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Current Undergraduate Classes

Browse our current and past course offerings.

Associate Professor Steven Miller

Small class sizes and unique course offerings allow you to work closely with faculty on the cutting edge of literary and cultural studies.

Fall 2015 Course Offerings

Eng 193 - Fundamentals of Journalism

Andrew Galarneau

W (eve)     7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No. 20290

This course is a gateway into the Journalism Certificate   program and teaches students to research, report and write news and feature stories for print, broadcast and the web. It also provides an overview of American  journalism and an introduction to American media and press law.

Students learn to conduct interviews, use quotes, and write in Associated Press style. They also learn the         importance of accuracy, integrity and deadlines. Students analyze the merit and structure of good (and bad) news stories and focus on how journalists tell stories differently in print, radio, TV and on the web.

Students will have in-class and take-home writing exercises, short at the start, longer at the end, designed to help them master the fundamentals of news writing. In addition to a textbook, students will read the front   sections of The New York Times (online or print) and the front and city sections of The Buffalo News every day. Once a week, students take current events quizzes.

This course is a Pre-requisite to the Journalism Certificate Program.

Eng 207 - Intro. to Writing Poetry/Fiction

- Two sections available:

Joseph Hall

M W      5:00 - 6:20

Reg. No. 20978


Veronica Wong

T Th       3:30 - 4:50

Reg. No. 20481

Vladimir Nabokov once reflected that “a writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a        scientist.” This introductory course is specifically designed for beginning writers who would like to take the first steps towards exploring the craft of poetry and fiction. Students will be introduced to the fundamental vocabulary and basic techniques of each genre. Throughout the semester, the class will also be presented with a diverse group of readings to study and emulate in order to kindle our own imaginative strategies. No prior writing experience is   necessary.    

Through a series of linked exercises and related readings, ENG 207 will introduce students to fundamental elements of the craft of writing poetry and fiction. We will study differing modes of narration (the benefits of using a 1st  person or a 3rd person narrator when telling a story, or how an unreliable narrator is useful in the creation of plot). We will examine character development (why both “round” and “flat” characters are essential to any story), as well as narrative voice (creating “tone” and “mood” through description and exposition), and think about “minimal” and “maximal” plot developments.  We will consider the differences between closed and open forms of poetry. The use of sound and rhythm. We will try our hand at figurative language and consider how imagery is conveyed through our choice of words. We will study prosody and the practice of the line.

Selected readings will expose you to a variety of poetic forms, fictional styles and narrative models. Assigned     exercises will give you the space to practice and experiment with unfamiliar forms. Students will also be given the opportunity to meet with visiting poets and fiction writers at Poetics Plus and Exhibit X readings on campus and in downtown Buffalo.

It may come as no surprise that Nabokov also noted that he has “rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published.” This introductory course is designed to be the first step on the long journey of literary practice.  

*This course counts toward the English major or minor requirements, as well as for the pre-requisite for the       Creative Writing Certificate.

Eng 214 Top Ten Books

Professor Kenneth Dauber

MWF    12:00 - 12:50

Reg. No. 23652

A course in the Top Ten books selected by a poll of the faculty of all departments in the university in answer to the question "What ten books would you want your children to have read, regardless of their major, by the time they are graduated from college."  This is your chance for a taste of a general education that is truly general.  The course will include guest lectures from specialists in the various departments.  It will cover books from Homer to now.  It is modeled, in part, on the Great Books courses at Columbia and Chicago and other universities. But it    differs from them in having its syllabus selected not by  members of the literature    faculty alone, but through the greater wisdom of faculty in all fields.  Expect old      chestnuts and some surprises, "literary" books and books in fields as diverse as science, psychology, and   politics.

Eng 221 World Literature

Professor Walt Hakala

MWF    9:00 - 9:50

Reg. No. 21841

Romance Traditions in Asia

This course will introduce students to narratives of       romance that span Asia’s wide variety of religious,   literary, theatrical, and cinematic traditions. “Texts” may include English   translations of a      Sanskrit drama, a Sufi mystical text, tales from The Arabian Nights, early Japanese and  Chinese novels, recent Bollywood  cinema, Korean television    melodramas, and recent examples of the   worldwide Harlequin Romance phenomenon. The written component      comprises two short papers and a cumulative exam.  

There are no prerequisites for this class and all course materials are in English.  

**Fulfills a 200-level course requirement for Asian Studies and English majors and minors.**

Eng 223 Medieval Literature

Professor Jerold Frakes

T Th     9:30 - 10:50

Reg. No. 23661

We will read four of the most interesting anthologies of literary texts from the Middle Ages in this course,    presenting a broad range of narrative modes and the literary traditions of medieval France, England, Italy, and Syria.


¨ Marie de France. The Lais. Translated by G.S. Burgess and Keith Busby. Penguin 1999. ISBN 0140447598

¨ The Arabian Nights. Translated by Husain Haddawy. Norton. ISBN 0393313670/978-0393313673

¨ Geoffrey Chaucer. Canterbury Tales. Translated by Neville Coghill. Penguin. ISBN 0140424385/978-0140424386

¨ Boccaccio. Decameron. Translated by G.H. McWilliam. Penguin. ISBN 0140449302/978-0140449303

Eng 231 British Writers 1

Professor Randy Schiff

MWF      10:00 - 10:50

Reg. No. 23663

Our course will involve a survey of works of literature from the medieval period to the close of the eighteenth century. The course will be organized, in part, by traditional literary history, with readings grouped roughly into Britain’s Old English, the Anglo-Norman, the Late Medieval, the Early Modern, and the Eighteenth Century periods. While we will address the permeability of these literary historical borderlines, we will also use them as a framework for situating works in their socio-cultural contexts. Our course will imagine a rather than the literary history, and the choices in authors and excerpts will cover a number of recurring issues, such as ethnic identity conflicts, gender conventions, social and economic crises, political subversion, sexuality and knowledge, and the poetics of power. We will explore Anglo-Saxon elegies and the epic Beowulf, Marie de France’s Lanval, read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and investigate works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Behn, Swift, and others. Students will be required to participate in class discussions, make one presentation before the class, take two exams, and write one 4-6 page paper and one 7-9 page paper.

Eng 241 American Writers 1

Lara Hubel

MWF    11:00 - 11:50

Reg. No. 23667

Early American Trials and Triumphs

The picture that American literature before 1865 paints is not always a pretty one—our early narratives are as often about hardship, captivity, slavery, and violent death as they are about triumphant exploration, democracy, self-reliance, and freedom. In fact, the success of one group quite often depended on the oppression or elimination of another. In most cases the story told of America depends on the teller, but it also depends who allows that teller to speak; millions of stories of the first three centuries of American colonization and nation-building will never be told, and privileged white men have written the bulk of what most people consider early “American literature.” This course works toward exploring the works of women and oppressed American peoples alongside more traditionally canonical, usually white male-authored texts, in order to attempt a fuller understanding of the period and its literatures. We will be using The Shorter Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume 1, supplemented by Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, a text with newfound popular interest brought by its acclaimed cinematic adaptation as well as continuing significance to our understanding of the antebellum period of U.S. history and literature. Through a variety of class activities, a midterm exam, a short essay, and a final paper, we will attempt to frame American literature of the period before and during the Civil War in new, productive ways.

