English

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Literature is a treasury of our cultural heritage and an expressive human creation embodying both beauty and knowledge. Close examination of literature improves our thought and our use of language, enhances our understanding of past and present, and provides insight into our interior lives. So, too, does the practice of accurate and carefully crafted writing. Consequently, the English major at St. Mary’s is designed so that students will read a broad historical and cultural range of literatures and develop a variety of writing skills.

By graduation, a student majoring in English should:

  1. Read and write clearly, effectively, and perceptively;
  2. Be familiar with the basic historical and cultural background of literature written in English, including influential historical events, ideas, literary movements, genres, authors, and texts;
  3. Understand how language is used in a range of literary texts;
  4. Make connections among literary texts within and across historical periods, national literatures, cultural groups, and formal categories; and
  5. Appreciate how literature and writing are vital to living a full and meaningful life.

To achieve these goals, the English program begins with three required literature-in-history surveys, as well as 200-level elective writing courses. In the surveys, students encounter influential writers, works, and ideas, which provide necessary background knowledge for further study of writing and literature. At the300-level, students define their individual course of study by taking “Methods of Literary Study” and more specialized literature and writing classes. During their senior year, students make use of the knowledge and skills learned in previous courses by choosing to do a St. Mary’s Project or by taking additional advanced coursework. Within this overall framework, faculty advisers help each student select courses that will best meet his or her interests, needs, and goals.

With its stress on clarity of thought and expression, and its focus on choices within the program, the English major provides an excellent foundation for a meaningful liberal arts education as well as a strong preparation for a variety of careers that require analytic rigor and clear, precise communication. The English major also provides the basis by which students can enrich their lives through an ongoing contact with stimulating authors, evocative language, and significant ideas.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR

To earn a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English, a student must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  1. General College Requirements (see “Curriculum” section), including the following requirements to satisfy the major
  2. The English major requires a minimum of 44 credit-hours of coursework, consisting of a. a 16-hour core, b. 24 hours of electives, and c. a 400-level seminar. Students may also opt to undertake an SMP in lieu of eight credits of their elective coursework. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in each course counted towards the major, and maintain an overall GPA of at least 2.0 in these courses.
    1. Core (16 credit-hours):
      1. 12 credits: three courses that examine literature historically, primarily within English-speaking communities:
        • ENGL 281: Literature in History I: The Beginnings through the Renaissance
        • ENGL 282: Literature in History II: The Rise of Anglo-American Literature 1700-1900
        • ENGL 283: Literature in History III: Twentieth-Century Voices.
      2. 4 credits: ENGL 304: Methods of Literary Study
    2. Electives (at least 24 credit-hours, of which 16 must be at the upper level):
      1. Additional coursework may be selected from the following offerings; please note that ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 may not be counted towards the major. Course content and focus will vary. The subject matter for the semester will be announced in the online “Schedule of Classes” prior to registration. Any of these courses, with the exception of ENGL 106 and ENGL 270, may be repeated for credit provided the majority of the content is different. Students should consult the English Major’s Handbook for more detail and plan their courses carefully over the long term in consultation with an adviser in English.
        • ENGL 106: Introduction to Literature
        • ENGL 201: Advanced Composition
        • ENGL 230: Literary Topics
        • ENGL 235: Topics in Literature and Culture
        • ENGL 270: Creative Writing
        • ENGL 350: Studies in Language: Historical,Linguistic, and Rhetorical Contexts
        • ENGL 355: Studies in British Literature
        • ENGL 365: Studies in American Literature
        • ENGL 380: Studies in World Literature
        • ENGL 390: Topics in Literature
        • ENGL 395: Topics in Writing
        • ENGL 400: Studies in Genre
        • ENGL 410: Studies in Authors
        • ENGL 420: Studies in Theory
        • ENGL 430: Special Topics in Literature
        • ENGL 493/4: The St. Mary’s Project
        • INTL 110, 210, 310, or 410: Intensive Poetry Writing Workshop in England
        • INTL 115, 215, 315, or 415: Shakespearean Studies in England
      2. Elective coursework in the major may also include the following:
        1. Up to four credit-hours of guided readings, independent study, or off-campus internships.
        2. Up to eight credit-hours of approved classes originating in other departments. The current list of approved courses includes:
          • ANTH 352: Topics in Anthropology (selected topic only): Cultural Journalism
          • HIST 393: St. Petersburg: History, Myth, Memory
          • HIST 435: Topics in European History (selected topic only): World War II in Russian Culture
          • HIST 447: History of Russian and Soviet Cinema
          • HIST 455: Topics in Asian, African, or Latin American History (selected topic only): Chinese Film and History
          • HIST 475: Topics in Comparative, Thematic, or Global History (selected topic only): Mass Culture and the Creation of the Modern
          • ILAS 206: Introduction to Latin American Literature in Translation
          • ILAS 350: Latin American Cinema
          • Any upper-division literature class in ILCC, ILCF, ILCG, ILCS, or ILCT
          • ILCT 106: Introduction to World Literature
          • ILCT 293: Introduction to Cultural Studies
          • ILCT 300: Introduction to Linguistics
          • TFMS 106: Introduction to Dramatic Literature
          • TFMS 210: Japanese Performance Traditions
          • TFMS 220: Introduction to Film and Media Studies
          • TFMS 221: Film and Media Production Modes
          • TFMS 225: Topics in Film and Media (selected topics only; check with Chair for approval)
          • TFMS 326: World Cinema
          • TFMS 300: Modern Theater
          • TRMS 310: Shakespeare
          • TFMS 315: Japanese Film
          • TFMS 320: Film History
          • TFMS 325: Documentary Practices
          • TFMS 346: Screenwriting
          • TFMS 420: Mediated Bodies
          • TFMS 425: Advanced Topics in Film and Media (selected topics only; check with Chair for approval)
        3. Experimental and special topics classes may also be added to this list on a term-by-term basis, and so designated in the “Schedule of Classes.”
    3. The 400-level Seminar (4 credit-hours):
      All English majors must complete, in their junior or senior years, a 4-credit 400-level ENGL seminar (400, 410, 420, or 430) not used to satisfy any other requirement for the major.

