Updates from the English Department Office of Undergraduate Studies
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Click here to see this online

A note from the director...


Dear Students:

Have you read The Write Stuff yet? If not, scroll down for the link. If so, the journal's creator, Tavon Sanders, would appreciate any feedback you have for him. And, of course, your submissions for the next issue which is due out May 14, 2021.

As usual, there's lots going on in and around the Department. If you are a junior/rising senior, you'll especially want to join the Grad School/Fellowship Workshop which takes place on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm. Come along to hear how to identify graduate school programs, how to apply, how to apply for funding once you've been accepted to a program and much more. Our panelists include Professor Robert Johnston (UIC, History) and current and former UIC students who have successfully navigated the ups and downs of all things related to grad school. The link is below. 

In this issue you will also find the following:

  • Course offerings for Fall 2021
  • LAS Career Development Coffee Chat and Workshop on Interviewing
  • Link to The Writing Center's Appointment Scheduler
  • Link to The Write Stuff
  • Intern Update
  • Grad School/Fellowship Workshop
  • An updated list of internships and calls for writing, etc.

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies


Fall 2021 Courses


Registration begins soon! Check out some of the awesome courses on offer for Fall 2021. 

English 492: Advanced Writing of Creative Nonfiction
Prof. Cris Mazza

This advanced creative nonfiction workshop is for students who have taken English 201 (or the equivalent).  The workshop also welcomes any graduate student other than those in the Program for Writers. Creative nonfiction includes memoir, personal essay, literary journalism, literary travel- and science-writing and similar genres. Course work: Each student will write 3 CNF drafts and critiques for every other peer-evaluated essay. Willingness to engage in discussion of work-in-progress is necessary; reading assignments are made up of drafts of work turned in by the workshop members. This will be a synchronous course. 

Interested to learn more? Email the professor.
Ready to enroll? Click here.

English 400: The Idea of English and the Politics of Language
Prof. Robin Reames

"This is a country where we speak English. It’s English. You have to speak English!” During Trump’s term as president, we heard words like these repeated numerous times, and with the end of that administration we might hope that the sentiment is now obsolete. It isn’t: in February 2021, a month after Trump’s term ended, a bill was introduced to congress proposing to make English the official language of the U.S. and English proficiency a prerequisite for citizenship.

In a nation of over 41 million Spanish speakers, such policies seem at best nativist and anti-immigrant—reflective of a larger movement to restrict not just the languages that can be spoken in the public sphere, but also the very people who can work and participate in public life. But nativism and xenophobia are far from the only questionable aspects of the issue.

A larger question is: What is English? When people promote “English-only” policies, whose English do they have in mind? Where did that version of English originate? How has it changed over time, and where is it going? 

This semester, we explore the history of the English language in order to define the hegemonic concept of “English” against a larger backdrop of what English has been in the past and how it became what it is today. In so doing, we examine the historical and ontological stakes of phenomena like the “English-only” movement and “English-only” policies. We also examine emerging linguistic phenomena like internet slang and variations on Standard American English, such as African American Vernacular English and Chicano/a English. We consider these transformations in English in light of the long view, examining how English evolved from Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman roots in the Middle Ages. And we consider how questions of class have always inflected the idea of “correct” language use. 

Interested to learn more? Email the professor.
Ready to enroll? Click here.

English 400 
English 311: The Two Traditions of King Arthur in Medieval Britain
Prof. Alfred Thomas

In the England of the late Middle Ages there were two Arthurian traditions. They existed side by side. One tradition represents King Arthur as a national hero, a battle-leader, a historical king, and narrates his rise to power, his flourishing, his conquests, and his fall and death. It is the native tradition, established as quasi-historical by Geoffrey of Monmouth, monumentally embodied in the great epic poem of the Brut by Layamon, dominant to a large extent in the romance-cum-epic of the Alliterative Morte Arthur, and present still in Malory. Arthur is the center of this body of narratives. The other Arthurian tradition in England is the one that came back into the country via France. Arthur has lost his central role as a national hero, and has faded into a shadowy figure, an ineffectual king, a mere husband, to accommodate the adulterous liaison of Lancelot and Guinevere. He is still the head of the order of the Round Table, but mostly Camelot is a place that individual knights go out from and come back to; and the king is there to wish them well when they leave and welcome them back when they return. The enormous influence of French literature in England during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the aristocracy was largely French-speaking, means that this tradition was dominant. This other (French) tradition, which originated in the romances of Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France, finds its insular English expression in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The love interest between the knight and a lady is also a major feature of the plot in this second Arthurian tradition.