Eng 254 Science Fiction

Professor Nnedi Okorafor

T Th        12:30 - 1:50

Reg. No. 21843

In this course, we will examine a sampling of today's most cutting edge speculative fiction novels and short stories (from science fiction to fantasy) in order to gain an appreciation and understanding of literature.

Course objectives include:

1. The defining of genres.

2. The uses of speculative fiction for entertainment, prediction, and  social commentary.

3. Understanding the narrative devices of characterization, plot, and theme.

4. Understanding critical standards and literary values.

Eng 256 Film

Travis Matteson

T Th      12:30 - 1:50

Reg. No. 24253

The Cinema of Surveillance

In light of the abundance of dystopian fantasies on film and in literature, Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA surveillance may seem mundane. This course proposes to sift through some of the cultural clichés—think “Big Brother”—aiming at a more complete understanding of how surveillance works and why it prompts so many diverse artistic responses. The purpose of this course is not to present a unified theory of surveillance, but rather to offer students a variety of tools for making sense of surveillance art in a surveillance society.

Throughout this course, we will encounter popular and obscure texts and films from a range of 20th and 21st century artists, whose work introduces us to issues of surveillance by governments, corporations, and individuals. We will consider these works for the ways in which they use surveillance as a plot device, and we will attempt to understand how filmmakers and authors may also use surveillance as a method of composition. We will use literary terms to understand surveillance, and we will use surveillance terms to understand literature. Our film viewing will be augmented by selected readings from 20th and 21st century theories of surveillance and accompanying literary texts.

This course also offers a cornucopia of practical knowledge, such as what words like “Panopticon,” “Scopophilia,” and “Voyeurism” mean, how to change your Facebook privacy settings, or what terms you should never type on the Internet to avoid being     monitored (Tip: Don't ever Google “hacker”). 

Eng 258 Mysteries

Professor David Schmid

MWF      1:00 - 1:50

Reg. No. 20982

For decades, mystery novels have been dismissed as "potboilers," not worthy of serious critical attention. Whatever one may think of the literary merits of mysteries, there is no denying the fact that they have proved to be a remarkably resilient and diverse form of popular fiction. The aim of this course is to survey a selection of both the most important examples of mystery writing and recent attempts to "update" the  genre. Our focus throughout the semester will be on the narrative techniques used by these writers to create  character, structure plot, and maintain suspense. We can tell a lot about a society from the way it discusses crime and punishment. Therefore, we will also study how these novels and short stories provide miniature social histories of the periods in which they were written.

Course Texts:

Edgar Allan Poe - The Dupin Tales (“The Murders in the  Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” “The Purloined Letter”)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Six Great Sherlock Holmes Stories

Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders

Dashiell Hammett - The Maltese Falcon

Raymond Chandler - The Big Sleep

Chester Himes - Cotton Comes to Harlem

Jim Thompson - The Killer Inside Me

Sara Paretsky  - Blood Shot

Barbara Wilson - Murder in the Collective

We will also watch and discuss two movies: Billy Wilder's  Double Indemnity (1944), and Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000).

Attendance and keeping up with the reading are mandatory, participation is extremely desirable. There will be three five-to-seven-page papers, and reading notes throughout the semester.

Eng 271 African American Literature

Professor Jang Wook Huh

MWF         9:00 - 9:50

Reg. No. 21887

This lecture course is an introductory survey of African American literature. Spanning the period from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, we will consider a range of work in a variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography, and nonfiction prose. We will re-conceptualize the African-American literary and cultural tradition by focusing on its aesthetic contributions, political aspirations, and interactions with diverse racial and ethnic groups both within and beyond U.S. borders. Tracing African-American literary history in local and global contexts, we will explore how black writers engage with the dynamics of racial formation, issues of diaspora, and changing notions of freedom. We will also examine the influence of visual culture (such as paintings, photography, and film) on African American literature, and vice versa.

Main authors may include W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, and Toni Morrison. This course is open to students from all    majors. I will explain key terms, concepts, and contexts.

No prerequisites are required.

Eng 272 U.S. Latino/a Literature

Professor Carrie Tirado-Bramen

T Th             2:00 - 3:20

Reg. No. 23677

This survey offers an overview of the history of Latino/a literature, introducing the major trends and placing them into an historical framework stretching from the nineteenth century to today. Emphasis will be on similarities and differences in the experiences in the United States among different Latino/a groups. Topics to be discussed include the construction of identity in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and class; bilingualism and code-switching; the experiences of the exile, the immigrant, the refugee and the colonial subject; debates about naming (Latino, Chicano, Boricua); the theme of home and mythic homelands (Aztlán). We will read a range of genres including fiction, autobiography, the graphic novel, poetry and film.

No knowledge of Spanish is necessary.

Eng 276 Literature and Law

Ana Grujic
MWF     12:00 - 12:50
Reg. No. 23125

We will start by taking a peek at secret rooms and mysterious attics, to find there the beginnings of modern day women’s writing. We will then roam through enchanted castles, and take a brief look at how women have manipulated the fairytale genre.  We will explore city alleys, hop on some islands and space ships with writers of color, to learn how they reinvented multiple genres and spaces in order to make their voices heard. We will sample some other popular forms of writing such as hyper-text, comic book, sci-fi, and tattooing, that feminist writers have used to revolutionize ideas of what makes “good literature”.  And we will read and discuss novels and short stories, poetry and essays, as we listen to great women’s blues, neo-punk, electro pop and hip hop.

Eng 276 - Literature and Law

Katrin Rowan

T Th        2:00 - 3:20

Reg. No. 22361

What stories can law tell?  How can story-making shape our perceptions of legal systems?  This course will examine how legal and literary writing, as mutually-embedded modes of expression, employ language and narrative structure to address fundamental questions of justice, equity, and fairness.  In considering these questions ourselves, we will evaluate depictions of law in a variety of genres, including   classical tragedy (Sophocles’ Antigone), the novel (Franz Kafka’s The Trial), short fiction (Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers”), and film (Sidney Lumet’s Twelve Angry Men).  We will simultaneously analyze landmark judicial decisions and other legal documents to ask how rhetoric and storytelling enable the making and interpretation of law.  Our discussions will consider topics of social justice, racial and gender equity, punishment, and censorship (among others) to explore the tension between literature rich in multiple meanings and legal   writing’s objective of certainty. This course welcomes students interested in literature, rhetoric, legal study, and criminal justice.

Eng 301 - Criticism

Professor Ming Qian Ma

MWF        12:00 - 12:50

Reg. No. 18866      

Designed as a survey class, English 301 is intended to introduce students to literary criticism of the 20-Century, with an emphasis on the post-1960s period. Chronological in approach, it will study the representative texts of various schools of criticism, focusing on the basic terms, concepts, and methodologies. The goals of this course are 1) to learn and understand the principles and paradigms of each kind of criticism; 2) to become critically aware of not only the ramifications but also the limitations of literary theory; 3) to  rethink and question such notions as “innocent reading” or “purely spontaneous response”; and 4) to learn a range of interpretative methods.

