Announcement of Classes: Summer 2022


Reading and Composition: Sally Rooney: Popularity and the Popular

English R1A

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: D'Silva, Eliot
Time: TWTh 9-11:30
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Description

What makes a novel popular? What makes a person popular? When we read stories, why do we want to know the characters, go to the places they’re going and hear more of what they have to say? This class critically interrogates the idea of popularity by looking at the works of a single famous author. We’ll read each of Sally Rooney’s three novels and watch the TV adaptations of her books. Our readings and screenings will generate a set of questions about the popular as a social category and as a literary mode.


Reading and Composition: Thinking through Memory in Poetry and Fiction

English R1B

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Swensen, Dana
Time: TWTh 12-2:30
Location: 122 Wheeler


Description

How and why do we remember? What does ‘memory’ mean to both an individual and a culture? How do fictional narrators construct their memorial landscapes? In this class we will explore the topic of memory as it appears in a wide variety of genres and styles throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. We will consider memory as an expansive and rich literary territory. In doing so we will move from the science fiction of Ursula LeGuin and Ted Chiang to the photographic diaries of Bernadette Mayer; from the unreliable memories of Kazuo Ishiguro’s narrators, to visual memories in the poetry of Anne Carson’s Nox.

This course will involve the writing of essays along with regular peer review exercises. In addition to this, two creative-writing assignments will be pursued throughout the weeks of the session which will bind the process of reading about memory to that of writing about memory. Throughout, the emphasis will be on honing our analytic skills in writing through processes of revision. As a fulfillment of the R1B component, we will focus on writing progressively longer essays and incorporating digital and bibliographic research techniques into our work.

 

Required Book List for Purchase:

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane 

Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans 

Karen Tei Yamashita, Letters to Memory 

Anne Carson, Nox 


Reading and Composition: Poetry and the Art of Cultivation

English R1B

Section: 3
Session: C
Instructor: Bircea, Jason
Time: TWTh 10-12
Location: 122 Wheeler


Description

What should we make of a poem that proposes to instruct its readers on the proper methods for manufacturing cider? Or on how to care for one’s sheep or cultivate sugarcane on a colonial plantation? Are such poems simply agricultural almanacs in verse? Or might poems about laboring, intermixing, and experimentation—what we might call the art of cultivation—be much more ambitious as well as more contentious than they initially appear? Beginning with Virgil’s Georgics, a classical poem that announces itself as a song specifically about agriculture and rural occupations, this course will explore how later writers adapted the georgic mode to address particularly modern concerns, including agrarian reform, colonization, industrialization and global trade.

In addition to instruction on “the care of sheep, [and] the labors of the loom”, this R1B course will provide you with the opportunity to cultivate your own reading and writing skills through class discussion, writing exercises, workshops and writing seminars. You’ll be asked not only to write about the poems we read and discuss in class, but more importantly, to approach your own writing as something worth tending to.


Shakespeare

English 117S

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: TWTh 5-7:30
Location: Physics 2


Description

This class focuses on a selection of works from Shakespeare’s entire career. We'll be reading a limited number of plays and some of the poetry. One of the main topics we'd like to focus on is the oscillation between regular and irregular. What is the rule, and what is the exception in Shakespeare's works? Who has the last word in a tragedy and why? What about comedies ending with a character addressing the audience? What are the rules of theater, and what are the rules of literature? Who creates them and for what purpose? When do they get transgressed, and why? A tentative list of the readings includes Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Troilus and Cressida, King Lear, and Cymbeline, as well as the sonnets. The format of the class includes lectures as well as discussion, all based on questions and comments from students.


Studies in World Literature in English: Literatures of Decolonization

English 138

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Dunsker, Leo
Time: TWTh 12-2:30
Location: 120 Wheeler


Description

What do we mean by “decolonization,” really? Is it a political or economic process? Is it a psychological (or even spiritual) one? In this class, we will read works from a range of colonial and postcolonial lifeworlds: some written in the midst of violent revolution, some anticipating long struggles for independence, some simply asking what it means (or might mean, or has meant) to be other than colonial.

