Spring 2015 Courses: 4000-level

ENG 4113 (crosslisted with ENG 3223/3233/6063 and HUM 3033): Italian Renaissance / English Renaissance: From Castiglione to Shakespeare

Instructor: Bernadette Andrea

Course Description
This course explores the profound impact of the Italian Renaissance on English literature and culture during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. We will anchor our discussions with Italian Renaissance touchstones such as Petrarch’s sonnets, Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, and Machiavelli’s The Prince, all of which were introduced into English Renaissance culture by the turn of the seventeenth century. Drawing on textual and spatial approaches, we will dwell on Castiglione’s representations of the ideal courtier and court lady, which he conveyed through an imaginary dialogue set in the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Urbino. As travelers ourselves, we will investigate the advice to and experiences of English Renaissance travelers to Italy from the late sixteenth to the early seventeenth century. Our attention will then turn to Shakespeare’s enduring representations of Verona and Venice in his comedies and tragedies from the same period. Our class will travel to the Veneto (Venice, Vicenza, and Verona) to gain an experiential, as well as an aesthetic and historical, understanding of these locales. We will conclude with the contemporary Anglo-Afro-Caribbean writer Caryl Phillips, focusing on his novel, The Nature of Blood, and his travelogue, The European Tribe. In both works, Phillips creatively and critically engages Shakespeare’s “extravagant strangers,” including Othello, the “Moor of Venice,” and Shylock, the “Jew of Venice.” Assignments will consist of reader responses, including your own travel journal, and will culminate in a final paper or project.

Required Texts

  • Bondanella and Musa, eds., The Italian Renaissance Reader
  • Greenblatt et al, eds., The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition
  • Hadfield, ed., Amazons, Savages, and Machiavels: Travel and Colonial Writing in English, 1550-1630 (An Anthology)
  • Phillips, The European Tribe
  • Phillips, The Nature of Blood

ENG 4393: Feminist Theory of Literature

Instructor: T. Jackie Cuevas
Class Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: Main Campus, Room TBA

Course Description
In this course, we will develop your ability to engage with and analyze texts that have contributed to the lively debates of feminist theory. We will explore how and why a body of thought emerged to formulate itself as something called “feminist theory.” What counts as theory? What counts as feminist theory? Who creates it, and what is it good for? We will explore a variety of theories on topics such as identity, gender, and masculinity. We will read literary texts that enact or challenge the theories we study. We will also consider unexpected sites of theorizing, such as popular culture. We will question what feminist theory is, explore what work it does, and develop theories of our own along the way. Prerequisite: Completion of the Core Curriculum requirement in Language, Philosophy, and Culture. Cross-listed with WS 4623.

Required Texts

  • Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
  • Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
  • Lopez, Real Women Have Curves
  • TBA, a feminist theory reader

ENG 4523-001: Advanced Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Cynthia Hawkins
Class Time: Tuesdays 6:00p.m. - 8:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 1.124

Course Description
Students in this class will continue to build on the elements of craft learned in previous creative writing courses. Our written assignments, readings, workshops, and class discussions will be focused on increasing the level of artistic sophistication in student works of fiction. We will also be exploring the contemporary literary landscape via the notable literary journals and magazines on our reading list, learning how to write cover and query letters, and discussing ways to submit and market fiction. Students will be writing two short works of fiction this semester and preparing a final portfolio of revised work.
To be considered for this course, please contact instructor with a short portfolio of sample work: cynthia.hawkins@utsa.edu. This course has a prerequisite of at least one 2000-level creative writing course.


  • Literary Journal Assignment
  • Two Fiction Drafts
  • Workshops, Readings, Attendance, and Class Participation
  • Final Portfolio

Required Texts
Readings for this course will be selected by students from literary journals and magazines available via the UTSA library online.

