Announcement of Classes: Fall 2018


Reading and Composition: Party Time

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Hu, Jane
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Kazuo Ishiguro : When We Were Orphans; Virginia Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway; William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Other Readings and Media

Film:
Alfred Hitchcock, Rope (1948)
Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window(1954)
Luis Buñuel, The Exterminating Angel (1967)
Baz Luhrmann, Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Millennium Mambo (2001)
Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers (2012)

TV:
The OC, selected episodes
Mad Men, selected episodes
The Office, selected episodes

Other readings and secondary materials will be made available over bCourses.  

Description

This course broadly explores the concept of “party temporalities.” By examining parties as they appear across a range of subgenres and mediums (novels, short stories, plays, film, TV, pop songs), we will think critically about the relationship between social gatherings and time. What happens to time when you’re at a party? When do parties happen? And why are parties so often regarded as events where one can forget about time? Not only will we consider the time of actual parties, but also that which surrounds them (both party prep and pre-gaming as well as the after-party and, of course, the hangover). 

While this course considers parties, it will not necessarily be a party. Instead, we seek to situate the party in its sociopolitical and cultural contexts—as a space that affords not only levity and play, but which presents problems of social awkwardness, physical threat, obliviousness, and pain as well. In doing so, we aim to locate party time always in its historical time. What is the relationship, we might ask, between the 19th-century ball and the frat party, the office party and the house party, clubbing and a wake?

The purpose of R1A is to develop critical reading and effective scholarly writing skills, to which end we will write and rewrite frequently. In addition to three essays, students will also compose weekly bCourse posts, in-class presentations, and individual reading/viewing journals. 

 


Reading and Composition: Persona and Personality in the English Essay

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: Swensen, Dana
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Lopate, Philip: The Art of the Personal Essay; Lopate, Philip: The Art of the Personal Essay

Other Readings and Media

Additional material will be provided in the form of bCourses PDF's. These will mostly be contemporary and late 20th centrury nonfiction/essays by authors such as David Rakoff, Rebecca Solnit, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Claudia Rankine, Malcolm Gladwell and Roxane Gay.

Description

This course will move rapidly through time, navigating the dense and heterogeneous terrains of the essay as a form in English. From the wondrous and choppy syntactical shores of Renaissance prose (Francis Bacon, Erasmus and Montaigne), to the razor-sharp wit of the 19th century (WIlliam Hazlitt, Charles Lamb), to the resplendent and various depths of the 20th century (James Baldwin, George Orwell, Joan Didion, Jumpha Lahiri and David Foster Wallace), this course wil chart a path through the essay as a form while continually appealing to the practice of essay composition.

The course will explore various modes of essayistic genre and address (the confessional, the scholarly, the pop scientific essay), but also the underlying formal and creative functions at work in these styles. We will address the extent to which ‘creative nonfiction’ has emerged as its own teachable category, and try to understand how its institutionalization has affected the form of the essay. Throughout, several underlying questions will help us formulate our understanding of the essay: how is self exploration thematized in the voice of the author? How does essayistic genre change our concept of authorial ‘voice’? What is the difference between voice and persona? What is the function of ‘personality’ as a literary construct in the essay? Finally, how do these concepts relate to our contemporary understanding of ‘the personal’? Our core text (containing about 65-70% of our readings) will be Philip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, though further material will be regularly made available through bCourses. Students will be required to write three essays (and revisions).


Reading and Composition: No Laughing Matter

English R1A

Section: 3
Instructor: Eisenberg, Emma C.
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Greene, Graham: Our Man in Havana; Waugh, Evelyn: Scoop

Other Readings and Media

Short pieces from Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens, Zadie Smith, George Mikes, Pont, and Max Beerbohm.
Screenings of The Thick of It, The Inbetweeners, Chewing Gum, and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Description

Can comedy be an effective vehicle for social criticism? Or does “having a sense of humor” make social life easier only by helping us ignore life’s more unpleasant aspects? We will consider these questions while reading texts from a British tradition in which it is less the “stiff upper lip” than a penchant for irony, wit, and laughing it off that allows people to weather political and personal crisis. Examining particular comic devices, we will also analyze how comedy can enforce and revise national identity in a modern, globalized world that increasingly imperils it. Our identity as a class will also come to the fore—in screenings where some of us will laugh (or not laugh) at things that may or may not be laughing matters.

Although this course samples British comedy across a broad historical period (1729 to the present) in diverse forms, R1A’s ultimate goal is to help students hone their ability to both analyze arguments as readers and construct arguments as writers. This class’s assignments will include two essays, as well as more casual weekly writing assignments. Peer-review, GSI conferencing, and self-revision will all play a role in the writing process.


Reading and Composition: Something Resolutely Indefinable: The African-American Novel, the Individual, and Sociological Thought

English R1A

Section: 4
Instructor: Creasy, CFS
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Baldwin, James: Giovanni's Room; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye

Other Readings and Media

A course reader including short excerpts and essays, as well as writing exercises.

