marguerite helmers

professor of english

university of wisconsin oshkosh

 

 

 

Learn more about the Literary Study Tour to Ireland
May 15-26, 2011

Spring 2011

EN 225: Modern British Literature

Reading List: Dubliners, James Joyce; The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle; The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie; The Deportees and Other Stories, Roddy Doyle; and selected poetry.

Visual Rhetoric (English 387/587)

Through readings in a variety of disciplines and through analyses of many different types of images, we will explore some of the ways in which visual information and design are used to influence viewers' opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (the art of rhetoric). We will explore questions such as the following: How are pictures perceived and interpreted? How do cultural and social contexts influence viewers' responses to images? Why are images so persuasive? How do images and written text work together to influence readers/viewers?

Reading List: Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud; Maus, Art Spiegelman, and No Caption Needed.

Honor Seminar (IDM 175): Beauty

Team taught with Arlene Haffa from the Chemistry Department, this course will examine the relationship between inner beauty and bodily/facial appearance.

Reading List: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin.

Fall 2010

EN 225: Modern British Literature

Reading List: Dubliners, James Joyce; The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle; The Collected Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield; The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie; The Deportees and Other Stories, Roddy Doyle; and selected poetry.

WBIS, Section 002: Adventure & Survival

The members of the westward adventuring Donner Party were snowbound in Sierra Mountains in the 1840s. Ernest Shackleton’s ship The Endurance was caught in ice in the Antarctic in 1915. These famous stories, combined with the popularity of television programs such as Lost, Survivor, Man vs. Wild, and Survivorman raise the question, What fascination does survival hold for contemporary Americans? What does it mean to survive? Is survival the result of luck, special knowledge, or a bit of both? Given that many adventure stories involve an element of danger and that many great adventures culminated in fights to survive, the topic runs through history and literature. We will explore true and fictional stories of survival and adventure in this course.

Reading List: The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle; The Lost City of Z, David Grann; A Complicated Kindness, Miriam Toews (WBIS Common Reading)

EN 386/586: The Rhetoric of Literature  .  The Effects of Story

Recent theories about the role that the arts play in evolution suggest that storytelling is an integral aspect of human development. In short, we tell stories in order to survive as a species. These tales range from tales of love to cautionary parables.  The work of rhetoric is to persuade; traditionally studied in relation to political speeches, rhetoric is nonetheless present in literature, as certain works have had significant impact on human thought and behavior. In “The Rhetoric of Literature,” we will study several key fictional texts that are either contemporary or have contemporary relevance. We will also read and address as critical approaches toward understanding the works’ importance as social, if not also evolutionary, documents.

Reading List: Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer.

 

University of Nizwa, Oman: Teaching & Learning Links (April 2010)

 

Spring 2010

Visual Rhetoric (English 387/587)

Through readings in a variety of disciplines and through analyses of many different types of images, we will explore some of the ways in which visual information and design are used to influence viewers' opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (the art of rhetoric). We will explore questions such as the following: How are pictures perceived and interpreted? How do cultural and social contexts influence viewers' responses to images? Why are images so persuasive? How do images and written text work together to influence readers/viewers?

Reading List: Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud, Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, Visual Rhetoric (Olsen, Finnegan, Hope). Further readings will be placed on E-Reserve.

Honor Seminar (IDM 175): Beauty

Team taught with Arlene Haffa from the Chemistry Department, this course will examine the relationship between inner beauty and bodily/facial appearance.

Reading List: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (Penguin edition), The Crimson Portrait, Jody Shields.

Fall 2009

WBIS, Section 010: Adventure & Survival

The members of the westward adventuring Donner Party were snowbound in Sierra Mountains in the 1840s. Ernest Shackleton’s ship The Endurance was caught in ice in the Antarctic in 1915. These famous stories, combined with the return of veterans who have survived Afghanistan and Iraq and the popularity of television programs such as Lost, Survivor, Man vs. Wild, and Survivorman raise the question, What fascination does survival hold for contemporary Americans? What does it mean to survive? Is survival the result of luck, special knowledge, or a bit of both? Given that many adventure stories involve an element of danger and that many great adventures culminated in fights to survive, the topic runs through history and literature. We will explore true and fictional stories of survival and adventure in this course.

