Announcement of Classes: Fall 2018

Graduate Courses

Graduate students from other departments and exceptionally well-prepared undergraduates are welcome in English graduate courses (except for English 200 and 375) insofar as limitations of class size allow. Graduate courses are usually limited to 15 students; courses numbered 250 are usually limited to 10.

When demand for a graduate course exceeds the maximum enrollment limit, the instructor will determine priorities for enrollment and inform students of his/her decisions at the second class meeting. Prior enrollment does not guarantee a place in a graduate course that turns out to be oversubscribed on the first day of class; fortunately, this situation does not arise very often.

Problems in the Study of Literature

English 200

Section: 1
Instructor: Goldsmith, Steven
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Readings TBA.

Approaches to literary study, including textual analysis, scholarly methodology and bibliography, critical theory and practice.

Enrollment is limited to entering doctoral students in the English program.

This course satisfies the Group 1 (Problems in the Study of Literature) requirement.

History of Literary Criticism

English 202

Section: 1
Instructor: Kahn, Victoria
Time: W 2-5
Location: 4125A Dwinelle

Book List

Aristotle: Poetics; Augustine: On Christian Doctrine; Kant, Immanuel: Critique of Judgment; Longinus: On Sublimity; Plato: Republic; Sidney, Philip: Apology for Poetry


An introduction to Western literary theory from antiquity to the present, focusing on the historical shift from the disciplines of poetics and rhetoric to that of aesthetics, with special attention to the concept of aesthetics and the discourse of the sublime. Readings in Plato, Aristotle, Euripides, Longinus, Augustine, Sidney, Erasmus, Kant, Lyotard, Benjamin, and Adorno. The syllabus is designed to be particularly helpful to students in English, but students from other departments are welcome and may write their final paper on a primary text or texts in other languages.

Required Texts: Plato, Republic (any edition with marginal references, e.g. 327a, but the preferred edition is Cambridge UP; ISBN 978-0521484435); Aristotle, Poetics (Norton; ISBN 978-0393952162); Longinus, On Sublimity, trans. D. A. Russell (on B-courses); Saint Augustine, On Christian Doctrine (on B-courses); Philip Sidney, Apology for Poetry (the van Dorsten edition is available on B-courses); Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment (Cambridge; ISBN 978-0521348928). Other readings will be available on B-courses.

This course satisfies the Group 6 (Non-historical) requirement.

This class is cross-listed with Comparative Literature 250.

Graduate Readings: Allegorical Moments: Public, Private, and the Writing of Everyday Life

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Hejinian, Lyn
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 305 Wheeler

Book List

Benjamin, Walter: The Arcades Project; Brainard, Joe: I Remember; Gladman, Renee: Calamities; Goldberg, Ariel: The Photographer; Greenstreet, Kate: The End of Something; Lefebvre, Henri: Everyday Life in the Modern World; Mayer, Bernadette: Midwinter Day; Scalapino, Leslie: New Time; Sherman, Stuart: Telling Time: Clocks, Diaries, and English Diurnal Form 1660-1785; Victor, Divya: Things to Do with Your Mouth; de Certeau, Michel: The Practice of Everyday Life vol 1

Other Readings and Media

A course reader, available from Copy Central on Bancroft


This seminar will undertake a critical reading of, and participation in, some possibilities (or impossibilities) of contemporary realisms and realities, public and private. It will query, from an array of perspectives, problems of process, representation, historical awareness, resistance, spectatorship, etc., with reference to a range of theoretical works read in parallel with the some recent (and largely “experimental”) literary texts. In addition to keeping up with the readings, each student will be required to undertake a daily writing project of his or her own that is capable of querying the conditions and character of dailiness, within the contexts of postmodern subjectivity, global precarity, and the ubiquity of neoliberal capitalism.

This course satisfies the Group 6 (Twentieth Century) requirement.

