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First Year English Courses

Read about the standard sequence of courses you will take in First Year English at USCB, and read about our enhanced sequence. Keep on reading to see section descriptions, written by the instructors who will teach sections of these courses for Spring 2016.


Standard First Year English Sequence

ENGL 101 - Composition (3 credit hours). An introduction to university-level writing, emphasizing critical thinking and the analysis, evaluation, and construction of arguments. Students will learn how to formulate a thesis, structure paragraphs, organize complex ideas, find and evaluate information, and write a research paper. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in ENGL 101 in order to take ENGL 102.

ENGL 102 - Composition and Literature (3). An introduction to literature that includes the writing of expository and critical essays, including a research paper. (Prerequisite: ENGL B101 or B105, with a grade of C or higher.)


Enhanced First Year English Sequence

Our Enhanced sequence is recommended for English majors, humanities majors, and all word-lovers. Students who want this unique experience may substitute ENGL 105 for ENGL 101, and may substitute ENGL 106 for ENGL 102. Students wishing to join ENGL 106 after successfully completing ENGL 101 may take ENGL 106 instead of ENGL 102.

ENGL 105 – Enhanced Composition (3). For English majors, humanities majors, and all word-lovers: an enhanced version of ENGL B101. An introduction to genres of writing, including (but not limited to) researched arguments.

ENGL 106 – Enhanced Composition and Literature (3). For English majors, humanities majors, and all word-lovers: an enhanced version of ENGL B102. An introduction to literary interpretation and the writing of researched arguments about literature. (Prerequisite: ENGL B101 or B105 with a grade of 'C' or higher).


Section Descriptions for Spring 2017

Look for the instructor's name below to learn more about his or her section of the course. Consult the schedule at Self Service Carolina to find out when the instructor's course will be taught. More Coming soon!

ENGL 101: Composition

ENGL 102: Composition and Literature

  • Barnes: More Perfect Worlds. We are concerned with texts that envision or long for a more perfect world. Specifically, for these sections of ENGL B102, we are considering the topic of utopian literature—with all its hopes and fears for the future—and how that literature can relate to ways we understand race, gender, and class in the U.S. We will be driven by a variety of questions around these themes: to what extent is the United States of America itself a utopian project? to what extent are America's most hopeful visions for the future tied up in sixteenth-century concepts of race, gender, and class? how and why do these questions illuminate other urgent conversations we find ourselves having in 2017—a cultural moment when the 99% are speaking up and the New Civil Rights Movement is, to quote #blacklivesmatter, calling for "resistance and resilience"?

    As we'll see, the project of reading for "more perfect worlds" requires us to develop open-minded and seemingly conflicting perspectives. We'll flicker from the innermost reaches of poets' souls, and the outermost orbits of planets and moons that they circumscribe, to some pretty mundane and sometimes ugly details from our day-to-day lives. In this spirit, we'll move from recipes to tennis stats; from Columbus to Icarus; from a Mid-Atlantic sermon by John Winthrop to a historic speech by Barack Obama; from Lorraine Hansberry's portrait of Civil Rights Chicago to Claudia Rankine's snapshot of Jim Crow Road; from a kitchen table in Harlem to a kitchenette building in Chicago; from Afrofuturist celebrities to Star Wars and galaxies far, far away; and from the intergalactic to a lyric search for down-to-earth "utopias"—inspired, it seems, by a label on a bottle. Because this course is about the pleasures that language affords us, we'll also move from words to parts of words. In the first two weeks, we'll think about Emily Dickinson's meditation on "Hope," John Lennon's on "Imagine," and the meaning of "Dream" according to Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. We'll dilate, then, over a prefix to a word—the "u" in "utopia"—a single syllable that exaggerates the ways wordplay has long presented utopian possibilities to us, even in less-than-perfect worlds. What if "u" comes from a Greek root "οὐ" meaning "not"? What if "u" comes from a Greek root "εὖ" meaning "good"? How can this nerdy kerfuffle over "utopia" = "not/good" + "place" shape our visions for American futures? While we'll start by wandering across literary time and space, three black women writers—Lorraine Hansberry, Nikki Giovanni, Claudia Rankine—will focus our studies of "more perfect worlds" by midpoint.

