Course DescriptionsEngl 100: Exposition and ArgumentEngl 101: English for International StudentsEngl 200: Literary StudiesEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Language, Form, InspirationEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Crime FictionEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Utopian/ Dystopian LiteratureEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Into the WildEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Banned Books and Novel IdeasEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Horrible Husbands and Wicked WivesEnglish 200: Literary Studies--Innocence and ExperienceEngl 231: Film AestheticsEngl 300: Introduction to Professional WritingEngl 301: Introduction to Creative WritingEngl 310: Introduction to Technical WritingEngl 321: Intermediate CompositionEngl 365/565*: Studies in American LiteratureEngl 380/ 580*: Topics in WritingEngl 386: Internship in EnglishEngl 389: Teaching English to Speakers of Other LanguagesEngl 390/590: Topics in LiteratureEngl 396/596: Traditions of Giving and Serving in American LifeEngl 400: New Literacies, Cultures, and Technologies of WritingEngl 401: American Literature 1English 402: American Literature 2Engl 405/505*: Masterpieces of World LiteratureEngl 408/508: Methods of Literary Criticism and ResearchEngl 409/509: Literature of the Medieval PeriodEngl 410/510: ShakespeareEngl 420/520: Literature of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth CenturiesEngl 423: Short Story WritingEngl 424: Poetry WritingEngl 425: Creative NonfictionEngl 430/530: Literature of the Restoration and Eighteenth CenturyEng 431: Advanced CompositionEngl 441/541: History of the English LanguageEngl 442/542: Modern English GrammarEngl 443/543: Introduction to LinguisticsEngl 450/550: British Literature of the Nineteenth CenturyEngl 456: The NovelEngl 460/560: Twentieth-Century DramaEngl 470/570: Twentieth-Century FictionEngl 475/575: Twentieth Century PoetryEngl 478: Literature for ChildrenEngl 479/ 579: Literature for AdolescentsEngl 481: Cooperative Education in English 1Engl 482-483: Cooperative Education in English II-IIIEngl 489: The Teaching of EnglishEngl 491: Seminar in Professional WritingEngl 492: Seminar in WritingEngl 493: Seminar in EnglishEngl 495*: Independent Study in EnglishEngl 497: Honors Work in EnglishEngl 498: Honors Candicacy in EnglishEngl 609: Theory and Practice of Expository WritingLS 610: Seminar in HumanitiesEnglish 610: Studies in Nineteenth-Century British LiteratureEngl 615: Shakespeare and His ContemporariesEngl 635: Studies in American Literature

Cr. 3


inkwell and keyboard New media—a still-forming term that defines amalgams of text, hypertext, digital image, sound, and video--have  been changing the ways we communicate, interpret, store, and retrieve information, much less interact socially and even change the world. In recent decades, the study of how media of expression affect what we say has been experiencing a renaissance: a renaissance that has been changing the shape of English studies as we know it.  This, in a nutshell, is what this course is all about: the changes that new media have brought us and how the study and production of English literature have responded.

Sociologist Marshall McLuhan, responding to television culture nearly half a century ago, famously wrote that “The medium is the message.” Literary historians who study the evolution of printed texts in the field loosely defined as “the history of the book” have been making a similar argument. Looking back at the evolution of print culture, they are studying how the printed page has affected the control, characterization, and production of various forms of literature. Rhetoricians and scholars of literacy, incorporating forms of critical theory and anthropology, have correspondingly been studying and defining social networks and other internet communities. Writers themselves, finally, have had to reshape not only the form, but also, sometimes, the content of their work as they construct creative, academic, and informative texts.  This process has been true for English majors as well as they enter the job market, take on extracurricular activities, undergo their classes at VU, and otherwise interpret, create artistic work, teach, and communicate in the culture around them.

In response to such advances in communication and theory, this course adopts components of both theory and practice.  That is, the course features texts, both traditionally written and electronic, that theorize, imaginatively portray, and encapsulate new media. The course also requires practice writing about, or interpreting new media both in traditional academic formats--that is, written essays--and in new media itself: that is, via electronic discussion, web-delivered hypertext, and digital video.  Assignments include a midterm and a final exam, two papers, periodic postings to the course discussion board and wiki, and the shooting and editing, in groups, of a 5-8-minute video.

Units and Selected Texts at a Glance

I.  New Media: What Are They?
•    Manovich, Lev. “What Is New Media?  Eight Propositions”

II.  Literacies: What Kinds of Knowledge and Learning Do Computers Effect?
•    Jenkins, Henry.  Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
•    selected readings and video and new media and education

III.  Codex: What Was New About Older Forms of Emerging Media?
•    A World Inscribed: The Illuminated Manuscript (video)
•    Eisenstein, Elizabeth. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe
•    McLuhan, Marshall.  Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (excerpts/ handout)
•    Birkerts, Sven.  The Gutenberg Elegies (excerpts/ handout)
•    Shelley, Mary.  Frankenstein.

IV.  Hypertext and Web 2.0: How Has Non-Linearity Become Part of Our Expression?
•    Borges, Jorge.  The Garden of Forking Paths (available online)
•    Videos, Michael Wesch on web 2.0
•    Jackson, Shelley.  Patchwork Girl (CD-ROM) and related readings and video
•    John Cayley, "Windsound" and selected Flash poems (online)

V.  Visual Arts: What in New Media Is Beautiful?  Is Real?
•    Antonioni, Michaelangelo.  Blowup (film)
•    Hawthorne, Nathaniel.  "The Artist of the Beautiful"
•    Benjamin, Walter.  "The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction."
•    Online records of installation pieces
•    Baudrillard, Jean, Simulacra and Simulations (excerpts; available online)

VI. Cyberpunk, Cyborgs, and Comics: What in These Emerging Traditions is Enduring? Innovative? Real?
•    Haraway, Donna "A Manifesto for Cyborgs" (available online)
•    Anderson, M.T.  Feed
•    Satrapi, Mariane.  Persepolis
•    McCloud, Scott.  Understanding Comics

Class blog on Stephen Johnson from previous semesters