Special Course Offerings

Special Course Offerings

These courses explore literary or writing topics not usually offered as part of the regular curriculum. Specific topics are announced during the semester previous to that in which the course will be offered. May be taken twice with different topics. (ATTR: ARTS, & LTTP or WRIT)

Spring 2018

ENGL285 / WGSS400: Women, Gender, and Trauma in Literature — Dr. Michelle Liptak

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to trauma theory as a lens through which to critically analyze literature. We will take a cross-cultural look at people in literature (both real and imagined) who have experienced, have witnessed, and/or have been impacted by violent and traumatic events and their often indelible effects. By the end of the course, students will recognize trauma as a mark of oppression and social injustice; identify thematic patterns, symptoms, and effects related to trauma; and recognize literary and rhetorical strategies employed in trauma and recovery narratives. We will examine issues related to identity (including gender, class, sexuality, race, ability, and age); individual, collective, and cultural memory; violence; loss; and survivorship. In addition to reading and discussing a plethora of texts, assignments will include leading a class discussion, writing short response essays, and an individually-designed final project.  

WRIT 390: Advanced Fiction Workshop — Prof. Karin Lin-Greenberg

Advanced Fiction Workshop is intended for students who have successfully completed Writing Short Fiction and want to continue to study and write short stories. This course will focus on the production of new work and the process of effective revision. Students will build upon the strategies they learned in Writing Short Fiction for being thoughtful readers and editors for their own work and the work of their peers. There will be a workshop component to this course, and students will provide their classmates with written feedback on their work. Students are also responsible for writing short analyses of the published work they will read for class. We will spend time researching and reading online literary journals—especially journals that seek submissions from undergraduate students—and learn about the process of submitting thoroughly revised and carefully proofread work to journals. The final project for this class will involve submitting work to a journal. Prerequisite: WRIT 260: Writing Short Fiction

Fall 2017

WRIT 390: Writing the Long Short Story — Prof. Karin Lin-Greenberg

In Writing the Long Story we will discuss the work that can be accomplished in long stories (between ten and twenty-five pages) in terms of plot, scenes, movement in time, depth of characterization, and world building. For the first third of the semester we will closely examine published long stories and discuss the techniques the authors have used to create their stories. We will also spend class time at the beginning of the semester responding to writing prompts that should lead to long stories. The remainder of the semester will be devoted to workshopping student work and to revisions of workshopped stories. Both literary and genre fiction are welcome in this course. Although students will be writing longer fiction, they still will be required to write short stories that are self-contained; novel excerpts will not be permitted in this course. Writing Short Fiction is the prerequisite for Writing the Long Story; students will be expected to enter the class with a firm grasp on the craft of writing short stories and with an understanding of the workshopping process. 

Spring 2017

WRIT 390: Flash Fiction — Prof. Karin Lin-Greenberg

In this class you’ll have the opportunity to read and write a wide range of very short stories. We’ll begin the semester with an exploration of microfiction (stories of up to 250 words), then continue to explore stories of up to 1,000 words. You’ll read stories that have been published in print publications and examine the many online venues that are currently publishing flash fiction.  

The following are questions we’ll work to answer this semester: Are there certain types of stories that are more conducive to flash fiction (in terms of point of view, tone, genre, number of scenes, amount of action, etc.)? Can a short piece of fiction do as much work—in terms of plot and characterization—as a longer piece of fiction? What can be condensed, summarized, or implied in a short piece without losing the meaning and shape of the story? What are the limitations of flash fiction? What can be accomplished in flash fiction that can’t be done in longer fiction? 

Fall 2016

ENGL 285: The Horror Novel – Dr. Lisa Nevárez

What makes someone afraid, very afraid? Why do we read horror novels? What does our culture’s preoccupation, in the past and now, with all things frightening say about us? How is a horror novel crafted? What is the difference between “terror” and “horror”? We’ll address these and other questions in this course. Our readings will take us from 1796 to the present day and along the way we will encounter demons, ghosts, vampires, zombies, serial killers, and other scary assorted “monsters.” We will analyze the spine-tingling sensations these books produce and explore our own thresholds of fear. Furthermore, we will question what constitutes a “monster” and study its importance to our cultural perceptions of the Other. The goals of this course include: building on skills learned in previous writing and literature classes and further developing abilities to think, read, write, and argue critically. Ultimately, students will gain confidence and sophistication in their abilities to read, discuss, and write about literature and will learn how best to incorporate critical thinking. And, of course, we will totally scare ourselves silly as we read these page turners! 

