun, the period at the end of a sentence, and the dark at the end of the tunnel. We will work to eliminate all but the play’s or short fiction's center and make it huge. By the end of the semester we will have a sheaf of our own and others' writing ... our harvest of words, stories, and their telling about ourselves.

ENG 330 TEXT AND CONTEXT: Moby-Dick           
Armando Prats

Just because. Because somebody has to . . . to read It, to glory in It (and not seldom to curse It), to learn not just about It but from It; to try to understand It, to honor It. Because It is the greatest fish story ever told (how many times do you think It’s been called a whale of a story?). Because It’s a “text” that provides its own “context”—book and whale, book and universe, book and life, life as book, living as reading, reading life. Because Matilda read it at a tender age and recommends it; and because Homer Simpson didn’t read it and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Because you know you shouldn’t graduate without having read It: It will round out your education, viz., It’s respectable, good cocktail-party conversation, impeccable source of bragging rights, a sure way to impress parents, boyfriends and girlfriends, small children, and even pets (who might, after all, root for the whale)—and, yes, prospective employers. Because It’s there—Himalayan, massive, magnificent and sublime, impenetrable, unconquered, forever beckoning, slippery, fishy even. Because It is your American King Lear and your Tempest, (and might therefore just make Ishmael kin to Hamlet, what with the “hypos” and all). Because It will transport your spirit, will haunt your sleep, will improve your daydreams, will change your life—and, just perhaps, because It will give to you—magnanimously yet humbly—the Beauty, the Truth, and the Goodness for which you may have forgotten to ask. (Required: curiosity, delight in reading, attendance, student-led discussions, quizzes, final project. Not easy but rewarding.)

ENG 330 TEXT AND CONTEXT: Evelina   
Michael Genovese

Frances Burney’s Evelina, the tale of a teenage girl in the metropolis for the first time, told through letters to her foster father, made Burney a household name among novel-readers when it hit Britain in 1778.  In this course we will focus on what made this story of “a young lady’s entrance into the world” such a classic by reading it within the context of what came before it and what came after.  The eighteenth century witnessed dramatic changes to the expectations put upon girls and women, and in Evelina we discover a heroine tailor-made for those who pondered what it meant to grow up among these changes.  This course will begin with earlier drama and fiction by figures such as Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood and continue on to the later fiction of Anne Radcliffe and Jane Austen, among others, as we explore why Burney’s first novel was so suited to its moment and seminal for those who followed

ENG 330 TEXT AND CONTEXT: Romeo & Juliet       
Frederick Bengtsson

Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers has become an archetypal love story, the relationship at its heart celebrated as one of the great romances, as the embodiment of true love. Many of you will have read, perhaps even performed, Romeo & Juliet in high school—but have you thought about how strange it is that a tragic story of doomed teenage love where both young lovers die has become an almost default part of the educational experience of generations of (of all people!) teenagers? This strangeness is our jumping-off point in this class—one of our aims will be to gain a little distance, not from Romeo & Juliet per se, but from our ideas about Romeo & Juliet. Does Shakespeare celebrate true love in this play, and present his protagonists as romantic role models? Or does the play actually want us to interrogate precisely those ideas about romance and true love it’s said to embody? As part of our exploration, we’ll read the play alongside other early modern love stories, both in drama and in poetry, both by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. We’ll explore some of Shakespeare’s sources; consider the play in light of relevant late sixteenth-century social and cultural contexts; while also encountering some of its appearances in literary criticism. We'll also spend some time with the couple in their modern incarnations, including some of Romeo & Juliet's various cinematic adaptations and retellings. This course will introduce students to Shakespeare’s work in its historical and dramatic contexts; foster the development of a critical vocabulary and set of strategies for analyzing complex texts; and help students to develop close reading and critical writing skills.

ENG 330 TEXT AND CONTEXT: The Maltese Falcon                       
Matt Godbey

Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 detective novel is a rare example of mass-produced fiction making the leap to the status of high literature. It’s also a cultural touchstone whose style (hardboiled fiction) and characterization (the hardboiled detective) have influenced American popular culture, particularly the worlds of fiction and film, for generations. This semester, we’ll examine that influence and work to understand the power of Hammett’s creation. To do so, we’ll examine the Falcon in a variety of contexts (literary, historical, cultural, etc.) that will encourage students to see literature as a valuable and vibrant tool engaging with and examining key issues and debates in American life.