Graduate Readings: American Genres

English 203

Section: 4
Instructor: Serpell, C. Namwali
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 180 Barrows

Book List

Baum, L. Frank: The Wizard of Oz; Cain, James: The Postman Always Rings Twice; Crichton, Michael: Jurassic Park; Highsmith, Patrica: The Talented Mr Ripley; King, Stephen: Carrie; L'Engle, Madeleine: A Wrinkle in Time; Lovecraft, H.P.: The Complete Fiction; Ludlum, Robert: The Bourne Identity; Machado, Carmen Maria: Her Body & Other Parties; Portis, Charles: True Grit; Slim, Iceberg: Pimp: The Story of My Life; Steel, Danielle: The Gift; Tan, Amy: Joy Luck Club; Walker, Alice: The Color Purple


We’ll discuss canonical works of American genre fiction, except for the one genre we usually read: “literary fiction.” Our genres include: children’s lit, YA, spy thriller, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, noir, crime fiction, neo-slave narrative, weird, western, and horror. While we’ll dip into scholarship along the way, our primary aim will be to use the novels to generate our own theories. Two essays. One novel or two novellas a week, but they're all page turners!

NB: I won't be ordering books at the Cal bookstore but for the first two: Baum's The Wizard of Oz and Lovecraft's Complete Fiction

This course satisfies the Group 5 (Twentieth Century) requirement.

Graduate Readings: Prospectus Workshop

English 203

Section: 5
Instructor: Abel, Elizabeth
Time: W 3-6
Location: 225 Dwinelle

Book List

Recommended: Hayot, Eric: The Elements of Academic Style


This will be a hands-on writing workshop intended to facilitate and accelerate the transition from qualifying exams to prospectus conference, from prospectus conference to first dissertation chapter, and from the status of student to that of scholar. The workshop provides a collaborative critical community in which to try out successive versions of your dissertation project and to learn how your peers are constructing theirs. We will review a range of prospectuses from the past to demystify the genre and to gain a better understanding of its form and function. The goal is to insure that by the end of the semester, every member of the workshop will have submitted a prospectus to his or her committee.

Writing assignments are designed to structure points of entry into the prospectus: although some of the early assignments may be more immediately relevant to certain projects than to others, they all have the benefit of facilitating the passage from ideas to words on paper or screen according to a series of deadlines. Beginning with exercises to galvanize your thinking, the assignments will map increasingly onto the specific components of the prospectus as the semester proceeds. These assignments provide a skeletal structure rather than a comprehensive guide for your work. You should be reading and thinking about your project throughout the semester (ideally in conversation with your advisor) and may find that working on one assignment triggers productive thinking about another; don’t feel you need to wait for the deadline to start work on it. I will be available to discuss any facet of the writing process by email or to schedule individual meetings outside of regular office hours.

Chaucer: Early Chaucer

English 211

Section: 1
Instructor: Nolan, Maura
Time: M 3-6
Location: 210 Dwinelle

Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales


Please note that this course description was revised on April 30.

This course focuses on the works that Chaucer wrote prior to the Canterbury Tales: the Book of the Duchess, Parliament of Fowls, House of Fame, Boece, the Legend of Good Women, and Troilus and Criseyde, along with his shorter poems. We will be particularly interested in questions of style: can we define a Chaucerian style? How does that style develop as Chaucer moves through his "French" and "Italian" periods? What notions of style were available to Chaucer in the late 14th century? We will consider the relationship of Chaucer's poetic style to the presentation of his texts in manuscripts and to classical notions of style, as well as to medieval literary criticism in the form of rhetorical handbooks and commentaries. We will also read some key 20th- and 21st-century accounts of style to help us think about what style meant to Chaucer.

The text for this class will be the Riverside Chaucer. You can buy a paperback edition on Amazon, rather than the hardback that the bookstore would order; it is much cheaper and easier to carry around!

Students will write two conference-length papers and do one presentation.

This course satisfies the Group 2 (Medieval through Sixteenth Century) requirement.

Fiction Writing Workshop

English 243A

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Vikram
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location: 301 Wheeler

Book List

Furman, Laura: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017

Other Readings and Media

A course reader, which will be available from Instant Copying & Laser Printing ([510] 704-9700; 2138 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704).


