Thematic Sequences

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To enroll in an English Thematic Sequence, contact:
Patrick Murphy
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies
356H Bachelor Hall

Thematic Sequence is a series of related courses (usually three) that focus on a theme or subject in a developmental way. Each course builds upon or expands upon knowledge or perspective gained from preceding courses, and some sequences prepare students for Capstone Experiences.

  • The first course in a sequence may be from a Foundation group and may count as hours in both Foundation and Thematic Sequence requirements. Advanced Placement credit may be used for the first Foundation course in a sequence and transfer credit may be applied to one course in a sequence.
  • In interdepartmental Thematic Sequences, students must select those courses that are offered outside their department of major. For example, English majors who enroll in a Thematic Sequence comprised of English and history courses must sign up for the history courses.
  • You must complete at least one Thematic Sequence outside the department of your major. Exceptions to this requirement include students with double majors in two different academic departments and students with minors in academic departments different from their majors. Students who wish to meet the Thematic Sequence requirement through a double major or minor option must complete the second major or minor. For information on such minors, see the Office of Liberal Education.

Typically, you are expected to complete most of your Foundation Courses before beginning a Thematic Sequence.

The English Department offers nine Thematic Sequences

The requirements for the sequences are are listed below.

ENG 1 Victorian Literature and Culture

Introduces the culture broadly defined as “Victorian” and focuses on the responses of artists, political leaders, and writers to various historical events and movements that have helped shape the 20th and 21st centuries: ideas of progress, democracy, nationalism and imperialism, religious doubt, theories of evolution and natural selection, impressionism and post-impressionism.

1. ENG 132 Life and Thought in English Literature 1660-1900 (MPF) (3)
2. Two courses in any order from among the following
  • ENG 343 English Literature of the Early Victorian Period, 1830-1860 (3), or
  • ENG 344 English Literature of the Later Victorian Period, 1860-1901 (3), or
  • ART 486 Art of the Late 19th Century (3)

Note: Not open to majors in the Department of English. Majors in the Department of Art must select a minimum of nine hours outside their department of major.

Frequency of offerings: ENG 132 will be offered every semester and often in summer; ENG 343 and 344 will be offered every semester; ART 486 will be offered each spring semester.

ENG 2 Women and Literature

Assumes the importance of gender as a category for analyzing authors and texts. Each course attends to how the various literatures that constitute “English literature” have represented women and the feminine, how these representations differ, and the various agendas pursued through these representations. Most important, these courses will emphasize women as themselves authors and readers.

Students will build new knowledge of non-canonical writers and texts; they will also reconsider canonical writers and texts by focusing on their depictions of women or their relation to women’s writings.

1. One of the following
  • WMS 201 Introduction to Women’s Studies (MPF)(3), or
  • ENG/WMS 368 Feminist Literary Theory and Practice (3)
2. One of the following
  • ENG/WMS 232 American Women Writers (3), or
  • ENG/WMS 233 British Women Writers (3)
3. One of the following
  • ENG 390 Studies in American Regionalism: Women’s Local Color Fiction (3), or
  • ENG/WMS 468 Gender and Genre (3), or
  • ENG 490 Special Topics in Literary Study** (3), or
  • FRE 350.B The Woman-Centered Text (3), or
  • SPN/WMS 180 Minority Women Writers in the U.S. (3), or
  • WMS 370.A Black Women Writers (3), or
  • WMS 370.C Lesbian Fiction (3), or
  • WMS 370.D Gender, Class and Culture in 20th Century U.S. (3)
  • ENG 490. Topics may vary from semester to semester. Consult the coordinator or the Office of Liberal Education to learn whether the topic in a given semester can be applied.

Note: Open to all majors.

Frequency of offerings: Each course will be offered at least every other year.

ENG 3 American Life and Culture Since World War II

A cross-disciplinary study of the changing forms of American culture since the Second World War.

1. One of the following
  • ENG 143 Life and Thought in American Literature, 1945-Present (MPF)(3), or
  • MUS 135 Understanding Jazz, Its History and Evolution (MPF)(3)
2. Select two courses from among the following
  • ENG 293 Contemporary American Fiction (3)
  • ENG/BWS 338 African-American Writing, 1946 to Present (3)
  • ENG 355 American Literature, 1945-Present (3)
  • HST 223 Assassinations in U.S. History (3)
  • HST 367 The U.S. in the 1960s (3)
  • HST 369 Twentieth Century America Since 1933 (3)
  • HST 380.M God, Man and the Crisis of Modernity (3)
  • HST 380.X A History of Jewish/Christian Religious Thought in the 1960s (3)
  • ARC 427 The American City Since 1940 (3)
  • ART 489 Contemporary Art (3)

Note: Students must select a minimum of nine hours outside their department of major.

Frequency of offerings: ENG 143 will be offered each term; ENG 293 will be offered twice a year; ART 489 will be offered at least once a year; HST 369, MUS 135, ARC 427 will be offered once a year.

ENG 4 Film In Popular Culture

Introduces students to cultural studies, specifically the analysis of contemporary popular culture. One of the central objectives is to develop analytical tools to examine how film, popular literature, and other mass media (ordinarily ‘taken for granted’ elements of everyday life) have shaped our modern sensibility. In its very nature, the study of popular culture is interdisciplinary, examining both the text and the context of such cultural creations as mass-market literature and film.

1. FST 201 Introduction to Film History and Criticism (MPF) (3) 
2. Two courses from among the following
  • ENG/FST 220 Literature and Film (3), or
  • ENG/FST 221 Shakespeare and Film (3), or
  • ENG/FST 236 Alternative Traditions in Film (3), or
  • ENG/FST 350.A Topics in Film (3), or
  • ENG/FST 350.B Topics in Film (3), or
  • ENG/FST 350.C The Art Film (3), or
  • ENG/FST 350.D The Satiric Film (3)

Note: Not open to majors in the Department of English.

