Texas Tech University

Undergraduate Course Archive

Fall 2007 | 4000 Level

English 4300

Individual Studies in English


Course number normally used for individual/independent studies arranged between an English professor and a student. Students must have already completed a course with the instructor. The instructor is not obligated to agree to supervise the independent study. The student will normally have a topic in mind and will approach the instructor for feasibility. A form, which may be picked up in EN 211C, must be filled out and approved by the Chair of the English Department. The form is then delivered to 211C and the advisor enrolls the student. The teacher submits the grade to the Chair for posting.

English 4301
Section 001

Studies in Selected Authors
August Wilson's Twentieth Century

Michael Borshuk

With the staging of the 2005 drama Radio Golf, just months before his death, playwright August Wilson completed a monumental creative project more than two decades in the making: to compose a ten-play cycle narrating African American history and experience through each decade of the twentieth century. Through ten critically acclaimed dramas, Wilson had revisited one hundred years of black American life. This class will study August Wilson's twentieth century, examining his dramatization of historical concerns like slavery's complicated legacies; industrialization and the Great Migration; challenges to segregation and the emergence of the Civil Rights movement; and tensions over class difference within African American communities. We will be attentive to Wilson's recurring thematic and stylistic elements: his depiction of a broad collective history through the intimate, “local” examples of individual black families, for instance; or his ongoing representation of vernacular expression and cultural forms as redemptive amidst the challenges of twentieth-century history.

English 4311
Section 001

Studies in Poetry
20th Century Poetry of England and Ireland

William Wenthe

This course will explore the major movements and figures in British Poetry for roughly the past hundred years. The majority of our readings will cover the rapid changes in English poetry from about 1910 to World War II, when poets were working to revise the English poetic tradition into deliberately "modern" forms. This course is geared for those pursuing an English Major or Minor; however, I do not intend to discourage any other interested undergraduate from exploring some of the richest, most exciting, and controversial writings in our language. I do require that all students be committed to the readings in this course. The readings are by no means great in quantity, but they will demand to be read differently than one would read prose. Like 20th-century painting, the history of 20th-century poetry is largely a history of form, engaging in similar disputes between the artwork as a representation of the world, and the artwork as its own world. Thus we will be examining poems not only for what they say, but for what they do—that is, what effects, what possible meanings, are created by the formal qualities of the poem.


  • To learn the skills necessary to read and interpret a poem on your own.
  • To gain a basic sense of the history of English Poetry in the Twentieth Century.
  • To write about a poem effectively and precisely.

English 4312
Section 001

Studies in Drama
Shakespearean Tragedy

Marliss Desens

Most of us are familiar with Aristotle's definition of tragedy, based on his analysis of contemporary dramatic practices: “Tragedy, then is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions” (51). For Aristotle, “plot then, is the first principle, and as it were, the soul of tragedy; character holds the second place” (52). The tragic hero is “a man who is not eminently good, and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity but by some error or frailty.” This hero is a man “highly renowned and prosperous—a personage like Oedipus, Thyestes, or other illustrious men of such family” (55). (All quotations taken from Poetics, in Critical Theory Since Plato, ed. Hazard Adams.

In examining Shakespearean tragedy, however, we note that while Shakespeare's conception of tragedy accords in some respects with Aristotle's, it also diverges; indeed, Shakespeare diverges from his own practices from one play to another, as if he were exploring what the limits of tragedy might be. In this class, we will look at the plays usually designated as tragedies: Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and Timon of Athens. (Although history plays such as Richard III and Richard II can also be viewed as tragedies, we will not have time to address them.) We will explore such issues as what happens when a play has more than one tragic hero, whether Othello and Macbeth act independently, whether Brutus is the real tragic hero of Julius Caesar, and whether King Lear breaks the bounds of formal tragedy. The course objective is for students to gain an appreciation and understanding of the wide range of Shakespearean tragedy.

English 4313
Section 001

Studies in Fiction
West of Everything: Myths

Sara Spurgeon

We will examine texts engaging and challenging modern ideas about the mythic West, including fiction and film by Native American, Chicana/o, and Anglo American writers and directors. Some will be classics (both literary and filmic) of the genre known as the Western, and some will undermine or subvert it. We will be exploring these texts from a number of different angles: What did the myth of the frontier look like in the past and what shape is it assuming in American culture today? How has it been used to justify or deconstruct American ideas about conquest, colonization, and empire? How might it work to define our modern ideas about gender, race, class, sexuality, national identity, borders, etc.? How has it formed the genre we know today as the “Western”? How do the works of non-Anglo Westerners writing from "the other side" of the frontier reinterpret that myth? We will be doing close readings of novels, films, and theory.

English 4315
Section 001

Studies in Film
Film Comedy

Constance Kuriyama

No description available.

English 4321
Section 002

Studies in Literary Topics
Histories of the Book: Ancient to Modern

Ann Hawkins

When you interpret a text, does the book itself matter? Does it matter that the binding of the book was originally blue? Or that the paper was heavy (or light)? Does it matter that the book itself was originally cheap or costly? That it was published in installments? That it was common or rare? How do these material factors about books affect the way they have been or can be read? This course will help you think about the relationships between books and the texts they embody – not only because that embodiment is important in its own right, but because many theorists now argue that understanding the social and material construction of texts is essential to understanding literary works at all.

