Announcement of Classes: Summer 2018


Reading & Composition: What Have I Done?

English R1A

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Creasy, CFS
Time: TuWTh 9:30-12
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Molloy; Ford, Ford Madox: The Good Soldier; Freud, Sigmund: Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria; Poe, Edgar Allan: The Portable Edgar Allan Poe; Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Description

This course will examine the problematic interactions between experience, action, and knowledge. Focusing primarily on the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, we will read mostly narrative literary works that address a problem of knowledge and self-knowledge that seems to hinge, paradoxically, on a moment of error. To the casual observer, these works might be taken to be so many detective stories. Nothing is less certain. Thus, we shall flirt mercilessly with that generic convention, as well as the not unrelated convention of the tragic, but we will refuse to allow ourselves to mistake either for truth, since it is the truth we seek. The relationship between literature and other discourses presumably concerned with truth (e.g. philosophy and something like science) also will be at stake, but above all we will address with the ways in which these texts thematize and formalize problems of the relationship between knowledge, self-knowledge, action, and error—how they are about these problems, and how they create these problems for us as we confront them.

Beyond the intrinsic interest of these works, our readings will open onto the underlying pragmatic goal of this course, which is to facilitate the development of your critical reflection and writing skills. We shall use the questions that this material poses of us, as well as those we pose of it, to construct persuasive and cogent arguments out of them, writing progressively larger essays with progressively more sophisticated conceptual substance. The session will begin with a short diagnostic essay, followed by three papers of increasing length. A peer review process will help you as you revise at least two of these papers. In all, you will produce at least thirty-two pages of writing over the session—including drafts and revisions.

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 22 to June 28.


Reading & Composition: The Marriage Plot: Agency and Choice in the 19th Century

English R1A

Section: 2
Session: D
Instructor: Mittnacht, Veronica Vizuet
Time: TWTh 1-3:30
Location: Dwinelle 206


Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice; Gissing, George: The Odd Women

Other Readings and Media

Films:  You’ve Got Mail; Bride and Prejudice; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Texts from Jane Austen, excerpts

Description

Womens’ rights and choices have been a national conversation for over a century now; but when did that conversation begin? In this course, we will examine womens’ choices in Victorian novels and discuss how the tensions between social, biological, and philosophical systems at play in the 19th century gave rise to this discourse — and how they have shaped the conversation about womens’ rights today. In doing so, students will also work to develop analytic and rhetorical skills and learn to write powerfully and persuasively.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 9.


Reading & Composition: Black on White/White on White

English R1A

Section: 3
Session: C
Instructor: Johnston, Taylor
Time: MTuTh 2-4
Location: Dwinelle 279


Book List

Lorde, Audre: Zami: A New Spelling of my Name; Robinson, Marilynne: Gilead; Wise, Tim: White Like Me

Description

What do we gain from learning about White privilege and experience from the perspective of both ethnic-minority and White writers and thinkers? What do these different perspectives reveal about the contours of racial privilege in the contemporary United States, as simultaneously lived and structural, explicit and implicit? This course will examine how works of literature and theory attempt to disrupt whiteness as a social construct, by imagining forms of solidarity that could transcend racial categories. We will examine both the social risks and potentials of these projects, asking what role art, writing, thinking, or imagining play in helping us envision such solidarity. Additionally, we will consider both the compelling and problematic aspects of Whites critiquing whiteness, relying on arguments by scholars of color.

This course will be taught in Session C, from June 18 to August 9.


Reading & Composition: Choice Cuts: Writing about Food

English R1B

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Stevenson, Max
Time: TuWTh 1-3:30
Location: Dwinelle 263


Book List

Truong, Monique: The Book of Salt; eds. Gilbert and Porter: Eating Words: A Norton Anthology of Food Writing; eds. Graff and Birkenstein: They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd edition

Other Readings and Media

Films: Tampopo; Eat Drink Man Woman

Additional readings will be made available on bCourses.

Description

Our course begins with Terry Eagleton’s assertion that “food looks like an object but is actually a relationship, and the same is true of literary works” and moves to consider that relationship in texts as varied as medieval French fabliaux and twentieth-century Japanese cinema. Authors we will study include Plutarch, Virginia Woolf, M. F. K. Fisher, Michael Pollan, Pu Song Ling, Lord Byron, and many others; the topics we’ll cover range from the ethics of vegetarianism to the politics of cannibalism, from the particular formal difficulty of representing taste in words to hunger’s connection with other carnal desires. In addition to the traditionally literary modes of prose fiction, poetry, and the personal essay, we will also read restaurant reviews, political manifestos, journalistic reportage, and cultural criticism, and will learn to read meals themselves.