Frequency of offerings: FST 201 will be offered annually, usually in the fall; ENG 220, 221 and 350 will be offered every other year; ENG 236 will be taught occasionally, with no fixed schedule.

ENG 5 Language and Literacy

Examines how structure, history, and social aspects of language affect how we learn to write and how schools teach literacy skills. Students will use formal reasoning skills, research and writing, and ethnographic case studies to develop a sense of the synchronic structure and diachronic background of the English language so that they understand how concepts of literacy have changed through the ages, how literacy functions in contemporary society, and how societies, schools, and communication technologies interact to shape our concepts of literacy, rhetoric, and language standards.

Students will study the grammatical structure of modern English, social and cultural history of the language, and either rhetorical theory (COM 239) or contemporary notions of teaching writing (ENG 304). Although it is recommended that ENG 301 and 302 be taken before ENG 304 or COM 239, the courses may be taken in any order.

1. ENG 301 History of the English Language (4)
2. ENG 302 Structure of Modern English (4) 
3. One of the following
  • ENG 304 Backgrounds to Composition Theory and Research (3), or
  • COM 239 Rhetorical Theory (3)

Note: Not open to majors in the Department of English. Majors in the Department of Communication must select a minimum of nine hours of English courses.

Frequency of offerings: Each English course will be offered both semesters, ENG 302 will be offered in the summer as well; COM 239 will be offered at least once a year.

ENG 6 Modernism

Examines the intellectual and cultural movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries commonly called Modernism. In the visual arts, Modernism marks the progression from natural representation to abstraction, best shown in the transition from the French Impressionists to the Cubists. In the literary arts, especially poetry and fiction, Modernism moves from the Realists and Naturalists to the Symbolists and Imagists, and on to the Fugitives and Ironists.

By taking these courses, students will observe the significance of changes in attitude toward experience that are revealed in the transition from an external and objective outlook and expression to a more internal and subjective outlook and expression.

1. One of the following: 
  • ENG 142 Life and Thought in American Literature: Civil War to World War II (MPF)(3), or
  • ENG 133 Life and Thought in English Literature: 20th Century (MPF)(3)
2. One of the following
  • ENG 283 Modern Poetry (3), or
  • ENG 345 British Modernism (3), or
  • ENG 354 American Literature, 1914-1945
3. One of the following
  • ART 486 Art of the Late 19th Century (3), or
  • ART 487 Art of the Early 20th Century (3), or
  • HST 332 Age of Dictators: Europe 1914-1945 (3), or
  • ENG/RUS 256 Russian Literature in Translation: Tolstoy to the Present (3)

Note: Not open to majors in the Department of English. Majors in Russian and the Departments of Art or History must select a course outside their department of major at the third level.

Frequency of offerings: Courses will be offered at least once a year, sometimes more often with multiple sections.

ENG 7 The Romantic Era

Through the methods and perspectives of at least two disciplines, introduces the culture characterized as ‘Romantic,’ which emerged in the later 18th Century, flourished in the early 19th Century, became domesticated in the Victorian era, was repressed by the Modernists, revived by the counter-culture of the 1960s, and newly historicized by post-modernists. Focuses on the response of artists and writers to economic, political, and social change (particularly the change resulting from industrialism and revolution) and the role of artists and writers in shaping that change.

Students begin the sequence with ENG 132 or RUS 255 and then take two of the remaining courses, selecting from at least two disciplines.

1. One of the following
  • ENG 132 Life and Thought in English Literature, 1660-1901 (MPF)(3), or
  • ENG/RUS 255 Russian Literature from Pushkin to Dostoevsky in English Translation (MPF)(3)
2. Any two courses from a least two disciplines from the following
  • ENG 339 Early Romantics (3), or
  • ENG 342 Later Romantics (3), or
  • ART 485 Art of the Early 19th Century (3)
  • FRE 452 The Romantic Movement in French Literature (readings and classes in French)(3)
  • POL 303 Modern Political Philosophy (4)

Note: Students must select a minimum of nine hours outside their department of major.

Frequency of offerings: ENG 132 will be offered every semester and often in summer; ENG 339 and 342 will be offered each year, sometimes more than once; ART 485 will be offered each fall; ENG/RUS 255, will be offered each semester; FRE 452 will be offered infrequently; and POL 303 will be offered annually.

ENG 8 African American History And Literature

Provides a sustained encounter with the African American experience, from the arrival of African Americans to North America through their contemporary cultural and literary accomplishments.

1. BWS 151 Introduction to Black World Studies (MPF) (4) 
2. Two of the following 
  • BWS/ENG 336 African American Writing, 1746-1877 (3)
  • BWS/ENG 337 African American Writing, 1878-1945 (3)
  • BWS/ENG 338 African American Writing, 1946 to Present (3)
  • ENG 355 American Literature, 1945-Present (3)
  • BWS/HST 221 African American History (3)

Note: Open to all majors.

Frequency of offerings: BWS 151 will be offered every semester; BWS/HST 221 will be offered every fall; at least one of the three cross-listed courses will be offered every semester by the Department of English.

ENG 9 Writing for Specialized Audiences: Print and Online Design and Composition

Develop excellent communication skills to complement your major.

1. Take both
  • ENG 411/511 Visual Rhetoric (3)
  • ENG 412/512 Editing (3)
2. Choose one
  • ENG 413/513 Writing Reports and Proposals
  • ENG 414/514 Designing and Testing User Documents