The primary texts for the course are:

Literary Theory: An Anthology, 2. Edition. Edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Blackwell, 2004. (ISBN: 1-4051-0696-4)

Billy Budd and Other Tales, by Herman Melville, with a new introduction by Joyce Carlos Oates. Signet Classic, 1998. (ISBN: 0-451-52687-2)

(Supplementary reading materials in criticism will be distributed when needed.)

Class requirements include regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, quizzes, response papers to readings, and a  6-8 page term paper at end of the course.

Eng 301 - Criticism

Professor Steven Milller

T Th          2:00 - 3:20

Reg. No. 19853

This course, designed for English majors, is an introduction to the theory and practice of literary criticism. The readings will provide students with the terms and tools to think more clearly about what they are doing when they write about literature. It is important, however, to stress that the course is about the theory and practice of criticism, because literary criticism goes beyond the evaluation or interpretation of literary works. Before it does anything else, criticism seeks language adequate to the task of grasping the nature of a linguistic artifact. It is language about language. Before one can say anything about literature, it is necessary to ask what literature is and then, depending on the answer to that question, to decide how the critic should engage with any given  literary text.

Throughout the semester, therefore, we will examine the way in which major works of literary criticism has defined the relationship between its activity and its object, raising questions (among others) of literature and language, criticism and aesthetics, form and intent, knowledge and tradition, pleasure and textuality, reading and justice.

Readings may include texts by Plato, Aristotle, Schiller, Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Wilde, Freud, Dubois, Lacan, Bloom, Gilbert and Gubar, Haraway, and Cixous.

Eng 301 - Criticism

Professor William Solomon

T Th            9:30 - 10:50

Reg. No. 23680   

The primary aim of this course will be to introduce students to new ways of examining and commenting upon cultural artifacts. We will devote a good deal of our time and energy to addressing the insights formalist and rhetorical methods of critical analysis may make available. Specifically, we will examine the questions raised by the study of language in general and figures of speech or tropes in particular. Although this may appear to be a relatively small and therefore minor topic in the larger field of literary criticism, the often challenging complexities of figuration have given rise (from the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries) to some of the most thought-provoking and philosophically intriguing speculations on human consciousness (or sensory perception) and its relation to external reality. The status of our knowledge of the world, and by extension the validity of scientific research, has, for instance, been explored in terms of the unreliability of metaphors (Nietzsche). Our inquiry will then pass through speculations by early-twentieth-century European (often Marxist) thinkers on the structure and function of folk cultural practices; here we will focus initially on traditional forms of festive or carnivalesque humor (the grotesque). This topic will allow us to deal with the degree to which studies of popular culture have made their way into the field of academic inquiry. For instance, Monty Python skits and scenes from Woody Allen films contain motifs that correspond perfectly to the kind of materials a thinker such as Mikhail Bakhtin has located in the Renaissance-era novels of the French writer Francois Rabelais. After this we will move into the realm of genre theory. The difference between oral traditions and written forms will be at the center of our discussion at this point in the course, with storytelling, the epic, and fairy tales placed in conceptual opposition to the novel. With the time remaining we will attend to the incursion of psychoanalytic Freudian thought into the sphere of literary and cinematic analysis. Throughout this class we will read poems, short stories, watch films, and listen to music in order to refine our understanding of the often abstract claims of the thinkers we will encounter together. Concrete practical illustrations will thus prove to be an indispensable component of our effort to grapple with challenging modes of theorizing about literature. Authors we will deal with in addition to those mentioned above will include among others Viktor Shklovsky, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, and Roland Barthes.            

Eng 302 Old English

Professor Jerold Frakes

T Th      11:00 - 12:20

Reg. No. 23681

Old English often has a bad reputation, as if the course itself were as dark and ghoulish as the monsters that Beowulf has to fight. Well, it doesn’t have to be like that. Most students who get turned off by Old English have been forced to read Beowulf as if it were as easy and accessible as a rerun episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Well, the bottom line is that it isn’t so very accessible, and learning to read Old English does in fact require some work. But it is possible, even in a single semester, and it is quite rewarding and can also be a lot of fun, because there is a great deal of interesting material in Old English that you won’t find elsewhere and that has nothing to do with swords and ogres and dragons (although there is some of that, too). Some students may find that Old English looks like a foreign language, but if you as speakers of modern English are briefly trained to recognize consciously what you already know about English, then suddenly Old English is, well, not exactly immediately like reading the Spectrum, but with some patience a whole new culture does in fact open up for you. Try reading the following sentence. His linen socc feoll ofer bord in thaet waeter and scranc. Yes, you’re right, that’s exactly what it means. And you are also right that this particular sentence is not exactly scintillating. But you’ve now read your first authentic Old English sentence, so it’s a start.

In the course we will spend a couple of weeks with guided review of what you already know about English, so that you can apply that knowledge to thousand-year-old texts. You know, for instance, that we add  -s to nouns to make them plural (girl/girls), but you also know that there are some exceptions to that rule (deer/deer, child/children). All three of those patterns are also present in Old English, and recognizing them as patterns in modern English alerts you to make use of that knowledge in reading Old English. You also know that if you dance and drink too much tonight, by tomorrow you have to say that you danced and drank (not drinked) too much. Both of those familiar patterns of past tense verb formation are also present in Old English. Once we have refreshed our memories about things like this that we already know, we’ll be ready for reading Old English texts: about daily life, magic, religious practices, gender roles, burial customs, tenth-century women’s fashions, shipwrecks, royal romance, riddles, polar exploration, marauding dragons over northern England, Viking marauders in southern England, heroes and heroines, saints and sinners, lovers and enemies. It’s all there, and it’s all available within a semester. Who knows, maybe by the end, some might even want to have another go at a few passages in Beowulf. Thaet waes god cyning!


Bruce Mitchell, An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England. Wiley-Blackwell. 978-0631174363

Constance Hieatt, Beowulf and Other Old English    Poems. Bantam. 978-0553213478

This course satisfies an Early Literature requirement.

Eng 309 Shakespeare: Early Plays

Professor Barbara Bono

MWF         9:00 - 9:50

Reg. No. 20047

This Fall Semester course on Shakespeare’s earlier works will begin with his self-conscious gestures of mastery in the virtually interchangeable romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet (1594-96) and romantic  comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1594-96).  During the course of the semester we will then go on to read selections from his second tetralogy of history plays—Richard II (1595),  Henry IV (1597), and Henry V (1598-99)—and his series of romantic comedies—Twelfth Night (1599-1600)—as complementary treatments of the fashioning of authority from without, through the recreation of a myth of divine kingship, and from within, through the reproductive consent of women.


Weekly Worksheets. Two medium-length (c. 5-10 pp.) formal, graded, analytic and argumentative papers.  Midterm and cumulative final examinations.


The Norton Shakespeare, 3 edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et. al. (or any good student edition of the plays you may happen already to own—if you have questions please consult the instructor at the beginning of the course) and The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare:  An Introduction with Documents, ed. Russ McDonald.

This course satisfies an Early Literature requirement.


Eng 310 - Shakespeare: Late Plays

Professor Carla Mazzio

T Th      3:30 - 4:50

Reg. No. 21854

This course will serve as an introduction to Shakespeare's tragedies (with a focus on Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear) and romances (with a   special focus on The Winter's Tale and The Tempest), with attention to various strategies of approaching,    analyzing, performing, understanding, experiencing and enjoying the Shakespearean text.