    Our Utopian project will inspire us to read against the grain and outside the box. We aren't in Kansas, anymore, Toto, and we aren't reading our grandmas' ideas of what Literature is. We are reading books in which poetry and prose and drama interface and intermingle and inform one another. We'll move briskly from classic texts and tweets, poems and music videos, to the minutiae in our day-to-day lives. As we progress from the first to the second and third units, our writing projects will ask us to articulate what these "more perfect worlds" mean, how they help us to think about other people in ways that are often hard to spell out in words, and why it matters for us to do so. In fact, our most important work will be to translate the ways we're reading literature to the ways we're reading the world around us. For this reason, our culminating research paper and remediation project will challenge us to represent our own arguments for "more perfect worlds" beyond the typed page. Your goal will be imagining and making utopias—or hopes and dreams and tastes of utopias—for real. In the meantime, we'll devote lots and lots of energy to studying texts; developing our collective analytical compass as we hone close reading skills; drafting, editing, and peer reviewing essays; and learning to do good research. Throughout our course, you'll build your skills and confidence in reading and writing complex texts. We'll do a lot of reading and a lot of writing, and as we workshop your project series, your job is to be a participant in both your own and your classmates' success.
  • Duffy. This course will introduce students to poetry and prose using BASEBALL as our theme. We will study the tools and methods used in writing fiction and poetry, and students will learn the methods of critically writing about poetry, literature, film, and drama. While looking at how the literature and poetry of baseball reflected movements in the 20th Century, like civil rights and economics. Students will be introduced to the vernacular and mechanics of the game commonly known as America's Pastime, learning to keep and interpret a scorecard, and understanding the fundamentals of the game to help with an appreciation of the literature. Additionally, some Shakespeare will also be assigned, which really won't have anything to do with baseball, but it will be some fun reading. A promise: the class will work to avoid using baseball puns…there will be no "hitting a home run" or "striking out" with assignments. Text: Baseball's Best Short Stories, Paul D. Staudohar, ed. ISBN 13: 978-1-61374-376-8.
  • Hoffer: Metamorphosis and Identity in the Fantastic. Whether it's Avengers or Hobbits, the latest vampire love triangle or a very famous boy wizard—stories about fantastical characters have flooded our pop culture for the past several decades. However, this genre has been around much longer than Star Wars and Game of Thrones. In this course, we will study literature as an art form as well as further hone our critical thinking, reading and writing skills by exploring some notable examples of fantasy and science-fiction from literary history. As we encounter selected poems from the Renaissance to the present, a play by Shakespeare, and two thrilling nineteenth-century stories, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Time Machine, we will take the concept of transformation common to these texts as our organizing principle. Whether it be bodily mutation or changes in a character's selfhood, metamorphosis and identity are as central to classic fantastic narratives as they are to the lives of college students today! As we study the three principal forms of literary writing—poetry, drama, and prose fiction—students will develop their analytical and argumentative capabilities through a series of critical writing and creative-collaborative projects.
  • Malphrus: Trouble Ahead. "I am a part of everything that I have read" — Theodore Roosevelt. Trouble, turnouts, and trade-offs – an introduction to Literature & Composition. These are the road signs we'll follow as we expose ourselves to junky jazz musicians (in a James Baldwin story), mad dogs biting themselves for sympathy (in a Louise Erdrich story), gods grappling with tygers (in a William Blake poem), cold and lonely Danish princes (in a Shakespeare play), runaway hams and horrors in both the night and the light of day (in a Harper Lee novel) – and we'll write about all of this and more.
  • McQuillen: Fiction and the Art of Adaptation with the Mysterious, the Fantastic, and the Horrific. This class examines the long and tumultuous relationship between fiction and its various forms of adaptation (primarily film). We will discuss the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a play by William Shakespeare, and a hodgepodge of poetry and how "faithful" the adaptations are or whether or not the adaptor needs to be concerned with fidelity at all. Moreover, exactly whose interpretation of a work of fiction do we hold up as the gold standard on which all adaptations will be based on? What are the differences inherent in these art forms and how does one transfer the elements from one to another? Should we judge each art form on its own merits, regardless of the source material? These and other questions will help guide our discussions.
  • Pate: Yeah, But Is It Literature? This class is officially called Composition and Literature. But what do we mean by that second part? Is it anything we read? Only the time-proven classics and the worthiest, loftiest contemporary works? And who decides what those are? We will investigate not only works of literature themselves but also how and why we draw the lines that define what is and isn't literature. We'll look at poems and short stories but also at graphic novels, fan fiction, and a play about Dungeons and Dragons. This class will improve your skills in deep reading, analysis, and research while also provoking questions about where and to what ends we apply those skills. We don't have to agree on what is and isn't literature; in fact, the more perspectives on that point the livelier the conversation is bound to be. At the end of the semester, you will apply your newfound skills as a critic and writer to a work of your choice that somehow pushes our course's central questions. You might look at a popular adaptation of a classic literary work, something that pushes the boundaries between literature and genre, or a work that would normally fall outside the definition of "literature" but that you think deserves serious consideration.
  • Swofford: Young Adult "Literature" and Composition. Over the past few years, Young Adult Literature (YA Lit) has become more and more popular. But what is "YA Lit"? Are young adult books really "literature"? What makes a book for young readers "literature"? Moreover, who is the audience for YA Lit, and how have changes in the audience changed the genre? This semester, we will explore all of these questions (and more!) as we examine, research, and write about YA Lit. We'll read examples of books and other texts written for young readers and attempt to determine their "literary standing." We'll examine trends in YA Lit and think about what those trends reveal about young people and our culture more generally. We'll talk and write about the role of YA Lit in classrooms, in the marketplace, and in pop culture. Expect to read novels, memoirs, poetry, and plays written for young readers, and to conduct research about these texts and their intended audiences. We'll use our discussions and explorations of the genre to guide us as we learn to write analytical and argumentative texts (both academic essays and other less "traditional" kinds of writing).