ENGL 200 C: Reading Literary Forms

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 11:30am - 12:20pm
SMI 305
Emily George

Syllabus Description:

English 200 C: Witch Lit

Meeting Times: MTWTH, 11:30-12:20

Location: Smith 305

Instructor: Dr. Emily George, ecg136@uw.edu

Office Hours: Office hours will be held on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 2-3, or by appointment.

A painting of witches and demonic animals

Salvator Rosa, “Scenes of Witchcraft: Day,” c. 1645-49, The Cleveland Museum of Art


English 200 C: Witch Lit

Guiding Principles and Values for the Class

Adapted, with thanks, from statements by Dr. Anna Wager and Dr. Alex Smith.

Welcome to English 200 C! I want to begin by acknowledging that we are all doing the work of this class in challenging circumstances. We are experiencing a global health crisis that impacts our social, economic, physical, and mental health. This will impact our lives and our learning this quarter, sometimes in ways we can anticipate and plan for, and sometimes in ways we cannot foresee. I have done my best to structure the course with this understanding.

I am excited for us to form a classroom community that fosters intellectual engagement and collaboration. These are the guiding principles that will inform my teaching this quarter and that I hope you will use as learners, colleagues, and members of the UW community:

  1. Compassion for yourself and others.Treat each other as full humans, with complex experiences, beliefs, feelings, and knowledge. Try to assume others have good intentions, and give each other the benefit of the doubt. We all have a responsibility toward one another in making this class a learning environment that is challenging and enriching. Remember, too, that you are a full human with a complex life, and this class is just one part of that.
  2. Flexibility. We are all arriving in this class with different sets of needs, hopes, limitations, and developing circumstances. While this is true every quarter, it is particularly important to remember this now, when some of us may have different family obligations than we usually do, have different work obligations than we usually do, and may be experiencing new forms of stress, anxiety, and/or depression. Some of us might also get sick this quarter or have to care for a sick family member. We may face changing campus policies on in-person learning. I am hopeful that the labor-based grading contract I’ve designed as our assessment strategy will help with the unpredictability of our current moment, and I have designed the course so that all assignments are available on Canvas modules. 
  3. Prioritizing intellectual nourishment, social connection, and learning as a process that takes labor and time.Our course goals are important to this class and to any future kinds of research or composition you do in the future, and I have tried to design assignments that directly advance them. However, what matters most is that we learn new and interesting things together, share our ideas, reflect on our intellectual growth, and apply what we’ve learned within relevant contexts.


Course Description

“I’ll have a witch. I love a witch.”
Young Banks, The Witch of Edmonton (1621)

In a seventeenth-century play that appropriates the horribly real execution of accused witch Elizabeth Sawyer, a character’s assertion that he loves a witch might strike us as strange. But the ubiquity of witches in popular culture, then and now, suggests that Young Banks is on to something. The witch has fascinated and repelled audiences and readers for thousands of years, fulfilling a myriad of cultural and imaginative roles: a figure of empowerment, terror, anger, pity, martyrdom, laughter; the persecutor, and the persecuted.

Over the next ten weeks, we will explore representations of witches in a range of literary forms (novels, drama, poetry, film, folk tales) and historical and cultural contexts. As we study these texts, we will ask questions about how each one depicts its witch(es), how that depiction relates to the context in which it was produced, and what that depiction means to us now. How, for instance, are witches portrayed in relation to their communities? When and how are we invited to identify with the witch, and when and how does the witch seem alienating? How do cultural, religious, and societal values and beliefs contribute to understandings of witchcraft?

Course Goals

  1. Practice Close Reading, Analysis, and Inquiry: Increase your ability to independently and collaboratively engage with and interpret complex texts in different literary forms. 
  2. Historicize and Contextualize: Analyze the impacts and consequences of history and context on literary texts—and the impacts and consequences of literary texts on the social imaginary. 
  3. Improve writing skills generally, and with regard to writing about literature and culture in particular.

