ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (73616)

MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Steven Alvarez

Email: alvares1@stjohns.edu

This course will explore the literacies of English studies, focusing on the activities of composing and interpreting necessary for success in the major, minor, or concentration. We will closely read a range of texts across historical periods where we will practice identifying genres and literary techniques, analyzing textual evidence, developing topics, claims, writing and revising essays, and conducting additional research. We will also work on strategies for navigating the types of multimodal reading and writing students in English may encounter in the future.

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (73145)

TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM

Dr. Steven Mentz

Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

This introductory course teaches the skills and practices English Majors need to succeed. We will self-consciously explore multiple modes of “reading” and “writing” to cultivate a variety of skills that will provide practical value in and beyond the classroom. Short writing assignments will include close textual analysis, speculative thesis-construction, techniques of research and “lit review,” poetic criticism, and creative extensions (aka as “fan fiction”). We will engage with a variety of genres and modes including Maria Dahvana Headley’s new punk-rock translation of Beowulf, contemporary African-American writing by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Claudia Rankine, Ta-Nahesi Coates, and Audre Lorde, a play by Shakespeare (the class can choose which one!), and Peter Kuper’s graphic novel rendition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

ENG. 2210: Study of British Literature: Songs and Sonnets (73617)


Dr. Nicole Rice

Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course offers a selective study of British poetry written from the fifteenth to the late twentieth century. We will mainly be reading short lyric poems, working closely with the texts at a formal level. The major goal of the course is to become conversant with the terms of formal analysis and proficient in the close reading and analysis of poetry. We will be focusing on the links between poetry and song, and we will become experts in the lyric form known as the sonnet.

ENG. 2300: Topics in Theory (73615)

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Elda Tsou

Email: tsoue@stjohns.edu

This course is an undergraduate introduction to the key concepts, thinkers, and intellectual movements called literary theory. What we term “theory” is a diverse a group of texts drawn from various disciplines like philosophy, psychoanalysis, linguistics, history, anthropology and sociology. The goal of this course is less about mastery than familiarity with a set of thinkers and their key concepts. Since this course takes the position that theory is not a set of formulas to be applied to various texts but a critical way of thinking, our emphasis will be on understanding these thinkers and comprehending their relationship to the conversations that preceded them. Our ultimate goal will be to try to understand theory as a way of thinking about the activity of thinking itself. We will try to view theory as a series of questions about the activities of thinking, interpreting, and meaning-making as they apply to different objects of study: the human subject, literature, language, sex, gender, race, society. In our readings, we will learn to think critically and carefully about the object of our scrutiny, and to examine our ways of knowing that object, and what that knowledge entails for us as knowing subjects.

ENG. 3110: Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (74982)


TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM

Dr. Nicole Rice

Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course introduces the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century poetic masterwork. This is a poem of tremendous variety, containing stories of chivalry and betrayal, fidelity and adultery, piety and blasphemy, romance and bawdy humor. We will study some of Chaucer’s most important and engaging tales, learning to read and pronounce the original Middle English. Chaucer lived during a period of major social, religious, and political upheaval. We will situate the tales in their historical contexts while considering some important recent critical approaches to Chaucer. No previous experience with Middle English is required.

ENG. 3130: Shakespeare: The Elizabethan Plays: Spares and Heirs (74983)


TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Steven Mentz

Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

What is it about princes and princesses? Why are Americans in the twenty-first century still obsessed with the British royal family? Using Price Harry’s international bestselling tell-all autobiography Spare (2022) as a jumping-off point, this course uses Shakespeare’s history plays to think about what royalty means. Kings, princes, and princesses appear in these plays as political actors, cultural symbols, and objects of fascination. We will read a half-dozen of Shakespeare’s early plays about English kings, including the evil Richard III, the weak Richard II, the childish Henry VI, and the nationalist warrior Henry V. Invidious comparisons to King Charles III, to Harry and Meghan, and also to William and Kate, are encouraged but not required.

ENG. 3240: Romantic Literature (74985)


M. 9:05 – 10:30 AM


Dr. Gregory Maertz

Email: maertzg@stjohns.edu

This course explores the themes of love and death in the literature of the Romantic Period. Works to be read and discussed include a selection of Robert Burns’s love poetry; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, the internationally bestselling novella of star-crossed lovers that ends in suicide; “The Sick Rose” and “London,” poems by William Blake about the pathogens unleased by love; William Wordsworth’s cycle of love poems dedicated to a dead child; Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s lesbian vampire poem “Christabel”; Emma, Jane Austen’s great Regency satire of marriage-minded young women; Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, a Gothic romance in which love outlasts the grave; and the heartrending last poems of the dying John Keats—“Ode on Melancholy,” “To Autumn,” and “Bright Star.”

