300-Level Courses

ENG 301: Advanced Composition

Prerequisites: ENG 101 and 212 or permission. Satisfies the general education Writing Intensive requirement.

Satisfies the following English major requirement(s): 200-level literature course

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2015, Burnes)

A seminar that combines writing practice with the study of composition theory, helping students to gain command of a range of academic styles.

(Fall 2014, Burnes)

(Fall 2013, Burnes)

This course will address what people usually mean by the word “grammar.” Grammar itself, the study of those largely unconscious structures of language that native speakers share, we will not consider.  We will look instead at beliefs about usage and mechanics, matters of linguistic etiquette necessarily observed by those wanting to establish themselves as members of particular discourse communities. Our approach will be historic and pragmatic. We will contextualize written reports of the purported illiteracy of school children. We will also enact and examine in significant detail the language practices and usage standards of discourse communities students find themselves in and expect to enter. Students will compose weekly responses and two longer projects. Those who commit themselves to the practices of the course can expect to develop increased facility with the conventions of academic discourse and increased awareness and appreciation of the conventions of other discourse communities. Final grade to be based on a portfolio of work composed throughout the semester and of the writer’s reflections on that work. 

Required texts: Any standard handbook, Martha’s Kolln’s  text on rhetorical grammar, articles on the social contexts of literacy by theorists such as Shirley Brice Heath, James Paul Gee, Roz Ivanic, and Joseph Williams.

(Fall 2012, Burnes)


ENG 307: Writing Fiction

Prerequisites: ENG 205 or 206 and permission of the instructor. Submission of writing sample required. Satisfies the general education Writing Intensive requirement.

Satisfies the following English major requirement(s): May count towards the Creative Writing concentration; please check with your advisor

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016, Howard)

This course introduces you to the critical problems, questions, theories, and practices of fiction writing.   A challenging class that includes considerable amounts of reading and writing, it is designed to deepen your involvement with the practice and craft of writing fiction. We will discuss the different components of fiction—character, plot, narrative, evocation, and more than anything else, the sentence as the basic “stuff” of fiction. You will be asked to think about how things happen in fiction, to analyze technique, and to discuss effects. We will discuss the responsibilities of fiction and possibilities of form. In short, you will be encouraged and expected to work outside of familiar genres (fantasy, horror, sci-fi, YA, romance, and so on) and outside your comfort zone.

(Spring 2016, Howard)

(Fall 2015, Kress)

Requirements:

Each student will produce a final portfolio of at least twenty pages of revised fiction.  The portfolio can contain all original work, all work from the in-class experiments, or a combination of the two.  In any case, it’s imperative that you get feedback both from me and the rest of the class on your work before you hand in your portfolio.  There will be some in-class workshops during the semester, but you should also make sure that you visit me regularly during office hours to get one-on-one critiques.

Also in terms of outside work/participation, you’re required to attend two live fiction readings and write a one-page critique of each.  Since there will be at least two visiting fiction writers to our own New Writing Series during the spring semester, it will be fairly easy to accomplish this.

(Spring 2015, Kress)

(Fall 2014, Howard)

(Spring 2014, Howard)

(Fall 2013, Kress)

ENG 307  is designed is introduce students to the craft of writing fiction by attending to its formal components and engaging in the critical conversations about what good fiction is and what it can and should do.  To that end we will be reading extensively and writing intensely. We will be read a variety of work. You will be asked to think about how things happen in fiction, to analyze technique, and discuss effects. We will discuss the possibilities of fiction and responsibilities of form and experiment with the components of fiction, from plot and narrative to character and point of view  to description and the prose line.

