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Department of English Course Descriptions

Spring 2023

Linda Russo’ ENGLISH 109 [HUM] UCORE (Section 1); MWF 10:10-11AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Play Writing (Creative Writing Now)

Description: Explore a living art form that imaginatively transforms human experiences with a few basic tools while addressing the questions: what are crucial aspects of today’s world and how can a play bring them vividly to life?


Julie Staggers; ENGLISH 365 [WRTG]; Days/Times TBA; Global

Course Theme: Writing proposals for a better world

Description: 365 [WRTG] Proposal Writing 3 Course Prerequisite: ENGLISH 101; junior standing Theory and practice in proposal writing with focus on document management, writing and editing, and submission of proposals that consider social and political dimensions to obtain funding for academic or business projects.

This class explores the role of grants and proposals in funding research and initiatives to solve real problems for people, organizations, and communities. We’ll start with some case studies, then move onto individual grant projects. Each student will research, prepare for, consider management of, and write a mock grant proposal targeting a grant program of their choice.

Materials are TBD

Bryan Fry; ENGLISH 405; MWF 3:10-4:00 pm (Week 3-11, meet Wed only); Pullman

English 405 Spring 2023 Flyer

Required Materials:

  • Amy Einsohn: The Copyeditor’s Handbook
  • Three Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner Pens (Blue, Orange, and Pink)
  • A three-ring binder

Lauren Westerfield; ENGLISH 109 [HUM] UCORE (Section 02); TTH 9:10-10:25AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Wild, Weird, Wonderful: Experimental Creative Writing

Description: English 109: Creative Writing Now [HUM] UCORE – 3 Credits

“Wild, Weird, Wonderful” will be a semester of creative experimentation, investigation, and rebellion. We will explore how and why writers and artists challenge genre expectations and attempt experiments of our own.

This is a process/discussion based, low-takes, creative arts and writing course for anyone interested in reading and writing towards new meaning and unmaking/remaking the status quo.

By reading widely, observing with curiosity, drafting boldly and without concern for correctness, asking many questions and embracing confusion, students will not only create their own genre-crossing work but gain historical, political, and sociological context for avant-garde movements in contemporary literature.

English 109 Spring 2023 Flyer

Lauren Westerfield; ENGLISH 357 (Section 01); TTH 10:35-11:50AM; Pullman

Course Theme: Understanding the Publishing Ecosystem: Issues, Themes, Skills & Applications

Description: This course is designed to introduce you to the world of literary and popular editing & publishing via research, practical experience, and interaction with industry professionals. We will discuss the current state of publishing in conjunction with your own academic and professional interests and explore facets of publishing institutions and individual publications while practicing core writing, editing, and professional communication skills.

ENGL 357 is somewhat unique in that it is based on a flexible, interactive curriculum. Students will work on individual and group projects that will allow them to mold their experience to their specific areas of interest, and the first weeks of the semester will be spent sharing & assessing your ideas re: the trajectory of the term in relation to current issues in the field.

Representative assignments include discussion papers, industry research profiles, a mock job application in the field (including resume and cover letter drafting resources), and a group publication project. Students will also engage with guest speakers in person and via Zoom throughout the semester and in partnership with the WSU Visiting Writers Series.

Required Materials: New York Times student subscription – $1/week
All other readings will be provided via Canvas

Donna L Potts; ENGLISH 494 [CAPS] [M] (Section 01); TR 9:10-10:25; Pullman

Course Theme: Banned Books in Ireland and America

Description: The Irish government’s 1929 Censorship of Publications Act resulted in the censorship of some of Ireland’s greatest authors; in fact many authors came to consider censorship an “inverted badge of honor,” and they described themselves as “the best banned in the land.” Whereas books can no longer be banned outright by the United States government (as they were in the nineteenth century), censorship still operates at local and state levels. A 2022 report by the American Library Association found that book censorship had increased to unprecedented levels. The report found that much of the censorship was directed towards books featuring LGBT and racial minority perspectives, and described a growing trend of harassment and intimidation of librarians. The assigned texts are all coming of age stories, which invites us to consider why coming of age stories are often targeted by censors. We will explore the history of censorship in Ireland and the U.S. and discuss how individual texts fit into that larger history by focusing on the countries’ political and cultural contexts. More broadly, we will consider the range of reasons for censorship, why works of imaginative literature have been banned throughout history, and what is so powerful about literature to make people and governments fear it. Students will do presentations on banned books, write and present summaries of articles about banned books, and complete a capstone project related to banned books.

Required Materials: James Joyce’s Dubliners, Kate O’Brien’s Land of Spices, Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls Trilogy, and John McGahern’s The Dark, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Sally Rooney’s Normal People

Flyer for Donna Potts Spring 2023 Banned Books course

Kirk McAuley; ENGL 340 (Section 01); TU,TH 14:55-16:10; Pullman

Flyer for English 340

Will Hamlin; ENGLISH 484 (Section 01); T, Th 10:35-11:50; Pullman

Course Theme: Shakespeare’s Literary Inheritance

Description: This will be a proseminar, open to upper-level undergraduates as well as to interested graduate students. We’ll concentrate on literary and intellectual contexts within which Shakespeare composed his poetry and plays. Besides studying six or seven of Shakespeare’s major works, we’ll spend time reading Machiavelli, Erasmus, Montaigne, Kyd, and Marlowe – all of whom influenced Shakespeare in varying ways.

Class work will include at least one oral presentation, one short essay (5-6 pages), one longer essay (12-15 pages), and a variety of less conventionally academic assignments such as the preparation of a commonplace book (a standard humanist project). Please contact Prof. Hamlin ( for further information.

Likely Shakespearean poems and plays: The Rape of Lucrece, The Merchant of Venice, Richard the Second, Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, King Lear, The Tempest. Other works: Erasmus and Montaigne on multiple topics, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, Sidney’s Defense of Poesy, and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward the Second.

Required Materials: A good edition of Shakespeare’s plays and poems (or, alternatively, good individual editions of the works we’ll study). Please contact me if you’re not sure about the edition(s) you’ve chosen. I’ll order the Norton Shakespeare’s “Essential” Plays (3rd edition) and have it stocked at the WSU bookstore, but feel free to use other editions, including copies of Shakespeare in the WSU library.

I’ll also order an edition of Marlowe’s plays, of Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, and of The Prince. For Sidney, Montaigne, and Erasmus, I’ll provide photocopies of relevant works (along with PDF copies in Canvas).