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

English 315: Enlightenment Narratives & Colonial Subjects
Prof. Sunil Agnani

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, Edmund Burke, and Denis Diderot) to explore these questions.

Questions? Email the professor.
Ready to enroll? Click here.

English 333: Literatures in English Other than English and American
Prof. Natasha Barnes

This course will examine the fluid notion of post colonial literature, a corpus of writing that was first used to describe the fiction of writers from formerly colonized nations. We will see how “first wave” authors like Chinua Achebe (Nigeria) and Jean Rhys (Dominica) developed an aesthetic to counter colonial descriptions of their social world in classic English texts such as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  Through authors like Marlon James, Nalo Hopkinson and Ramabai Espinet we will also pay attention to the ways that migration, transnationalism and globalization continues to change our understanding of the novel in English. Burgeoning literary nationalisms within Great Britain will also be examined through poets like Naill O’Gallagher who writes exclusively in Gaelic.

Have a question? Email the professor.
Ready to enroll? Click here


LAS Career Coffee Chat and Interview Workshop


LAS Career Development and Internships Office has two upcoming events useful to English Department students.

In the Career Coffee Chat series the team conducts informational interviews with professionals who share their career story and offer advice on all things careers including their career story, internship success stories, and how they are leveraging their LAS degree! Join Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm when the team interviews Stephanie Poisson, Senior Software Engineer - Machine Learning / Natural Language Processing at MasterPeace Solutions to learn about her current role and her overall career experience. In this session you will also hear from the Department of Linguistics to learn more about the new Computer Science and Linguistics major! Click here to RSVP or for more information.

The very next day, Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 2:00 pm you can join the team for "Strategies to Master the Job Interview." In the session you will learn tips and strategies to best prepare and gain the confidence to rock your upcoming job interview. You will learn how to:

  • Best prepare for the job interview
  • Effectively communicate your strengths, skills and experiences
  • Shine during a video interview
  • Answer traditional and behavioral-based questions
  • Address the salary question
  • Follow up after the interview

Click here to RSVP or for more information.


Interested in Expanding Your Horizon - Literally?


Consider studying abroad via The UIC Study Abroad Office. With a study abroad program (and there are hundreds to choose from) you can experience a different culture and way of life. And, it might be more affordable than you think. In the academic year 2018-19 (the last year study abroad was permitted) the Study Abroad Office had approximately 200 students study abroad and they received over $1,000,000 in scholarships and financial aid. Furthermore, the Office is continually finding new opportunities for students to fund their term abroad whether it be for traditional study abroad, research or for-credit internships. Click here for more information on Study Abroad at UIC.


The Writing Center


Ah... the end of the semester! Spring is springing. Birds are singing.

You have a paper (or several) to write and are kind of freaking out? Book a synchronous or asynchronous session at the Writing Center.

Non-judgmental peer tutors at the Writing Center can help you:

  1. Start a paper
  2. Finish a paper
  3. Better understand an assignment
  4. Plan a paper
  5. Develop an argument
  6. Not go off on tangents
  7. Incorporate evidence
  8. Much more!

Working with a peer tutor reduces stress and helps you do your best work. Click here to make an appointment or learn more. 



The Write Stuff

 Photographer: Jessica Yim

... is here!

Over the past few weeks, many students have answered our call for literary and artistic work for our new online literary magazine, The Write Stuff. The first edition - out today - includes a roundup of great writing and art work, including this cityscape by Jessica Lim! You can view the first edition here!

We would like to thank the following students for submitting their work to us and making the first post of The Write Stuff possible:

Jessica Yim                                 Xiomara Demarchi                           Lance Nwokeji
Madeline Pimlott                        Ahana Gupta                                    Maryam Ahmad
Izhan Arif                                    C.J. Garrett                                       Michelle Garcia
Sammy-Jo Lueg                        Joey Liang

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful submissions! We could tell that hard work, diligence and passion went into the poems, artwork, short stories, essays and other work you all sent in to us!


Looking to Take ENGL 160 This Summer?