Food is our course’s subject, but not its object: as an offering in the University’s Reading and Composition program, the class is primarily designed to teach you to be keen readers and clear writers. While the orientation of R1B towards research means your written work will culminate in formal papers of rigorous argumentation and sound scholarship, cogently expressed, you’ll produce a range of writing over the course, in a range of other, less academic genres.

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 22 to June 28.


Reading & Composition: Bay Area Poetry

English R1B

Section: 2
Session: D
Instructor: Benjamin, Daniel
Time: TuWTh 9:30-12
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Hejinian, Lyn and Scalapino, Leslie: Sight; Spicer, Jack: My Vocabulary Did This To Me

Other Readings and Media

Additional texts by Helen Adam, Dodie Bellamy, Robin Blaser, Bruce Boone, Sam D'Allesandro, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Glück, Judy Grahn, Bob Kaufman, Joanne Kyger, Pamela Lu, Josephine Miles, and Pat Parker will be available in a course reader, available for purchase at Copy Central on Bancroft Avenue.

Description

This course studies Bay Area poetry, where many of the threads of twentieth-century American poetry intersect. Bay Area poetry allows us to consider the history of avant-garde movements in the 20th century, and how they align with the particular experiences and expressions of racial and sexual minorities. We will begin with poems of the indigenous peoples of the Bay Area, and poems written on the walls of the Angel Island Detention Center by Chinese immigrants to the United States. We will then move to the middle of the 20th century to consider literary movements such as the Berkeley Renaissance, the San Francisco Renaissance, movement poetry from the 1970s, Language poetry, and New Narrative. We conclude with a series of recent works by Bay Area poets published in the last three years.

This course seeks to develop your critical thinking and writing skills. We will learn how to build evidence-based arguments from our readings of literary texts. We will also consider how to construct and pursue compelling research questions. Weekly extra credit “field trip” assignments engage some of the physical locations related to the poetry of the Bay Area.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 9.


Reading & Composition: Masculinity, The American Dream, and The Myth of Starting Over from Jay Gatsby to Jay-Z

English R1B

Section: 3
Session: C
Instructor: Cruz, Frank Eugene
Time: MTuTh 12-2
Location: Dwinelle 189


Other Readings and Media

PRIMARY TEXTS (BOOKS)

Please purchase all texts with an ISBN-13 number next to the title. Search the ISBN on Amazon for the specific edition we will use this semester. You may, however, purchase any edition you like, as long as it is a physical copy.

Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick ISBN-13: 978-0140390339

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby ISBN-13: 978-0743273565

William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!: The Corrected Text ISBN-13: 978-0679732181

Jay-Z, Decoded ISBN-13: 978-0812981155

Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance ISBN-13: 978-1400082773

PRIMARY TEXTS (MEDIA)

Required. Please view/listen and analyze in advance of the day that we are discussing the text. Please wait to buy media texts. We will stream and file share when possible.

TELEVISION

Matthew Weiner, creator, Mad Men

FILM

Baz Luhrmann, dir., The Great Gatsby 

MUSIC

Jay-Z, Selected lyrics & music

Various Artists, The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film

SECONDARY TEXTS (REQUIRED)

Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, eds., Keywords for American Cultural Studies
Online: http://keywords.nyupress.org/american-cultural-studies/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society ISBN-13: 978-0199393213

Additional required secondary readings will be available online and/or distributed in class.

Description

The texts for this course consider the figure of the “self-made man” and his function in the American cultural imagination. From his representation in American literature to his representation in contemporary popular culture and politics, we will explore the American fascination with the idea of “starting over.” On the one hand, we will consider Horatio Alger’s impoverished hero’s rise to respectability, William Faulkner’s monomaniacal Thomas Sutpen, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mysterious Jay Gatsby. On the other hand, we will analyze Mad Men’s Don Draper, Obama’s journey from a “broken home” in Hawai'i to the White House, and Jay-Z’s trajectory from the Marcy Projects to Forbes' List.

