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

Dear Students:

Congratulations on finishing the semester! Going fully remote for the entire term hasn't been easy but the end is in sight. We wish you the best of luck on exams. For those of you celebrating, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Happy New Year to all as well.

This is our last newsletter of the semester. We'll be back in touch in January 2021. Spring semester will see a whole new range of events (and maybe even a vaccine). As a final event for Fall 2020, check out the Undergraduate Thesis presentations today at 3:00 pm. Keep reading for this semester's last installment of scholarships, fellowships, jobs, calls for writing, etc. Finally, do not forget to enroll for Spring 2021! Course descriptions are below. 

Scroll down for more exciting news:

  • Undergraduate Thesis Presentations
  • The Freshwater Lab on WBEZ
  • Scholarships, Fellowships, and Jobs
  • Student Spotlight: Daniela Molina
  • Calls for Writing, etc.

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate Thesis Presentations

Join us later today (Friday, December 4 at 3:00 pm) for three undergraduate thesis presentations:

  • Baraa Alkhani: "Fadi Al Assal: The Parish Boy's Progress" 
  • Abigail Kremer: "Sympathy for the Devil: Milton's Satan and Enlightenment Thought"
  • Jacob Troia: "From Wordsworth to Ewing: A Shift in Representative Poetics"

Click here to join the session. 

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 200: Basic English Grammar
Prof. Jeffrey Kessler, Prof. Jeffrey Gore

ENGL 200 focuses on the foundation of English grammar and the underlying rules that shape our language. The goal is to use grammatical forms to make more stylistically informed choices. The course includes drills in order to recognize parts of speech in terms of their functions in sentences. You will demonstrate your mastery of these skills in your own writing. By the end of the semester, you should be able to use terms of grammar to discuss what makes writing more effective, and you should have enough practice with these grammatical forms that better writing will come more naturally to you. **Highly Recommended for Pre-Law, Education, and Professional Writing students**

CRN 19970: MWF 9:00-9:50; CRN 27465: MWF 11:00-11:50
Interested to learn more? Email the professor (Jeffrey Kessler).

CRN 35294: TR 9:30-10:45
Interested to learn more? Email the professor (Jeffrey Gore).

Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 113: Introduction to Multi-ethnic Literatures in the US
Prof. Jennifer Lewis

This section of English 113 introduces students to concepts and literature that surround “ethnicity” and group identity in American literature. While we will certainly read some older, seminal texts, this course centers living writers who explore and interrogate “identity,” categorization, exclusion and belonging. We will read short stories, novels and poetry, reading them not only for comprehension, but we will look for ways to connect them to larger political and theoretical movements. We will write some shorter papers and build toward learning how to write a compelling and polished academic essay.

Our authors include Tayari Jones, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Luis Alberto Urrea, Kiese Laymon, Roxane Gay, Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Louise Erdrich and others.

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 122: Understanding Rhetoric
Instr. Casey Corcoran; Prof. Doug Sheldon; Prof. Robin Reames

ENGL 122 explores general theories of rhetoric as a discipline and a practice. Seeking to understand rhetoric – both what it is and how we use it – we focus on how the power of language persuades us, determines our thoughts and beliefs, and dictates our actions. In this way, the study of rhetoric is meant to help us understand more about our place in the world. Examining how concepts like kairos, stasis, ethos, pathos, etc., function in contemporary and historical rhetorical events, we will gain a deeper understanding both of how persuasion works… and how it fails. Students will learn that understanding how persuasion works is empowering: it gives us the freedom and the power to be a critic in a dangerous time.

CRN 27463: TR 2:00-3:15
Interested to learn more? Email the instructor (Casey Corcoran).

CRN 42654: MWF 8:00-8:50
Interested to learn more? Email the professor (Doug Sheldon). 

CRN 24552: MWF 1:00–1:50 

Interested to learn more? Email the professor (Robin Reames). 

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!

Freshwater Lab on WBEZ

On Wednesday, December 2, 2020, WBEZ's Reset featured Professor Rachel Havrelock and UIC English Major Tristen Ortiz. In addition to the Lab's accomplishments, they discussed The River Speaks. This is the Lab's digital storytelling website. It includes a multimedia project from Ortiz that features six branches of the Chicago River telling its own story. For more information on The Freshwater Lab click here. To listen to Professor Havrelock and Tristen Ortiz click here: Part 1, Part 2.