Required Texts

The following texts can be purchased from the UW bookstore, although if you would prefer to get them elsewhere you are welcome to. You must have hard copies of:

  1. The Witch of Edmonton, by Thomas Dekker, John Ford, and William Rowley. Arden Edition Recommended (paperback).(Links to an external site.) This is the edition available via the UW Bookstore. Also good edition: Three Jacobean Witchcraft Plays (Links to an external site.).* 
  2. I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem, by Maryse Conde. You can purchase this via the UW Bookstore. Also available here (Links to an external site.).* 
  3. Other readings/viewings will be available via Canvas. These will include, but are not limited to: Kiki Petrosino, "Witch Wife"; Lucille Clifton, "in salem"; Princess Nokia, "Brujas" music video and short essay; Robert Eggers' The Witch: A New England Folktale; Jeffrey Cohen, "Monster Theory"; Margaret Atwood, "Half-Hanged Mary"; Frances Dolan, "True Relations and Ridiculous Fictions" 

*It's fine with me if you share copies with someone else in the class. You can also look for used copies, or library copies; if you cannot get a copy, send me a private message and I will find a way to secure one for you. 



In this course, we are using a grade contract system so that grading is transparent and values your labor and learning rather than emphasizing meeting a particular “standard.” You can find the grade contract obligations here. If you ever have questions about the grade contract, please let me know!


Late Policy

If you submit your assignments on time, it is easier for me to get them back to you in a timely manner, and it is also easier for you to move on to the next assignment having gained skills and experience from the previous assignment. Therefore, I hope you will make your best effort to submit all assignments on time. However, I also understand that this isn’t always possible for a variety of reasons. Therefore:

  • You may use a 48-hour extension for any assignments (see exceptions in the next bullet) that you are not able to complete on time. To use this extension and ensure your assignment will not be marked late, you can email me any time before the assignment is due to let me know you are using an extension. As long as you’ve done this, your assignment will not be marked late.

    • Exceptions: Because our course includes many opportunities for peer review, and students receive credit for performing peer reviews for each other, your classmates will be relying on you to complete assignments labeled rough drafts and the final project on time. Therefore, the 48-hour extension does not apply to rough drafts or the final project, and it does not apply to assigned peer responses. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact me so we can find a solution. Otherwise, these two types of assignments will be exempt from the blanket extension policy.
  • If you are unable to complete an assignment within the 48-hour extension window, please email me to set up a Zoom meeting to meet with me so we can work together on a plan to help you catch up on your coursework. This meeting is required for extensions beyond 48 hours.
  • If you are having trouble with Canvas or if you are worried that your assignment didn’t attach, you can always email me your assignment in addition to submitting it on Canvas in order to avoid submitting your assignment late.

Class Expectations and Guidelines for Discussion

You will be working within small groups, peer review pairings, and the whole class throughout the quarter. Disagreement can be productive, and scholars in all fields depend on disagreement to strengthen their arguments, discover errors, and challenge their own thinking. You may find that some of the topics and discussions in this class will cause you discomfort. This is normal, expected, and, in fact, crucial to your learning. Engaging with complexity--through history, art, literature, politics, cultural studies, your own research and writing--is a difficult labor, and difficult labor is often uncomfortable. 

However, in order for conflict to be productive, it must be respectful. Personal attacks, disrespectful language, and disrespectful behavior have no place in the class, and will not be tolerated. If debates or discussions get intense or heated, remember that it is difficult to know the backgrounds, experiences, emotions, and beliefs of others in the room, and be sensitive to that. Be generous with others and try to assume good intentions. Keep your responses specific to the topic under discussion. You are expected to use language and action that shows respect for gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and ability in order to create a safe and welcoming class.

Guidelines for Class and Small Group Discussion

  • Listen carefully to others, and do not attempt to respond before they’ve finished what they have to say.
  • When someone else is talking, try not to focus on how you disagree or the way you want to reply. Instead, focus completely on what they’re trying to communicate until they finish.
  • Stay on topic and connect what you have to say with the readings and/or with what others have said.
  • Write down your thoughts so you can return to them.
  • Ask follow-up questions of others, and try to repeat your understanding of what they’ve said as part of that follow up.
  • Speak up with a willingness to discover you're wrong.
  • Try not to dominate conversations. Make sure everyone in your group is included, and invite others to speak.

Missing Class

If you have to be absent from class for any reason, contact me ahead of time to arrange for alternative participation activities to ensure that you receive credit.


Academic Integrity

Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review.

