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:

We are down to the penultimate week of the semester! Is everyone as tired as we are? On the bright side, the weather should be fabulous in the coming week.

Things are winding down in and around the Department but that doesn't mean nothing is going on. Two seniors will be presenting their work in the coming week and we are gearing up for ENGL 398 presentations. Don't forget to check out our course offerings. 

In this issue you will also find the following:

  • Courses for Fall 2021
  • C. J. Garrett reads at Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • Deana Kittaneh presents research at Humanities Day
  • Faculty Profile: Professor Jeffrey Kessler
  • Job of the Week: Tutoring with America Reads
  • Link to The Write Stuff
  • 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 125: Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
Instr. Dan Magers

This is a survey course of Latinx literature in various genres written by Latinx authors from many national and regional backgrounds. We’ll read works from the 1950s to the present day, with particular attention to the Chicanx and Puerto Rican activist movements of the 1960s and 70s; diasporic literatures from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Central and South America; Spanglish, translation, and language-mixing; immigration law, enforcement, and activism; labor movements; terminology (Latino/a/x/@/e); Afro-Latinx experiences amid broader questions of race and racism in Latin America and Latinx communities; gender and sexuality; and different visions of nationalism and assimilation. Our pedagogy will include student presentations, formal and informal writing assignments, close readings, small group discussions, and active and thoughtful listening. We will hopefully get a chance to speak with some contemporary authors as well.

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

 English 400
English 109: American Literature and Culture: Tough Girls
Prof. Terence Whalen

We seem to be witnessing the emergence of a new type of heroine in American culture, one whom, for lack of a better phrase, we shall call the tough girl.  The type can be found almost everywhere in recent popular culture, ranging from Ripley in the Alien films to Arya in Game of Thrones to Katniss in The Hunger Games (draw up your own list).  This course will begin with two recent works of fiction and then work backward (to the Nineteenth Century) and outward (to other genres and media).  At issue here is not simply the emergence of a new narrative form, but also the arbitrary choices and unforeseen consequences that accompany the naming of a genre and the imagining of a new field of study. Texts include works by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone), Louisa May Alcott (Behind a Mask), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer), and Ben Tripp (Rise Again).  Assignments include two papers, exams, and class presentations.  Attendance is required; reading is mandatory.

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

English 107: Introduction to Shakespeare
Prof. Jeffrey Gore, Prof. Gary Buslik

CRN: 26583/26585
This course will introduce you to the life, times, and work of the great poet, dramatist, and inventive genius of the English language, William Shakespeare. We will read a lively biography and selections from books about him, his work, and Elizabethan theater. We will read and discuss plays and sonnets. We will also watch filmed productions of the Bard’s most famous plays. We will write response papers and have quizzes on all readings, midterm and summary exams.

Interested to learn more? Email Professor Buslik.
Ready to enroll? Click here.

CRN: CRN: 29182/29183
This course will pair Shakespeare’s early experimental works with the more refined comedies, tragedies, and histories from the height of his career.  We will juxtapose the early slapstick humor of The Taming of the Shrew with Love’s Labour’s Lost’s courtly banter in order to understand better different kinds of comedy and different forms of social domination.  Although T. S. Eliot referred to Shakespeare’s early tragedy Titus Andronicus as “one of the stupidest. . . plays ever written,” recent scholarship on gender, race, and trauma challenges us to examine more deeply the play’s cannibalism and escalating cycles of revenge.  “To be or not to be” will certainly be one of the questions when we turn to the author’s tragic masterpiece Hamlet – written a decade after Titus – but so will be the lead character’s bawdy humor and hapless efforts to be the avenging warrior that his father was.  With the histories, we will examine two kinds of leaders, the villain Machiavel Richard III, and the unifying warrior-king, Henry V:  although the former cruelly murders his way to the top, the latter draws a more subtle approach from the Machiavellian playbook.  These pairs will help us to understand different approaches to story telling during the years that Shakespeare was most devoted to experimentation and refining his craft.

Interested to learn more? Email Professor Gore.
Ready to enroll? Click here.

English 114: Introduction to Colonial and Post-colonial Literature
Prof. Natasha Barnes

This course is designed to introduce students to the aesthetics and politics of postcolonial literature. We will start first by interrogating what colonialism is and examining how European (particularly British) literary culture participates in the promotion of colonial power. Next we will see how writers from marginalized societies respond to this.  The course will be organized around the pairings of literary texts from a variety of historical and geographic contexts. Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” will be read alongside Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea; Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkeness” will be compared to Chinau Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.”  Whenever possible we will think through an “internal colonization” model to study the writing of historically marginalized groups in the United States. Students will be required to write 2 essays, and are expected to keep up with readings and contribute regularly to class discussion.