No prior experience with Shakespeare is necessary and this course satisfies the early literature requirement.

Requirements include regular and informed participation in class, a short midterm paper (5-6 pages) and a final paper (8-10 pages).

Course texts will be available at the UB Bookstore on North Campus.

This course satisfies an Early Literature  requirement.

Eng 315 - Milton

Professor Susan Eilenberg

MWF         4:00 - 4:50

Reg. No. 23682

This course will be devoted to the study of John Milton, devoted student of power relations, a poet whose imaginative audacity and intellectual power have inspired three centuries of poets and other readers with wonder and chagrin.  Milton is the premier poet of excess, a too-muchness that works, paradoxically, to convert plenitude into poverty and to subvert the possibility of measurement and comparison that reason requires.  This subversion--the confusion between too much and too little--will be our theme as it was Milton’s.  We shall read his major poetry and a little of his prose:  Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Areopagitica, as well as such slighter works as Comus and “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity.”  For relief from sublimity--and in order to remember the stories that nourished the   poems--we shall also be reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

The written work will include four brief, written responses to the reading, a midterm, a final paper, and a final exam.  Attendance will be required and intelligent participation appreciated.

This course satisfies an Early Literature  requirement.

Eng 324 19th Century British Novel

Professor Rachel Ablow

MWF         10:00 - 10:50

Reg. No. 22362

Why do we still read nineteenth-century British novels? And we do—or we watch them. Jane Eyre, Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Dracula, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol: these are just a few of the novels written 1800-1900 that have recently been adapted for the big or the small screen. What is it about novels this old that continues to interest us? In this course we will read some of the most important—and the most entertaining—novels of the mid- to late-nineteenth-century in order to answer this question. We will  focus, in particular, on why Victorian novels’ representations of childhood and adolescence still appeal to us; what makes these plots and these characters seem “real” or believable; and how notions of sex, gender, and sexuality—as well as class, ethnicity, and identity—have remained the same and how they have changed.

Eng 329 Contemporary British and Irish Literature

Professor Joseph Valente

T Th      11:00 - 12:20

Reg. No. 23683

We will be studying novels written in the British Isles and the Irish Republic from 1945 to the present. Our focus will be on the representation of sexual difference and the changes in sexual mores during the latter half of the 20th century. Our authors will likely include Evelyn Waugh, Anne Enright, Allan Hollinghurst, Angela Carter, Sebastian Barry, Keith Ridgway, Edna O'Brien, Colm Toibin and Patrick McCabe.

Eng 330 Studies in British Literature

Professor Damien Keane

MWF          2:00 - 2:50

Reg. No. 23684              

In a world increasingly defined by political clarity, ideological certainties, and technological consensus, what is the social function of spy fiction? What does it reveal–and conceal–about how power operates not only within the geopolitically demarcated spheres of espionage   agencies, but from inside the contours of everyday experience itself? In this course, we will examine British spy fiction from the late Victorian period to the contemporary moment, along the way encountering issues of imperial rivalry, bureaucratic organization, mercantile competition, technological unevenness, military “intelligence,” and ethical grayness. We will also attend to the similarities and differences among various levels of spy fiction (high literary, para-literary, and mass    market), as well as between spy fiction proper and historical and political analyses of espionage.

Works we read will be drawn from among those of: Eric Ambler, John Banville, Elizabeth Bowen, John Buchan, John le Carré, Erskine Childers, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Geoffrey Household, Rudyard Kipling, Helen MacInnes, Alastair MacLean, W. Somerset Maugham, George Orwell, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Requirements for the course will include attendance and in-class participation; several shorter response papers; and a final research project.

Eng 333 American Literature to Civil War

Professor Cristanne Miller

MWF        1:00 - 1:50

Reg. No. 23685              

Imagining "America"

This course will begin with Native American stories and progress to some of the great novels, short stories, and poems written during the 1840s and 1850s, before the beginning of the Civil War. Readings will include colonial "discovery" and founding documents, captivity and slave narratives, and fiction or poetry by Benjamin Franklin, Lydia Sigourney, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson--among others. Leading up to and following the American Revolutionary War, many fictional and non-fictional texts attempt to define what it means to live in the particular geographical spaces of North America and Euro-American texts define and question the experience of living in a "new" or (later) a "democratic" world. Ways that the peoples of North America understood themselves in relation to nature, to divinity, to political structures like nationhood, and to each other--given differences of  nationality, ethnicity, gender, race, culture, and religion--will be continuing topics over the course of the semester. This course gives you the opportunity to read some of the great classics of U.S. literature (part of Franklin's Autobiography, Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life, Poe's horror tales, Melville's Moby Dick, Whitman's 1855 "Song of Myself," Dickinson's early poems) in the context of the sweep of American/U.S. history from 1600 to 1860.

Requirements for the course include daily brief reflections on the reading assignment, two brief papers (one may be rewritten), and a research essay on the topic of your choice dealing with literature and themes of the semester's reading or on contemporary representation of the material we read.

Eng 334 U.S. Literature from the Civil War to WW 1

Professor Cristanne Miller

MWF          10:00 - 10:50

Reg. No. 23686

Reading and Writing the Civil War,

U.S. Literature 1865-1914

 The Civil War was the most cataclysmic and significant event of the nineteenth century in the United States, if you can call 4 years of terrible bloodshed an "event." Around 700,000 men were killed during the war, more than in all other wars the U.S. has fought before or after put together. This course explores the way that literature anticipates and shapes the understanding of the conflicts in the United States before the war, and then ways that it commemorates, rewrites, and explores meanings of the War after it took place.

Major topics will be the meaning of freedom, slavery, honor, manhood, and duty--for men and women, black and white. We will read slave narratives from before the war, written during the war, and published decades after the war. We'll read letters written by soldiers while they were serving in the armed forces (Union and Confederate); Southern pro-slavery propaganda and fiction; Northern abolitionist poetry and fiction; and fiction and poetry written after the war that continues to reinterpret what the causes, issues, and suffering of the war meant in relation to the changing politics of the century. Although most of our reading takes place within the years 1865 to 1914, we will read a few later fictional works as well as a few pieces written before 1865--in particular, two epic novels: William Faulkner's Absalom Absalom and Margaret Walker's Jubilee.

We will also watch at least one Civil War film. Your  final essay may be on any work of literature, film, or art that interprets the meaning of the Civil War--although if the work was not created between 1865 and 1914 it must take into account the actual historical events and interpretations of that period.

Eng 341 Studies in African American Literature

Professor Jang Wook Huh

MWF         1:00 - 1:50

Reg. No. 23688

Afro-Asian Romance

In 1928 W. E. B. Du Bois published Dark Princess: A Romance, in which he features a marriage between an African American leader and an Indian princess. He wrote this novel of cross-racial intimacy to invoke the worldwide revolution of people of color. This course explores the genre of “Afro-Asian romance” that imagines the cultural and political linkages between African and Asian diasporic communities. By examining fiction, drama, and film, we will consider the following questions: How do diverse groups of  color share emotions, animate political visions, and exchange cultures across the Pacific? What literary forms do black writers employ in representing these global interactions? How might a comparative approach to  African American literature help us understand contemporary racial and ethnic issues in the U.S. and the world?