(Spring 2013, Kress)

This course introduces you to the critical problems, questions, theories, and practices of fiction writing.  A challenging class that includes considerable amounts of reading and writing, it will allow you to more effectively “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” in the world of fiction.  Approximately half the workload will be reading:  both the theory of fiction and creative work by other authors.  The other half, of course, will be writing:  both directed writing experiments as well as your original work.  This course introduces you to the critical problems, questions, theories, and practices of fiction writing.  A challenging class that includes considerable amounts of reading and writing, it will allow you to more effectively “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” in the world of fiction.  Approximately half the workload will be reading:  both the theory of fiction and creative work by other authors.  The other half, of course, will be writing:  both directed writing experiments as well as your original work.

Required Texts:

Michael Hoffman and Patrick Murphy, editors, Essentials of the Theory of Fiction

Ben Marcus (ed.), The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories

(Fall 2012, Howard)


ENG 308: Writing Poetry

Prerequisites: ENG 205 or 206 or 307 or permission. Satisfies the general education Writing Intensive requirement.

Satisfies the following English major requirement(s): May count towards the Creative Writing concentration; please check with your advisor.

Recent offerings:

(Spring 2016, Norris)

A course in the writing of poetry, for students of demonstrated ability.

(Spring 2015, Ellis)

An intermediate level course for creative writing students who want to refine their craft in poetry, explore a range of modern and contemporary poetry, and develop an artistic practice through written exercises, discussion, and participation in the workshop process.

Required Texts:

Hoover, Paul, ed. Postmodern American Poetry (New York: Norton, latest edition).

Several shorter volumes by contemporary writers TBA.

Handouts as needed.

(Spring 2014, Moxley)

An intermediate workshop in the writing of poetry. In English 222 students learn the basic vocabulary and skills needed to be astute readers of poetry. In this course we shall learn the basic skills needed to write poetry. We shall do a variety of experiments with forms both traditional and free. We will also study excellent examples by established poets in order to better hone our craft.

Required Texts:

The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms edited by Ron Padgett

Evaluation:

Letter grade based on quality and improvement of poems, earnest participation in workshop critiques, attendance, and civility.

(Spring 2013, Moxley)


ENG 309: Writing Creative Nonfiction

Prerequisite: ENG 205 or 206 or 212 or permission of the instructor. Satisfies the general education Artistic & Creative Expression and Writing Intensive requirements.

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016, Irvine)

Sometimes called “The Fourth Genre,” creative non-fiction uses the strategies of fiction (plot, dialog, characters, etc.) in writing about factual subjects: autobiography, biography, travel, science/nature, cultural issues, current events. We’ll read creative non-fiction and also write it.

(Fall 2015)

An intermediate course in such forms of creative nonfiction as memoir, travel literature, autobiography and personal essays.

(Spring 2015, Rolland)

This cross-listed version of ENG 309 is the same CMJ 391.

(Fall 2014, Irvine)

All creative non‐fiction has its basis in narration, whether writers are telling factual stories about their own experiences or about sports, politics, culture, the arts, science, etc.

In this class, we’ll read short pieces of creative non‐fiction and also see two or three non‐fiction films. The heart of the course, however, is the students’ own writing (four full‐length essays, six short narrative scenes), which they will share with their classmates in a workshop fashion.

(Fall 2013, Irvine)


ENG 315: Research Writing in the Disciplines (Dryer)

Prerequisite(s): Junior standing and a declared major. Satisfies the following general education requirement(s): Writing Intensive.

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016)

This is an in-depth exploration of the genre of the academic peer-reviewed research article that will establish a strong foundation for students’ future writing in their disciplines, especially those intending to pursue postgraduate study or applied research.  Using a range of research articles from different disciplines, as well as other texts, class discussion, and in- and out-of-class assignments, the course strengthens students’ analytical reading and synthetic writing skills during the preparation of a research article relevant to and in the style of their chosen field.

Students will gain an awareness of some of the differences in audience, approach, authority, and research methods relevant to different disciplines and an understanding of how the genre conventions of the peer-reviewed academic research article contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the disciplines.

(Spring 2016)

(Fall 2015)

(Spring 2015)

(Fall 2014)

(Spring 2014)

ENG 315 and ENG 201 are similar in their scope in some ways, but there are important differences.  A comparison of the two courses’ characteristics has been prepared to help you decide between one course versus the other.