Guided readings, independent studies, internships, and courses originating in another department may not be used to fulfill the Senior Seminar requirement.

THE ST. MARY'S PROJECT

All students may apply, in the spring of their junior year, to undertake a St. Mary’s Project (SMP). Projects approved by the department will receive eight hours of elective credit to be counted towards the major. Application deadlines and procedures will be announced each spring. Students wishing to begin their SMP mid-year should consult with the department chair. Students contemplating an SMP in another discipline may petition the department to accept this work for elective credit towards their major. All such petitions must be received by the end of Exam Week the semester prior to the commencement of the intended project. See the English Majors’ Handbook for more details.

REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHER CERTIFICATION

A Master of Arts in Teaching program is available at St. Mary’s College of Maryland after completion of the baccalaureate degree. Students who are interested in becoming teachers should contact the chair of the Department of Educational Studies or an education adviser in their major field of study for suggested coursework in Human Studies, Educational Studies, and their specific major. These consultations should take place during the first semester of the sophomore year.

FACULTY

Karen L. Anderson, Robin R. Bates, Jennifer Cognard-Black, Katherine R. Chandler, Elizabeth Charlebois, Ben A. Click, Jeffrey Lamar Coleman, Ruth P. Feingold (department tchair), Jerry Gabriel, Jeffrey A. Hammond, Colby D. Nelson, Brian P. O’Sullivan, Donna Richardson, Bruce M. Wilson, Christine A. Wooley.

ENGLISH COURSES (ENGL)

Placement in Composition Courses

A placement exam in English composition, administered by the English Department and scored holistically by trained readers, is the primary means used to determine placement of students into English 101 or English 102. The test is a timed writing assignment generally completed during Orientation for new students.

ENGL 101. Introduction to Writing (4F)

This course introduces students to college-level discourse and aims to help students improve basic writing skills. The course will emphasize effective processes of composing as well as the qualities of a successful written product. Instruction is conducted through journal writings, class meetings, small-group sessions, tutorial sessions, and individual conferences. It will also include work on grammar, sentence structure, and the writing of paragraphs and essays. Designed to prepare students for ENGL 102, ENGL 101 is not open to students who have received credit for, or are enrolled in, ENGL 102 or 201. Any student who has not taken composition may choose to take ENGL 101, but some students will be assigned to this course on the basis of the English Composition Placement Examination. Students assigned to the course must successfully complete it prior to enrolling in ENGL 102.