ENG. 3250: Victorian Literature (74986)


MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Amy King

Email: kinga@stjohns.edu

The Victorian age (1837-1901) is named after the long reign of a single monarch—Queen Victoria— but the period was anything but monotonous. Nineteenth-century Great Britain underwent enormous change, including rapid industrialization, technological innovation, urbanization, democratization, imperial expansion, and increased social change and religious pluralism. Like our own society, Great Britain in the Victorian age was an urban industrial society— indeed the first in history, with the population doubling between 1800 and 1850 from nine to eighteen million — and subject to its own form of shock from information overload and technological change. Our own middle-class, economic, mobile, complex and interwoven world, was described and mapped in this period through various literary forms. We will read across multiple genres, including Victorian poetry, journalism, science, and children’s literature, as well as the period’s dominant genre: the novel.

ENG. 3310: Antebellum American Literature (74987)


TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM

Dr. Granville Ganter

Email: ganterg@stjohns.edu

This is a course focusing on a key period in American history which centered on social reform. Historically, one can think of it as the age of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s passionate critique of slavery in 1851-2. It is a remarkable literary era because it was driven by mainstream middle class Americans who were re-evaluating their culture’s longstanding beliefs about God, slavery, women’s rights, education, social welfare, diet, industry, and even sexual conduct. The American literature of the period is often associated with the major Transcendentalist authors—Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Whitman. This course will study these writers in detail, but it will also read them in context with a broad array of authors interested in political reform, such as Frederick Douglas and Stowe.

ENG. 3430: Modern Poetry (74988)

TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Stephen Sicari

Email: sicaris@stjohns.edu

In this course we will read widely in the poetry of three major modernist poets: W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Wallace Stevens. We will try to get a sense of how they enact lifelong projects that develop over time and respond to pressing contemporary events; these include the two world wars (and with Yeats the Irish Civil War), economic collapse, the rise of totalitarianism, the gradual break-up of Empire, even reaching into the Cold War era with Stevens. Far being removed from history, these poets engage with such events and concerns as they develop a poetry capable of providing hope and consolation, even joy.

ENG. 3590: Literature & The Other Arts (73984)


W. 10:40 – 1:30 PM

Dr. Stephen Paul Miller

Email: millers@stjohns.edu

This course considers chains of direct influence and useful interfacing within various art forms, implying them to issues that are relevant to the students. For instance, the Korean film director Lee Chang-dong based his 2018 film, Burning, upon William Faulkner’s short story, “Barn Burning” and Japanese author’s Haruki Murakami’s fictive response to Faulkner’s story, “Burning.” The class will evaluate the three works’ treatments of work, youth, family, class, and other subjects. Similarly, Japanese director Akiru Kurosawa based his film Ikiru upon Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilych. How do the themes of the two works differ? A similar “chain of representation” occurs among Allen Tate’s poem “Ode to the Confederate Dead,” Robert Lowell’s poetic response, “For the Union Dead that also responded to sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ sculptural relief “Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The class may also consider the visual narrative techniques of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, compare Billie Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit” Frank O’Hara’s poem “The Day Lady Died,” and relate the film My Dinner with Andre with philosophical dialogues. The class will be explorative, and students will also select interdisciplinary objects of study.

ENG. 3675/CRES 3050: Race and Racializations (74989/75084)

Comparative Racializations

MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Elda Tsou

Email: tsoue@stjohns.edu

How does our understanding of race change when we think about race making as a set of mobile, flexible and inter-group relations? This course will explore this question and its theoretical and political consequences by examining processes of race-making across different racial groups in the United States—Asian American, African American, Native American, Latinx, white. We will consider the concept of differential racialization in the context of empire, indigeneity, gender/sexuality, labor history, whiteness and class. We will also consider whether race and racialization, typically understood as processes of other-making, might also function in alternate modes, ones that foreground affinity, proximity and inclusion instead of difference, alterity and exclusion. Class readings will be drawn from legal cases, literary texts, digital art, and theories of race.

ENG. 3680/CRES 1000: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (73748)



MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Raj Chetty

Email: chettyr@stjohns.edu

This class will introduce students to fundamental concepts and debates within the fields of critical race studies and critical ethnic studies. Students will learn about the emergence of critical race studies and ethnic studies as distinct academic fields of study. The course will root itself in Indigenous Studies and Black Studies as foundations for thinking about global forms of racism, anti-racist struggle, and international solidarity movements. In addition to texts focused on Indigenous and Black histories and social movements, we will also read excerpts of works by mid-20th century writers, thinkers, and activists whose works are now central to these interdisciplinary fields: Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney, the Combahee River Collective, June Jordan. We will read contemporary scholars who take up those earlier thinkers, and the revolutionary movements in which they participated: Robin D. G. Kelley, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Gloria Anzaldúa, Gary Okihiro, Vijay Prashad, Jean Casimir, Laurent Dubois, Joseph Pierce, among others.