Please write with any questions/concerns to dunsker@berkeley.edu.

 


Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.)

English 141

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Abrams, Melanie
Time: TWTh 2-4:30
Location: 108 Wheeler


Description

Come write with us this summer! Learn to read like a writer by discussing the craft of creative writing, explore your own process by writing your own short stories and poems, and then get feedback in small peer workshops designed to help you become a better writer and reader.  

Why We Write

 


Special Topics: Writing at the University: A Writing Studio for Transfer Students

English 165

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Atkinson, Nate
Time: TWTh 10-12:30
Location: 3119 Etcheverry


Description

Having successfully completed their composition courses in community college, transfer students possess the writing skills necessary for academic success. Still, research shows that many transfer students arrive at the university lacking familiarity with the conventions of research and writing in their chosen major. 

This course is designed to help transfer students succeed in discipline-specific research and writing at UC Berkeley. To achieve this goal, the course focuses on developing the following skill sets:

  • Students read and discuss scholarship in writing studies and rhetoric to develop a framework for understanding the conventions of advanced academic writing.

  • Students identify exemplary writing and writers in their discipline, and research what it means to write successfully in their major.

  • Students analyze the generic conventions for writing in their discipline to produce an essay that identifies challenges and opportunities specific to their major and to their experience as transfer students.


Special Topics: Epic Poetry

English 166

Section: 1
Session: C
Instructor: Delehanty, Patrick
Time: MW 2-5
Location: 20 Wheeler


Description

This course will be a thorough investigation of one of the most important poetic forms in literary history: the epic poem. The epic poem in the period we will be looking at, which ranges from 20 BC to the 1660’s AD, held a prominence far above any other literary form, and was seen as the greatest height a poet could attain. But in addition to the status of the epic as an ornate and finely crafted work of literary art, we will use our readings to investigate a famous definition of the epic as offered by Ezra Pound, that the epic is “a poem containing history.” 

Through close readings of three epics, Virgil’s Aeneid, The first section of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as selections from other epics, we will be able to see how the epic, even more so than other literary forms, became the most potent literary expression of historical narrative, and how each epic stands in relation to the history and development of the form. Along the way, we will consider the literary devices that became so important to the epic tradition, especially epic simile, the relationship between the epic and the representation of politics and empire, and the desire on the part of all of our authors to enumerate a religious ethic in a narrative poem, and it’s influence on the development of the novel.


Special Topics: The Rise of the Young Adult

English 166

Section: 2
Session: D
Instructor: Baker-Gibbs, Ariel
Time: TWTh 4-6:30
Location: 222 Wheeler


Description

How can the young adult be a figure of propaganda and a deeply subversive figure? And what does it do today? The adolescent has been at the crux of the American national imaginary for a century now, leveraged for its political power, its physical limitations, and its oddly slippery agency. This course will be a historical examination of young adult literature beginning with the post-WWII conceptions and anxieties around the newly coined “teenager” and youth cultures. We will look through the different renditions of the young adult through—for example—the "problem novels" of the 1960s and 70s, the chick lit and “sick lit” of the 80s, 90s and 00s, and the quick expansion of the YA marketing category at the turn of the millennium into YA dystopian fiction juggernauts such as The Hunger Games. We’ll end with a collaborative view on the genre and the form of the young adult as we might interpret it today in the 2020s. We will explore how the “young adult” figure and genre has been used both as a tool of indoctrination and as a subversive form of social critique—and some really fun rides! We’ll be working with a multimedia mixture of novels, films, episodes of television shows, social media and some critical readings.

