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

Dear Students:

Happy 2021 and welcome back! We hope you all had a restful Winter Break. Although 2021 isn't exactly coming in "like a lamb," we are excited about the new semester, and the exciting classes and events that are coming up in Spring 2021. 

In case you are still putting the finishing touches on your course selections for this semester, be sure to check out some of the Enlgish department's terrific course offerings, which still have a few seats available

Scroll down for more exciting news:

  • Spring 2021 Courses
  • Interview with Professor Jennifer Rupert, Recipient, Teaching Recognition Award
  • Free New York Times subscription
  • Intern of the Month: Kenny Adusah
  • Scholarships, Fellowships, and Jobs
  • Calls for Writing, etc.

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Free Access to New York Times

In an age of dubious information, where we get our news is more important than ever. The good news is that students can now get a free subscription to the nation's preeminent newspaper, The New York Times--the recipient of 130 Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. Click here to register for your free subscription.

Spring 2021 Courses

Still looking for that perfect class? The Department of English has a wide range of interesting and innovative offerings. See below for a sample.

English 122: Understanding Rhetoric
Prof. Robin Reames

What is “rhetoric” and why should we care about it? Although Socrates demeaned rhetoric as a dangerous and deceptive form of flattery, Aristotle defined it as an art—the art of seeing the available means of persuasion. Even today the importance of these ideas can be witnessed all around us. From political controversies, to product advertisements, to outright lies—the power of language persuades us, determines our thoughts and beliefs, and dictates our actions. In this course we seek to understand rhetoric—both what it is and how we use it. In this way, rhetoric is meant to help us understand more about the world around us.

In this course, we will test the relevance of the some of the basic concepts of the rhetorical tradition as we analyze numerous rhetorical events of our own time: the rhetorics of DACA, MAGA, the Muslim ban, the Black Lives Matter movement, the climate crisis, and more. Through examining how rhetorical theories like stasis, metaphor, ideographs, genre, etc., function in these and other rhetorical events, we will gain a deeper understanding both of how persuasion works… and how it fails.

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

English 327: Contemporary American Lit. 1980-Present: Toni Morrison
Prof. Madhu Dubey

This class will focus on one of the most widely read American writers of the twentieth century. Course readings will include: six of Toni Morrison’s novels (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Paradise, A Mercy), a chapter from her critical study of race in American literature (Playing in the Dark), and a selection of her most influential essays and speeches.

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

English 242: English Literature 1660-1900
Prof. Nicholas Brown

This course undertakes the impossible task of surveying over two hundred years of English literature in fifteen weeks. From allegory to lyric, from essay to novel, from ballad to dramatic monologue; from the scandalous affairs of Restoration comedy to the chaste attachments of Victorian verse; from the origins of the English novel with Daniel Defoe to its apotheosis in George Eliot (and to its transformation in Joseph Conrad): this 240-year stretch of literary history is crowded with new forms and new thematic and narrative material. The reading load for this course will therefore be heavy. Since this course is designed for English majors, it is presumed that students will arrange their semester to enable them to devote sufficient time to it. The payoff will be worth the effort. This semester will provide a solid backbone to the study of the period and a strong basis on which to begin a study of twentieth-century literature.

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

English 104: English and American Drama
Prof. Aaron Krall

How do plays represent the world? How do they produce new worlds? This course will examine the form and content of English and American drama from the end of the nineteenth century, the beginning of “modern drama,” to the contemporary stage. We will focus on strategies for critically reading and writing about plays through an analysis of works by playwrights including Glaspell, O’Neill, Beckett, Churchill, Soyinka, and Parks, and we will see and review productions by the UIC Theatre. Our reading will be supported by an exploration of the relationships between written texts and live performances through projects involving acting, directing, and design, as well as literary criticism. We will also explore the social contexts for plays by reading theatre history and dramatic theory, including pieces by Aristotle, Shaw, Artaud, and Brecht. In this way, the literary texts and techniques of playwrights will be complemented and complicated by the theatre artists, theatre companies, critics, and audiences that shaped their production.

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!

Department of English Professor wins Prestigious Teaching Award

It'll come as no surprise to her students that Professor Jennifer Rupert is one of the 2020-21 winners of the Teaching Recognition Program (TRP) award. A campus-wide initiative, TRP recognizes teaching excellence for a minimum of three consecutive years. We caught up with Professor Rupert to ask about her motivation for teaching and challenges she's faced during her time in the classroom. If you have had the good fortune of being in one of Professor Rupert's classes, we are sure she'd love to hear your congratulations on receiving this prestigious award.

What made you want to be an English teacher?
I am a self-described “lover of stories” and grew up with a father who is still one of the best storytellers I know. I made the decision to go to college last minute and declared a major in Business in order to be “practical.”  I had an amazing first year writing instructor in my first semester and she wondered why I wasn’t majoring in what I loved to do which was reading and writing. I switched my major from Economics to English in my second semester. After taking more literature courses, I knew that I wanted to be an English professor as improbable as that sounded to me as a first-generation college student from a working-class background. I also noticed that there were very few women on the faculty in the English department. Although I hadn’t been planning on a university education, my parents had impressed upon me and my sister from a young age that we should pursue professions that allowed us to do meaningful work.  As a 19-year old I couldn’t imagine anything more meaningful than sharing that spark I experienced for the very first time in a college classroom.