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

English 117: Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Literature
Prof. Jennifer Rupert, Instructor Jared O'Connor

CRN: 25656
We will begin the work of ENGL 117: Gender, Sexuality, and Literature by tracing the social forces that brought about the “invention” of heterosexuality. By immersing ourselves in this history, we will aim to become better readers of the ways in which late 19th and early 20th century writers of memoir and fiction either resisted or internalized the pathologizing voices of the sexual sciences as these texts framed masculinity and femininity as biologically determined and heterosexuality as the norm. As we close the course concentrating on 21st century queer and transgender speculative fiction about different ways of being in love, one of our overarching projects will be to locate in the literature we read patterns of resistance to both long-standing and relatively new discourses that attempt to put all of us into very confining gender and sexuality boxes. In doing so, we will investigate the ways in which notions of class, race, and ability differences inform various kinds of scientific and literary narratives about gender and sexual normalcy as well as what we have come to understand as “romantic love.” Thus, our inquiry this semester will not only inspire reflection on societal notions of who should love whom but also meditation on possibilities for creating a culture of “ethical eroticism” that encourages mutuality and love in its many possible forms.

Have a question? Email Professor Jennifer Rupert.
Ready to enroll? Click here

CRN: 30900
The cultural revolutions of the late 1960s brought about significant transformations in the ways we think about gender and sexuality in our everyday lives. Not only were these revolutions tethered to presenting and enacting radical gender and sexual identities in our social reality, but they were also represented in the literature and art of the period. And these representations have continually inspired the ways contemporary literature and art thinks about and represents gender and sex. This course will explore literature and art from the late 1960s to our present day by paying particular attention to experiments with form and genre as they relate to gender and sex. We will read a variety of genres—novels, short stories, poems, and plays—that use form to interrogate and make legible these radical ideas and what these expressions suggest about our ever-changing relationship to gender and sexuality.

Have a question? Email Instructor Jared O'Connor.
Ready to enroll? Click here


Senior C. J. Garrett Presents Original Poetry at Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Research Symposium


This coming Sunday at 12:00 pm, you can catch fellow undergraduate C. J. Garrett present original poetry at Johns Hopkins' Richard Macksey Undergraduate Research Symposium. Garrett will read from "Noiseless Andromeda," a long poem which has also been featured in The Write Stuff. We hope everyone can join Garrett as he presents at this selective and prestigious symposium.

"Noiseless Andromeda" is heavily influenced by Vicente Huidobro's "Altazor," first published in 1931. In Huidobro's cantos, Altazor re-imagines the hero of a traditional epic as being a poet falling through the landscapes of changing language--armed only with a parachute. Galvanized by Huidobro, this recitation is a selection reading of the poem titled, "Noiseless Andromeda''. "Noiseless Andromeda" simultaneously parallels the Greek myth of Andromeda as well as Altazor's journey through the landscapes of changing language. Utilizing techniques such as poetic excess, juxtapositions and extended metaphors and driven by cosmological diction, "Noiseless Andromeda" seeks to dismantle the constructions and archetypes of poetry and forge a new language that can better frame the ineffable vistas of the human soul, unconstrained and unburdened by linguistic limitations.

Please click here for link.


Senior Deana Kittaneh Presents Research at Humanities Day


Join Senior Deana Kittaneh as she presents the research she conducted under the supervision of Professor Rachel Havrelock at this year's Humanities Day. Taking place from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on April 28, 2021, selected students present their research. Titled "Rethinking Resilience: Conceptualizing a More Equitable Approach in the 21st Century," Kittaneh's project explores resilence-based policies in response to climate change's impacts and their ability to provide equitable and sustainable solutions. It analyzes the conceptual underpinnings of resilience, and evaluates the equity and sustainability of its policies thoruogh two distinct case studies: the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan in the city of Chicago and the Disi Water Conveyance Project in the Kingdom of Jordan. Click here for the link and more information. 


Job of the Week

Tutoring with America Reads
Sara Johnson

This week’s job is tutoring with UIC’s America Reads.