Note from Emily—If you are confused or unsure about whether or not something you want to do would be considered plagiarism, please talk to me about it! I won’t penalize you for not knowing. Sometimes plagiarism is something obvious, like copying someone else’s essay, but sometimes it can get trickier, like paraphrasing, citing information/ideas and not just quotes, etc. Likewise, if you are feeling so much pressure or confusion that you’re thinking about plagiarizing, talk to me. Plagiarizing can have huge consequences for your grade and your academic future, and we can come up with a solution that’s better than taking that risk.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/ (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form: https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request. (Links to an external site.)


Writing Resources:

  • The CLUE Writing Center in Mary Gates Hall is open Sunday to Thursday from 7pm to midnight. The graduate tutors can help you with your claims, organization, and grammar. You do not need an appointment, so arrive early and be prepared to wait.
  • The Odegaard Writing and Research Center is open Sunday to Thursday from 9:30 AM to 8:00 pm and on Friday from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. This writing center provides a research-integrated approach to writing instruction. Make an appointment on the website: depts.washington.edu/owrc.
  • Targeted Learning Communities: The OWRC also runs Targeted Learning Communities for multilingual students taking writing intensive courses. If you join a TLC, you'll be paired with three to five fellow students from your course or similar courses and a tutor-facilitator from our center. Your group will meet once a week for an hour for the whole quarter. TLCs are meant to help you support your classroom learning, combine your personal goals with your academic goals, and create long-term learning communities. https://depts.washington.edu/owrc/tlc.
  • The Instructional Center (IC) provides tutoring and study groups for EOP students in almost every discipline or major. In addition to tutoring, special services offered at the IC include a computer lab, Study Skills and Assessments, and Critical Reading Courses. IC hours are generally M-F, 8:30am-5pm: http://depts.washington.edu/ic/


Other Resources:

Accommodations: I will do my best to make this class as accessible as possible for everyone. However, if you need any accommodations, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/.


DACA: The University of Washington strives to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of everyone in our community. Our long-standing policies do not permit immigration officials to enter UW classrooms or residence halls without a court order. Any students seeking guidance regarding immigration status can find resources at UW Leadership Without Boarders: http://depts.washington.edu/ecc/lwb/. You can also email undocu@uw.edu


Counseling Center: UW Counseling Center workshops include a wide range of issues including study skills, thinking about coming out, international students and culture shock, and much more. Check out available resources and workshops at: http://depts.washington.edu/counsels/


Q Center: The University of Washington Q Center builds and facilitates queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex, questioning, same-gender-loving, allies) academic and social community through education, advocacy, and support services to achieve a socially-just campus in which all people are valued. For more information, visit http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/.


FIUTS: Foundation for International Understanding through Students: FIUTS is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning. "FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming for UW's international and globally minded domestic students. FIUTS is local connections and global community!" FIUTS also offers a free international lunch on the last Wednesday of every month. Consult FIUTS' web site for a detailed calendar of events and links to many resources http://www.fiuts.washington.edu.


English Departmental Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Justice

The UW English Department aims to help students become more incisive thinkers, effective communicators, and imaginative writers by acknowledging that language and its use are powerful and hold the potential to empower individuals and communities; to provide the means to engage in meaningful conversation and collaboration across differences and with those with whom we disagree; and to offer methods for exploring, understanding, problem solving, and responding to the many pressing collective issues we face in our world--skills that align with and support the University of Washington’s mission to educate “a diverse student body to become responsible global citizens and future leaders through a challenging learning environment informed by cutting-edge scholarship.”

As a department, we begin with the conviction that language and texts play crucial roles in the constitution of cultures and communities, past, present, and future.  Our disciplinary commitments to the study of English (its history, multiplicity, and development; its literary and artistic uses; and its global role in shaping and changing cultures) require of us a willingness to engage openly and critically with questions of power and difference. As such, in our teaching, service, and scholarship we frequently initiate and encourage conversations about topics such as race and racism, immigration, gender, sexuality, class, indigeneity, and colonialisms. These topics are fundamental to the inquiry we pursue.  We are proud of this fact, and we are committed to creating an environment in which our faculty and students can do so confidently and securely, knowing that they have the backing of the department.  We acknowledge that to study and engage the English language is to grapple with its imperialist and colonialist history, its relationship to power and whiteness, its involvement in the spread of globalization and in perpetuating inequity, as well as its creative uses to imagine and bring into existence a better world.

