Fall 2017 courses

English Courses

I’ve moved my course hubs from private Moodle accounts to public WordPress sites. But because students don’t always want their writing “out there” in public, we often close up these sites after the course is completed.

Here are the course descriptions of some courses that I’ve recently moved to WordPress:

ENG 110A: Media & Community (Spring 2014)

From Walt Whitman’s broad embrace of American readers in the 19th century to the digital social networks of today, this course examines how various media form communities of readers and writers. We will investigate how lyric poetry creates one kind of intimacy between author and reader, how blogs establish another, and how the NBC television comedy Community builds its own cult following. Davidson College meets Greendale Community College in a course that teaches you how to read, analyze, and respond critically and creatively to various forms of print and digital media. You will write multimedia essays for online publication, even as you critically examine how digital tools foster specific kinds of communities (technical training provided).

ENG 294: The Harlem Renaissance (Spring 2014)

Read major texts of the Harlem Renaissance and explore issues of race, gender, sexuality, migration, & diaspora that shaped this formative moment in twentieth century literature. “Harlem Renaissance” is a misnomer for an international movement that spanned North and South, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. We will read poetry, fiction, essays, and plays by W. E. B. DuBois, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, and others, situating their work in the context of developments in modern art, music, sociology, psychology, and print culture.

WRI 101: Building Stories (Fall 2013)

Architecture is not a passive structure we occupy; rather, it shapes our minds and imaginations, influencing what we do and how we do it.  In this course, we’ll explore physical and virtual spaces, ranging from homes, prisons, and hospitals, to blogs, websites, and digital archives. We’ll also approach writing as a form of architecture, breaking out of the boring 5-paragraph essay blueprint into order reimagine essays as a temporary dwelling spaces for your readers to inhabit. The course itself will inhabit the digital realm: the course hub will be a website; you will learn to write for web publication, building essays that combine words and images in intelligible frames; and you will design a web-space of your own to showcase your work throughout your career at Davidson. No previous technological training needed, but creativity and critical thinking are required.

ENG 473: Picturing Texts, Making Media (Fall 2013)

This seminar explores how words and images combine to make meanings. We will study a wide range of texts, from illuminated books and graphic narratives, to digital poetry, blogs, and multimedia essays. You’ll write critical essays and create your own original texts, experimenting in both print and digital realms. The seminar is itself a hybrid form, combining word & image texts, print & digital forms, and critical & creative writing. By breaking down the boundaries between categories, the course aims to stimulate your intellectual & imaginative faculties and help you develop literacies for the digital age, including mastery of WordPress. No previous technological training required.

HUM 161: Cultures & Civilizations (Spring 2013)

Team-taught with Dr. Melissa González 

This course, as a continuation of HUM 160, builds on the readings of the previous semester and invites you to become experts on a particular text, author, topic, or field. While the first semester (HUM 160) paired a series of Western and non-Western texts, this course triangulates those pairs, introducing texts that revisit similar themes but add new twists. The fall semester culminated in a final paper; spring semester begins with a return to that paper. You will summarize your argument and post it to our course website. Then, you’ll learn how to post comments on each other’s summaries, beginning an intellectual conversation that builds on your acquired knowledge and continues through the rest of the term. In the course of the semester, you will use WordPress and Twitter to respond to the texts and to refine your ideas in conversation with others. The semester culminates in the production of an informed argument about an area of expertise you choose and develop, based on your own interests and insights. After a colloquium in which you present your work and engage in Q&A, you will have an opportunity to revise and clarify your informed arguments.

ENG 473: Modernism, Magazines, & Media (Fall 2012)

The rise of modernism in the first decades of the 20th century coincided with an explosion in magazines production: between 1885 and 1905 alone, 7500 new periodicals were established in the U. S., and thousands more in Great Britain. This seminar will explore modernism as it appeared in magazines, ranging from the avant-garde “little magazines” to the “quality” monthlies and mass-market glossies. Langston Hughes debuted in The Crisis in 1921, and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land appeared in The Dial in 1922, the same year James Joyce’s Ulysses was serialized in The Little Review (before it was censored by the Comstock commission). Willa Cather edited McCall’s, Djuna Barnes wrote for the pulps, and William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald published stories in the Saturday Evening Post. By the 1920s, modernists such as Pablo Picasso and Virginia Woolf had become celebrities, featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

This seminar is unlike any English course you’ve had at Davidson. It is a collaborative research & methods course, with readings drawn from the emerging field of modern periodical studies. You will find and choose at least half of the readings, “publish” one of your findings in whatever form or format you see fit, collaborate on a major research project, and contribute to the expansion of the web site Index of Modernist Little Magazines. In the process, you will enter the field of new digital media, learning to use WordPress, GoogleDocs, and Pinterest.