ENGL 102. Composition (4E)

In this course, students consider writing as a major tool for discovering what they think, examining these thoughts, communicating them effectively, and generating ideas as they take in new information. This course will generally use peer-group techniques to help develop a sense of audience and purpose. Each section of ENGL 102 will have a primary focus or subject matter determined in advance by the instructor, and students will be introduced to various strategies for refining their thinking by taking their writing through the drafting, crafting, editing, and polishing processes. ENGL 102 or CORE 101 are prerequisites to all subsequent English courses; ENGL 102 satisfies the prerequisite requirement in composition when completed with a grade of C- or better.

ENGL 106. Introduction to Literature (4E)

This course is a college-level introduction to methods of interpreting literature and to deeper questions raised by the study of literature. Readings will be drawn from different historical eras and will focus on the similarities and differences involved in reading various genres, including fiction, poetry, and drama. Discussion will also raise such questions as the following: Why does literature take different forms? Are literary uses of language different from other uses of language (scientific or historical or philosophical language, for example), and if so, how? With what assumptions do readers approach literary texts, and how might an examination of these assumptions broaden and deepen our reading experience? How do historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts influence the nature of literary works and how we read them? This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Recommended for non-majors and not required of majors. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 201. Advanced Composition (4S or F)

Courses in this area offer students the opportunity to write in various genres. Common to all courses will be a sustained attention to writing for specific audiences and purposes. In addition, courses will aim at developing the ability to control tone, emphasis, and nuance for effective and—when appropriate—evocative prose style. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included Writing Arguments, Writing about Literature, and Journalism. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 230. Literary Topics (4S or F)

This course assumes familiarity with an interest in the basic skills and methods presented in ENGL 106, including close textual reading and the writing of literary analyses. A more challenging course than Introduction to Literature, it offers readings that are connected by a common theme, origin, or perspective. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included American Plays and Playwrights; Science Fiction; Detective Fiction; and Environmental Literature. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Recommended for both majors and non-majors, but not required of majors. May be repeated for credit if the topic is substantially different. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 235. Topics in Literature and Culture (4A)

This course assumes familiarity with an interest in the skills and methods presented in ENGL 106, including close textual reading and the writing of literary analyses. It aims to examine literary and non-literary representations of the ways race, class, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality help shape an individual’s world view. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but might include topics such as Mysteries of Identity; African-American Expression; Shakespeare, Sex, and Gender; and American Slave Narratives. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in cultural perspectives. Recommended for both majors and non-majors, but not required of majors. May be repeated for credit if the topic is substantially different. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 270. Creative Writing (4E)

This course will consider the nature of the creative process, introduce a variety of approaches to creative writing, and help students discover and develop their own imaginative and analytical resources for telling, through fiction and poetry, the stories they have to tell. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301, and one literature course.

ENGL 281. Literature in History I: The Beginnings through the Renaissance (4E)

Much of what we call English literature owes its origins to the diverse and ancient cultures that created the Greco-Roman and biblical literatures. This course will consist of selected readings of early Western literature chosen from its beginnings in the Homeric epics, Greek tragedies, and the Hebrew Testament; through major works of Christian culture in the Middle Ages, such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Dante’s Divine Comedy; to the revival of classical learning in the Renaissance, embodied in the work of such authors as William Shakespeare and John Milton. The course may examine classical and biblical works in translation, as well as works originally written in English. Always, however, this course will explore something of what early literature in the West tells us about changing notions of the spiritual and the material—of heroism, faith, love, and redemption—and the relationship of these ideals to our world today. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 282: Literature in History II: The Rise of Anglo-American Literature (1700-1900) (4E)

The explosion of science and capitalism at the beginning of this era caused fundamental questioning of traditional religious and political ideas. At the same time, Britain was emerging as the world’s most powerful colonial force. While focused on the close reading of texts, this course will also explore Enlightenment literature that addresses these political and intellectual developments (including works selected from such writers as Swift, Defoe, Pope, Fielding, Wollstonecraft, and Franklin). Additionally, the course may investigate how English settlers and colonial peoples modified and questioned these Enlightenment ideas. With the rise of revolutionary challenges to the Enlighten¬ment, England and America began to define simultaneously connected and different identities, while also engaging in a more self-conscious literary and philosophical dialogue. Tracing related Romantic ideas in such authors as Blake, Wordsworth, Mary and Percy Shelley, Tennyson, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, and Dickinson, the course will explore how each country created a distinct culture in an increasingly secular, industrial, and multicultural world. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Prerequisite: English 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 283. Literature in History III: Twentieth-Century Voices (4E)

