Summer 2020 Writing Studies Courses

Summer I: (CRN 20123)

ENG 620: Special Topics in Literature/Culture: Crime and Media

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. – 8:55 p.m.

Instructor:  Dr. Mike Lyons

(Area I) 5 slots reserved for Writing Studies students

One out of five people imprisoned in the world is in a prison in the United States. This country incarcerates more people—by a long way—than any other country in the world. Yet we don’t know much about who is in our prisons or why they are there. We think we do because journalistic (Fox News and CNN) and fictional depictions (Law and Order and Orange is the New Black) tell us stories about crime, justice and incarceration. But are those trustworthy? In this class we’ll find out by meeting people who are in prison, talking with them and their families and creating our narratives.

Media narratives have impacted our understanding of crime, justice and incarceration. We will produce new narratives, stories of redemption inside the walls through work with men and women who serve life sentences and their families. The course includes work outside of class, meeting with these folks. Our work will include audio, video and prose. Media production experience is helpful but not required.

This course will include undergraduate students and graduate students from the Writing Studies program in the Department of English. For more info, write Dr. Mike Lyons at

Summer II: (CRN 20283)

ENG 620: Special Topics in Literature/Culture: Horror in Literature & Film

Hybrid class - Online/ Tuesdays in person, 6:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

Instructor:  Dr. Paul Patterson

(Area I)

Have you ever asked yourself: “Why do I like to be scared?” When the novel came into being in the middle of the eighteenth century, its most popular genre was the Gothic—the novel of horror. In fact, the modern era—the era of science, reason, and democracy—has been obsessed with terror, fear, and the unknown since its very inception. So, why do we like to be terrified? What is it about horror fiction that so appeals to modern culture? We often avoid delving into such questions because they reveal to us that our pleasures often seem woefully uncivilized and unseemly. Beginning with one of the earliest Gothic horror novels, the course will trace out a literary, philosophical, and filmic history. Each unit of the course will explore how a different psychological/cultural concept of terror plays out in an aesthetic context.

Questions? Email Director Tenaya Darlington ( or Heather Foster at

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