Critical Hallmarks of English Studies

You will explore topics of interest through our unique interdisciplinary and applied areas of focus and electives. As you select focus area or elective courses, remember that you must take at least one course representing each of three critical hallmarks of English studies:

  • Historical/Genealogical
  • Geographical/Transnational
  • Diversity

These courses can be taken as part of your focus area or as an English department elective.

Courses for Spring 2024

These are the courses we’ll offer for each area in Spring 2024. For a full list of courses that will satisfy a requirement, see that requirement’s section below.


  • CLS 261: World Literature II
  • LIT 302: Development of the American Novel
  • WRH 201: Introduction to Rhetoric


  • CLS 203: African Studies (J)


  • CLS 270: Life, Death, and Disease (I)
  • ENG 339: Dialectics of American English
  • LIT 203: African American Literature II

Historical/Genealogical Courses

The central concern of the Historical and Genealogical Distribution is to engage students with readings and ideas that precede and inform 20th and 21st century intellectual traditions. Courses in this distribution will examine local and global histories and trace the lineage and evolution of philosophical and theoretical ideas, decentering the present as an imagined apex of human evolution and social progress. Students will be invited to pursue these orientations via close reading, analysis, argumentation, and reflection, and encouraged to bring these knowledges to bear on their futures.

  • CLS 258: Women’s Literature I (J)
  • CLS 261: World Literature II
  • CLS 371: Law and Disorder in Literature (I)
  • ENG 270: Book History: Introduction
  • ENG 370: Special Topics in the Archives
  • LIT 200: American Literature I
  • LIT 202: African American Literature I
  • LIT 269: The Literature of Roguery
  • LIT 302: Development of the American Novel
  • LIT 335: Shakespeare I
  • LIT 336: Shakespeare II
  • LIT 337: Literature of the Enlightenment
  • LIT 338: Restoration and 18th Century Drama
  • LIT 339: 18th Century British Novel
  • WRH 201: Introduction to Rhetoric
  • WRH 310: Written Rhetoric: Power, Politics, and Environmental Writing

Geographical/Transnational Courses

The central concern of the Geographical Distribution is to diversify the geographical representation of readings and ideas students encounter in the English B.A. Courses designated as Geographical will engage students with readings and ideas that are alternative to Anglo-American cultural worldviews and ideologies. Since cultural worldviews and ideologies subtend the texts we read, geographical distributive courses introduce students to texts from other geographies with the logic that geographical differences can result in ideological differences.

  • CLS 203: African Studies (J)
  • CLS 260: World Literature I (J)
  • CLS 351: African Literature
  • LIT 344: Modern British Novel
  • LIT 370: Urbanism and the Modern Imagination (I)
  • LIT 372: African American Urban Literature

Diversity Courses

(not to be confused with General Education Diverse Communities)

The central concern of the new English curriculum’s Diversity Distribution requirement is to ensure that all English majors will take at least one Diversity focused English course as they progress through their studies. A Diversity Distribution course is an English course that explicitly and directly addresses cultures, traditions, experiences and perspectives that have traditionally been excluded from, marginalized within, or subordinated to cultures, traditions, and subjectivities that have dominated US, British and Western European societies. Students must take one English elective designated as a Diversity course.

  • CLS 255: 20th Century Native American Literature
  • CLS 270: Life, Death, and Disease (I)
  • CLS 333: Latina Writing (J)
  • CLS 334: Politics and Economics Lit of Modern America
  • CLS 335: Latino Literature in the U.S. (J)
  • CLS 365: African American Film
  • ENG 240: Language, Gender, and Sexuality (J)
  • ENG 339: Dialectics of American English
  • ENG 340: Sociolinguistic Aspects of English
  • ENG 345: Women Writing: Autobiography
  • LIT 203: African American Literature II
  • LIT 204: New Black Women Writers in America
  • LIT 207: Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
  • LIT 213: Asian-American Literature (J)
  • LIT 303: Intro to Multi-Ethnic American Literature (J)
  • LIT 364: Modern Irish Literature
  • WRH 210: Multicultural Writing (J)
  • WRH 301: The Rhetorics of Black America (J)


Note: (J) courses do fulfill WCU's Diverse Communities General Education requirement. (I) courses fulfill WCU's Interdisciplinary General Education requirement.