The first unit of the course will provide an overview of the history of the book across cultures, examining early writing technologies, like stone, clay, bark, papyrus and paper. As part of this discussion, we'll read excerpts from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which survives in cuneiform tablets and other ancient texts that appear in scrolls. Our case study here will be Sappho, and the problem of ancient fragments. At Special Collections, our examples will come from various cultures, including examples from Ceylon, Persia, China, Japan, and India. After that we'll progress historically, moving from manuscript production, to the transition to print, then to industrial production practices beginning in the nineteenth-century, and end with the rise of digital texts with the Internet. For each of these stages, we take specific literary moments as case studies, such as the unauthorized publication of Anne Bradstreet's privately circulated poetry; African spirituals and orality; Balzac and the printing trade in Lost Illusions; representations of reading in Cervantes; the merging of literature and technology in Blake's visual poetry, etc. Across the course, we'll make use of the rare book collections at the library, examining how books (both manuscript and print) are made, their special characteristics, how scholars analyze and describe them. We'll also have several lab days at Special Collections to examine paper-making, type-setting, and book binding. This experience with books as material objects will lead us to theoretical questions: what is the nature of the book? What is the role of the author, the publisher, and the reader in the production of textual meaning? How did the idea of authorship (and the resulting issue of copyright) develop?

Course projects will arise from each student's field of interest. We'll consider the social construction of texts by researching a literary text's “history” – examining the author's original “intentions” for its publication, the author's conflicts (or agreements) with publishers, the responses of original readers. We'll then consider that text from an editorial perspective, examining different versions of the text (or portions of it) to see how later editors have altered it in reprinting or republishing and determining what information readers would need to understand the text. Alternatively, given student interest, we could also produce (as a group project) a small electronic edition to be housed on the library server and available through the worldwide web.

English 4351
Section 002

Advanced Creative Writing
Genre: Fiction

Dennis Covington

No description available.

English 4351
Section 003

Advanced Creative Writing
Genre: Poetry

William Wenthe

Please email a sample of 3 – 4 poems to Dr. Wenthe (william.wenthe@ttu.edu) for permission to enroll.

English 4360
Section 001

Advanced Exposition

Rich Rice

No description available.

English 4369
Section 001

Interaction Design

Brian Still

Interaction Design is the art of effectively creating interesting and compelling experiences for others. It applies to all forms of interaction, all products, and all media. In this class we focus primarily on the online or computing environment. Students will be provided with a conceptual framework for designing generally web-based interactive experiences. The course touches on a wide range of design disciplines (graphic design, information design, product design), and uses a variety of tools and methods (i.e. Macromedia Flash, XML, PHP, SQL, DHTML, UML) as they relate to the creation of compelling interactive user experiences. Students will be required to complete a series of unit tasks to test comprehension of material and the ability to apply it; they will also work on an extended group project as well as at least one individual portfolio project meant to demonstrate ability to develop interactive materials.

Assignments may include some or all of the following:

  • Design a live real space/real time interactive event
  • Design a content management system (or a specific element within it, such as a shopping cart, tutorial, or information guide) that allows for synchronous/asynchronous user interaction with site elements and/or other users
  • Design a storybook game or an interactive storytelling product that could be used for training purposes

Section 001

Language and Community

Colleen Fitzgerald & Kristen Jones

How do ideologies about race play out in language? How is language a vehicle for empowerment for marginalized groups? What will you say to prospective employers when they ask for your experiences in diversity and team-building? We will theorize about these questions and more as we learn about multiculturalism and language in the Southwest U.S. and perform internships in the community. This course has a service-learning component, meaning students will apply what they learn in the trenches, working on a community-based project to provide classes in English as a Second Language. Students will form teams of tutors to teach these classes, which will serve diverse students, many of whom are from an international background. They will also meet once weekly with the professor for discussion, debriefing, and debate over theory versus practice, as well as keep weekly journals/blogs of reflection, planning, critique, and evaluation of the tutoring sessions. Tech students will turn in a final research, reflective, and/or creative project, and at the end of the semester, teammates and ESL students will evaluate tutor performance. This course offers a great way to contribute to our community, to experience diversity in Lubbock, to work on communication skills, and to work for a more just and equitable society.

English 4374
Section 001

Senior Seminar

Doug Crowell

Please contact English undergraduate advisor (suzi.duffy@ttu.edu, 742-2500 ext 254, EN 211C) for permission to enroll in the course.

English 4374
Section 002

Senior Seminar

Bryce Conrad

Please contact English undergraduate advisor (suzi.duffy@ttu.edu, 742-2500 ext 254, EN 211C) for permission to enroll in the course.

English 4378

Internship in Technical Communication

Course number used for internships in technical writing. Internship proposals may be submitted to the director of the Technical Communication program, Dr. Thomas Barker (thomas.barker@ttu.edu, 742-2500 ext 2779, EN 363E) on a form that may be obtained from him.