Main authors may include Du Bois, Velina Hasu Houston, and Patricia Powell. This course is open to students from all majors. I will explain key terms, concepts, and  contexts.                                   

No prerequisites are required.

Eng 347 Visions of America

Professor Chad Lavin

MWF 10:00 - 10:50

Reg. No. 24397

This course will look at attempts to constitute and reflect American identity from the Puritan settlements to Occupy Wall Street.  Readings will explore some of the perennial questions of public life (including nature of political authority, the relationship of individual rights to public goods, and the meaning of work) as well as questions more specific to the American experiment (such as the meaning of “The American Dream” and the enduring significance of race, class, gender, and sexuality).  We will read and discuss as variety of    genres (speeches, essays, memoirs, novels, sermons, plays, films, manifestos, etc.) to examine the multiple ways in which American national identity has been formed, and the relative merits of appeals to reason, emotion, and prejudice for forging a society. 

Readings will come from Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horatio Alger, Andrew Carnegie, WEB Dubois, John Dewey, Emma Goldman, Arthur Miller, and Malcolm X, among others.          

Assignments will include regular response papers, peer reviews, and two take-home essay exams.

Eng 352A Modern Novel

Professor James Holstun

T Th        11:00 - 12:20

Reg. No. 23690           

20-Century American Radical Novel

We’ll read six classic twentieth-century novels that take up class oppression and struggle, racism and patriarchy, the utopian possibilities and the authoritarian dangers of socialism. We’ll begin with The Great Buffalo Novel: Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues (1993), her semi-autobiographical account of a transgendered butch growing up in working-class Buffalo. Then we’ll move back to The Iron Heel (1908), Jack London’s dystopian novel about communist revolt against capitalist oligarchy in a future America. We’ll pair this with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland (1915), her socialist-feminist novel about an all-female state—a utopian solution to the world of Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

We’ll read Pietro di Donato’s Christ in Concrete (1939), his astonishing, experimental, operatic story of first-generation Italian American bricklayers in New York City. We’ll read Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940), on slumlife in black Chicago, murder, and the Communist Party. And we’ll conclude with Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed (1974), the greatest utopian novel of the twentieth century, set on Urras (a capitalist and communist planet resembling Earth) and Anarres (its anarchist moon).

No exams. You’ll write two informal short essays every week (ten minutes’ writing or so each), an eight-page paper at mid-semester, and a fifteen-page expansion of that paper at the end. Texts at the University Bookstore and Queen City Imaging. Because we will talk talk talk, you need to be on the page with hard copies of the assigned editions. If you like, I’ll send you links to buy inexpensive used copies of the books. For more information stop by (319 Clemens) or write me at

Eng 356 Popular Culture

Professor Alan Spiegel

T Th            11:00 - 12:20

Reg. No. 20283

This course will be a study of the world's most popular genre narratives:  Westerns, Crime films, Horror, Sci-fi and  Adventure Romance.  A psychological probe into the collective dreamlife of American men and women in terms of the nature, origins, and development of some of the most durable stories ever told.  We'll discuss the writings of Freud, Jung, and Northrop Frye; and then  examine a whole raft of popular novels and films less as art and more as a species of myth, artifact, and dream-data;  and in this manner, work our way through the fears, lusts and biases of the  Republic from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

Books include (probably) Tarzan of the Apes, The Day of the Locust, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Time Machine, and others;

Films:  The Searchers, Scarface,  The Cat People, Alien, The Lady from Shanghai, and more.

Students should be prepared to read, see, and talk a lot, keep a  journal, prepare for quizzes, and take a final.

Eng 357 Contemporary Literature

Professor Dimitri Anastasopoulos

T Th          3:30 - 4:50

Reg. No. 22395

Contemporary American Literature:

Atrocity Exhibitions

This course explores novels and non-fiction works which depict violence in several forms, violence as  spectacle, massacre, genocide, bodily and sexual violence. In short, we will be reading “atrocity exhibitions” to understand how language portrays such events, or else how language becomes embarrassed in its approach to the scene of violence. We’ll begin with a controversy between JM Coetzee in his book Elizabeth Costello and novelist Paul West’s response to Coetzee’s charges that the representation of the brutal and horrific in literature should be approached somberly and delicately. The class will focus on the politics and aesthetics of speaking the unspeakable.

Eng 361 Modern and Contemporary Poetry

Professor Steve McCaffery

T Th              12:30 - 1:50

Reg. No. 23691

Dada, Allen Ginsberg, the Harlem Renaissance, Marianne Moore, Futurism Mina Loy, Concrete Poetry, these are the names and phenomena that students will encounter in this exhilarating excursion through the last 100 years of poetic creativity.

The course explores the key poets, poems and poetic theories of perhaps the most exciting century of writing. Authors and topics covered include Race, Revolution, Poetry and War, Feminism and the body's relation to language. Imagism, Vorticism, Feminist  Poetics and Concrete Poetry. Among the movements we'll explore are Symbolism, Imagism, Italian and  Russian Futurism, Dada, Objectivism, the Beats, the Harlem Renaissance, Projective Verse, the New American Poetry of the 1960s, the New York School and Language Poetry. Alongside texts to be studied, analyzed and compared are relevant theoretical texts largely by poets themselves. The classes will be enhanced by the occasional classroom visit by poets and scholars in the appropriate fields.

Eng 371 Queer Theory

Dr. Angela Facundo

Wednesdays (eve)    7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No. 23694

This section explores both a (canonical) history of queer theory’s development as well as its current state. As we settle into the second decade of the twenty-first century, queer subjectivity has experienced more than a century of discursive emergence and transformation only to arrive at what seems, presently, like a crisis. The indeterminacy of what “queer” refers to today is the major difficulty of its work. Paradoxically, as a result, queer theory retains its sense of political urgency in its ongoing development. The course will continue this   difficult work by exploring queer discourse as structured through a variety of splits: between identity politics and a desire to undo identity, between the masculine and feminine, between psychoanalytic theory and activism. The difficulties within the field serve as points of active discussion. The theoretical texts assigned in the course will elucidate why “queer” insists upon conceptual difficulty, in contradistinction to the LGBT politics out of which the field emerges. While, for some scholars, queer theory is an object to think about, for others, it is an object to think with. The course investigates such a distinction through queer theory’s relationship to literary study.

This course satisfies a Breadth of Literary Study requirement.

Eng 377 Mythology

Professor Diane Christian

Mondays (eve)    7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No.  23943

"To some extent, mythology is only the most ancient history and biography. So far from being false or fabulous in the common sense, it contains only enduring and essential truth. Either time or rare wisdom writes it."

              Henry David Thoreau (A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 1848)

This class will consider myths of origin and sexual organization from all over the world, ancient and modern. Where and how did the world and we come to be? A primary text will be Barbara Sproul’s Primal Myths which she organizes according to geographical location. We’ll also read Darwin’s The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man a sacred story (myth) of science. We’ll end with Jean Malaurie’s The Allée of the Whales. Malaurie, a living geomorphologist and ethnographer of the Inuit (whom UB gave an honorary degree three years ago) presents Arctic mythology as scientific truth and animism.