ENG 4973-001: Senior Seminar: Medieval English Drama

Instructor: Kimberly Fonzo
Class Time: Thursdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 1.102

Course Description
This course will examine a wide variety of plays produced in England during the Middle Ages. We will encounter a assortment of performance situations, from morality plays staged in the dining hall of a medieval lord to cycle plays performed on wagons traveling through the city. Reading and occasionally performing these plays, we will trace trends in the characterization of devils, vices, saints, holy women, and Christ himself as they transform through time. For context and comparison, we will also study some continental European drama and even medieval staging traditions alive in San Antonio today. All plays will be read in Middle and Early Modern English that has been updated somewhat for contemporary readers.


  • Group Performances/Presentations
  • Short Paper (3-4 pages)
  • Annotated Bibliography/Creative Script
  • Peer Review Conference
  • Final Paper (12-15 pages)
  • Quizzes
  • Midterm Exam
  • Final Exam

Required Texts

  • Fitzgerald and Sebastian, eds, The Broadview Anthology of Medieval Drama

ENG 4973-002: Senior Seminar: Rhetorical Theory and Criticism

Instructor: Crystal Colombini
Class Time: Tuesdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.    
Class Location: MB 2.314B

Course Description
The Senior Seminar, reserved for English majors in their senior year, is an advanced writing course offering the opportunity to study, analyze, and write within a selected genre, author, or theme. In this section, the selected genre is rhetorical theory and criticism, comprising a variety of approaches for analyzing symbolic acts and artifacts, discovering the persuasive strategies that they deploy, and discerning their effects on their audiences. Through rhetorical criticism as presented by Sonja Foss’ Rhetorical Criticism, this course aims to help students understand and utilize how argument at numerous cites—public oratory, academic argument, movies and literature—aims to persuade.

This course will present the opportunity for students to expand existing research interests and build new ones as they explore subjects of their choice. It will be especially appealing to students with interests in close textual analysis, rhetoric and composition, public and political discourse, and more.

ENG 4973-003: Senior Seminar: Darwin and American Literature

Instructor: Jeanne Reesman
Class Time: Wednesdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 1.1.02

Course Description
Readings, theory, and criticism on the monumental effects Darwinism had on U.S. literatures of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, and the role it continues to play in literature, film, television and other popular culture. Students need no prior knowledge of Darwin; our two Darwin texts will be Jonathan Howard’s compact A Very Short Introduction to Darwin and the Norton edition Darwin, ed. Philip Appleman, mainly selections from Origin of Species and Descent of Man. Other contemporary sources will be drawn from Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and Darwin’s interpreters, Herbert Spencer and Thomas Henry Huxley. We will work on the contemporary “school” of Literary Darwinism led by such theorists as Joseph Carroll, David P. and Nanelle R. Barash, Jared Diamond, Jonathan Gottschall, David Sloan Wilson, Tim Horvath, and Mark Pittenger, of course, as founded by E. O. Wilson’s book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998).

Assignments will include reading critics/theorists and also reading naturalist American literature particularly affected by Darwinian ideas: Rebecca Harding Davis, Mark Twain, Henry James, Jack London, Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy all spring to mind. See specific books below. Note: the 2013 award-winning television series True Detective will form a unit of this class. Requirements include two reports, an midterm, a paper prospectus, a paper #1 of 4 pages, a paper #2 of 12 with outside research and MLA style, mainly with an original, analytical thesis about a perceived problem in the text. Revision of paper #1 is allowed for 10 points max.