Reading List: Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer; Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow, Maria Coffey; A Complicated Kindness, Miriam Toews

Modern British Literature (English 225)

Reading List: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Volume 6a: The Early Twentieth Century; The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (Broadview edition); The Deportees, Roddy Doyle

Advanced Composition: Writing About the Humanities (English 302)

Reading List: The Essential Guide to Rhetoric, William Keith and Christian Lundberg; The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey

 

Previous Semesters

Spring 2008

The Rhetoric of Literature: Women's Travel Writing (ENG 386/586) . Syllabus

WBIS (188) . Creating Identity

 

Fall 2007

English 390/590: Film & Literary Studies

English 387/587: Special Topics in Rhetoric & Composition: Visual Rhetoric

 

NCTE 2007

Handout on Strategies for Teaching Visual Analysis

 

Links

WBIS Program

International Society for the Study of Travel Writing Conference, October 2004

 

Links

Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference. Great ideas on doing research, grammar.

Internet Movie Database

Notes on Creating a Visual Interpretive Analysis

How to analyze a postcard, by Joe Trimmer

Mark Hardin's Artchive

World Wide Art Resources

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Milwaukee Art Museum

About Marguerite Helmers
Education

PhD 1992. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Composition and Rhetoric.
M.A. 1987. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. British and American Literature.
B.A. 1983. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Major: English. Minor: Music. Semester abroad at King Alfred's College, Winchester, England in 1982.

 

Writing Published Online

Review of The Soundscapes of Modernity by Emily Thompson. Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments  8.1 (2003). 

Reading Images on the World Wide Web, Teaching with Technology Today 9.5 (January 28, 2003).

"Popular Icons and Contemporary Memory: An Apology, Year 2000." Enculturation 3.2. Spring 2002.

"The Truth is Here: Strangers in Roswell, New Mexico." Bad Subjects 54: Strangers. 2001.

"Using Student-Created Maps to Understand Web Navigation." Technology and the Face of Language Arts in the Classroom CoverWeb. Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments 5.1 (Spring 2000).

 

Courses Taught, selected

The American Road Narrative: Contemporary Cultural Mythologies, English 382.

This course examined classic road narratives and the mythology of the road in America: The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Easy Rider, and Thelma and Louise.

Fashion and the Body: Introduction to Cultural Studies, English 710. 

Examined the breadth of cultural studies, then focused on feminist case studies that stress beauty and the construction of gender identity. Texts included Footnotes: On Shoes; Unbearable Weight, and Appropriate[ing] Dress.

American Writers on the Roads, Roofs, and Rivers of the World. American Literature, English 226.
Adventure stories, wilderness, and issues of race, gender, and culture. Included the works Annapurna: A Woman’s Place by Arlene Blum, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Reading The River by John Hildebrand, Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams, and A Place To Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca.  
 
Art, Life, Politics. Theme Based Inquiry Seminar, English 101.

Representing the world through painting and photography. Featured texts include Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, and Remembering to Forget by Barbie Zelizer.

Visions of Space and Place. Theme Based Inquiry Seminar, English 101.
Questions of Nature, culture, and wilderness addressed through John Brinckerhoff Jackson's work and Writing Towards Home by Georgia Heard.

History, Memory, Literature. Senior Seminar in English, 481.

In what ways do literary works serve as documents of historical memory? 

Contemporary Cultural Icons. Senior Seminar in English, 481.

How are Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis, JFK, Princess Diana, Elvis, Madonna, and Virginia Woolf constructed to mean something for Americans? How are Americans formed as a community by cultural icons? Who are the literary icons of today?

  

department of english

university of wisconsin oshkosh

800 algoma blvd.

oshkosh, WI 54901

(920) 424-0916

helmers[at]uwosh.edu

12/08/2010