ENG 317: Business & Technical Writing

Prerequisite(s): ENG 101 or equivalent; juniors and seniors in declared majors only. Satisfies the general education Writing Intensive requirement.

Satisfies the following English major requirement(s): May count towards the Technical/Professional Writing concentration; please check with your advisor

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016)

This course helps prepare students to communicate effectively in the workplace. Students become familiar with the processes, forms, and styles of writing in professional environments as they work on memoranda, business correspondence, instructions, proposals, reports and similar materials. Special attention is paid to the fundamental skills of problem-solving and analyzing and responding to purpose and audience. Some sections may be taught in a computer-equipped classroom and some may incorporate electronic communication, such as FirstClass

(Spring 2016)

(Fall 2015)

(Spring 2015)

(Fall 2014)

(Spring 2014)

(Fall 2013)

(Spring 2013)


ENG 336: Canadian Literature (Norris)

Prerequisite: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

Ethics and Writing Intensive

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2015)

An intensive study of a major Canadian writer or small group of Canadian writers, or an examination of a major theme in Canadian literature.  Specific topic varies from semester to semester.  This reading-intensive course is designed to teach students about Canadian literature while giving them the opportunity to practice their reading and research skills in order to better prepare them for work in advanced seminars.


ENG 341: Colonial & Early National-American Literature (Lukens)

Prerequisites: 6 hours of literature (ENG 170 and ENG 222 highly recommended) or instructor permission.

Satisfies the General Education requirements in Ethics and Western Cultural Tradition.

Satisfies the following English major requirement(s): 300-400 level literature course

Satisfies the capstone requirement for the Analytical Writing concentration. Please refer to ENG 499: Capstone Experience in English.

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2014)

The literatures of colonial America began almost immediately after contact between Europeans and Native Americans in the fifteenth century, disseminated in multiple languages across Europe. These earliest writings were advertisements for empire: tales of adventure, catalogues of wonders, justifications and warnings. By the seventeenth century, new immigrants and American-born settlers were creating a local literature for local consumption, including the great devotional works of the New England Puritans and the first examples of that long-lived American genre, the captivity narrative. This colonial period culminated in the eighteenth century’s American Enlightenment, which gave rise to the Revolution, and was soon followed by the first stirrings of literary nationalism in the early republic. Encompassing three hundred years of history and an international range of authors, this introductory course may include works translated into English and taking such representative forms as the memoir, travel narrative, sermon, and political tract, as well as the more expected literary genres of poetry, fiction, and drama. A reading-intensive course, it is designed to teach students about a crucial epoch in world history and American literature while creating an opportunity for students to practice reading and research skills in order to better prepare them for work in advanced seminars.

Special emphasis in this semester on documents about the creation of Anglo-European colonial—political and cultural—strongholds in the “New World.”  Examination of what the original documents show in comparison to familiar national/cultural myths of the United States.

Required text:

Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vols A & B


ENG 342: Native American Literature (Lukens)

General Education Requirements: Western Cultural Tradition and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives.

Prerequisites: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission.

Recent offerings:

(Spring 2016)

Surveys literature by Native American authors from a wide range of tribal backgrounds and culture areas.  Considers the development of written traditions over time in relation to oral genres, traditional themes and story forms, and situates writing by Native American people in the context of historical and socio-political events and trends in Turtle Island (North America).  Provides the opportunity to reconsider stories of colonization and the Anglo-American culture/nation in the light of indigenous perspectives and experience.  This reading-intensive course is designed to teach you about the history of Native American writing in English, while giving you the opportunity to practice your reading and research skills in order to prepare you for work in advanced seminars.

