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JustinLarsen.net

Literature

English 248 - Studies in Medievalism

Topic: The Middle Ages in Young Adult Literature

The purpose of this course is to examine how 20th and 21st century authors of children’s and young adult literature use medieval ideas, tropes, and imagery to create written works that inspire and inform their audiences, as well as why these methods are effective.

This course will introduce students to the concept of "Medievalism," the post-medieval use of medieval ideas, through the lens of literature for younger readers. We will examine what it means to be "medieval" and how modern writers have adapted and manipulated these ideas and traits to suit modern audiences and accomplish specific rhetorical and thematic ends. During this course we will examine social, cultural, and historical ideas like gender roles and class distinction from both the Middle Ages and the 20th and 21st centuries in books written for a young audience. As such, we will read modern works along with the medieval texts that informed and inspired them, including the work of Sir Thomas Malory, Geoffrey Chaucer, and the Beowulf poet.

Students will complete the following work for this course:

  • Exploration Papers (x3)
  • Researched Analyses (x2)
  • Conference-style Presentation
  • Creative Project
  • Midterm Examination
  • Final Examination

For more information, please see the sample syllabus.

By Encyclopedia Britannica [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

English 294 - Early British Literature

The University of New Mexico catalog lists ENGL 294 as "From Old English to 1798. A study of the principal literary and intellectual movements and selected writers and literary works from Beowulf through Johnson."

This course, then, is a necessarily brief but wide-reaching course that will guide students through the literature of the Anglo-Saxons, their Anglo-Norman inheritors, and the English nation that followed thereafter. We will read broadly from the most important writers of the times, focusing our attention on the connections between each writer and work with the next, allowing for an understanding of the threads of influence that lead us to our current cultural climate. We will examine different genres (hagiography, drama, satire, etc.), forms (alliterative verse, sonnets, heroic couplets, etc.), historical contexts (the Norman Conquest, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, etc.), and even important details such as language (Old, Middle, and Modern English) and text production (manuscripts vs. printed texts).

Students will complete the following work for this course:

  • Exploration Papers (x3)
  • Independent Reading Study Guide
  • Creative Project
  • Final Researched Argument (8-10 Pages)
  • Conference-style Presentation
  • Midterm Examination
  • Final Examination

For more information, please see the sample syllabus.

Sketch of the Globe Theater stage from a third level seating box. Image by pedmorris found on http://jalbum.net/en/browse/user/album/501038. Permission requested

English 349 - From Beowulf to Arthur

The University of New Mexico Catalog lists ENGL 349 as a "[s]urvey of the principal literary genres and approaches to Old and Middle English literature in translation."

This course is designed to be an overview of the literatures of Britain from the time of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of the island until the early modern period, a span of roughly 800 years. We will discuss the important historical, political, religious, artistic, and linguistic developments that shaped the time period through the lens of the literatures that have survived, and we will address the major schools of thought that have developed around these works, both in their contemporary settings and beyond.

Students will complete the following work for this course:

  • In-class Presentation on Assigned Topic
  • Short Poetic Recitation (in Original Language)
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Final Researched Argument (10-12 Pages)
  • Midterm Examination
  • Final Examination

For more information, please see the sample syllabus

Composition

English 101/110 - College Composition

In this course, students will develop reading and writing skills that will be required in all fields of study, as well as many other professional and personal contexts. Students will learn to analyze rhetorical situations in terms of audience, contexts, purpose, mediums, and technologies and apply this knowledge to your reading and writing. Students will also gain understanding of how writing and other modes of communication (such as visual and audio elements) work together for rhetorical purposes.

Students will learn to read complex nonfiction texts and to summarize, interpret, and draw inferences from them. Students will conduct research using primary sources (e.g., observations, surveys, or interviews) and will write in multiple genres, making rhetorical choices according to the purpose of the writing and your audience.

Students will complete the following work for this course:

  • Three major unit projects
  • Multiple low-stakes assignments
  • A revision portfolio
  • Regular online journal entries

For more information, please see the sample syllabus

Everyone needs to write; students in my class learn to write well for their college careers and beyond.

English 102/120 - College Research Writing

English 120 is, simply put, the most important college course you will ever take. It is the stepping stone to writing effective, research-driven arguments in every field on campus, and therefore is one of the most valuable and useful courses in the catalog.

In this course, students will continue mastering the skills you developed in English 110 while integrating new and important abilities, including college-level research and writing techniques. Your study of rhetoric and the choices you make as a communicator will continue to be refined as you learn how to identify and integrate trustworthy sources and their information into your own writing. You will also learn to question and evaluate the arguments and logic of others and to improve your own writing and reasoning by identifying and eliminating logical fallacies in your own work.

  • Three major unit projects
  • Multiple low-stakes assignments
  • A revision portfolio
  • Regular online journal entries

For more information, please see the sample syllabus

Writing is always hard work, but doing it well can be very rewarding.