This course satisfies an Early Literature OR  a Breadth of Literary Study requirement

Eng 390 Creative Writing Poetry

Professor Myung Mi Kim

Tuesdays (eve)      7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No. 20588

The primary goal of our work together is to generate new writing and further, new ways of thinking about poetry and poetics. Through a linked series of writing exercises, readings in contemporary American poetry, and intensive workshops, you will deepen your vision, sense of craft, and relationship to writing as a process. This series of reading and writing experiments, as well as your participation in attentive readings of each other's work, will invigorate your practice of poetry.

Further, the University at Buffalo is widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting, vital sites for the study of contemporary American poetry today, and this course will offer you numerous chances to hear and talk with a diverse group of poets and scholars of poetry who will be visiting Buffalo during Fall, 2015.

Basic requirements for the course include: active engagement with writing exercises, written responses to assigned readings, in-depth preparation for workshops, and a significant poetry writing project which will serve as the basis for a final portfolio.

Pre-requisite: ENG 205, 206 or 207 : Introduction Poetry Fiction or equivalent.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as toward the Creative Writing Certificate.

Eng 391 Creative Writing Fiction

Professor Christina Milletti

Mondays (eve)        7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No. 19878

When asked why he writes fiction, Robert Coover remarks, “Because truth, the elusive joker, hides himself in fiction and should therefore be sought there....” In this course, we will investigate the apparent paradox Coover identifies. We will ask questions about the mechanisms that permit fiction to create credible worlds, and then work to implement those strategies in your writing, which we will then discuss together in a workshop setting.

We’ll ask:

*What is the relationship of truth to fiction?

*Through what means is reality created on the page?

*How is the implausible made possible through  fictional language?

*What impacts do stories have on readers?

*Under what conditions can fiction create an engaged space with the reader, in which ideas are not just articulated, but perhaps activated as well?

As a fiction workshop, this intermediate level course has several objectives: first, to develop upon the fundamental elements of fiction (such as plot, character, voice, setting etc) that you began to learn in 207; second, to present you with an array of readings and exercises that will assist you in designing specific, individualized approaches to your own work; and last, to give you multiple opportunities to contextualize and showcase your skills within short and long fictions.

Students in this class will try their hand at a wide range of techniques—from the traditional to the avant-garde—so that you can begin to situate your work and poetics. Methods of revision and invention will be considered at length so that you will also become skilled editors of your own work.  Together, we will explore the relation of fictional worlds to the words that create them by exploring assigned exercises, reading workshop submissions, and discussing selected readings. Our aim? To hone your knowledge of how fiction is made so that you can begin to write stories on your own.

Pre-requisite: ENG 205, 206 or 207 : Introduction    Poetry Fiction or equivalent.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as toward the Creative Writing Certificate.

Eng 393 Writing Non-Fiction Prose: University Honors Section

Professor Andrew Stott

Tuesdays 2:00-4:40

Reg. No. 24637

This is a seminar for students who would like to write creative non-fiction. “Creative non-fiction” is a wide-ranging term, but one that we will take to mean factual, well-researched writing (“non-fiction”), written in a style that is freer and more “creative” than academic writing. Many popular genres come under this broad definition, including biography, memoir, travel writing, popular science, investigative reporting, war writing, sports writing, current affairs, and the personal essay.

The first few weeks of the class will be made up of writing exercises and discussion of general principles and ideas such as: finding a way in, establishing a voice, structuring the narrative, deploying the senses, setting the scene, characterization (of people, objects, places, and ideas), and choosing and researching a topic. Will discuss the concepts of what makes good writing, and the ethical questions regarding writing about real people and real things. We will read various published examples of the form to help us along the way, and discuss the techniques and effects that make them work.

From that point on, students will select a topic for their own writing and work on it for the rest of the semester. Each class will begin with some discussion of set texts, before moving on to a series of critiques of pre-circulated student work. Every student’s work will be read by every student, and everybody will have their work critiqued during the course of the semester. This will require us to sharpen the language we use to describe and critique written work, to deliver clear arguments orally, and to develop creative dialogue that is productive, helpful, and fully supports the free and uncensored exchange of ideas. Good organization is a must.

By the end of the semester, students will be better writers and better readers. They will have produced an extended piece of original non-fiction, and developed an insight into the practice and discipline of writing non-fiction, as well as the importance of making and receiving constructive criticism.

Eng 394 Writing Workshop, Writing for The Spectrum

Jody Kleinberg Biehl

Mondays    5:00 - 6:20

Reg. No. 19323

Love print and online journalism?  Want to write and get your work published?  Looking for a way to make your resume look fabulous?  How about getting a chance to see the way UB really works--and getting to talk to the important people on campus?  (Not to mention working with cool students and making good friends.)

The Spectrum, UB's student newspaper, needs students who are aggressive, self-motivated, and willing to meet deadlines on a weekly basis.  As a writer for one of The Spectrum's desks (such as campus news, features, or sports), you'll be required to report and write at least twelve stories over the course of the semester that will be published in the paper. You'll also be required to attend weekly classes every Monday at 5:00 p.m. to discuss the week’s papers, news on campus and how you can better your researching, reporting and writing skills. At the end of the semester, you will be required to submit a portfolio of the work you have done for the paper over the course of the semester.

Prior experience in journalism is a plus, but not absolutely necessary.  At the very least, you need to be a capable writer with solid basic writing skills. Completion of English 201 or its equivalent is a minimum qualification before registering, and English 193 is also a good idea, either before you sign up for this workshop or in conjunction with it.  You will be expected to attend a mandatory organizational meeting that will be held at the beginning of the semester.  Please check The Spectrum for details.  If you have any questions, please stop in to The Spectrum offices and ask. 

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as  toward the  Journalism Certificate Program.

Eng 394 Writing Workshop, The Spectrum Photographers

Jody Kleinberg Biehl

Mondays    4:30 - 5:50

Reg. No. 17737

Eng 398 Ethics in Journalism

Bruce Andriatch

Tuesdays (eve)       7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No. 21058

Is it ever OK to break the law to get a story? When is it the right decision to publish a rumor? How do you know whether a picture that likely will offend readers and   viewers should be used anyway? Ethics in Journalism pushes students to examine how every action a journalist makes in gathering, organizing and presenting the news requires a value judgment. The course covers media credibility, steps in ethical decision-making,  handling anonymous and unreliable sources, accuracy letters, conflict of interest and the difference between reporting and exploiting grief. The course uses the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics as a model and guideline.  

Students study a range of historical scenarios, including Watergate, as well as hypothetical cases. They debate the instructor and each other and participate in a panel that takes a position on an ethical conflict and defends it. Students read and discuss the decisions and mistakes of journalists who have come before them and analyze the dilemmas  unfolding in newsrooms today.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as  toward the  Journalism Certificate Program.

Eng 399 Journalism

Jody Kleinberg-Biehl

T Th      11:00 - 12:20

Reg. No. 20981

News Literacy/Feature Writing

Journalists talk about two kinds of stories: hard news and features. Hard news stories make you smarter. Features make you wiser. That’s what we’ll be writing in this class – in depth pieces that focus on one topic, problem, trend or person.