Required text may include:

A Son of the Forest and Other Writings, William Apess (Pequot) (ed. Barry OíConnell)

American Indian Stories, Legends, and other writings, Zitkala-Sa (Dakota) 2003 edition

Ceremony, Leslie Silko (Laguna Pueblo) 2006 anniversary edition

Life Among the Piutes, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (Northern Paiute)

Love Medicine, (Newly Revised 2009 edition) Louise Erdrich (Anishinaabe)

The Rez Sisters, Tomson Highway (Cree)

or a play by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. (Assiniboine)

Red on Red, Craig Womack (Muscogee)

poems by Joy Harjo (Muscogee)

A Sermon on the Death of Moses Paul, Samson Occom

Personal Narrative, Samson Occom


ENG 343: Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Friedlander)

Prerequisites: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

Satisfies the following general education requirement(s): Western Cultural Tradition

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016)

An introduction to American literature and culture of the nineteenth century, a period of unprecedented violence, vision, and change encompassing some of the most storied names in poetry and prose. Because the historical events and social turmoil of the century is so crucial for an understanding of its greatest authors, the course may include writers and thinkers whose primary significance is not literary-men and women who witnessed or acted in the great events of the age. This reading-intensive course is designed to teach students about a rich, exciting epoch in literary history while giving them the opportunity to practice their reading and research skills in order to better prepare them for work in advanced seminars.


ENG 353: Shakespeare & English Renaissance

Prerequisites: 6 hours of literature (ENG 170 and ENG 222 highly recommended) or instructor permission.

Satisfies the General Education requirements in Ethics and Western Cultural Tradition.

Satisfies the following English major requirement(s): 300-400 level literature course; pre-1800 requirement;

British literature requirement.

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2014, Brinkley)


ENG 355: 18th-Century Fiction, Satire, and Poetry (Rogers)

Prerequisites: 6 hours of literature (ENG 170 and ENG 222 highly recommended) or instructor permission.

English major requirements:  Satisfies both the 300/400-level British literature requirement and the pre-1800 requirement.

Gen Ed requirements:  Satisfies Ethics and Western Cultural Tradition

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2015)

From sentiment to sadism, astounding change ignited the Restoration and eighteenth century, making this period a watershed that marks the transition from Renaissance to Modern.  This reading-intensive class will consider literature against the background of this historical change, inheritance, and influence. Works by Pope, Behn, Cavendish, Finch, Congreve, Dryden, Swift, Defoe, Richardson, Johnson, and Radcliffe, among others.  The focus on reading and research skills will prepare students for work in advanced seminars.


ENG 357: 19th Century British Literature (Jacobs)

General Education Requirements: Satisfies the Western Cultural Tradition General Education Requirement

Prerequisites: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

Course Typically Offered: Spring, Even Years – Credits: 3

Recent offerings: 

This reading intensive course introduces Nineteenth-century British literature in the context of larger political, technological, cultural, and social changes: The expanding publishing market, the growing influence of a literate middle-class, industrialization, urbanization, global capitalism and modern warfare, Britain’s imperial power. Because of the sheer variety of works and genres, emphasis will vary from instructor to instructor, but along with well-known writers like Wordsworth, Austen, or Dickens, students will be introduced to lesser-known authors, popular and influential in their day but too often forgotten since. This course provides students with the opportunity to practice reading and research skills and prepares students for work in advanced seminars.


ENG 361:  Modernism (Cowan)

Prerequisites: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

Satisfies the following general education requirement(s): Western Cultural Tradition

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016)

An introduction to Modernism, the revolution in literature and culture that took place during the end of the Nineteenth Century and the first half of the Twentieth Century. Because Modernism was an international movement expressed in multiple genres, this introductory course may include writers and artists from around the world working in poetry, prose, drama, and film. This reading-intensive course is designed to teach students about a crucial period in literary history while giving them the opportunity to practice their reading and research skills in order to better prepare them for work in advanced seminars.

ENG 361 is part of the English Department’s 300-level sequence in literature.  It is designed to acquaint students with the concept of modernism and some of its texts.  This semester we’ll be focusing on fiction, poetry, and essays by Irish, English, Scottish, Polish, and American modernist authors.  We will be studying the evolution of modernism from symbolism, decadence, and realism at the end of the nineteenth century through the height of modernism and into the 1930’s.