America Reads is a federally funded work-study program. They established the America Reads Challenge in 1996 to help children learn to read proficiently by the end of the fifth grade. This program is present throughout universities all over the country. They hire and train work-study eligible undergraduate students and place them as literacy or math tutors in local schools. America Reads Challenge employees work as tutors either in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with elementary school students or in Adult Family Literacy Centers. Once trained, tutors are assigned to work at sites that are typically located within 3-4 miles from their campus.

UIC America Reads Challenge is hiring tutors for fall 2021. Students can apply at any time, however, interviews will not begin until August 2021 and tutoring will start shortly after Labor Day. The compensation of an America Reads Challenge tutoring position is $16.17/hour

Here are the requirements of an America Reads Challenge tutor:

  • Eligible for Federal-Work Study
  • Available to work 10-20 hours a week
  • Able to work at least 2 consecutive hours per shift
  • Proficient in high school level English and/or Mathematics
  • Able to speak, read, and write English fluently
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester

Applications are available at: https://docs.financialaid.uic.edu/docs/EY/2122_READ-E.pdf

Please submit applications to:
The University of Illinois at Chicago
Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships
1200 West Harrison, Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60607

If you have questions about your work-study eligibility, please contact America Reads Coordinator Kerry Davis at kdavis12@uic.edu.


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!


Faculty Profile: Professor Jeffrey Kessler


Have you ever wanted to pursue a career teaching in higher education? Have you ever wanted to learn more about language and grammar and how it changes overtime in relation to contemporary issues? Dr. Jeffrey Kessler who has been teaching at UIC for three and a half years has taught various courses including First-Year Writing, 19th Century Literature, Introduction to Literary Studies, Introduction to Poetry, and Grammar and Style. Today, I got a chance to interview him and understand how he built his career in teaching, understand his passion for language, and explore his transition to UIC.

Dr. Kessler grew up in New Jersey, attended Rutgers University and received his Bachelor’s Degree in English. After undergrad, he first took a year off and then returned to graduate school. He attended Indiana University Bloomington and earned a Masters of Arts and a PhD in English. While he was there, he was an associate instructor and taught a number of courses within the English and Composition Department. As a graduate student there, he studied Victorian Literature, focusing on late nineteenth century fiction and criticism. Dr. Kessler stated, “Early on, I knew I wanted to do some sort of graduate work between English and Philosophy.”

Dr. Kessler was able to build his career through teaching opportunities. While Dr. Kessler attended Indiana University, he taught in the Groups Scholar Program that was created as a way to increase college attendance for first generation and underrepresented students. This program also provides academic, financial, and social support to help students get their Bachelor’s Degree. Dr. Kessler was focused on making his career connect with research and teaching. Later, he taught at Depaul University and earned certificates in Teaching and Diversity.

As an undergrad, Dr. Kessler was attracted to literary studies when he attended the Dickens Universe, a weeklong annual conference dedicated to studying the novels of Charles Dickens. Dr. Kessler expressed gratitude for such an early positive experience, “You build a sense of community, you build a sense of self interest, and I really valued that.” There he was able to appreciate everyone coming together with common interest, pursuing ideas, and building an academic community. Dr. Kessler is most proud of the courses he has designed. In his own words, “One of the things I really love is putting ideas together, and then seeing that design impact the students in the course.”

One of Dr. Kessler courses that he currently teaches at UIC is English 200: Basic English Grammar and Style. This course focuses on the foundation of English grammar and the underlying rules that shape our language. Dr. Kessler stated, “This class gets students to think about how grammar and style interact with one another.” In addition, it covers significant issues surrounding the English language, including its history, Black English, global English, prescriptive and descriptive linguistics, and the ethics of writing. Although there are many benefits of this class. In Dr. Kessler's words, one of the main ones for students is “It allows a diverse set of experiences in language, whether that’s learning English as a second language, speaking a different dialect of English at home, and bringing that all together and talking about the issue like code switching.” In this class, students can also understand structures of sentences, read articles, engage in contemporary issues and how language evolves.

As for Dr. Kessler's advice to students, “Examine what aspects of either teaching or writing that you find the most rewarding and get some perspectives from folks. You should talk to professionals or experts in that field, so you get a lot of information. This is a useful way to learn from their experience of what a career would be like.”

You can read more of Dr. Kessler’s works in: 

Oscar Wilde’s Imaginary ‘Portrait of Mr. W. H.’” English Literature in Transition: 1880-1920. Vol. 61. No. 3: May 2018, pp. 352-373.

Review of The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde, edited by Nicholas Frankel in English Literature in Transition 1880-1920, Vol. 62, 2019.



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:

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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