Updates from the English Department Office of Undergraduate Studies
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A note from the director...

Dear Students:

Edith Piaf regrets nothing. We regret the jumbo bags of candy. How was your Halloween? 

Registration is live! The English department's course descriptions are available online. Scroll down for more information about our exciting course offerings. In other good news, UIC Student Affairs is now accepting applications for over 30 competitive scholarships. In addition to this, Phi Beta Kappa invites applications for its Key into Public Service scholarship. Keep reading for information on the different scholarships and instructions on how to apply. 

We are super excited for our Career Workshop for Graduating Seniors on Monday, November 9 at 4:00 pm. Scroll down for the link to the workshop. If work is on your mind, check out the Office of Career Services event on working in the non-profit sector on Thursday, November 12 from 12:00 - 1:00 pm and the Virtual Government Career Fair on Friday, November 13 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Also, be sure to apply for UGS's editorial assistant. The link is below. Last but not least, WTTW just announced a very cool fellowship opportunity. They are looking for students with a strong interest in history to work on a documentary about Ida B. Wells. Details are below.

We are also excited to announce the Black Matriarch Archive. Scroll down for more on this vital project conceived of and created by UIC's Alkebuluan Merriweather

Before ending this issue as usual with UGS' virtual office hours, we include several calls for writing or writers. Scroll down for more exciting news:

  • Spring 2021 Course Descriptions
  • Student Affairs Scholarships Opportunities
  • Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship
  • Career Workshop for Graduating Seniors
  • WTTW Fellowship
  • Call for Applications: UGS Editorial Assistant
  • Student Spotlight: Jaydlyn Rogers
  • Recording of Matt Rush's Talk to Professor Christian's Class Now Available
  • Calls for Writing and/or Writers
  • Virtual Office hours for the week of November 9-13

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Spring 2021 Courses

What is your plan for Spring 2021? Are you looking for an internship? Do you want to know more about literary and cultural theory? Perhaps you're interested in a specific topic? Whatever the case, the Department of English has a wide range of interesting and innovative offerings. See below for a sample.

English 473: Topics in Black Literature: Black Power and the Arts
Prof. Madhu Dubey

This course focuses on one of the most dynamic periods of creative innovation in African American literature and culture (1960s-70s), as artists associated with the Black Arts Movement set out to transform the meanings and social functions of art. Inspired by the Black Power movement, these artists sought to create new forms of art designed to build community and foster political change. Along with political writing from Black Power advocates, the course will look at how artists working across a range of forms and media (including poetry, theatre and performance, fiction, visual arts, music, and film) responded to the demand for politically engaged art. While focusing on creative work and political writing from the Black Power era, we will also examine later critiques and reassessments of the Black Arts Movement.

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 442: Topics in Latinx Lit.: La Voz - New Writings in Latinx Lit.
Prof. Luis Urrea

In this class, we will examine ten new texts in modern Latina/o/x literature with a focus on  cross-genre writers who also work in Creative Non-Fiction.  We will examine current books, as well as examine some of the historical precedents that inspired these writers.  And we will take part in Zoom conversations with several of them.

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 311: Medieval English Literature
Prof. Alfred Thomas

The Arthurian Literature of Medieval Britain from the Celts to Sir Thomas Malory.

Arthurian legend offers a perfect introduction to the literature of medieval Britain. This course explores the rich multilingual range of writings on King Arthur from the earliest Welsh story about King Arthur to the English Arthuriad of Sir Thomas Malory. Genres include chronicle-histories,  stories, poems, and courtly romances, culminating in the masterpieces of the fourteenth-century Alliterative Revival “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and the “Alliterative Morte Arthur.”

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 315: Restoration and 18th century Literature
Prof. Sunil Agnani

Enlightenment Narratives, Colonial Subjects: Literature & Empire in the 18th Century.

The global world which many take for granted today was formed in the eighteenth century through world-wide commerce, seafaring trade, and the establishment of colonial empires—in short, early capitalism. Alongside these social phenomena were vibrant and contentious cultural and political debates on sovereignty and slavery. How do writers and thinkers in this period conceive of the cultural, racial and religious difference they encounter?

“Enlightenment narratives” puts stress on ideas of progress, the forward march of humanity, the circulation of the rights of man, and the ever widening circle of freedom associated with this period. Yet the view of many “colonial subjects” in the eighteenth century should cause us to question a simply optimistic and one-sided understanding of the period.