Required Texts (available at UMaine Bookstore; any edition of a work is acceptable):

W. B. Yeats, Early Poems (Dover)

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

James Joyce, Dubliners

William Faulkner, The Big Woods

Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier

H.D., Selected Poems

T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland and Other Poems

Zora Neale Hurston, The Complete Stories

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


ENG 363: Literature of the Postmodern Period (Howard)

Prerequisite: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

Satisfies: Western Cultural Tradition

Recent offerings: 

(Spring 2015)

An introduction to literature of the postmodern period, roughly defined as 1945-1989.  To call the historical-literary period and writing styles that emerged after WWII “postmodern” can spark a lively argument.  But, whatever your position, the fact remains that during these extraordinary time poets, playwrights, and novelists responded to a world changed by WWII in intelligent and challenging ways.  Continuing modernist-period fluidity across national borders as well as genres, this reading-intensive course may include writers from around the world working in poetry, prose, and drama.  It is designed to teach students about a crucial period in recent literary history while giving them the opportunity to practice their reading and research skills in order to better prepare them for work in advanced seminars.  For more details, see course descriptions on the English Department website


ENG 364: Contemporary Literature (Evans)

Credits: 3; Prerequisites: 6 hours of English beyond 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222)

Recent offerings:

(Spring 2016)

An introduction to literature after 1989 and up to the present. Studying the living tradition can be incredibly exciting. From writers working in our moment we can gain a unique perspective on our world, which may help us to develop a nuanced reading of the broader culture we both consume and participate in. Because contemporary literature often defies easy genre distinctions, and sometimes even the conventional idea of the book, this course may include multiple genres and cross-genre forms, and a variety of media, from sound files to digital literature. This reading-intensive course is designed to teach students about literature emerging in our time while giving them the opportunity to practice their reading and research skills in order to better prepare them for work in advanced seminars.

This semester we will be focusing on the work of writers in a variety of genres and styles who have visited the University of Maine as part of the New Writing Series since its inception in 1999. We will focus on works that were published after 1989, but will sample from the careers of writers who made their start before and after that eventful year. We will pay special attention to the ways in which the emergence of digital culture began to transform the horizon of literary practices from the early 1990s forward. In addition to reading widely, students will actively participate in the New Writing Series events programmed for the semester, where they will be able to test out their ideas and judgments in face-to-face dialogue with living writers.

Textbook title(s) and other required course materials:

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media

Paul Hoover, ed. Postmodern American Poetry, 2nd Ed.

A New Writing Series Reader (course packet)


ENG 371: Readings in Literary Theory and Criticism

Prerequisite: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

This reading-intensive course will acquaint you with a wider range of theoretical and critical texts, concepts, and perspectives than are typically covered in core requirement classes such as English 170 and English 271 (both of which are strongly recommended). Emphasis is given to theories of signification (semiotics), representation (mimesis), and interpretation (hermeneutics) that have informed the practice of literary analysis from antiquity on. The course also provides you with the opportunity to practice your reading and research skills in order to better prepare you for work in advanced seminars such as English 470.

Recent offerings:

The “Politics” of/in Alterity (Spring 2015, Kress)

During the second half of the twentieth century, the term identity politics came to signify a veritable battleground of clashing ideologies as often-ignored and disdained “identities” fought for recognition and acceptance—in short, for power.  Because of this, “the other” became the focus for all sorts of social contention and encompassed identity centered issues as “different” as gay rights, feminism, the men’s movement, racial politics, disability rights, etc.  As literary theorist Jeffery Nealon wrote in the introduction to his Alterity Politics, “These days, it seems that everybody loves ‘the other’.”