The first part of the 20th century, shaped largely by World War I, marks a radical break with the past. Known as the Modernist period, these years saw a flowering of literary and artistic experimentation. Such writers as T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf investigated new ways of representing consciousness and subjectivity through stylistic dislocation and fragmentation innovations echoed in painting, music, theater, and film. World War II and its aftermath are sometimes called the Postmodern period. Writers such as Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Doris Lessing, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie, and Bharati Mukherjee explored the human condition in an age characterized by the rise of mass and visual culture, the threat of atomic destruction, the disintegration of colonial empires, and increasingly pressing issues of ethnic and national identity. While focusing on close readings of the texts, this course will also study ways in which 20th-century literature has been informed by, and has established, globalism and nationalism. It will pay attention to literature as history, history as literature, and the role of literature in the community of expressive arts. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Prerequisite: English 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

300-LEVEL ENGLISH COURSES

The following 300-level courses are designed to engage students in bringing their developing expertise to a higher level by focusing on a more limited historical or thematic area of study. Students will read a greater cross-section of each writer’s works, do more extended comparisons of works among several authors, and ground these readings in more particularized historical, biographical, and cultural contexts. Prerequisite for all 300-level ENGL courses except 395: ENGL 281, 282, or 283 or, in exceptional cases, permission of instructor. These courses may be repeated for credit as the topic or focus changes significantly.

ENGL 304. Methods of Literary Study (4E)

This course will introduce students to the complex and dynamic study of literature and literary criticism. Students will be introduced to the methods and discourses of classical and contemporary literary theory and will use these tools to read prose, poetry, and drama in critically informed ways. The techniques of critical thinking, argumentation, and textual analysis that students develop in this course will serve as a vital foundation for further study of literature. The course will also provide an introduction to means and methods of literary research and help students understand the many possible alternative paths of study in the English major, including research projects at the senior level. Prerequisite is one of the following: ENGL 281, 282, 283, or permission of the instructor. It is recommended that students take the course in their junior year.

ENGL 350. Studies in Language: Historical, Linguistic, and Rhetorical Contexts (4A)

Course offerings in this area will provide students the opportunity to explore the evolution of the English language; the nature, structure, and modifications of human speech; and the persuasive aspects of language. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included “The Rhetoric of Humor and Linguistics.” Prerequisite: ENGL 281, 282, 283, or permission of the instructor.

ENGL 355. Studies in British Literature (4E)

The offerings of this course will provide a historical approach to the study of various designated periods in British literature. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included Legends of King Arthur; Renaissance Drama; Couples Comedy in the Restoration and 18th Century; The Emerging Novel; The Romantics; Metaphysical Poetry; W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas; and The Modern British Novel. Prerequisite: ENGL 281, 282, 283, or permission of the instructor. Recommended: ENGL 281 (for topics before 1700) or ENGL 282 (for topics after 1800).

ENGL 365. Studies in American Literature (4E)

This course will provide students with a variety of perspectives on American literature by focusing on specific periods, aesthetic movements, and/or developments. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included Sympathy and Sentiment; The American Road; American Gothic; Realism and Modernism; Making the Nation to 1865; and Environmental Literature after Thoreau. Prerequisite: ENGL 281, 282, 283, or permission of the instructor. Recommended: ENGL 281 (for topics before 1700) or ENGL 282 (for topics after 1800).

ENGL 380. Studies in World Literature (4A)

Each version of the course will engage the student in the reading of major works in translation, including works outside what is thought of as the traditional Western canon. Recent offerings have included New Testament Narrative; Modernism and the Noh; Postcolonial Literature; Mythology and Literature; The Tale of Genji; Tolstoy’s War and Peace; and Asian Literature. Prerequisite: ENGL 281, 282, 283, or permission of the instructor.

ENGL 390. Topics in Literature (4A)

This course will provide an introduction to broad thematic areas of literary study that cross historical, national, and disciplinary boundaries. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included Contemporary Multicultural Voices; American Film; Poetry in the Contemporary U.S.; Victorians in Text and Film; Adolescence and Film; Landscape and Literature; and American Comedy. Prerequisite: ENGL 281, 282, 283, or permission of the instructor.

ENGL 395. Topics in Writing (4E)

Designed to help students deepen their understanding of writing and develop distinctive writing voices, this course will enable students to explore the types of writing in which they are particularly interested. Various offerings of this course will help students develop skills in scholarly and expository writing, journalism, cultural journalism, fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, autobiographical writing, feature writing, peer tutoring, or the teaching of writing. Prerequisite: one 200-level writing course or the permission of the instructor.

