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Prerequisite to the major : Students who wish to major in English must elect as a prerequisite English 298-Introduction to Literary Studies. English 298 does not count toward the 30 English major credits.
This course introduces students to the discipline of literary analysis. It is designed to increase your ability to interpret a range of literary texts and to foster your skill in presenting that interpretation as a written argument. There are three key learning goals of this course: first, to hone foundational skills of literary analysis including “close reading” and the ability to use key analytical categories (such as, for example, genre, form, audience, media/mediation, metaphor) to develop an interpretation. The second is to become aware of some of the methods and approaches used in literary scholarship and to become attentive to the way that they yield different interpretations. This class will help you understand how an interpretation emerges from a choice about approach, and how a single text can sustain many different interpretations when approached through different methods. The third goal is to develop your ability to write about literature, including generating questions that lead to strong arguments and using literary analysis to substantiate your claims; it will also foster your ability to organize and present your ideas in writing more generally.
In English 298 you will:
- Develop an understanding of some key practices of interpretation, including strategies for “close reading” (analysis focused on specific passages of a text) and for using key analytical categories, which may include, for example, form, genre, audience, representation, figurative language, performance, media/mediation.
- Become aware of some of the methods and approaches used in literary scholarship and become attentive to the way that they yield different interpretations. This class will help you understand how an interpretation emerges from a choice about approach, and how a single text can sustain many different interpretations when approached through different methods.
- Develop your ability to write about literature, as well as develop your skill as a writer in general. Important skills you will hone include:
- how to develop a question or topic about a literary text that will lead to a strong argument
- how to recognize an interpretation as an argument
- how to use textual evidence effectively
- how to articulate the stakes of your argument to your audience
- Develop your ability to participate in discussions that explore diverse interpretations of literary texts. The ability to present your ideas orally and respond to ideas presented by others is an essential skill in English courses and far beyond the university classroom. The capacity of literature to sustain multiple interpretations makes it an ideal forum for honing your skills in oral self-presentation and, especially, the collaborative intellectual project of class discussion.
Students in the General Program must successfully complete 30 credits in post-English 298 coursework. These courses must include at a minimum:
- Three courses on literature written primarily before 1900, at least one of which must be on literature written primarily before 1830, and at least one of which must be on literature writter primarily before 1642 (students are urged to elect a course in Shakespeare, such as English 367)
- One course in American literature
- One course of Poetry
- One course designated Identity and Difference
Identity and Difference courses: "These courses ensure that English majors will study literary, rhetorical, and cultural productions originating outside of dominant social groups and formations. Focusing on matters of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, class, gender, sexuality, and disability, “Identity and Difference” courses raise questions important to a diverse and democratic society about representation, publicity, canonicity, inclusivity, separatism, pluralism, dissent and political struggle."
- English Majors may count two creative/expository writing courses toward the major. These courses include WRITING 300, (all English/Education students must take WRITING 300 for their composition requirement) English 323, 324, 325, 327, 328, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428 or any transferred writing course.
- Two, 200-level courses may be used toward elective credits. 200-level classes will not count toward any of the core major requirements. Approved courses are: 201, 203, 215, 216, 221, 230, 232, 235, 240, 242, 245, 250, 258, 260, 267, 270, 274, 275,280, 282, 285, 290, 292, or 293.
English majors and minors preparing to graduate need to have a release completed by an English department advisor. Departmental advisors will confirm that students have met all of the major/minor requirements for graduation. Students who are double-majors or who have departmental minors will also need to obtain a release from each department in which they are also majoring and/or minoring.
Students must also take the step of officially applying to graduate. This is done using the Student Center in Wolverine Access and officially indicates to the college that a student is planning to graduate.
Students are also encouraged to meet with their LSA (or other college advisor) to confirm that they have met the degree requirements for their specific school or college.