But as Nealon points out, that “etc.” at the end of my short list above points to and points out the failure of identity politics, since it remains, always, as an “embarrassing” mark of the incompleteness of any “other.”  So, taking Nealon’s claim as a starting point, this semester in English 371 we will examine, explore, and read heavily in theories identity, difference, and alterity—and perhaps determine whether or not we even understand “the other” let alone love it.  

To get us up to speed theoretically, we will spend the first three weeks of the semester on an overview of the critical and theoretical landscape of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, trying to come to terms with theoretical positions on identify, authority, difference, history, ideology, and agency.  In the second part of the semester, we will focus specifically on the question and problem of alterity.  Using Nealon’s book as our central text, we will read extensively outwards from it, tracking down the ideas, theories, and disputes that inform it.

In the end, the course will try to make the case for two related points:  (1) that far from being an abstract pursuit, literary theory matters in our current world, and (2) that alterity rather than identity may form the basis of an ethical response to our world.

Note.  ENG 371 requires a significant amount of reading—reading that is, at times, quite difficult.  But there is also a distinct pleasure, joy, and even good humor in these texts—a heady cocktail, to say the least!

Required Texts:

Two books on theory and one novel are required for the course.  I will supply pdfs for additional readings, which you will be responsible for printing out and bringing to class.

Jeffrey Nealon, The Theory Toolbox

——————, Alterity Politics

Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo


ENG 381: Themes in Literature

Prerequisites: 6 credits beyond ENG 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

Satisfies the following general education requirement(s): Western Cultural Tradition

Recent offerings:

Women Writing in the American West (Fall 2016, Jacobs)

The settling of the American West is generally treated in popular culture (film, fiction, and television) as a world of “violence and masculine courage,” to quote Jane Tompkins’ West of Everything.  In the dominant versions of the national myth, women are generally relegated to minor roles as spectators, clinging wives, or sassy saloon girls. This course will explore the theme of the west and/or the genre of the western through readings women writers who engage and challenge this myth.

Sample Reading List:

A captivity narrative from the Colonial period

Selections from pioneer women’s diaries and letters

Isabella Bird, selections from A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879)

Sarah Winnemucca, Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883)

Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (1884)

Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain (1903)

Willa Cather, O Pioneers (1913) or My Antonia (1918)

Margaret Atwood, The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970 book of poems)

Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams (1990)

Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1997)

Film:  The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

Romanticism & Aestheticism (Fall 2015, Neiman)

In 1833, John Stuart Mill famously portrayed the ideal poet as turning away from all outside influences (such as the literary market and politics). Mill modeled his ideal on two near contemporaries, William Wordsworth (who was middle-aged by this time) and Percy Shelley (who died young, in 1822). Mill’s ideal poet came to be synonymous with the movement later called “British Romanticism,” a period generally defined as beginning around 1790, with the French Revolution, and culminating in the 1820s.

This course defines Romanticism broadly, in order to discern the ways in which Romantic aesthetics and politics influence the work of male and female writers (note that this approach opens up the study of Romanticism from primarily poetry to a mix of poetry and prose). In the second half of the semester, we will turn our focus to the ways in which Romanticism influenced Victorian writers, most of whom remained preoccupied with the Romantics’ emphasis on the self, memory, and imagination. Some writers rejected Romantic poetics—and others embraced it—and we will track how Romanticism influences the work of two seemingly opposite literary movements of the late-nineteenth century:  aestheticism (and writers who gloried in the concept of “art for art’s sake”) and New Woman fiction (writers who used novels to bring forward new ideas about women’s role in larger society).

Black Mountain College–Democracy, Art & Education (Spring 2015, Evans)

Black Mountain College was founded in 1933 by a renegade band of faculty and students whose aim was to reinvent the experience of education in modern America. Inspired by the principles articulated by John Dewey in Democracy and Education  (1916), the members of the Black Mountain community sought to transform themselves and one another through interactive learning that placed the arts and humanities at the heart of an ever-evolving curriculum.

