Course Descriptions

Core courses are generally offered each semester.  A selection from each Area (I, II, and III) is offered each semester, and specific Area courses are generally offered in a two-year cycle. For additional information on upcoming course offerings, please contact the graduate director.  For a complete list of course descriptions, please visit the Writing Studies course catalog, located here.

Below please find the list of the spring 2016 Writing Studies Course Offerings.

Mondays 6:30-9:15 p.m.
ENG 679 Special Topics: Writers at Work (Area III: Professional Writing)
Professor Tenaya Darlington
This course is designed to set your professional life as a writer in motion. Over the course of 15 weeks, you’ll meet a series of working writers from around Philadelphia who will visit our class. During these visits, you’ll have the opportunity to network with professional writers and learn about possible career paths, from public relations to publishing. Each writer’s visit will tie into a different writing assignment so that you can begin building a portfolio of professional work (likely assignments will include: a press release, a review, a book proposal, an edited manuscript, plus a professional resume and bio.) At the end, you’ll develop an online portfolio that you can use as a calling card.

Mondays 6:30-9:15 p.m.
ENG 675 Writing for Digital Platforms
Professor Jana Llewellyn

Writing for Digital Platforms is a new course that explores the changing role and style of writing in our digital age. In addition to practicing multiple genres of internet writing (journalistic writing, marketing writing, business writing, personal writing), students will develop a theme-based blog which they promote through social media. The end of the course will require an open-ended project where students submit to one or more digital publications based on their mastery of various forms of online writing.
Note: this course is cross-listed with our Professional and Liberal Studies (PLS) program – 5 seats are open to graduate students. Professor Llewellyn is a blogger for Huffington Post and the editor of the online literary journal, The First Day. She also teaches at Temple and Rowan University.

Tuesdays 6:30-9:15 p.m.
ENG 642 Style (Area II: Rhetoric & Composition)
Dr. Melissa Goldthwaite

From the words and figures of speech you choose to the sentence lengths and punctuation you use (or don't use), style is central to writing. In this course, we will study the history of style from a rhetorical perspective and then move to the work (nonfiction, fiction, and poetry) of 20th and 21st century writers to explore the use of style in contemporary writing, including your own. A discussion-based seminar with a workshop component, this course depends on a high level of preparation and participation. In addition to reading, you will write a series of short papers and conduct a semester-long project of your choice. Your project can be creative or analytical.

Wednesdays 6:30-9:15 p.m.
ENG 620 Special Topics: 21st Century Black Literary Imagination
(Area I: Writing & Culture)
Dr. Aisha Lockridge

Working in tandem, the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement sought to free Black people as a whole from the terror of white law while the leaders of the Black Arts Movement sought to free Black artists from the tyranny of white editors. The mark of their respective successes, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the significant number of Black writers holding forth a Black Aesthetic, suggested that these successes would usher in a radically different era of freedom and opportunity for all Black Americans, ultimately improving their collective quotidian experiences. Over 50 years later, African American literary critic Michelle Wright argues succinctly: “There is no progress; there is only the infinite possibilities of the present.” Taking up this challenge and resisting a purely progress narrative, we will anatomize literature and literary criticism written after 1964 identifying common themes, styles, imagery and artistic strategies emerging at the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, focusing particularly on newer areas of African American literary inquiry including: Afro-Pessimism, and Post-Soul Memoir, and Contemporary Narratives of Slavery. The question consistently framing our inquiry: How are Black writers in this era articulating concepts of freedom and citizenship as raced and gendered subjects despite the consistent pressure of monolithic ideas of Blackness and ethnic absolutism on their work? Likely primary texts will include: Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Percival Everett’s Erasure, Mat Johnson’s Loving Day, Kiese Laymon’s How to Kill Yourself and Others in America, Thylias Moss’ Slave Moth, Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Red Letter Plays, and Jay-Z’s Decoded.

Thursdays 6:30-9:15 p.m.
ENG 560 Rhetoric Then and Now (Core Class)
Fr. Tom Brennan

In Rhetoric Then and Now, we will consider the origins of rhetoric (with particular focus on the classical system as defined and influenced by the Sophists, Plato and Aristotle) and then move to the work of 20th and 21st century writers and rhetorical theorists to consider the ways classical rhetoric's concerns about persuasive practices (such as the relationship between language and knowledge and theory and practice, as well as ethical considerations, theories and practices of education, and the importance of style) have been transformed but are still very much alive today. Students will write a series of reading response papers and conduct a semester-long project (which will be workshopped by the class) exploring the relevance of rhetorical theory to their own area of interest.


Fall 2015

Summer 2015

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

Summer 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Summer 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012