As Diderot once put, addressing his European reader, “you are proud of your Enlightenment, but what good is it for the Hottentot?” (Just who the Hottentots were and why Diderot discussed this South African group of tribal peoples will be the topic of one class). We read novels (from Aphra Behn, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Daniel Defoe, and Jonathan Swift), life narratives (Olaudah Equiano) and prose writings (from Mary Wollstonecraft, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Denis Diderot) to explore these questions.

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 351: Topics in Black Art & Lit.: The African Novel in the 21st C.
Prof. Nicholas Brown

The past two decades have seen a renaissance in ambitious African fiction, even as its responsibility to the African context has at times been questioned. This course will offer the opportunity to read some of the most important texts of the past twenty years, from Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone contexts, as well as to evaluate the current state of the field.

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now! 

Student Affairs Scholarships Opportunities
UIC Student Affairs is accepting applications for more than 30 competitive scholarships available to students across all colleges and academic disciplines. Students are currently receiving over $300,000 in financial support from these scholarships. Students may log in to UIC SnAP at https://uic.academicworks.com to review specific requirements of each scholarship that will support the 2021-2022 academic year. A general application must be submitted before addressing criteria specific to each scholarship. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 20, 2021. It is recommended that students visit UIC SnAP soon to participate in this scholarship process.

The scholarship opportunities include, but are not limited to:

• Hassan Mustafa Abdallah Memorial Scholarship
• Lorilyn E. Aquino Award
• Dr. Thomas Beckham Memorial Scholarship
• UIC Ethel Bohlen Scholarships
• UIC Eleanor Daley Scholarship
• Gordon J. Flesch Memorial Scholarship
• UIC Fred Garcia Award
• UIC Hearst Foundation Scholarship
• Noveline Delk Kennedy Scholarship
• Graduate - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship (for current graduate level students)
• Professional - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship (for current professional level
• Undergraduate - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship (for current undergraduate level students)
• UIC Donald and Patricia Langenberg Award
• UIC Michael J Lewis Scholarship
• Wensel Morava Scholarship
• La Verne Noyes Scholarship
• UIC Jim’s Original Scholarship
• UIC Navy Pier Scholarship
• Rundgren Foundation Scholarship
• UIC Salinas-Chapa Family Memorial Scholarship
• Officer Brian T. Strouse Memorial Scholarship
• Supporting Excellence Endowment (S.E.E.) Scholarship
• UIC Eileen and Michael Tanner Scholarship Award
• Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Scholarship

If you have questions about the scholarships or the application process, contact the Student Financial Aid & Scholarships office at scholarshiphelp@uic.edu.
Phi Beta Kappa

The Society invites online applications for our Key into Public Service scholarship. The gola is to connect promising liberal arts and sciences students with opportunities in local, state, and federal public service careers and award $5,000 undergraduate scholarships to successful applicants. Membership is not required, but students must attend a Phi Beta Kappa chapter institution and participate in a virtual public service conference in June 2021 that will provide training, mentoring, and resfources. 

Characteristics of ideal recipients include intellectual curiousity, breadth and depth in arts and sciences coursework, leadership propensity, and service to otehrs. Interested students can learn more and apply online unitl January 15, 2021 at pbk.org/ServiceScholarsApp

Career Workshop! November 9th

So you're getting ready to graduate, and you're probably feeling that sense of panic and dread. What will you do next? The good news is that English majors fare quite well on the job market! 

Come hear from Jaime Velasquez, from UIC's Career Services. "Employers want English majors specifically," Velasquez says. "They need people who can write, and English majors can write!"

At the workshop on November 9th at 4pm, we'll focus on various aspects of finding a job after graduation. Learn how to navigate the virtual job market, how to prepare your interview materials, and how to translate "close reading of poetry" into a marketable job skill!

The workshop is timed to coordinate with 2 upcoming events at Career Services: The non-profit employer discussion with Peace Corps, City Year, SAGA & AUSL recruiters, and the government virtual job fair. Follow the links for more information and to register for these events. 

Don't miss this important opportunity!

Interested to attend? Access Zoom link here. 


Jaime Velasquez is a proud UIC alumnus as well as the Director of Employee Relations. He organizes numerous job fairs every year, and is excited to begin working with English majors. 

WTTW Paid Fellowship

WTTW is currently searching for potential candidates to assist on a new documentary about Ida B. Wells, as part of our series called Chicago Stories.