ENG 338 TOPICS IN LITERATURE: Love and Romance in the Middle Ages and Renaissance     
Matthew Giancarlo

Love and lust, body and spirit, sex and texts: in this course we will examine the origins, growth, and varied meanings of “love” in the western Middle Ages and Renaissance through authors and books such as: St. Paul the Apostle; Andreas Capellanus’ treatise The Art of Courtly Love; Marie de France’s romance Lais; Dante Alighieri’s Vita NuovaSir Gawain and the Green Knight; Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene; the love sonnets of Sidney and Shakespeare; and others. We will focus on questions of love and desire, gender relations, consent and dissent, love-making and story-telling. Work will include regular reading assignments; occasional short responses and quizzes about the reading; a short mid-term essay; and a longer final term paper. No final exam.

ENG 339 AUTHOR STUDIES: Poe             
Michelle R. Sizemore

There’s more to Edgar Allan Poe. You may know him for The Raven and “The Tell-Tale Heart” – for his tortured personal life and excessive behavior. But his fame (and infamy) are complicated. For starters, the portrait of Poe as a raving madman comes to us from posthumous slander by his arch-nemesis Rufus Griswold. And although he was an indisputable master of horror, he was also the inventor of the modern detective story, a virtuoso of the short story (he wrote over 70), an innovator of psychological fiction, and a merciless literary critic. This semester we will take a deep dive into Poe’s life and works and the nineteenth-century culture he wrote about. Our discussions will cover a wide range of topics, including race, slavery, democracy, travel and exploration, urbanization, popular culture, and science. By the end of the semester, we will arrive at a richer understanding of Poe, as well as nineteenth-century American literature and history. 

Erik Reece

In the popular imagination, Kentucky is a backward place known for its feuding families, moonshiners and shoeless bumpkins. Rarely in the national media is Kentucky represented as anything that might approximate the term “literary.” But the fact is: Kentucky has an extremely rich literary tradition—one that rivals any state in the country. This course is not a survey of that entire history. Rather, it will focus on what I consider the “Kentucky Renaissance” of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. During those three decades, a group of writers—many of whom were friends and many of whom where educated at UK—produced an amazing body of work. We will examine some of that fiction, nonfiction, poetry and photography in this class and see what conclusions we can draw about the nature of that literature.   

Pearl James

This country was founded on the idea of freedom, but its benefits have always been restricted.  What is freedom?  What can the experiences of slavery, discrimination, and incarceration teach us about it? How have African Americans defined and claimed access to freedom?  This course explores the development of African-American theories of freedom, particularly as they are expressed in migration narratives from the slave era to the contemporary moment. It examines literary, musical, artistic, and journalistic representations that portray the experiences of African-Americans as they moved geographically, spiritually, intellectually, economically, and socially towards “freedom,” variously defined.  Literacy has always been a first and important step, and you should come to this class prepared to read and write consistently. Readings will include our own Prof. DaMaris Hill, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and many others.  We will also listen to Nina Simone and see a few films.  Prerequisite: completion of UK Core Composition & Communication I-II requirement or equivalent. ENG 260, 265, or 266 are recommended but not required. Provides ENG Major Elective credit and ENG minor credit. 

ENG 380 FILM AND GENRE: Movies about Movies                 
Jordan Robert Brower

“Movies about movies” isn’t a typical genre. It doesn’t, for instance, have a necessary location (like the Western), formal feature (like the musical), or even an identifiable mood or affect (like horror). But it does have a central, endlessly fascinating preoccupation: the making and the viewing of the images and the narratives that have—depending on who you ask—entertained, enlightened, or corrupted audiences since the turn of the twentieth century. This course will sample the greatest hits of the self-referential movie, ranging from the giddy heights of the backstudio Hollywood musical to the paranoid abysses of the cerebral art film. We will prioritize movies that take positions on critical issues in film and media studies, including medium transition (film, television, digital cinema), spectatorship, the representation of marginalized groups, and shifts in industrial organization. Some possible titles include: Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly and Donen, 1952), Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960), (Fellini, 1963), Barton Fink (Coens, 1991), The Watermelon Woman (Dunye, 1996), Adaptation (Jonze, 2002), and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Iñárritu, 2014).