Elite Lawyer Offers Scholarship

Elite Lawyer, a directory and rating service that recognizes high-achieving attorneys who have made significant contributions to their communities and the legal professionm, is offering a $500 scholarship for the Spring 2021 semester to support college students who have a similar passion for making a difference in their communities. Applications are open to students who:

  •  Are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited U.S. college or university
  • Are continuing their education through at least the Spring 2021 semester
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have a current GPA of at least 3.0

Applicants must submit either an original 500-word essay or 2-minute video presentation answering the question: “What positive change are you working to bring to your community in the new year?” The deadline to apply is February 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. CST. Click on https://www.elitelawyer.com/elite-lawyer-scholarship for additional information.

PNA-Hugh Hill Endowed Scholarship

PNA-Hugh Hill has a scholarship opportunity for undergraduates majoring in English or Communications. The estimated scholarship award is up to $5,000. The final award amount is determined by the Office of Financial Aid based on the student's unmet financial need for the 2021-22 academic year

Students may apply through SnAP, UIC's internal scholarship information system: http://snap.uic.edu

The criteria for the PNA-Hugh Hill Endowed Scholarship is as follows:

  • LAS undergraduate majoring in English or Communications
  • Past or current internship experience in electronic and/or print media at a television or radio station, magazine or newspaper
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Full-time enrollment
Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship Program

Established in 2020, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Chicago Chapter's Michelle Flowers Diversity Fellowship is designed to attract, recruit and retain people of color to the practice of public relations and communications.

Two individual awards, each in the amount of $3,000, will be presented to talented communications students of African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native or Pacific Islander ancestry who are juniors. The award will include a paid summer internship at a Chicago agency affiliated with PRSA Chicago between the Diversity Fellow’s junior and senior year. The award is renewable for the Fellow’s senior year based on attaining a 3.0 GPA.

Applications and all materials are due December 31, 2020. For more information or to apply for the fellowship, go to michelleflowersfellowship.com

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

Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Looking to Hire English Majors
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group is looking to hire Campaign Associates who will lead a campaign fighting for an issue such as clean water, renewable energy, zero waste, or consumer protection. PIRG’s role is to find common ground around the common-sense solutions that will make that future a reality. The job provides an opportunity to use the writing skills developed in undergraduate education
Some of the campaign positions open that might be of particular interest include the Zero Waste, Drive Less, Live More and the End the Nicotine Trap Campaign Associate positions.
All of the positions available right now are at this link: https://jobs.uspirg.org/index.html#jobs
Student Spotlight: Daniela Molina
By Jennah Owda

What has been your favorite English course so far? 

My favorite English course thus far would probably be my English 459 course. In this course, I was able to virtually attend 9th grade English classes at Cristo Rey. While attending these classes, we also created mock lesson plans, activities, and analyzed different teaching styles. I really enjoyed going every week because it got me excited to become a teacher and continues to inspire me on my journey to become an educator.

What are you reading for pleasure?  

Currently, I am reading So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo. She talks about her own experiences with racism, and tackles questions regarding racism that takes places currently in America. She gives advice about how to navigate conversations regarding the issue of racism. I think this is not only important for everyone to read, but also important to read as a future educator.

As a Teaching of English Major, what literature are you looking forward to teaching?

I think one of the biggest hurdles educators have to overcome is finding books that engage students and keep them reading. So when I become a teacher, I hope to teach literature that is reflective of the students' lives. For example, in CPS many students face problems surrounding gentrification, police brutality, and racism. Therefore, I would hope to teach book that students could connect with like The Hate U Give, All American Boys, and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. I think students would respond well to teen literature that is reflective of their own lives and experiences. 

What does life look like after UIC?  

After UIC, I hope to become a high school english teacher, and connect with students inside and outside the classroom. I hope to become really involved in the school and become a person who students feel comfortable confiding in. I am also very passionate about civil rights and equity, so, although difficult,  I hope that I can continue to expose the problematic nature of public school and reform this at a systematic level. Lastly, I hope to come back to UIC to get my master’s in education!

Calls for Writers, etc.
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!

Looking to publish your research and theoretical work?
Finally ...

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.