We are looking for undergraduate, graduate students or recent grads with a strong knowledge of and interest in history. WTTW has a fellowship called The Judy and John McCarter Family Fellowship which pays $15/hr and the time commitment is 3-5 days per week from approximately 10/19/20-4/16/21. The position would be 100 percent remote. This fellowship is offered to individuals from under-resourced backgrounds who seek to build their media and research skills.

Interested candidates can apply directly through the WTTW website here.

Call for Applications: UGS Editorial Assistant


The Office of Undergraduate Studies has a position for a work-study student. 

Job Description:

This is a one-semester editorial assistantship beginning in January 2021. The student will take an active role in the production and design of a variety of publications aimed at undergraduates in UIC's Department of English. This internship will allow you to build your professional Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Layout of weekly newsletter.
  • Writing content for weekly newsletter.
  • Copy-editing weekly newsletter.
  • Sending out weekly newsletter.
  • Learning and developing proficiency in Email+ and Adobe design suite.
  • Writing and design for department website and other promotional materials.
  • Other tasks as assigned.

Job Requirements:

  • Work-study eligibility.
  • Major or minor in English.
  • Junior standing.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills.
  • Ability to take direction.
  • Ability to learn and develop proficiency across a wide range of software.

To apply: Application for UGS' Editorial Assistant  Deadline: 5:00 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

For more information, contact english@uic.edu.

Black Matriarch Archive
Alkebuluan Merriweather, Founder, Black Matriarch Archive 

We encourage members of the African diaspora to submit images and video documentation of black elders, whether they may be grandmothers, great-aunts, godmothers, or caregivers. The goal here is to create an ongoing archive commemorating the black women in our lives who were crucial in our upbringing. Black Matriarch Archive is not just limited to cisgender black people. We encourage everyone to submit imagery of the black women in their lives, whether they are your drag mother, godmother, great-aunt, caregiver, or nonblood related relatives. BMA is intended to be a space for ALL black people, including the LGBTQIA community and nongender conforming folks.

Who we are: An ongoing digital archive that seeks to celebrate the Black Matriarchs within the African Diaspora. Black Matriarch Archive aims to collect, curate, and archive visual documentation and short stories focusing on Black Matriarchs. Who is this for? : BMA is for everyone to engages with; however, it serves as a love letter to Black women/femmes/caregivers/drag mothers/great-aunt/aunty/godmother, etc. What’s your inspiration behind this archive? : I created this archive to honor my last remaining grandmother Glady’s Mae, alongside my Nana and Great Aunt Flo. How can I submit?: Email me @amerriweather97@gmail.com with image description, details of who is pictured, and year if possible. To view the Black Matriarch Archive, Instagram’s Archival page, click this link.

Student Spotlight: Jaydlyn Rogers
By Jennah Owda
What is the power of literature in our society? 
I would like to look at this question in two ways, as both are important to me as 1) a black person and 2) an English major and educator. 
As a Black person, I would like to note the importance of the Black Arts movement and its contribution to literature. The movement encouraged a cultural nation-building by sponsoring poetry readings, Black founding  theatres, creating literary magazines, and setting up small presses to showcase Black art, specifically those incorporating Black literature works. To Black Arts writers then, and even now, literature was frankly a means of exhortation, and poetry was the most immediate way to model and articulate the new Black consciousness the movement sought to foster. 
As an English major and educator, literature is important as it provides students with opportunities to respond to the text; it helps students develop emotional intelligence and creativity. More importantly, it gives students appreciation about their own cultural heritage as well as those of others. 
What has been your favorite English class so far? 
I transferred from the illustrious, Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. This transition has been a little hard, but thanks to amazing English professors like Dr. Barnes (ENGL 240), I feel as if I'm back on my HBCU (Historically Black College & University) campus... Where you have professors who look like you and want the best for you (shout out to Dr. Stovall and Dr. Clarke as well, they are absolutely amazing professors!). 
What are you reading for pleasure? 
I am currently re-reading two books! The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates and For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin. 
Why is literature important to you? 
Art, but literature specifically, allows me to escape from the reality, think critically, and reflect on the world around me. 
What comes after UIC? 
I will graduate with my bachelors in Teaching of English, then teach high school English. I plan to teach in either Chicago, Austin, or Houston. 
I will obtain my M.Ed in Social Justice Education and transfer out of the classroom and into a position focusing on equity in schools, educational services, curriculum, etc. Afterwards, I will secure my Ed.D in Educational Leadership and become a principal then superintendent. By 2040, I will not only be somewhere navigating in Administration, but also working towards opening my own school. My ultimate goal is to become the United States Secretary of Education. 
Matt Rush Visits Professor Christian's Class

Did you miss Matt Rush's session with Professor Christian's students? Would you like to hear what advice the author of Lovecraft Country has for Professional Writing minors and those interested in writing? Email us for a link to Rush's talk.