In this course, we will retrace the history of the college from its founding in the depths of the Great Depression, with authoritarianism on the rise abroad and at home, through a twenty-four year history that included a celebrated summer arts program, pioneering attempts at sustainable agriculture and community-constructed architecture (including the first geodesic dome), and a fiercely argued—and dramatically lived—debate about which forms of education best answer to the needs of a truly democratic society.

We’ll take our initial bearings from two classic accounts of the college—Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community by Martin Duberman and The Arts at Black Mountain College  by Mary Emma Harris—and then read, look at, and listen to a wide variety of texts, artworks, and musical compositions by figures such as Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Charles Olson, Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others.

Throughout the semester we will host guest speakers from on campus and around the country for class visits. And from the start, students will be encouraged to pursue research and creative activities growing out of their most pressing questions about their own education. As the University of Maine celebrates its 150th anniversary in the midst of a state- and nation-wide crisis in higher education, we will have ample opportunity to reflect on the relevance of the Black Mountain College experience to our own moment’s urgent challenges.

Additional courses on Black Mountain are planned for Fall 2015, when a major new art exhibition on the subject opens at the ICA Boston. Students who take this course will have the option of continuing their explorations in the fall.


ENG 382: Major Genres Historical Period

Prerequisites: 6 hours of English beyond 101 (ENG 170 and ENG 222 recommended) or instructor permission

General Education requirements satisfied: Western Cultural Tradition

Tragedy, comedy, lyric, novel, play or film: these are just a few of the divisions, called “genres” that we use to distinguish one kind of literary art from another. Continuing and deepening the work begun in 170 and/or 222, Major Genres in Historical Perspectives is a reading-intensive course on the thematic and technical developments of one specific genre within a broader cultural and historical framework. This theoretical approach to genre studies will allow students to spend more time reading in a genre they love, while giving them the opportunity to practice their research skills in preparation for work in advanced seminars.

Recent offerings:

Viking Sagas (Fall 2016, Harlan-Haughey)

The word “saga” was originally a Norse word. Viking sagas which describe the explorations and exploits of these early adventurers inform later British literature. The University of Maine Humanities Center will be hosting a series of programs about sagas of all kinds on the 2016-17 academic year. Students in this class will profit from campus visits of prominent literary scholars and historians.

Camden Film Festival (Fall 2016, Brinkley & Grillo & Scott)

Taught by faculty members from the Departments of Art, English, and New Media, the course explores the nature of documentaries as agents for effective cultural understanding and social engagement.  Students will learn the critical language of film and video in two Saturday classes, so that they then can actively participate in the four-day Camden International Film Festival as savvy viewers and knowledgeable contributors to discussions in special sessions with filmmakers and producers, public discussions, and continuing class sessions.  The course will engage students in comprehensive dialogues, complemented by study in specific disciplinary tracks, including film studies, new media, creative and critical writing, cultural studies, and social activism, within which they will develop focused research projects over the ensuing month. Students will engage in research projects that they develop over the course of the semester on the basis of their learning at the festival.  Research projects can take form in a variety of media, including documentary films, sound works, poetic documentaries, and analytical papers, etc.

The Lyric (Spring 2016, Moxley)


ENG 395: English Internship

Prerequisites: ENG 101 or equivalent and at least one other writing intensive course, a recommendation from a faculty member, submission of writing sample and permission. Satisfies the general education Writing Intensive requirement.

Capstone Note:  After successful completion of this course, students may tutor in the Writing Center the following semester to fulfill their capstone requirement for the Literary/Critical Writing concentration.  Please refer to ENG 499: Capstone Experience in English.

Recent offerings:

(Fall 2016, Mitchell)

An advanced course in writing and collaborative learning. Students first experience collaborative work in essay writing, critical reading of peers’ essays, and rigorous practice in written and oral criticism. They participate in supervised tutoring in the English Department’s writing center.

(Fall 2015, Mitchell)

(Fall 2014)

(Fall 2013, Kail)

(Fall 2012, Kail)