Jonathan Allison

A course on modern British and Irish fiction, from Joseph Conrad to Angela Carter, examining a series of celebrated novels and short stories which have been adapted for film by well-known directors, producing adaptations which have roots in literary fiction but have become important works of cinematic art. The works meditate in various ways on the burdens of history and the psychological and political work of memory, ranging from the anti-colonial anxieties of Conrad, E.M. Forster and Frank O’Connor, to fantasies of sexuality, intimacy, and power in the work of James Joyce and Angela Carter. The course will ask students to think about the dynamic relationships between writing fiction, writing screenplays and film production, and the different forms of reception demanded of reader and viewer. In what ways have movie directors treated, adapted, translated, borrowed and revised the fictional worlds they use as a basis for their own artistic projects? Bearing in mind the fundamental differences between the narrative demands and “language” of fiction and cinema, we will explore the following pairings:  Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, and Apocalypse Now (directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) and Heart of Darkness (directed by Nicolas Roeg, 1993); E.M. Forster, A Passage to India and A Passage to India (Directed by David Lean, 1984); James Joyce, The Dead and The Dead (directed by John Huston, 1987); Frank O’Connor, Guests of the Nation, and The Crying Game (directed by Neil Jordan, 1992); and Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber (1979) and The Company of Wolves (screenplay by Angela Carter and Neil Jordan, 1984.)

Julia Mae Johnson

Continued studies in the writer's craft, focusing on student work but with increased emphasis on outside reading. Areas of workshop practice include Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Prerequisite ENG 207 in the same genre or consent of instructor. May be repeated to a maximum of 9 credits. Provides ENG Major Elective credit and ENG minor credit. Can count only once for ENG Major 400-level course requirement. Required for ENG Creative Writing Option.

Gurney Norman

English 407 is an Intermediate writing workshop that focuses on the short story as a classic literary form. Students will be expected to create two polished, best effort short stories and participate in weekly writing exercises in and outside of class. Published stories by such noted short story writers as Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, Anton Chekhov, Ernest Gaines, Al Young, Frank O’Connor and Kentucky writers James Still, Chris Holbrook, and others will be studied as models. Class meetings feature writing exercises in which students practice various aspects of traditional short story writing including plot development, dialogue, description, character development and different styles of narration. All students will be invited to read their work aloud in class for critique and discussion, but there is no requirement to read aloud. The class serves as a live audience for new writing by each student. 

Michael Carter

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry and many other artistic genres have taken us to task in our treatment of the environment we humans share with all life. Whether James Fenimore Cooper in The Pioneers showing the destruction in the town of Templeton of a flock of passenger pigeons to the disgust of Natty Bumpo, or John Muir telling about the grandeur of CA’s mountains (seeing it as nature untouched, not realizing the millennia of Indigenous Peoples who had “tended” their natural world), or Annie Dillard watching frogs leaping toward water, humans have admired “nature” often as an object --  not as part of the living organism that is our planet. This course will both examine nature as amazing life but more explicitly examine our effects on that life: animal and plant. We have always had voices countering these behaviors. We will read from a variety of environmental writers from 19th century’s Thoreau to 20th century’s Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry to Linda Hogan and other Native American voices that to this day confront the abasement of the environment whether of a wall being built through sensitive landscapes and habitats or of a pipeline moving oil sludge through sacred waterways and hills. As well as reading and researching, we will write, following our minds and eyes to a better understanding of humans’ effect on the natural world through their construction, extraction, and other actions to build “civilization.”

Erik Reece

This course will introduce students from all majors to both the literature and the practice of environmental writing. "Environmental writing” is in many ways a sequel to “nature writing.” Whereas the great American nature writers like Henry David Thoreau and John Muir celebrated this country’s wilderness and urged readers to avail themselves of it more often, environmental writers approach the same subject with less innocence and more urgency. Take, for example, UK’s own Robinson Forest. A nature writer would celebrate its beautiful streams and rock formations; an environmental writer might do that too, but then she or he would point out that Robinson Forest is surrounded and threatened by mountaintop removal strip mining. In other words, environmental writers take seriously the threat that human beings pose to the natural world. In this course, we will move from more traditional nature writing into the contemporary debates of environmental writing.  

ENG 450G STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: Money, Wealth, and Privilege in the American Novel
Jeff Clymer

This course focuses on American literature and culture of the period, 1875-1940.  Like today, the decades around the turn of the twentieth century witnessed extremes of wealth and of poverty.  In many ways, the early twentieth century anticipates most of our current social issues revolving around inequities of money and privilege, especially including the ways in which wealth and privilege intersect with questions of gender and race.  Not surprisingly, as we will read, several of our most significant authors of these decades wrestled with these issues in their writing—including Edith Wharton, Jack London, Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry James, Nella Larsen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and John Steinbeck. 