A graduate-level fiction workshop. Students will write fiction, produce critiques of work submitted to the workshop, and participate in discussions about the theory and practice of writing. We’ll also read published fiction and essays about writing from various sources. Students will write and revise at least 40 pages of fiction over the course of the semester.

Undergraduates are welcome to apply. Class attendance is mandatory.

Only continuing students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 15 double-spaced pages of your fiction, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 26.

Also be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment in such courses.

Poetry Writing Workshop

English 243B

Section: 1
Instructor: Giscombe, Cecil S.
Time: Thurs. 9:30-12:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


In this semester's 243B we'll be actively fielding questions around environmentally conscious/location-oriented writing.

Some beginnings:

From Jonathan Skinner's introduction to the Ecopoetics section of the new Cambridge anthology, American Literature in Transition, 2000-2010: "Ultimately, 'Ecopoetics' may be more productively approached as a discursive site, to which many different kinds of poetry can contribute, than as the precinct of a particular kind of 'eco' poetry."  And then he asks the important question—"How, then, does an individual's sense of the larger Earth enter into an endeavor made small in the face of overbearing world-ecological forces?"

And Camille Dungy, in her introduction to the Black Nature poetry anthology, wrote, "I have to remember what has been said: I am black and female; no place is for my pleasure... How do I write a poem about the land and my place in it without remembering, without shaping my words around, the history I belong to, the history that belongs to me?"

And Brian Teare, in "Poetry as Fieldwork," wrote, "One of the commitments I make to any site I walk through while writing is to learn as much as I can about it: its natural history, its flora and fauna, its geology, its hydrology, all the layers of empirical knowlege that get laid down by Western culture on top of the land."

Text:  Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field, edited by Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne.  University of Iowa Press, 2018.  It's an expensive book and I assign it hesitantly because of that.  The least expensive option is direct purchase form the University of Iowa Press website, which offers a 25% discount.

A course reader will include work by A. R. Ammons, GLoria Anzaldua, Basho, Ed Roberson, and others.

Field trips, class visitors, writing workshops, weekly prompts, journal work, public performance.

Only continuing students are eligible to apply for this course.  To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 of your poems, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file.  The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 26.

Also be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrolling in such courses.

Research Seminar: Textual Communities and the Modern

English 250

Section: 3
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: Tues. 3:30-6:30
Location: 180 Barrows


We’ll explore collectives made possible by the early modern communications revolution, focusing on print and the rise of periodical and serial forms. Case studies will include the Levellers, the Royal Society, and the Methodists, along with responses to these groups, from the famous (Andrew Marvell, Henry Fielding) to the anonymous. Secondary readings will be drawn from theoretical literature on modernity (in relation to media, secularization, and state-formation) as well as relevant criticism. 

Readings available on bcourses. Students will complete short assignments (a brief oral presentation, a review, two close readings) or one article-length paper.

This course satisfies the Group 3 (Seventeenth through Eighteenth Century) requirement.

Research Seminar: Evolution and Literary Form, 1800-1900

English 250

Section: 4
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: Thurs. 3:30-6:30
Location: 180 Barrows


Reading the newly published On the Origin of Species together in November 1859, George Eliot and George Henry Lewes hailed Charles Darwin’s book as confirmation of the “Development Hypothesis,” founded a hundred years earlier in German embryology, extended to the evolution of life on earth by Johann Gottfried Herder, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, and Robert Chambers, and applied to the progress of human societies by Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. “Development” in the broad sense furnished the dominant ideological model for Victorian thinking about natural and human history. Darwinian natural selection would pose a radical challenge to the purposive and progressive imperatives informing development, which saved humanity’s place at the center of nature and the end of history in a fully secularized cosmos. Darwin’s writings also make explicit the theory of evolution as, above all, a theory of form, in which scientific and aesthetic criteria converge. The Descent of Man (1871) proposes an independent evolutionary agency, sexual selection, which determines human history -- including human sexual and racial differentiation -- via the aesthetic discrimination of form.