400-LEVEL ENGLISH COURSES

These courses are usually conducted as seminars with students and professors sharing the responsibility to prepare and present materials. These courses will build on the knowledge and skills acquired in 300-level classes, allowing students to read widely and deeply in a more specialized area of study and to write using more sophisticated research and theoretical techniques. Students may be asked to turn their attention to a highly focused topic, such as the study of an individual author or a particular decade; or they may be asked to broaden their approach and concentrate on a theme, genre, or idea as it is manifested in several historical periods or across national boundaries. The writing projects will generally involve considerable research outside of the texts read in class. Prerequisites for all 400-level courses: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or the permission of the instructor. These courses may be repeated for credit if the topic or focus changes significantly.

ENGL 400. Studies in Genre (4A)

This course will engage students in exploring the conventions and forms of expression integral to one or more genres, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction prose, drama, and film. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but recent offerings have included The Female Coming-of-Age Novel and Film Genres. Prerequisites: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or permission of instructor.

ENGL 410. Studies in Authors (4A)

This course will provide the opportunity for advanced study in the work of a selected author or authors, or a “school” of authors such as the Beat Poets. Recent offerings have included Mark Twain; the Godwins and Shelleys; Dante; Staging Shakespeare; Milton; and Jane Austen. Prerequisite: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or permission of instructor.

ENGL 420. Studies in Theory (4A)

This class will expose students to the advanced study of literary theory. The focus may be on a historical survey or on interpretative strategies such as classical poetics, New Criticism, psychoanalytic interpretation, reader-response, feminist criticism, cultural studies, new historicism, ecocriticism, or rhetorical theory. Recent topics have included Rhetoric and Poetics; Parody and Intertextuality; and The Invention of “Modern” Rhetoric: Richards, Burke, and Perleman. Prerequisite: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or permission of instructor.

ENGL 430. Special Topics in Literature (4A)

Topics and authors will vary each time the course is taught. Recent offerings have included Scream & Shout! American Literature and Music as Social Protest; Books that Cook; Race Passing Narratives; and AngloIndia/IndoAnglia. Prerequisite: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or permission of instructor.

ENGL 493/494. St. Mary’s Project (1-8E)

The St. Mary’s Project in English is designed for students with a definite, large-scale, independent project they wish to accomplish primarily on their own. It is ideal for students who have consistently developed particular interests, who desire to prepare for graduate study or a particular profession such as journalism, or who are ready to take on a substantial creative-writing task. The project draws on and extends knowledge, analytical skills, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. By the end of his or her junior year, the student should initiate the project, identify an area to be explored, propose a method of inquiry and/or process of work appropriate to the project, and, in consultation with the English faculty, determine a mentor who will supervise the project. The project should reflect the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which it contributes. The project must have a significant English component, but it may be within this discipline, across disciplines, or in an established cross-disciplinary studies option. Supervised by an English faculty mentor, each project is subject to departmental approval. (Please see College guidelines for the St. Mary’s Project.) The project must be shared with the College community through a public presentation of some kind. Prerequisite: Senior standing, approval by faculty mentor and by the English Department. Consult faculty mentor for project guidelines.

ENGL 197, 297, 397, 497. Guided Readings (1-2E)

Coherently organized readings under the guidance of an English faculty member in an area of special interest to the student. A reading list and means of evaluation must be formalized in a learning contract prior to registration. Prerequisites: At least eight credit-hours in English.

ENGL 398, 498. Off-Campus Internship (4-16E)

A variety of off-campus experiential learning opportunities can be arranged through the director of internships. The off-campus internship is an individually designed experience that allows the student to explore the relationship between learning in the classroom and the practical application of knowledge in everyday work situations. No more than four credit-hours of internship credit may be applied for elective credit in the English major. Approval by the department chair in English for four credit-hours of credit in English is required. See the English Majors Handbook for guidelines as to which projects may count up to four credits toward the 44 credit-hours in the English major. Prerequisites: Admission to the Internship Program and approval of the English faculty. (See “Internships” under “Academic Policies” section.) Credit/No credit grading.

ENGL 199, 299, 399, 499. Independent Study (1-4E)

This course consists of an independent creative or research project designed by the student and supervised by an English faculty member. The nature of the project, the schedule for accomplishment, and the means of evaluation must be formalized prior to registration in a learning contract. (See “Independent Study” under “Academic Policies” section.) Prerequisites: At least eight credit-hours in English, exclusive of ENGL 102.