When I talk to students today about my decision to pursue becoming an English professor, another very significant part of my story includes the detail that there wasn’t a gender studies program at my undergraduate institution. I often describe my undergraduate self as a “one woman gender studies department.” It wasn’t until I went to graduate school that I realized that there was a name for the kind of scholarship I had been doing from the very beginning.

What is your favorite thing about teaching UIC students? 
One of the many reasons I enjoy teaching UIC students is that they are far more worldly than I was at their age.  I grew up in a small place in rural Pennsylvania and dreamed of moving away and traveling. Our students’ families come from all over the world and speak more than fifty different languages. It is not an exaggeration to say that my world got a lot bigger when I came to UIC as a graduate student and began teaching the subjects I love—writing, literature, and gender & sexuality studies—to this incredibly diverse audience. I relate strongly to many of the challenges our students face as they aim to juggle school, work, and family responsibilities. I continue to be in awe of our students’ grit and determination to excel in their studies as they take on even more than I was made to at their age. 

What is one of the greatest challenges you had to overcome in the classroom?
As a beginning teacher, I definitely suffered from a lack of confidence. So much so, that early in my career, more than one student commented on it—not unkindly— in their end-of-the-term evaluations. Over the years, I have become much more comfortable with thinking about the teaching I do as deeply collaborative. Of course, I select the materials for the courses I teach, but I don’t attempt to demonstrate ‘mastery’ of every—or any— text I choose.  Rather, I approach teaching as sharing knowledge, excitement, curiosity!!! At this point in my teaching career, I am much more comfortable with the fact that my students know more than I do about some things and that we are coming together to share information and learn from one another. Together, we seek to know more than we did when we first met.

If you could invent a new class/topic, what would it be? 
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I will say this: after teaching a very popular course in critical media studies for the Honors College general education curriculum for several years, I have come to understand how interdisciplinary my teaching (and research) interests are. I was trained as a feminist literary critic with a very particular literary time period and set of texts as my areas of expertise. Nowadays, I understand more than ever how much my thinking and teaching owe to many different disciplines, including philosophy, history, sociology, psychology, media studies, queer studies, and intersectional feminist and critical race studies. I have recently designed a first-year writing course based on my deep interest in the intersections of popular culture and politics. And I am poised to pitch another general education course to the Honors College on (mis)representations of feminism in popular culture & pop-feminism.

What advice would you give to students who want to become English teachers or professors? Teaching English at every level of education must be a labor of love. There was something special that happened to me when I found myself in a college-level literature class that had never happened to me in my previous education. I couldn’t wait to do my homework. I would buy books at the university bookstore for classes I wasn’t even taking. I wanted to talk about what I was reading with anyone who would listen. For the first time, I had an appetite for learning that I didn’t have before. To be a good teacher is to keep that enthusiasm alive and to look forward to sharing it and igniting it in others.

Intern of the Month: Kenny Adusah
UIC's Department of English offers a one-semester internship for all majors. Professor Linda Landis-Andrews teaches ENGL 493: Internship in Nonfiction Writing. In a new feature, each month we profile a successful intern. This month our focus is on Kenny Adusah. 
Where do you intern?
I intern at StreetWise, a Chicago-based nonprofit magazine organization. The non-profit gives its magazines for vendors, who are usually either homeless or facing homelessness, to sell on the street. There is also an online subscription where you can contribute. With each purchase, $1.10 of the $2 price goes to the vendors to help them. The overall mission of StreetWise is to create employment opportunities for people who’re either homeless or facing homelessness. Their company motto is to give people a “hand up, not a handout. They want the workers to be theirown entrepreneurs. That motto gives the workers the confidence to stand up on their own two feet.
What do you do as an intern and what's the best part of being an intern?
I mainly work on press releases and social media interaction. Every intern gets a chance to write a cover story for one of the weekly magazines. This is especially important because you’ll be able to use that magazine as a writing sample for employers. I’m currently working on one about redlining in Chicago, which should appear in January. Weekly, I write tweets on Twitter to persuade our followers to get our weekly issue. The best part of being an intern is knowing that in some way shape or form your work is contributing to the company and helping them advance. You get the opportunity to bring fresh ideas to the table and are able to do some great things.
What are some misperceptions about internships?
One common misconception that people have about internships is that you’ll just do busy work the whole time. That is true for some internships but it shouldn’t discourage you from getting one because you could end up doing something big to put on your resume.
What does life after UIC look like for you?
After I’m done with undergrad at UIC, I hope to be an English professor because I love teaching but I also love doing research as well. The next stop will be grad school and getting a Ph.D.
Scholarships, Fellowships and Jobs
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.

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

Calls for Writers, etc.
Looking to publish your research and theoretical work?
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Are you considering a career in journalism? Just wondering what graduate work in journalism is like? Join us at noon on February 3, 2021 when Rick Brown visits to talk about DePaul University's Graduate Journalism Program

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/93292434Image441?pwd=KzgyRHRxMjJMK1JwTDl0Zkc2UEZUdz09

About Rick Brown
Rick Brown is a television journalism instructor at the DePaul University College of Communication in Chicago. He also works as a freelance field producer for the NBC Network News Midwest Bureau.

Before coming to DePaul, Brown was the primary field producer for NBC News in New England. He traveled throughout the northeast covering stories like the World Trade Center disaster in New York, the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in Boston, the fatal night club fire in Rhode Island, and the New Hampshire primary.

Earlier in his career, Brown was the news director at WITI-TV in Milwaukee and a field producer and bureau manager for CBS Network News in Chicago.

Finally ...

Do you have questions or feel like chatting with UGS? Email english@uic.edu to schedule an appointment.