While I am self-consciously framing our work in relation to the problem of “American masculinity,” these texts obviously create unique spaces for investigating questions of race, gender, homosociality, war, class, and class mobility. You will have the opportunity to engage these problems, among others, in your written work for this course.

Most importantly, this course will develop your proficiency in expository and argumentative writing and academic research skills. Three papers are required: a diagnostic essay; a midterm essay; and a final research project. In addition to these papers, in-class writing, workshops, participation, presentations, and full attendance are also required to earn a passing grade.

This course will be taught in Session C, from June 18 to August 9.


Shakespeare

English 117S

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Marno, David
Arnold, Oliver
Time: TWTh 5-7:30
Location: Mulford 240


Description

Shakespeare’s poems and plays are relentlessly unsettling, extravagantly beautiful, deeply moving, rigorously brilliant, and compulsively meaningful: they complicate everything, they simplify nothing, and for 400 years, they have been a touchstone—indeed, something like an obsession—for literary artists from Milton to Goethe to George Eliot to Joyce to Brecht to Zukofsky to Sarah Kane and for philosophers and theorists from Hegel to Marx to Freud to Derrida to Lacan to Žižek. 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 issues we will focus on is the oscillation between "regular" and "irregular." What is the rule, and what is the exception in Shakespeare's works? How is a comedy supposed to end? How does it end? What makes a tragic hero? What are the rules of theater? What are the rules of literature? Who creates them and why? When do they get transgressed, and why? A tentative reading list includes Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Troilus and Cressida, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, The Tempest, and a substantial helping of sonnets. We will also screen clips from both stage productions and film versions of the plays.

This course satisfies the Shakespeare requirement for UC Berkeley English majors.

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 22 to June 28.


The 20th-Century Novel

English 125D

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: MTuTh 9:30-12
Location: Wheeler 300


Book List

Dreiser, Theodore: Sister Carrie; Garcia Marquez, Gabriel: One Hundred Years of Solitude; Gibson, William: Neuromancer; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Description

This course is a survey of the 20th-century novel. The novel is the quintessential form of expression of modernity and modern subjectivity. In this survey of key works of the century, we will explore the novel form as it is framed by these three thematics--history, modernism, and empire. Some questions we will address: how have the vicissitudes of modernity led to a re-direction of historical narration within the novel; how has modernist aesthetic experimentation re-shaped the very form of the novel; and lastly, how has the phenomenon of imperialism, the asymmetrical relations of power between center and periphery, widened the scope and influence of fictive milieu? We will conclude at the cusp of the 21st century with a work of speculative fiction.

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 21 to June 28.


Literature of American Cultures

English 135AC

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Stancek, Claire Marie
Time: TuWTh 1-3:30
Location: Hearst Mining 310


Book List

Alcalá, Rose: My Other Tongue; Loffreda, Bety, and Rankine, Claudia, eds.: The Racial Imaginary; Philips, M. NorbeSe: Zong!; Pico, Tommy: IRL; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen; Soldier, Layli Long: Whereas; Willis-Abdurraqib, Hanif: The Crown Ain’t Worth Much; Zamora, Javier: Unaccompanied

Description

Taking contemporary American poetry as its central focus, this survey course will consider poetry from the last 18 years in relation to a number of concerns, debates, and questions by which we can critically engage a historical moment that continues to emerge. Toggling between questions vital to the field of contemporary poetry and poetics and those central to American culture, we will see how contemporary artists respond to the complexities of race, gender, class, and community; and how those responses are mediated both through poetry and the way in which it circulates. We will engage a variety of formal concerns, poetic subjects, and contested approaches to poetic production within the context of the social field, including: the impact of the internet on writing and reading practice, dissemination, and national conversations about race; the emergence of ecopoetics; the relation between tradition in a formal, poetic sense and the legacies of American white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy; how poetry represents history by including its materials, and how it also attempts to present the immaterial. These engagements will orient us as we ask after the specificity with which racialized ideologies and the structures they shape determine the experience of Black writers, Indigenous writers, and Latinx writers; how does each group represent their respective experience, and what interventions does their work seek to make in the legacies of both oppression and liberation within which their work is situated?  

Note that this class satisfies the American Cultures requirement for UC Berkeley students.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 9.


Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.): Creative Reading/Creative Writing through Criticism, Short Fiction, and Poetry

English 141

Section: 1
Session: C
Instructor: Muhammad, Ismail
Time: TuTh 2-5
Location: Dwinelle 182


Other Readings and Media

All materials will be scanned and uploaded to a bCourse site.

Description

In this class, we’ll explore the links between reading and writing. How is reading related to our creative writing practices? Is reading important to understanding our interests, talents, and methods as creative writers? How can we become better creative writers by honing attentive and creative reading practices?

In this class, we’ll try to think through these questions by reading literary critical essays that dwell on the experience of reading. Each essay will be paired with creative work. We’ll approach pieces by novelists and poets who do both creative and critical writing like Hilton Als, Zadie Smith, Namwali Serpell, Phillip Roth, James Baldwin, Kevin Killian, Dodie Bellamy, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Henry James, June Jordan, Lydia Davis, and Fred Moten. By reading these authors on the experience of reading, we can investigate how their reading and interpretive practices are entwined with their creative writing practices.

Every student will be required to workshop three pieces of original writing: one (creative) literary critical essay in the style of the authors we will read; a short story; and a collection of at least five poems. By working across these three genres, we can investigate how genre distinctions sometimes fail, and what we can gain by allowing criticism, prose, and poetry to cross-pollinate one another.

This course will be taught in Session C, from June 19 to August 9.


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 1
Session: C
Instructor: Young, Rosetta
Time: MW 2-5
Location: note new location: 300 Wheeler


Description

In this eight-week course, we will focus on two things: learning about contemporary publishing venues for short fiction—both traditional journals and online platforms—and workshopping the participants’ fiction. Together, we will read print literary magazines (Paris Review, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, Zyzzva, New England Review) as well as online journals (Electric Literature, Narrative Magazine, [PANK], failbetter), and discuss how journals coalesce (or don’t coalesce) a coherent aesthetic. Each student will draft and revise two short stories; each student will respond to the work of other students in workshop and through a short written response. The final assignment is the submission of the two revised short stories workshopped over the course of the class. Students will be graded on the rigor with which they approach their own fiction and their care in responding to the work of their peers.

Unlike for the fall and spring semesters, there is no application process for English 143A in the summer. 

This course will be taught in Session C, from June 18 to August 8.


Special Topics: Speculative Fictions, Possible Futures

English 166

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
Time: TuWTh 4-6:30
Location: Hearst Mining 310


Book List

Butler, Octavia: Kindred; Card, Orson Scott: Ender's Game; Delany, Samuel: Dhalgren; Le Guin, Ursula K.: The Left Hand of Darkness; Mieville, China: Embassytown

Other Readings and Media

a Course Reader (short stories by Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Connie Willis, and others, as well as critical essays by Hazel Carby, Fredric Jameson, and others)

Description

This course will present the genre of speculative fiction and its historical commitment to imagining plausible and implausible alternatives to the present. We will begin by looking at the Golden Age of the science fiction short story, the 1950s and 60s, and then proceed to treat some representative novels from the 1970s to the contemporary. Along the way, we’ll consider some of the crucial topics and concepts that form the imaginary of this genre, from advanced technology and what it affords and subtracts from the human (artificial intelligence, the end of work, extended longevity, interstellar travel and contact with other entities, etc.), to the hyper-urban, as well as questions of race, class, gender, capitalism, war, and colonialization as they encounter and acquire new and estranging contexts. We’ll also attempt to theorize some of the modes and tropes by which such fictions explore these questions: apocalypse, futurity, new bodies and forms of communication, the hivemind, virtuality, and so on, as well as the traditional narrative conventions enlisted to support these representations.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 9.


Special Topics: Games of Thrones, Medieval to Modern

English 166

Section: 2
Session: C
Instructor: Strub, Spencer
Time: TuWTh 10-12
Location: note new location: 240 Mulford


Book List

Beowulf, trans. Heaney (FSG); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. Armitage; The Norton Shakespeare Histories, 3rd edition (Norton); Martin, George R. R.: A Game of Thrones; de France, Marie: Lais, trans. Waters (Broadview)

Other Readings and Media

Note: Please buy these specific editions of Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and Lais. We have ordered The Norton Shakespeare Histories, 3rd edition (ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al), ISBN: 978-0-393-93859-3. If you already own a complete Shakespeare (e.g., The Riverside, The Pelican, other and/or older editions of The Norton Shakespeare), you are welcome to use it for this course. Good single-play editions—Signet, Folger, Arden, Oxford World Classics, Pelican—also work.

