Introduction to English Studies is a writing-intensive course for English majors as they move from 200-level introductory courses to 300-level classes; it is designed to guide students through the field of English Studies and to offer assistance in the transition to upper-level coursework.
Its smaller class size encourages workshops, discussion, and exchange among majors as they consider the tools they have acquired and the techniques they have experienced through their lower-level coursework and how these might deployed–and developed–in the future.
Through this course, you’ll be prepped to undertake upper-division coursework with a heightened understanding of the field of English, particularly in terms of textual interpretation and disciplinary identity. You will also be equipped with an array of practical research and writing strategies all English majors should know for effective work in upper-level classes and beyond.
In the process, we will encounter myriad—at times competing—approaches to and concepts driving textual interpretation, and their respective insights and limitations. We will investigate the influence of literary, cultural, and social conventions on acts of interpretation and the reciprocal impact of such interpretation on literature, culture, and society. Professors representing different specialties in English Studies will introduce you to the expectations and delights of their scholarly work, inviting you to the discipline in its many varieties.
From this shared focus on textual interpretation and disciplinary identity, you will gain a detailed understanding of what English specialists do and how they do it. You will be positioned to make your way through the requirements of the major here at the College of Charleston, having encountered models for thinking about, interpreting, researching, and producing texts.
We will begin the semester considering approaches that are familiar to us and historicizing those, bearing in mind ways they have served the modern discipline of English Studies. We will position those observations in relation to a range of theoretical concerns and approaches that have developed over the past century and more. From there, we will investigate key concepts in contemporary literary theory, using as our sample text Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale. In the second half of the course we will encounter in-depth the various ingredients of a successful research project, performing key steps with deliberateness.