  • Research Paper
  • Two Reports
  • Weekly Journal Entries
  • Midterm Exam


  • Howard, Darwin: A Very Short Introduction
  • Darwin, The Darwin Reader
  • Zola, La Assommoir
  • Norris, McTeague: A Story of San Francisco
  • London, Novels and Social Writings
  • Wharton, The Buccaneers
  • Dreiser, An American Tragedy
  • Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
  • Palahniuk, Fight Club
  • Glasgow, Barren Ground
  • Yan, Red Sorghum: A Novel of China
  • Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

ENG 4973-004: Senior Seminar: Translingual Imagination

Steven Kellman
Class Time: Mondays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 2.316

Course Description
Geographical and psychological exile has been the pervasive condition of modern authors—Cortázar, Hemingway, and Kundera in Paris, Singer and García Lorca in New York, Joyce in Zurich, Pound in Italy, Mann in Santa Monica, Solzhenitsyn in Vermont, each stubbornly scribbling in a language alien to their strange new neighbors. However, a remarkable number of men and women have been linguistic exiles: writing, out of choice or compulsion, in a language not learned at their mothers’ knees. It is difficult enough to write well in one’s native language; how much more extraordinary is the accomplishment of Beckett, Celan, Conrad, Danticat, Dinesen, Ha Jin, Nabokov, Ngugi, and Pessoa in excelling in a second, third, or even fourth language. With a focus on both fictional and nonfictional narratives as well as drama, ENGLISH 4973 will examine texts by agile linguistic chameleons. We will be attentive to what they might have in common and to whether language is itself a theme within their narratives. In vivid, varied ways, translingual fictions confront the role of language in shaping and even determining our cultures and our selves.

Required Texts

  • Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman
  • Beckett, Molloy
  • Begley, Wartime Lies
  • Dorfman, Heading South Looking North: A Bilingual Journey
  • Hamilton, The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood
  • Hoffman, Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language
  • Ionesco, The Bald Soprano and The Lesson - Two Plays
  • Kellman, ed., Switching Languages: Translingual Writers Reflect on Their Craft
  • Nabokov, Pnin
  • Sante, The Factory of Facts

ENG 4973-06 / HON 3233-03: Coming to America: Immigration in Fiction and Film

Instructor: Bonnie Lyons
Class Time: Thursdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 2.316

Course Description
America is and always has been a nation of immigrants. Many recent novels and films explore this rich theme in interesting and diverse ways. In this class we will study a variety of novels, such Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and films, such as The Visitor, to pursue this rich theme.


  • Class Participation
  • Weekly mini-papers
  • Oral Paper
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • 10-20 Page Seminar Paper

Required Texts

  • Lahiri, The Namesake
  • Kincaid, Lucy
  • Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory
  • Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstone
  • Diaz, Drown
  • Ng, Bone
  • Hemon, Nowhere Man

ENG 4973/3343/3323/6033 / LNG 3813: Excavating Language: Linguistic Connections Across Latin, Italian, and English (taught in Urbino, Italy)

Instructor: Bridget Drinka

Course Description
In this course we will explore the linguistic influence that Latin and Italian have exerted on English through the centuries, as well as the recent influence which English has had on Italian. We will begin with an examination of the Proto-Indo-European roots of both the Italic and the Germanic languages, and what the two language families share because of their common heritage. We will examine the archaic layers of Latin and its “cousin”, Umbrian, spoken in territories near to Urbino in ancient times. We will then visit one of the most notable sites of the Umbrian language, Gubbio (Iguvium), where a number of ancient bronze tablets were found. We will proceed to study the linguistic effect of the spread of the Roman Empire, the role of Christianity in the diffusion of particular trends, and the linguistic implications of the decline of Roman influence and increase in the role of Germanic tribes such as the Goths and the Franks. We will then focus on the influence that the Romance languages and Latin itself had on the Germanic languages, and English, specifically, during late medieval and Renaissance times. We will examine Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for its linguistic content, particularly the influence of Latin on Shakespeare’s language. After a brief look at the role of academies and linguistic prescriptivism springing from classical studies, we will end with a look at the influence that English and Italian have exerted on each other in recent years.


  • Homework and Participation
  • Midterm Exam
  • 8-10 page Research Paper

Required Texts

  • Watkins, The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
  • Solodow, Latin Alive: The Survival of Latin in English and the Romance Languages
  • Crystal, Think on my Words: Exploring Shakespeare's Language
  • Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

See official UTSA course schedule for full list of English department offerings.

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