Perhaps you or someone you know is looking to take ENGL 160 over the summer? If so, check out Carrie McGath's course centered on visual art, music and society during Summer Session II


Intern Update: Wes Sowers


I’m interested in a career in technical writing and because of that I decided to have my first internship with a small Chicago-based software company named Summarize It. Summarize It at its core is largely focused on software creation in order to assist small businesses from the creation of their business, navigating the laws regarding their business and how best to secure profitability and funding. The big reason why I am such a big proponent of the company itself is due to the fact that small business is the backbone of America and I fully believe that someone creating their own business should have as few headaches as possible during the tumultuous first months/years of their business.

My supervisor, Nick Serrecchia, and I meet weekly in order to assess the needs of the company for the week and to assess previous projects that I have contributed to. He and the rest of the higher-ups in the company have been an incredible help in my first internship and the experience that I’ve gained this past year has been invaluable to my future career.

My work generally revolves around content creation in the legal database. If I were to break it down the best way to describe my day-to-day work is hours upon hours of legal research (such as identifying different types of business insurance, business structures and tax laws) and condensing said research into easily-digestible definitions that any user can read and understand. As well as that, my work also revolves around reviewing proprietary software modules and ensuring that they work correctly along with ensuring that the software looks pleasing to the eye. At this moment I do not currently have any upcoming projects as my work within the content creation side of the company requires all hands on deck and when one piece is done another will need work. Although the work does not seem to end, I will say that being able to work under deadlines and making immediate last-minute changes is great practice for my future entry into the corporate world.

What I Have Learned: While working with Summarize It I have discovered my love of technical writing and have learned how to work as efficiently as possible under tight deadlines. As well as that, I have learned how to be professional in a corporate setting and how to communicate effectively with coworkers.

Impressions: I feel much more excited about my future entry into the corporate world. I believe the skills and lessons I have learned from my year-long contract with Summarize It have been invaluable to my future career. I’m nervous to move onto a separate company this summer. However, I do feel that it is time to move and bring the things I have learned with me.


Internships, Scholarships, Fellowships & Jobs


LAS Career Development and Internships Office


LAS Office of Career Development and Internships has the following opportunities:


Job Opportunities:

Intuit Summer Fellowship

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art is hiring for its first summer fellowship program.

The Intuit Summer Fellow will be introduced to all facets of museum work, including curation, collections, education, marketing, development and executive leadership. They will work closely with Intuit’s senior management team and meaningfully contribute to ongoing museum projects. In addition to their participation in staff professional development, educational and public programs, and special events, the Intuit Summer Fellow will learn about contemporary issues in the museum field.

Eligible applicants are BIPOC Chicago state, city or community college students or recent graduates interested in a career in museums and the arts. The fellowship will be primarily remote, with some on-site work depending on projects. Fully remote applicants will be considered. 
This is an 8-week, 20 hour a week commitment and pays $3,000. Deadline to apply is May 2. 
For more information and to apply, click here

Calls for Writers, etc.


Black Lawrence Press Seeks Submissions

 Black Lawrence Call for Submissions

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You've Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women's perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women's humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women's experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.

Black Lawrence Press is now accepting submissions for a new anthology of essays. Writers and scholars living in the United States and abroad are invited to submit essays of between 700-5000 words for the anthology on any of the following broad themes. (Other themes will be considered.)

  1. Black Women and Justice
  2. Black Women and Self-Care
  3. Black Women and Spirituality
  4. Black Women at Work and at Home
  5. Black Women and Sex (and Sexuality)

Essays can be creative or academic. However, essays have to be accessible since the anthology is for a general audience.

Drs. Jan Boulware, Rondrea Mathis, Clarissa West-White, and Kideste Yusef of Bethune-Cookman University will serve as editors.

Submissions will be accepted through June 30, 2021. Contributors will receive a copy of the anthology as payment.

Previously published essays are welcome. Please contact Dr. Clarissa West-White at whitec@cookman.edu with questions.


Other Upcoming UGS Events

Mark Your Calendar for these Upcoming Events:
  • Grad School/Fellowship Workshop
    April 21, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Current grad students talk about what grad school is really like, how to get into the program of your dreams and how to get funded once you've been accepted.
    Click here for Zoom link

  • Thesis Presentations
    April 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Hear what students in ENGL 398 and ENGL 399 have been working on all semester
    Click here for Zoom link

Finally ...


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


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