We will read some major works of nineteenth-century British fiction and poetry in light of contemporary ideas of development, focusing on the two new genres – the Bildungsroman and historical novel – born in the “novelistic revolution” (Franco Moretti) of European Romanticism. The Bildungsroman synchronizes personal development with a realization of species being ("the full and harmonious development of humanity"); the historical novel triangulates the disparate scales of individual and racial progress with national history. We’ll begin with a novel written in French but swiftly naturalized into English, where it became hugely influential, Germaine de Staël’s Corinne, and with Walter Scott’s foundational historical novel Waverley; and go on to consider works by Charles Dickens (Bleak House), Alfred Tennyson (The Princess and In Memoriam A.H.H.), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Aurora Leigh), and George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss, Daniel Deronda), alongside writings by Herder, Lamarck, Chambers, Feuerbach, Spencer, Lewes, Darwin, and some readings in contemporary philosophy and theory (from Quentin Meillassoux to Elizabeth Grosz) and in the history of science.

Course books will be ordered from University Press Books (not via the university bookstore); supplementary readings will be made available via the seminar b-Courses site.

This course satisfies the Group 4 (Nineteenth Century) requirement.

Field Studies in Tutoring Writing

English 310

Section: 1
Instructor: T. B. A.
Time: T. B. A.
Location: T. B. A.

Book List

Meyer, E. and L. Smith: Practical Tutor;

Recommended: Leki, I.: Understanding ESL Writers


Through seminars, discussions, and reading assignments, students are introduced to the language/writing/literacy needs of diverse college-age writers such as the developing, bi-dialectal, and non-native English-speaking (NNS) writer. The course will provide a theoretical and practical framework for tutoring and composition instruction.

The seminar will focus on various tutoring methodologies and the theories which underlie them. Students will become familiar with relevant terminology, approaches, and strategies in the fields of composition teaching and learning. New tutors will learn how to respond constructively to student writing, as well as develop and hone effective tutoring skills. By guiding others towards clarity and precision in prose, tutors will sharpen their own writing abilities. New tutors will tutor fellow Cal students in writing and/or literature courses. Tutoring occurs in the Cesar E. Chavez Student Center under the supervision of experienced writing program staff.

In order to enroll for the seminar, students must have at least sophomore standing and have completed their Reading and Composition R1A and R1B requirements.

Some requirements include: participating in a weekly training seminar and occasional workshops; reading assigned articles, videotaping a tutoring session, and becoming familiar with the resources available at the Student Learning Center; tutoring 4-6 hours per week; keeping a tutoring journal and writing a final paper; meeting periodically with both the tutor supervisor(s) and tutees' instructors.

This course meets the field study requirements for the Education minor, but it cannot be used toward fulfillment of the requirements for the English major. It must be taken P/NP.

Pick up an application for a pre-enrollment interview at the Student Learning Center, Atrium, Cesar Chavez Student Center (Lower Sproul Plaza), beginning April 2. No one will be admitted after the first week of fall classes.

This course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the undergraduate English major nor may it be counted to satisfy a graduate-level requirement.

The Teaching of Composition and Literature

English 375

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Klavon, Evan
Time: Tues. 10:30-12:30
Location: 305 Wheeler

Book List

Recommended: Graff, G.: They Say/I Say; Rosenwasser, D. : Writing Analytically

Other Readings and Media

All required readings will be posted on bCourses and available in a Course Reader.


Co-taught by a faculty member and a graduate student instructor (the department's R & C Assistant Coordinator), this course introduces new English GSIs to the practice and theory of teaching literature and writing at UC Berkeley in sections linked to English 45 and select upper-division courses, as well in R1A and R1B, and beyond. At once a seminar and a hands-on practicum, the class will cover topics such as strategies for leading discussion, teaching critical reading skills and the elements of composition, responding to and evaluating student writing, developing paper topics and other exercises, and approaching the other responsibilities that make up the work of teaching here and elsewhere. The course will offer a space for mutual support, individual experimentation, and the discovery of each member's pedagogical style. We will pair each class participant with an experienced GSI teaching in R1A or R1B, so that new teachers can observe different kinds of teaching situations and classes besides their own. There will also be opportunities to be observed teaching and to receive feedback during the term. 

This course satisfies the Pedagogy Requirement.