ENG 490G STUDIES IN LITERATURE AND GENDER: Bad Marriage in Victorian Fiction                    
Jill Rappoport

Readers, critics, and film adaptations have long been fascinated by the Victorian novel’s “marriage plot” and the cultural work it accomplishes: as a narrative resolution, it offers economic security and a form of vocation for many female characters who lack educational, professional, and financial resources. But numerous major texts from the period turn the marriage plot on its head, disrupting readerly expectations in order to showcase loveless unions, domestic violence, sexual double standards, unjust custody laws, and the imbalances of social, legal, and economic power within marriage. By exploring the “bad” marriages of the period’s most canonical fiction, alongside some of the best critical work on Victorian family, gender, and law, we learn about the other forms of kinship the Victorians valued and rejected, about changing economic rights and opportunities for both women and men, and about the other kinds of narratives coexisting with—and made possible when we don’t read for—the end goal of marriage. 

ENG 491G STUDIES IN THEORY: Postcolonial and Global Theory 
Jap-Nanak Makkar

Through this reading-intensive seminar students gain a foundation in postcolonial and global theory, an area of “theory” that explores topics of racial difference, colonial domination and capitalist expansion. We read in order to survey the field—taking in everything from early essays in postcolonial studies to cutting-edge accounts of globalization—but as we do, we attend with particular interest to the methodological commitments of our theorists. Guided by three unit divisions, the first called “Jacques Derrida,” the second “Michel Foucault” and the last “Fredric Jameson,” we ask what Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha gained from notable texts of deconstruction, such as Writing and Difference or “White Mythologies”? How did a book such as Foucault’s Madness and Civilization guide Edward Said when the latter proposed to study orientalism as a “discourse”? And, finally, to what extent have Fredric Jameson’s theories of “a singular modernity” helped to move postcolonialism toward a more robust confrontation with uneven development? This course will appeal to anyone with interests in studying British, American or postcolonial literature in a transnational frame. Readings divided in three units: Jacques Derrida (Derrida, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Mrinalini Chakravorty), Michel Foucault (Foucault, Edward Said, Gauri Viswanathan, Jenny Sharpe) and Fredric Jameson (Jameson, WReC, Pascale Cassanova, Ian Baucom, Peter Kalliney). Literary works by Mahasweta Devi, Joseph Conrad and Ousmane Sembène.

ENG 495 MAJOR HONORS SEMINAR: Passion and Power in Early Modern Literature
Emily Shortslef

In this course we will read plays and poems about love, revenge, sexual violence, and artistic creation by Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, Elizabeth Cary, and other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writers who explore the relationship between passion (lust, anger, grief, jealousy, shame) and power. We will take a historical approach to this material, aimed at understanding early modern configurations of power and constructions of gender, sex, and race, but we will also draw on contemporary critical theory to discuss the questions these texts raise. As this is an advanced seminar, expect to do quite a bit of writing. 

ENG 507 ADVANCED WORKSHOP IN CREATIVE WRITING: Poetic Sequences             
Julia Mae Johnson

Continued studies in the writer's craft, focusing on student work but with increased emphasis on outside reading. Areas of workshop practice include Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Prerequisite ENG 207 in the same genre or consent of instructor. May be repeated to a maximum of 9 credits. Provides ENG Major Elective credit and ENG minor credit. Can count only once for ENG Major 400-level course requirement. Required for ENG Creative Writing Option.

Gurney Norman

English 507 is an advanced fiction writing course in which students are encouraged to make use of place as an element in their creative work. The focus is on short story writing but other forms of narrative fiction may be included. There is no strict requirement to emphasize place or setting in the students’ fiction but many University students have deep knowledge of their home regions and native landscapes and cultures and much to say about them. Every new study of American places contributes to the vibrancy of the places themselves. Each week throughout the semester, students will bring to class 3-4 pages (700-800 words) of new writing. The pieces will be in the form of ‘take home’ exercise assignments. In addition to weekly writing exercises in and out of class, you will be asked to produce during the semester three polished, original stories that represent your best effort. All students will be invited to read their work aloud in class for discussion, but there is no requirement to read aloud. The class serves as a live audience for new writing by each student. The class features intensive small-group meetings for discussion and critique.

Matthew Giancarlo

An introduction to the study of the Old English language and its literature from the 8th to the 11th centuries. Emphasis on learning the basic vocabulary and grammar of Old English in the West Saxon standard written dialect. Readings include excerpts from prose and poetry, the basics of Old English verse forms and alliterative poetry, and some historical and cultural background. The course is particularly recommended for students of European languages (especially German) and Linguistics; some basic background in Linguistics is recommended but not required. Same as LIN 519. Fulfills ENG major Early Period Requirement. Provides ENG Major Elective credit and ENG minor credit.


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