ENGL 3920

Contemporary Literature

Space/Time Location: MWF 10:00–10:50 in BC 202

Instructor: Dr. Todd Petersen
Office Location: BC 203-C
Office Hours: By appointment only, please email to schedule.
Phone: (435) 865–8080

When you email, please put your course number (3920) in the subject line. I sort and route my email with a script that looks for this number. If you fail to take this step, your email may be lost.

Course Description

Learning Objectives
Big Questions

Course Expectations

  1. Come to class prepared. 
  2. In each class offer something valuable to the group. 
  3. Take responsibility for what you miss when you’re absent. 
  4. Use your gizmos, but use them professionally. 

How Class Will Run

Class Calendar

Required Books and Materials


Many of these books (except for Building Stories) are available as ebooks, often at pretty good savings. Be sure to shop around. The ISBN numbers given here are correct.

  • Building Stories by Chris Ware Pantheon 978–0375424335 pp. 260
  • Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell Knopf 978–0307957238 pp. 265
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Harper Perennial 978–0061577079 pp. 576
  • The Famished Road by Ben Okri Anchor
    978–0385425131 pp. 512
  • The Best Poetry of 2013 edited by David Lehman Scribner
    978–1476708133 pp. 240

You will be selecting one book of poetry and one book of fiction on your own, so factor in that expense. You could save a little money by using the SUU library or Interlibrary Loan.

Other Materials

We’ll be using a lot of online resources: the New York Times Review of Books_, the book review section of the Washington Post, and a lot of other web resources that I’ll distribute to you electronically.

Fine Print

Academic Integrity Policy

Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. You are expected to have read and understood SUU Policy # 6.33 and the current issue of the student handbook regarding student responsibilities and rights.

ADA Statement

Students with medical, psychological, learning or other disabilities desiring academic adjustments, accommodations or auxiliary aids will need to contact the Southern Utah University Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), in Room 206F of the Sharwan Smith Center or phone (435) 865–8022. SSD determines eligibility for and authorizes the provision of services.

Emergency Management Statement

In case of emergency, the University’s Emergency Notification System (ENS) will be activated. Students are encouraged to maintain updated contact information using the link on the homepage of the mySUU portal. In addition, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Emergency Response Protocols posted in each classroom. Detailed information about the University’s emergency management plan can be found at

Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Compliance Statement

The sharing of copyrighted material through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, except as provided under U.S. copyright law, is prohibited by law. Detailed information can be found at

The above statement is required in all university syllabi only because it was tacked onto an otherwise sound law that brings important reforms to financial aid, higher education funding, and reporting practices. This law is not part of U.S. copyright or intellectual property statutes.

Know your full rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). Detailed information is just a Google search away.

Final Disclaimer

Information contained in this syllabus, other than the grading, late assignments, makeup work, and attendance policies, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.)