We’ll also be looking at the work of some of journalism’s greatest writers. Every week, we will read pieces of feature writing and analyze what makes them remarkable. We will also critique features appearing in current newspapers and magazines and on websites.

We will work to become more perceptive and critical news consumers. At a time when the digital revolution is flooding the market with information and disinformation, this course will help students recognize the differences between news and propaganda, news and opinion, bias and fairness, assertion and verification and evidence and inference.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as  toward the  Journalism Certificate Program.

Eng 399 Journalism

Charles Anzalone

Thursdays (eve)     7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No. 19709

Editing for the Conscientious Writer

Behind every great book or article lies a great editor. This advanced writing course is intended for students who have demonstrated proficiency in basic college composition and who hopefully have some experience with the basics of journalism. The course will teach students both how to edit and improve other writers' drafts, and how to incorporate those good writing techniques into their own writing. We will become familiar with basic copyediting symbols, and learn how this shorthand can speed up basic editing communication and avoid common mistakes. Students will take turns writing stories and having their classmates edit their articles; they will alternate each role throughout the semester. All students will hopefully leave the class with extensive experience both in writing stories and editing their peers' work. So the editing techniques they learn will help them become better writers, as well as become the kind of editor the smartest writers crave to be a part of their writing process.

Editing for the Conscientious Writer will be a mix of editing exercises, writing and reporting stories used for editing in class, and studying and appreciating examples of articles that illustrate memorable writing and editing. On each student’s writing list is “Ball Four,” Jim Bouton’s American classic time has shown to be one of the best-edited non-fiction books around.

Editing for the Conscientious Writer will be an object lesson on how becoming a good editor makes you a better writer, and learning the skills of good writing enhances your ability to be a valuable editor. And being a valuable editor can prove surprisingly helpful.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as  toward the Journalism Certificate Program.


Eng 399 Journalism

Keith McShea

Mondays (eve)     7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No.  22463

Journalism in the Age of the iPhone

Journalism in 2015 means being digital, social and    mobile (not necessarily in that order) and that usually means using a smartphone. Today, journalists often   report news with a smartphone to people reading news on the go. The journalist could be a sportswriter at a hometown high school football game or an international reporter in the Middle East. Technology (smartphones, tablets, the web and the countless tools available on it) has revolutionized how journalists tell stories -- in words, photos and video; and it has revolutionized how, when and where audiences are able to consume those stories.

Students in this class will learn the basics of incorporating photo, video, audio and more to their reporting. They will also see why good writing remains at the core of their work. No matter what medium is used, good writing is the backbone: a good script for a video, strong captions for photos that offer clarity and context, and even the best tweets on Twitter (it's good writing, just shorter). Students in this class will cover events and  report stories while incorporating digital storytelling into their own work. They will also study and dissect the best digital journalism (much of which requires a lot more than an iPhone to put together). Students will keep blogs, which will be the vehicle for their class projects.

Students will need a smartphone or tablet to take this class.

The instructor, Keith McShea, is an award-winning   reporter and blogger for The Buffalo News.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as  toward the  Journalism Certificate Program.

Eng 401 English Honors Seminar, Courtly Love

Professor Randy Schiff

MWF       12:00 - 12:50

Reg. No. 23698

Courtly Love

Throughout the Middle Ages, a key cultural code that circulated throughout the literary West was the discourse of courtly love. Courtliness was conceived by some as an art governing every aspect of individual  behavior, and the meanings of its rules and images have profoundly impacted Western literature. Our course will survey the literature of courtly love in medieval Europe, with a focus on the Old French and Middle English   traditions. We will read (in translation) examples of  lyrics by troubadours and trouvères, explore Marie de France’s Lais, learn the Art of Courtly Love from Andreas Capellanus, and examine three works central to the courtly canon—Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s The Romance of the Rose, Dante’s La Vita Nuova, and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. We will also study one Tristan and Iseult romance, and explore key courtly Middle English works— namely, Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Chaucer’s dream visions.

Our course will consider courtly theory, including arguments about whether its origins are Western or Eastern. All students will be required to do one formal presentation, take two exams, and write two term papers (of 6-9 and 10-15 pages, respectively).

Open to English Honors students & University Honors students. Contact Nicole at for registration.

This course satisfies an Early Literature Requirement.

Eng 405 Topics in Early Women Writers

Professor Ruth Mack

T Th             9:30 - 10:50

Reg. No. 23699

Eighteenth-Century Bodies and Realities

     If all Men are born Free, how is it that all Women are     

     born slaves?

     --Mary Astell, Some Reflections on Marriage, 1700

In this course, we will read prose, poetry and philosophy written by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women. We will pay primary attention to their representations of the human body. What is made possible by the body, and what is made impossible by it? Is the body, especially the female body, a means to political action or an obstacle to such action? What role does the body have to play in marriage? In the economy? Sometimes our writers will ask questions that sound like questions people still ask today: do the fact that women and men have different bodies mean that their minds are also  different? And sometimes they will ask questions that look entirely different from those we (commonly) ask today: Can matter think? Should women be permitted roles beyond those of mother and nun? Together, these early texts will help us to construct a history of early writing and thinking by women, and they will also gives us terms for thinking about the body itself—in all of its materiality--as a historical artifact.

Course readings will include texts by Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Mary Astell, Sarah Scott, Frances Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Jane Austen. You should expect to write frequent response papers, a short paper, and a longer research paper.

This course satisfies an Early Literature Requirement.

Eng 409 Topics in Shakespeare

Professor Carla Mazzio

T Th           12:30 - 1:50

Reg. No.  23700

Shakespeare and the Scientific Imagination

Shakespeare’s London was veritably exploding with new technologies, discoveries, ideas and debates about the natural world and the place of scientific knowledge in culture and society. This course will explore a selection of Shakespeare’s plays in terms of social and philosophical questions and dramatic issues related to early modern cultures of experiment, attitudes toward ecology and  environment, the making of artificial life and miniature worlds, and questions about scientific mentalities. In the process of opening up avenues of inquiry into early  modern approaches to the study of nature (with possible attention to anatomy, cartography, horticulture, physics, cosmology, meteorology, craft-based or artisanal knowledge and early forms of “life science”) we will focus on close and careful analysis of the plays and    surrounding cultural texts to explore imaginative dimensions of science and the scientific dimensions of poetry and drama.

As we work to advance our understanding of Shakespeare as a poet and playwright immersed not only in humanistic learning, political and religious debate, and popular culture, but also in the practices, theories, and conceptual lexicons of scientific knowledge in the making, we will examine some recent scholarship on science and technology in the early modern period and work closely with selected early modern texts that reflected on the imaginative potential of scientific enterprises. Plays to be examined will include, among others, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest and selected texts Donne, Burton, Bacon and others.

Requirements: Requirements include regular, active and informed participation in discussion, a brief class presentation and the production of a research paper at the end of term that explores some aspect of Shakespeare and science.

Texts: The texts for this course will be available at the UB Bookstore on North Campus. I will distribute other reading materials in course packets throughout the semester.  I will be sending you weekly readings as attachments by email.

This course satisfies an Early Literature Requirement.

