Although environmental studies has focused on terrestrial environments, the concern for ocean ecologies and the interest in ocean life—from jellyfish to octopus to whales—is rapidly expanding. This class will explore ocean life in literature, film, and theory, from monstrous figures in classical mythology, through Jules Verne’s 19th century novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to the weird surrealist short films of Jean Painlevé, to Nnedi Okorofor’s Afrofuturist SF novel Lagoon, to contemporary poetry, film, and popular science. We will discuss the environmental implications of how marine species are depicted—for example, as monstrous, alien, aesthetically breathtaking, or extraordinarily intelligent—as we attempt to imagine and think with some of the most captivating creatures from the sea.
Theory/Rhetoric courses teach media theory, the major modes and schools of criticism and theory, and theories and techniques of reasoning, rational discourse, and argumentation.
Media, Folklore, and/or Culture courses focus on print and non-print media to explore culture and its processes of creative expression.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.