Calls for Writers and Writing
RipRap Journal

RipRap Literary Journal Volume 43 would like to offer our humble invitation to talented writers and artists of all genres for our CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! We are currently accepting submissions for Artwork, Poetry, Short Fiction, Flash Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Plays. There is no fee to submit. 

We will be accepting submissions until December 18, 2020

RipRap is a literary journal designed and produced annually by students in the Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing program at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). RipRap highlights new and emerging writers from across the country as well as enlightening interviews of award-winning, published writers who are featured in the CSULB English Department’s Visiting Writers Series or from the known writing community. New editions of the journal are published each May. As always with all our submissions, we seek out work that is innovative, forward-thinking, and as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. 

To submit, please visit Riprapliteraryjournal.submittable.com/submit.

*All submissions are blind-read by our editing staff and editorial panels. Your manuscript may not include any identifying information. Any pieces submitted containing personal information that reveals the identity of the author will not be considered for publication.*

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @Riprapjournal for updates and more information. In addition, visit our RipRap CSULB site to check out last year's issue Riprap 42. If you wish to contact us, please send us a query at riprapjournal@gmail.com. We look forward to receiving your work!

The Women's Health Initiative at UIC Needs Writers! Apply Now

The Women's Health Initiative at UIC is looking for writers, editors, journalists, and content creators for the upcoming website. The WHI Blog seeks to elevate the voices of marginalized populations in healthcare through student narratives, interviews with professionals and community members, and research-based articles. 

Students of all majors and backgrounds are welcome to apply for these positions. If you are interested in applying or would like to submit an article, please fill out the WHI UIC Website Interest Form. 

Questions? Contact Madeline Zuzevich.

Black Lawrence Press Seeks Submissions
Black Lawrence Press seeks innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go. During our June and November Open Reading Periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction. We are now also accepting proposals for anthologies.

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail. Click here to submit.
Looking to publish your research and theoretical work?
Enter Breakwater Review's 2021 Fiction Contest


Announcing Breakwater Review’s 2021 Fiction Contest

$1000 PRIZE!

We are seeking submissions for our annual fiction contest, to be judged by Porochista Khakpour

The winner receives $1,000 and publication in Breakwater Review

  • All finalists considered for publication
  • A submission fee of $10
  • Deadline is December 1, 2020
  • Finalists announced in January 2021

Full guidelines available at breakwaterreview.com

Breakwater Review is an online literary journal published twice a year by the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. For our fiction contest, we invite writers of all levels to submit their original previously unpublished work of fresh short fiction, no more than 4,000 words.


Porochista Khakpour is the author of four critically acclaimed books, most recently Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity (Vintage Books, 2020), which Ploughshares called “fearless.” In 2018 she published the memoir Sick (HarperCollins), which Kirkus Reviews praised as “lucid, eloquent, and unflinchingly honest.” Among her many fellowships is a National Endowment for the Arts award. Currently, she is a guest faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and Stonecoast's MFA programs, as well as Contributing Editor at The Evergreen Review.


Other Upcoming UGS Events

The Office of Undergraduate Studies is also hosting the following event: 

  • Independent Study/Senior Thesis Presentations: Friday, December 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Perhaps you're interested in what your fellow English majors' work. Perhaps you're considering taking an independent study. Join us as this semester's ENGL 398/399 students present their work.

We'll have more details in future newsletters.

Would you like to see the Office of Undergraduate Studies host a specific event? If so, let us know. It is our mission to provide programming that meets the needs of our students.

Office of Undergraduate Studies Fall 2020 Drop-in Hours

Have a question? Stop by the Office of Undergraduate Studies Drop-in Hours and ask us! While we are terrible at chemistry, we would be delighted to advise on classes, help plan for an independent study or chat about what we are binge watching and what we'll do once COVID-19 is gone.

The Office is open:

Monday 12:00 - 1:00 pm


Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 pm


If these hours don't suit, just email english@uic.edu to make an appointment.