Eng 434 Advanced Creative Writing, Poetry

Karen Mac Cormack

T Th           12:30 - 1:50

Reg. No.  23701

This workshop/seminar course will focus on writing and the temporal, investigating the dynamics of poetry within appropriate historical contexts designed to frame and inform the students' own work. We will examine the poetry considered "radical" within its own era and   compare the techniques employed to create it.

Texts to be considered include: the early 20th century attacks on grammar and the sentence by the Italian    Futurist and Dada writers, Surrealist automatic writing, Chance Operations, the techniques resulting in Treated Texts, the radical poetics of the late 20th century and early 21st century, and translation as a creative strategy. (Antecedents from earlier centuries will be included for discussion.) Temporality as content will be considered, as well as what happens to temporality within a poetic text. How does time enter writing as both historical   content and readerly experience? By exploring these varying dynamics the course will contextualize the   multiple meanings of writing poetry at the beginning of the 21st century.

In advance of the first class_ students should submit by  e-mail three of their own poems to Karen Mac Cormack at

Pre-requisite: ENG 207: Introduction Poetry Fiction or equivalent, and ENG 390 Creative Writing Poetry.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as toward the Creative Writing Certificate.

Eng 435 Advanced Creative Writing, Fiction

Professor Nnedi Okorafor

T Th              3:30 - 4:50

Reg. No. 17337


Pre-requisite: ENG 207: Introduction Poetry Fiction or equivalent, and ENG 391 Creative Writing Fiction.

This course counts as an English Elective, as well as   toward the Creative Writing Certificate.

Eng 438 Film Directors

Professor Alan Spiegel

T Th             2:00 - 3:20

Reg. No.  23702

A study in Authorship, the director as sole owner and proprietor of his material, using some of the worlds’ greatest filmmakers as examples: Hitchcock, Bergman, Godard, Kurosawa, Fellini, and Bunuel.  I plan for two films per director - one early, one late - to show developments in concept and style (e.g., Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935); then Vertigo (1958)).  Since many of these works appear in languages other than English, Everyone should be prepared to read subtitles, an effort for some but more than worthwhile since we’ll be   looking at a handful of the greatest films ever made:  The Seventh Seal, Persona, Breathless, 8 1/2, The Seven Samurai, Viridiana, and more.

In addition to the above, students will get a lot of practice in reading movies seriously (that is, closely); in writing about them; in translating images into words. There will be quizzes, a final, and a journal.

Eng 438 Film Directors

Professor Bruce Jackson

Tuesdays (Eve)  7:00 - 9:40

Reg. No.  19654

*Off Campus @ Amherst Theatre, Across from UB South Campus

This class is an experiment in looking at and talking about films. It’s a regular UB class, but the general  public is welcome to attend.  We meet at the  Amherst Theatre across from UB South Campus on Tuesday nights.  

The two of us introduce each film, we screen it, we take a short break, and then we talk about the film with the students and anyone  in the audience who wants to join us.  The non-student part of the audience has been running over 200 people for each screening, about  half of whom stay for the discussions.

The Buffalo Film Seminars are grounded in two underlying assumptions.  The first is that watching a good film on a television set is like reading a good novel in Cliff’s Notes or Classic Comics:  you may get the contour of the story but not the experience of the work.  Movies were meant to be seen big, in the company of other  people.  The second is that a conversation among people of various ages and experiences about a good movie they’ve all just seen can be  interesting and useful.

We try to pick films that will let us think and talk about genre, writing, narrative, editing, directing, acting, context, camera work, relation to sources.  The only fixed requirement is that they have to  be great films--no films of "academic" interest only.  You can go to for the latest information on the schedule, as well as a full list of all the films we’ve programmed in  the first fourteen series, and other information about the screenings and the class.

At the first meeting of the class (in the lobby of the theater),  registered students get a series pass that provides free admission to all of that semester's films.  Since we show films and talk about them in the same class meeting, and since a few of the films each semester are long, we sometimes go well past the class-ending time in the UB schedule. Usually we're done by 10:30.

There are no exams. Students have to maintain a notebook/diary reflecting their reactions to all the screenings,  discussions and print and listserv readings. The notebooks will be collected and graded three times during the term.

Eng 447 Literature of Migration

Professor Joseph Conte


Reg. No. 23703

The path of immigration into the United States extends from the halls of Ellis Island to the globalized migration of the twenty-first century. First-generation immigrants are often driven to these shores by the blight of poverty or the sting of religious or political persecution; hope to make for themselves a fabled but often factitious “better life”; and are riven between the desire to retain old-world customs and language and the appeal of new-world comforts and technological advances. Second-generation immigrants face the duality of a national identity—striving to become recognized as “real Americans”—and an ethnic heritage that they wish to honor and sustain but which marks them as always an “other.” Here we encounter the hyphenated status of the preponderance of “natural born” American citizens. The third-generation descendent will have only indirect or acquired familiarity with his or her ethnic heritage; the loss of bilingualism or at best a second language acquired in school; and frequently a multiethnic identity resulting from the complex scrabble of American life in a mobile, suburban, and professionalized surrounding.

We will view films and read a selection of both fiction and memoir that reflect the immigrant experience in this country. Jacob Riis documents the penury and hardship of tenement life among the newly arrived underclass in How the Other Half Lives (1890). Anzia Yezierska’s novel Bread Givers (1925) treats the conflict between a devout, old-world Jewish father and a daughter who wishes to be a modern independent woman. We’ll want to compare Yezierska’s immigrant experience of 1900 with the Soviet-era migration of  Russian Jews to New York in Gary Shteyngart’s comic autobiography Little Failure (2014). Mount Allegro (1989), Jerre Mangione’s memoir of growing up in the Sicilian enclave of Rochester, NY, portrays ethnicity that is insular, protective of its “imported from Italy” values, and yet desperate to find recognition as an authentic  version of “Americanness.” The film Big Night (1996), directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci, serves up Italian food with abbondanza, “rich abundance,” but not a single Mafioso. In his long career as an English teacher and barroom raconteur, Frank McCourt preserved the harrowing story of his youth in Limerick, Ireland and New York for Angela’s Ashes (1997) and ‘Tis (1999); like so many immigrant families, the McCourts re-emigrated between transatlantic failures. We’ll screen the film adaptation of Angela’s Ashes, directed by Alan Parker, and read the second volume of his autobiography. Junot Díaz, in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), follows the “Ghetto Nerd,” his voluptuous sister and hot-tempered mother between urban-industrial Paterson, New Jersey and their Dominican homeland. Finally, we’ll view the docufiction film, Who Is Dayani Cristal? starring Gael García Bernal and directed by Marc Silver, which retraces the journey made by a migrant laborer whose desiccated body was found in Arizona’s forbidding Sonora Desert.

As this is an exclusively online course, our discussion of these books and films will take place in the UB Learns environment. Writing assignments on ethnicity, identity and migration will be shared and critiqued among class members in the UB Learns discussion boards throughout the semester.

Eng 495 Supervised UG Teaching

Rhonda Reid

MWF          1:00 - 1:50

Reg. No.  23704

English 495 introduces students to theories of writing and writing consultancy.

The skills developed in this class will help students to leverage writing skills into professional contexts and provide experience with teaching and mentoring in both real and virtual environments. Students who have completed the course are eligible to apply as writing consultants in the Center for Writing Excellence.

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2015 - 2016