Description

This course will show how Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire draw on a long literary-historical legacy, emphasizing the preoccupations that have made their way from medieval and Renaissance writers into modernity: namely, issues of gender, "otherness," kingship and tyranny, and political division and civil war. Throughout the course, we will ask why writers from Shakespeare to George R. R. Martin invent fantasies about the past to tell stories about the present.

We begin by exploring some themes and narrative topoi that, while essential to modern fantasy, actually emerge from medieval imaginative writing. The issues of honor, love, leadership, power, and violence at the center of A Song of Ice and Fire are anticipated by epics and romances written centuries earlier. (So are the dragons.) We then turn to Shakespeare's "Henriad," four plays which—like Game of Thrones—tell the story for their present by reimagining the medieval past. In Shakespeare, we will witness drunken revelry, bloody battles, and the evolution of a prince into a king. We will also see how political upheaval upends tradition and accepted values—a challenge that our own moment continues to confront.

We finish with the Game of Thrones phenomenon itself. We'll compare the first novel with the early episodes of the TV series, and consider the conversation and critiques that the show in particular has elicited. In addition to two literary-critical essays, you will have an opportunity to try your hand at writing your own "take" on Game of Thrones.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for UC Berkeley English majors.

This course will be taught in Session C, from June 19 to August 9.


The Language and Literature of Films: Cinematic Futures, Literary Visions

English 173

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Jones, Donna V.
Time: MTuTh 2-4:30
Location: Hearst Mining 310


Other Readings and Media

Required Works: Fritz Lang: Metropolis; Philip K. Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Ridley Scott: BladeRunner; Denis Villeneuve: BladeRunner 2049

Description

This course will compare literary works of futurism—science fiction, utopian and fantastic literature—with cinematic adaptations of speculative fiction. Some of the thematic questions we will address: how does the contemporary shape both literary and cinematic representations of the future? Why are cinematic futures so often failed utopias? This class will begin with a careful examination of genre and form—we will begin with excerpts from the structuralist TzvetanTodorov's The Fantastic and Frederic Jameson's The Archeology of the Future. The course will also explore the contribution of advances in film technology to cinematic depictions of the future.

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 21 to June 28.


Literature and Popular Culture: The 1990s: A Decade About Nothing

English 176

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: Lavery, Grace
Time: TuWTh 9:30-12
Location: Wheeler 300


Book List

Fielding, Helen: Bridget Jones' Diary; Kane, Sarah: Plays; Kraus, Chris: I Love Dick; Kusnher, Tony: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes; Moore, Alan: V for Vendetta; Smith, Zadie: White Teeth; Walcott, Derek: Omeros

Description

The 1990s are sometimes understood as a period between major events: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the attacks on the World Trade Center; the initial phase of neoliberal economics (Reagan/Thatcher) and the mature phase (Bush/Blair); the so-called “first” Gulf War and the eventual toppling of Saddam Hussein; the freeing of Nelson Mandela to the end of his Presidency; the first wave of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the political victories of gay civil rights movement in the West. Nineties literature and pop culture sometimes seemed to sense the remoteness of historical change, and produced a range of responses, from triumphalist celebration of the final triumph of capitalism, to a horror at people’s emerging horror at the thought of being irrelevant and interchangeable, from the flat affect banter of Seinfeld, a self-described “show about nothing,” to the grungy, but pretty, suburban nihilism of Nirvana’s Nevermind. This course offers a survey of the period’s British and American culture across a wide range of genres and media: prose fiction, graphic fiction, poetry, drama, memoir, criticism, television, art-house and popular cinema, and news coverage. Moving chronologically, we will explore the definitive aesthetic formulations of the themes of war, gender, political authority, race, dating, desire, trauma, collective history, irrelevance, talking cowboy dolls, suicide, violence, and intellectual labor. We will also maintain an occasional focus on our own time, and investigate the renewed appeal of 1990s fashion and culture to a moment that, after the cataclysms of the last few years, has become newly aware of history’s tenacity and volatility, and all too painfully burdened by the sense that important things are happening all around us.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 9.