ENG. 3730: Poetry Workshop (74992)



MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Professor Lee Ann Brown

Email: brownl@stjohns.edu

In this poetry writing course, we will “read poetry and imagine ourselves writing it” (Alice Notley). We will also explore the relationship of poetry to collage, song, sound, performance, poets theater, ritual and other visual work. Linked readings in contemporary poetry and poetics lead to the member’s new poems and individual statements of poetics. Required texts include the Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms, and Sleeping on the Wing by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell, plus other reserve readings. Playing with a range of traditional and experimental poetic forms, students will develop original poetry manuscripts of at least 22 pages by end of semester, as well as a short poetics statement, and a response paper on a poetry performance or event. Willingness to try out new forms and modes of writing in a participatory setting is required.

ENG. 3770: Writing the Short Story: Love Trouble (75146)



Professor Gabriel Brownstein

Email: brownstg@stjohns.edu

In this class, we’ll work on the short story, and we’ll focus on stories about the difficulties of love and sex and romance. Students will write a series of exercises and experiments, culminating in original works of art, and they will present their writing to class for discussion and critique. We’ll think about storytelling not so much as invention, but as combination, the process the Russian theorist Victor Shklovsky called “defamiliarization,” of bringing unlike things together, so as to see them in unexpected ways. “I believe that whatever talent I have,” writes Carmen Maria Machado, citing Shklovsky, “comes not from some sort of muse or creative spirit, but from my ability to manipulate proportions and time.” As we write, we’ll read a number of short stories by great (mostly US) writers. We’ll start with contemporary stories and move backward in time, studying works by: Carmen Maria Machado, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Junot Diaz, Raymond Carver, Anne Beattie, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and Anton Chekhov. All these writers will tell us love stories—usually unhappy ones. Love plus trouble equals a story.

ENG. 3890: Topics in Film Genre (74994)

TF 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Scott Combs

Email: combss@stjohns.edu

A study of the formal similarities, stylistic and narrative patterns, and mythic values of a particular generic category of film production.

ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres (74537)

Critical Issues in Digital Rhetoric and Media


TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Latoya Sawyer

Email: sawyerl@stjohns.edu

Critical Issues in Digital Rhetoric and Media In recent years, hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo have helped to bring awareness to critical issues of the day and mobilize people to bring about social change. The subsequent conversations on- and offline serve as contemporary examples of public and digital rhetoric and the agency that online identity performances and communities can provide. Inspired by this communal and rhetorical force, this senior seminar will examine how digital writing and rhetoric are used to create themed conversations, communities, and social justice movements in online spaces, as well as the affordances, constraints, and implications of such actions. Exploring emerging digital rhetoric and humanities scholarship, social media spaces, and platforms, the seminar will look specifically at how social media users use discourse and rhetoric as part of their identity performances and digital literacies to organize and demonstrate agency. We will explore the following questions: What is digital rhetoric? How are face-to-face rhetorical strategies mediated online? What rhetorical strategies have emerged from digital spaces? How can they be wielded to effect change on- and offline and what are the implications? Students will work throughout the semester to complete a digital media project based on a theme of interest from the course material.


ENG. 4903: Internship In English (73215) 3 CREDITS

ENG. 4906: Internship In English (73216) 6 CREDITS

ENG. 4953: Independent Study (73930)








The English Major and Minors in English and Writing

The major in English is a 36-credit program.

Core Courses (9 credits)

English 1100C: Literature in a Global Context English

2200: Reading/Writing for English majors English

2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory Courses

Prior to 1900:

Select any 3 courses.

Courses that qualify are indicated on the course description flier as Pre-1900

(9 credits)

Additional Electives

to be drawn from any SJC English courses (15 credits)

Senior Capstone (3 credits)

Total credits in the English major: (36 credits)

Please note: the credit requirements for the English and Writing Minors has changed from 18 credits to 15 credits for all students:

Minor in English: 15 credits

Students wishing to minor in English must 15 credits in English. 1100c may count toward the total number of credits.

Minor in Writing: 15 credits

Students who minor in writing must take the following courses:

  • Four writing courses
  • Any additional course in the SJC English Department. 1100c may count toward the total number of credits.

Note: English majors who minor in writing must take four writing courses plus one additional English course (fifteen credits in all) in addition to their major coursework.