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! How was the first week of classes? In case you are still putting the finishing touches on your course selections for this semester, be sure to check out some of the English department's terrific course offerings, which still have a few seats available

Scroll down for more exciting news:

  • Spring 2021 Courses
  • Free New York Times subscription
  • Meet UGS Intern: Tavon Sanders
  • Scholarships, Fellowships, and Jobs
  • Calls for Writing, etc.
  • Upcoming UGS Events

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

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 inspiring 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!

Also, Check out this Course Crosslisted with the German Department
GER 318/ENGL 305: The Poetics of Social Class

Class is back: Since the world economic crisis of 2007/08at the latest, the problem of an increasing class division in society has returned. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is not closing, as we were led to believe during the era of post-World-War-II prosperity. Rather, this gap is widening. We can observe major social unrest in many countries around the world, and in numerous developed countries we can witness the rise of populist movements that claim to defend the rights and demands of destitute working classes that actually now are mostly out of work. Even in the academic world, a new class is taking shape: the new academic precariat includes both students who will be paying off their tuition debt for years to come and instructors on short-term contracts without any prospects of long-term employment.

Literature has been a mirror as well as a constitutive force with regard to the formation of social classes since the late 18th century. The imaginary self-fashioning of modern class society was highly dependent on literary texts and practices, and ever since its emergence, the workers’ movement, which was fighting against the capitalist class society, used literature as a means in its struggle.

We will read and discuss literary and theoretical texts from the late 18th century to the present. Poems and pamphlets from the time of the French Revolution; the English romantic anti-capitalism of William Blake and Percy Shelley; early socialist and feminist treatises from the German Vormärz; and narratives from the American abolitionist movement will all be examined in our course. We will read texts from the heyday of the German and the American workers’ movements of the late 19th and early 20th century as well as literary reports from the socialist transformation during the early days of the GDR. Special emphasis will be placed on autobiographical testimonies, including the much-discussed “auto-socio-biographies” of our time, such as those of Annie Ernaux, Eduard Louis, or J.D. Vance.

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.

UGS Intern: Tavon Sanders

This semester, Tavon Sanders joins the UGS Office as our first-ever intern! Tavon will be helping produce the newsletter and other communications. Here is a bit about Tavon. Please join us in welcoming him!

Tavon Sanders is a transfer student majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing. He hopes to break into the world of journalism after he graduates from UIC. From a very young age, he dabbled in writing of all kinds including creative fiction, writing for his high school yearbook, and for a short time, journalism covering the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. During breaks between semesters, he enjoys video gaming and going to anime conventions.
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.
Intern or Volunteer with PIRG

Get Involved!

Join Illinois PIRG this semester to make a difference on issues that you care about. Apply now to learn more about internship programs.

This past fall, students across the state worked to prepare our campus for the elections coming up in elections. As the largest and most diverse demographic in the country, we needed to make sure our voices are heard. Through meetings with the Civic Engagement office, student government, and other key people on campus, we were able to spread the word to students about the importance of voting and help our peers register to vote. Through these efforts and those of countless other organizations and individuals, youth voting was at historically high levels.

Our top priority this semester is to tackle climate change and our systematic reliance on fossil fuels by passing statewide legislation for 100% Renewable Energy.  We'll be working completely virtually! From gathering petitions and other grassroots product to hosting meetings with our legislators, we need to act fast to prevent the worst effects of climate change and make IL a leader in the Midwest.

IllinoisPIRG is a statewide student-run non-profit that works to protect the public interest and recruit and train student activists. Partnered with other state chapters, we have a 45-year track record of making social change in the US through our organizing efforts on college campuses across the state.

IllinoisPIRG interns learn valuable organizing skills, like building a team of volunteers, taking on leadership within a campaign, organizing events on campus, lobbying elected officials, and working with the media. In addition to building skills and adding to a resume, our interns work to create tangible policy changes on behalf of the public interest. Interns work between 5-10hrs per week.

Too busy for an internship but still want to help? You can still fill out this form to volunteer.

For more information, visit our internship application page & apply today! You may also email Max Ciarlone at mciarlone@illinoispirgstudents.org.

Looking to publish your research and theoretical work?
Upcoming UGS 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.

Other Upcoming UGS Events
Mark Your Calendar for these Upcoming Events:
  • Career Workshop
    February 17, 2021 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm
    Join this workshop to learn how to get a jumpstart on getting a job
    Click here for Zoom link


  • Open Mic 
    March 31, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Share your creative work and hear your peers' creative work
    Click here for Zoom link  


  • Grad School Workshop
    April 14, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Current grad students talk about what grad school is really like and how to get into the program of your dreams
    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.