Spring 2016

ENGL 285: Crime in Literature – Dr. Mary Fitzgerald-Hoyt

How a society or an individual within it defines crime and responds to its commission reveals much about values, ethics, and identity. Crime may lay bare the anxieties and prejudices or a community; it may unearth submerged history; its effects are often far-reaching and indelible. In this course we shall read a variety of works about crime and its consequences—detective stories, real-life occurrences, fiction inspired by historical events, experimental works that stretch and redefine traditional genres. Drawn from diverse cultures and time periods, the texts provoke the reader to examine the concept of justice, the relationship between criminal and victim, and the elusiveness of truth.

WRIT 390: Advanced Fiction Workshop — Prof. Karin Lin-Greenberg

Advanced Fiction Workshop is intended for students who have successfully completed Writing Short Fiction and want to continue to study and write fiction. This course will focus on the production of a significant amount of new work and the process of thoughtful, effective revision. The writing students produce for this class may be either short stories or novel excerpts, and students may write literary or genre fiction. Students will build upon the strategies they learned in Writing Short Fiction for being helpful readers and editors for their own work and the work of their peers. We will spend time researching and reading online literary journals—especially journals that accept work from undergraduate students—and learn about the process of submitting thoroughly revised and carefully proofread work to journals. The final project for this class will involve submitting work to a journal.

WRIT 390: Rhetoric(s) of Hip-Hop Culture — Dr. Todd Snyder

The study of rhetoric is about more than learning how to become a persuasive speaker. Arguments can be constructed via written text, spoken orations, and through visual compositions. Thus, rhetoric is all around us. This semester, ours will be a composition course designed to both examine and interrogate rhetorical frameworks found within hip-hop culture. We will apply what we learn about rhetoric to discussions of hip-hop by focusing our attention on locating and critiquing rhetorical trends found within hip-hop music, movies, fashion, and other observable aspects of hip-hop identity.  In an attempt to answer some of these questions, we will read various scholarly insights concerning hip-hop culture. We will, of course, be listening to groundbreaking works within the musical genre that made hip-hop culture famous. The goal of this course is not to justify or defend these lyrics but rather to present hip-hop, in its true and uncensored form, to a classroom of students who are willing to think rhetorically about its influence on American culture.

Spring 2015

ENGL 285 / CLSS 330: Ancient Epic — Dr. Kris Santilli    

A study of the epic narratives of Greece and Rome, including among others, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Apollonius’ Argonautica, Vergil’s Aeneid, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. A variety of interpretive approaches will be used in a close reading of the primary texts. The course will focus on the development and transformation of the epic tradition throughout the course of antiquity, its shifting focus, themes, values, methods, cultural assumptions, and its legacy to western civilization. (ATTR: ARTS, CAL, CFJ) (Cross listed with ENGL285)

WRIT 390: Introduction to Creative Writing — Prof. Karin Lin-Greenberg

Introduction to Creative Writing is the first course in the creative writing sequence at Siena and is intended for students with little to no experience with creative writing. This course will introduce students to the basics of writing poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction and will prepare students for further study in these three genres. This class will feature a great deal of in-class writing exercises, and students should be prepared to write in class and share what they’ve written out loud for critique. There is a workshop component to this class, and students should be prepared to share their creative work with their classmates throughout the semester. Students should also be prepared to study and analyze contemporary published poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction and to respond to these readings with short critical responses.

WRIT 390: Rhetoric(s) of Hip-Hop Culture — Dr. Todd Snyder

The study of rhetoric is about more than learning how to become a persuasive speaker. Arguments can be constructed via written text, spoken orations, and through visual compositions. Thus, rhetoric is all around us. This semester, ours will be a composition course designed to both examine and interrogate rhetorical frameworks found within hip-hop culture. We will apply what we learn about rhetoric to discussions of hip-hop by focusing our attention on locating and critiquing rhetorical trends found within hip-hop music, movies, fashion, and other observable aspects of hip-hop identity.  In an attempt to answer some of these questions, we will read various scholarly insights concerning hip-hop culture. We will, of course, be listening to groundbreaking works within the musical genre that made hip-hop culture famous. The goal of this course is not to justify or defend these lyrics but rather to present hip-hop, in its true and uncensored form, to a classroom of students who are willing to think rhetorically about its influence on American culture.

Department Chair

Erich Hertz

Erich Hertz

Professor of English and Film Studies

214 Kiernan Hall

(518) 782‑6896