Novels

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (1942)

This One Summer by Jill and Mariko Tamaki (2014)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967)

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (1970)

Chlorine Sky by Mahogany Browne  (2021)

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy (1984)

A Time To Die: One Last Wish by Lurlene McDaniel (1992)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (2015)

The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (2021)

Films/TV

Rebel Without A Cause (1955) --streamed via Lumière

Footloose (1984) --streamed via Lumière

Pen15 (2020) “Vendy Wiccany” (S2E3)


Special Topics: Introduction to Popular Fiction

English 166

Section: 4
Session: A
Instructor: Ghosh, Srijani
Time: TWTh 9:30-12
Location: 241 Cory Hall


Description

Stack of Genre names

Come and explore several different popular genres—detective fiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, thriller, and the musical—to discover what makes these genres “popular” and in what ways they produce their mass appeal. Is popular fiction simply light leisure reading for the public or do they have "literary" merit beneath the generic formulas? How do popular fictional works play an integral role in helping us understand the dynamics of gender, science, cultural norms, and politics of the era?


Literature and Psychology: Dreaming on Paper: Exceptional Mental States and the Written Word

English 172

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Furcall, Dylan
Time: TWTh 5:30-8
Location: 108 Wheeler


Description

In this course, we will consider what the American psychologist and philosopher William James broadly termed “exceptional mental states,” a category comprising such out-of-the-ordinary experiences as dreams, religious exultation, hallucination, trance, and meditation. Our aim will be to explore how and to what ends (whether political, psychological, or aesthetic) writers and artists have sought to emulate and even produce such states of experiential exception. We will even try our hands at composing dream journals!

[Course materials will include clinical and theoretical writings in psychology and psychoanalysis (e.g., Sigmund Freud and William James), medieval dreams visons (Geoffrey Chaucer’s “House of Fame”), biographies of saints (The Book of Margery Kempe), philosophical meditations of the enlightenment (Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Reveries of the Solitary Walker), surrealist writings and paintings (by André Breton, Mina Loy, and Leonora Carrington), as well films (Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams and Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon).]


Literature and Popular Culture: The Horror Genre

English 176

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: TWTh 12-2:30
Location: 140 Social Sciences


Description

Horror GenreThis course will examine the historical development of the horror genre in both film and literature. Horror is a notoriously comprehensive genre, borrowing from numerous story-telling and literary traditions—folktales, anonymous and literary, fantastic literature and the gothic. In this class, we will address the heterodox nature of this genre, while examining the socio-historical underpinnings of popular works of horror stories and films, paying close attention to representations of race, gender, and sexuality.

Assigned Works: Carmen Machado - Her Body and Other Parties; Angela Carter - “The Erl-King,”; Collected Stories of Edgar Allen Poe; Victor LaValle - The Ballad of Black Tom; Yoko Ogawa - Revenge; 

Films: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, F. Lang; Brides of Dracula and The Paranoiac, Hammer Studio; The Wicker Man, R. Hardy; Get Out, J. Peele; Hereditary, A. Aster


Science Fiction

English 180Z

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Drawdy, Miles
Time: TWTh 3-5:30
Location: 108 Wheeler


Description

E.M. Forster begins his classic science fiction novella, “The Machine Stops,” with a question disguised as an invitation: “Imagine, if you can…” But what exactly is the use of imagination? And what exactly are its limits? In this course, we will pursue these questions as we explore the history of science fiction—as both a literary genre and an intellectual experiment—from the 1950s to the present. We will begin by reading a selection of short stories from the middle decades of the twentieth century (e.g. Asimov, Bradbury, Vonnegut) before turning to a few representative novels from the 1970s to the present. We’ll conclude by considering the strange anomaly that is science fiction theater. Throughout our discussions, we will take up many of the questions and concepts that have come to characterize this genre: advanced technology and the values of labor, the category of the human, climate crises and the (post)apocalyptic, colonialism, simulation and the virtual, as well as the myriad intersections of race, class, language, and (dis)ability. Ultimately, we will ask how literature itself as a technology mediates these questions.

While the great bulk of our time and attention will be dedicated to our selected literary texts, students should expect brief forays (side quests, as it were) into the worlds of Janelle Monae, Black Mirror, and the 2016 Met Gala, to name a few.