Towards that aim, we value the inherent dignity and uniqueness of individuals and communities. We acknowledge that our university is located on the shared lands and waters of the Coast Salish peoples. We aspire to be a place where human rights are respected and where any of us can seek support. This includes people of all ethnicities, faiths, gender identities, national and indigenous origins, political views, and citizenship status; nontheists; LGBQTIA+; those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.


If you have any concerns about the course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the English Department Chair, Anis Bawarshi; bawarshi@uw.edu, (206) 543-2690.


Health and Safety

Students are required to follow the University’s COVID-19 Face Covering Policy at all times when on-site at the University, including any posted requirements in specific buildings or spaces. If a student refuses to comply with the policy, the student can be sent home (to an on or off-campus residence). Student Conduct offices are available for consultations on potential violations of student conduct if needed. University personnel who have concerns that a student or group of students are not complying with this policy should speak with their supervisor, a representative of the academic unit, or report it to the Environmental Health & Safety Department.

This class is conducted in person. Therefore, unless you meet the criteria for an accommodation from Disability Resources for Students (DRS) or other special arrangement approved by the instructor that allows you to take the course remotely you should only register for this class if you can attend in-person.

  • Please contact UW Disability Resources for Students (DRS) directly if you feel you may be eligible for an accommodation based on your status as an immune- compromised individual or based on other diagnosed physical or mental health conditions that might prevent you from being able to take classes in-person.

All UW students are expected to complete their vaccine attestation before arriving on campus and to follow the campus-wide face-covering policy at all times. You are expected to follow state, local, and UW COVID-19 policies and recommendations. If you feel ill, have been exposed to COVID-19, or exhibit possible COVID symptoms, you should not come to class. If you need to temporarily quarantine or isolate per CDC guidance and/or campus policy, you are responsible for notifying your instructors as soon as possible by email. If you have a known exposure to COVID-19 or receive a positive COVID-19 test result, you must report to campus Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).

All UW community members are required to notify EH&S immediately after:

  •  Receiving a positive test for COVID-19
  •  Being told by your doctor that they suspect you have COVID-19
  •  Learning that you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19

You can notify the COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team by emailing covidehc@uw.edu or calling 206-616-3344.

Course Calendar

This course calendar includes deadlines for major work. It does not feature all in-class work, and it may be subject to change.

Week 1: Introduction to the course
Syllabus and Grade Contract Quiz           Oct. 1
Weekly Class Notes                                  Oct 1

Week 2: Half-Hanged
Annotation Group:
      “Reading Literary Forms”                  Oct. 4
Weekly Class Notes                                  Oct. 8
Discussion Cluster:
      “The Form of the Witch”                   Oct. 8

Week 3: The Witch of Edmonton
Annotation Group:
      “True and Ridiculous Fictions”          Oct. 11
Weekly Class Notes                                  Oct. 15
Discussion Cluster:
      “The Form of the Witch”                   Oct. 15

Week 4: The Witch of Edmonton
Annotation Group:
      “Monster Theory”                               Oct. 18
Weekly Class Notes                                  Oct. 22
Discussion Cluster:
      “The Form of the Witch”                   Oct. 22

Week 5: The Witch: A new England Folktale
Weekly Class Notes                                  Oct. 29
Major Project One                                    Oct. 31

Week 6: I, Tituba
Weekly Class Notes                                  Nov. 5
Peer Responses                                         Nov. 5
Discussion Cluster:
      Topic TBD                                          Nov. 5

Week 7: I, Tituba
Weekly Class Notes                                  Nov. 12
Line of Inquiry                                          Nov. 12
Discussion Cluster:
      Topic TBD                                          Nov. 12

Week 8: Researching, Assessing, and Synthesizing Sources
Source Evaluations 1, 2, and 3                 Nov. 19
Weekly Class Notes                                  Nov. 19
Discussion Cluster:
      Topic TBD                                          Nov. 19

Week 9: The Witch in Art (Tentative)
Watch “Brujas” & Read Interview           Nov. 22
Weekly Class Notes                                  Nov. 26

Week 10: Final Project Work
Final Project Rough Draft                        Nov. 29
Peer Responses                                         Dec. 2

Week 11: Final Project Work
Final Project Due in Class                                    Dec. 9

Catalog Description: 
Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
June 11, 2021 - 6:52am