College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Current and Upcoming Honors Courses


English Honors Courses 2015-2016

ENGH 402: Honors Independent Study

Students can take an independent study in the either the fall or the spring semester. Applications are available in the main office, Robinson A487. These should be completed, including signatures by the faculty advisor and the English Honors coordinator by May 1st for the Fall semester and December 1st for the Spring semester.


Fall 2015 ENGH 400: Sexualities and Sexual Identities in African American Literature
Professor Keith Clark

Treatments of sexuality and sexual identities in African American Literature have always been as complex as they have been varied.  In this course, we will engage texts by African American authors--novels, short stories, plays, poems, and perhaps a film--that foreground issues realted to sexualities and sexual identities.  We will interrogate these works closely, paying careful attention to broad areas such as theme and characterization while exploring various physical, historical, social, and psychological issues that undergird and inform representations of sexuality in literature.  Course requirements will include quizzes, two examinations, and a research paper.  A preliminary list of authors to be studied includes: Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Randall Kenan, Sapphire, and Daniel Black.


Spring 2016 ENGH 400: Romantic Lives
W 4:30-7:10 pm
Professor Eric Eisner

Our present memoir-mad, confessional, gossipy and celebrity-obsessed culture had its counterpart, or maybe its origin, in the Romantic culture of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. In that revolutionary era, heady with ideas of the rights of the individual and intensely fascinated by individual psychology, memory, and childhood experience, writers experimented with and popularized new ways to narrate the self—and in the process, they created new ways of imagining who we are as selves, and how we come to be ourselves. And writers had terrific stories to tell about the romantic lives they led: their adventurous travel in exotic lands, their wild drug trips, their participation in earth-shaking historical events, their passionate romances. In this honors seminar, we’ll explore Romantic-era biographical and autobiographical writing in a variety of genres, from tell-all confessions to epic poems to private journals and letters, and we’ll read some works of fiction that pose as real-life confessions. We’ll pay special attention to the way writers of the period provocatively blurred the boundaries between life and text, to the way writers grappled with questions of memory and identity, and to the way writers stage-managed their public selves for fame and fortune. Central questions include: how do we know who we are? What can we know of who others are? How are memory, narrative, and selfhood intertwined? How do ideas of selfhood emerge and change in the Romantic era? To help us think about the self-fashioning and self-disclosure going on in these texts, we’ll do some reading in modern theories of autobiography, sexuality, and selfhood, and read some Romantic-era and modern biography as well.

Likely reading list: Rousseau, Reveries; Wollstonecraft, Letters from a Short Residence…; Godwin, Caleb Williams; W. Wordsworth, Prelude (excerpts); D. Wordsworth, Journals (excerpts); De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater; Byron, Don Juan (excerpts); Lister, Diary


Spring 2016: ENGH 401: Honors Thesis Writing Seminar
T/R 12:00-1:15 pm
Professor Kristin Samuelian

Prerequisites: permission of department and ENGH 400. This course gives students who wish to write an English honors thesis guidance in research methods, while offering the opportunity to share works in progress in a workshop format. Theses of about 20-25 pages in length are written under the supervision of the instructor and a faculty mentor with expertise in the thesis area. Students may take the thesis seminar concurrently and in coordination with another approved course offered by the English Department. In this case, the instructor in that course serves as thesis reader and advisor. Students choosing this option receive credit for the thesis seminar and second course; however, thesis work may substitute for some assigned work in the second course by arrangement with the instructors of both the thesis seminar and second course. Please contact the instructor during the fall semester if you have any questions about what might constitute a topic for the thesis.

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