Description

This class will consider how a series of important 20th-century African-American novels confront questions of individual identity, categorization, social definiition. To this end, we shall attend to the complex connection between the tradition of black American literature and the discourse of sociology—the science of social institutions and relationships. As an emergent scientific discipline in 20th-century America, sociology was, along with anthropology, an important resource that numerous black artists drew upon artistically as well as politically. However, sociology's aspiration to systematic categorization of social groups and interactions struck many as a problematic pigeonholing of the individual human being. While Zora Neale Hurston was a practicing anthropologist, in her novels she "tried to deal with life as we actually live it—not as the sociologists imagine it." More strenuously still, James Baldwin believed sociological thinking disavowed an irreducible kernel of uniqueness and freedom: the individual "is not, after all, merely a member of a Society or a Group or a deplorable conundrum to be explained by Science. He is—and how old-fashioned the words sound!—something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable." With thoughts like these as our guiding lights, we shall attempt to consider the achievements of the African-American novel as an artistic form representing the paradoxical and often tragic relations between the individual and society. While our main focus will of course be race, other intersecting concerns such as gender and sexuality will also concern us.

Our readings will open onto the underlying pragmatical goal of this course, which is to facilitate the development of your critical reflection and writing skills. We will 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 semester 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 semester—including drafts and revisions. But we will endevour to bear in mind how each of these steps may transform that "all"—that is, the whole process of our learning.


Reading and Composition: Materialist Aesthetics

English R1A

Section: 5
Instructor: Barbour, Andrew John
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Darwin, Charles: Origin of Species; La Mettrie: Machine Man and Other Writings; Robinson, Kim Stanley: Aurora; Shiel, M.P.: The Purple Cloud; Sterne, Laurence: Tristam Shandy

Description

Materialism has often been a shared premise and point of confluence between literature and science, even the precondition for any relation between literary and scientific practice. If since the 18th century, aesthetics in the expanded sense has referred not just to a domain of literary theory but to material phenomena in the world, then materialist aesthetics in science and literature take empirical processes, bodies, and physical systems as their basis of explanation and grounds of inquiry. This course investigates the key tropes of materialist aesthetics between science and literature from the late 18th century to the present. How might we understand materialism as a literary and scientific practice of explanation and representation? To what extent do materialist practices in science and literature converge and depart? Along the way, we'll ask how materialist aesthetics in science and literature might provide a distinctive vantage point on questions of form, scale, history, mileu, technology, and climate. Readings include La Mettrie, Lucretius, Sterne, Erasmus Darwin, Wordsworth, Shelley,  Cuvier, Byron, Charles Darwin, Samuel Butler, M.P. Shiel, and Kim Stanley Robinson. This is an R1A course, the first course in a two-semester R&C sequence. Over the course of the semester, you'll compose several essays of increasing length designed to enhance your writing and composition skills. 


Reading and Composition: Pre-Raphaelite Art and Literature

English R1A

Section: 6
Instructor: Forbes-Macphail, Imogen
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: note new location: 78 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

Course reader including selections from the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddall, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Keats, Alfred Tennyson, Geoffrey Chaucer, Giovanni Boccaccio, William Shakespeare, John Ruskin, Robert Buchanan, and Walter Pater.

We will also view selections from Desperate Romantics, a BBC drama based on the lives of the PRB.

Description

This course examines the relationship between literature and art through the lives and works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood — a revolutionary artistic movement of the mid-nineteenth century — and those in their circle. In addition to literature by the Pre-Raphaelites themselves, we will also read works by authors such as Keats, Tennyson, Chaucer, Boccaccio and Shakespeare, which inspired many of their artworks. Key themes of this course include the relationship between poetry and painting, the medieval and the modern, the artist and their work, and the traditional and the avant-garde. The principal focus of R1A courses is to develop student writing, and as such this class will practice close reading and argumentative skills through regular short writing assignments. We will further reflect on and hone our critical skills through exploring contemporary criticism of Pre-Raphaelite poetry and painting by critics such as Ruskin, Buchanan, Dickens, and Pater. This course will also involve an excursion to the exhibition “Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters”, which will be on display at the Legion of Honor museum from June 30 – September 30 2018.


Reading and Composition: The Personal Essay

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Stevenson, Max
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 206 Dwinelle


Book List

Lopate, Phillip (ed.): The Art of the Personal Essay

Other Readings and Media

The Center Will Not Hold (film)
I Am Not Your Negro (film)

Description

The personal essay and the lyric poem share many qualities: aside from the (not insignificant!) fact that they’re short, they affect both personal intimacy and a supposedly equally intimate relationship to the truth. But the essay is far less studied — an omission all the more curious given that while in your time here at Berkeley you’ll not necessarily have to write any poetry, lyric or otherwise, your work in a whole range of subjects will require you to write the same lucid, careful prose that characterizes the best essayists.

This class takes its experimental cue from the etymology of the word “essay” itself: it is an attempt, a try, and (as in its modern English cognate “assay”) a test. In order to write better essays yourselves, then, we will subject both the personal essays we’ll read together and your own nonfiction writing to a series of trying questions. Who is the “I” in an essay? What are the — or are there — differences between an essay that poses questions, and an essay that answers them? How are works structured in a genre that affects an ostentatious nonchalance, and how can those supple forms move us beyond the seemingly regimented form of the academic essay? How do you take material — whether gathered through research, reading, or your own lived experience — and shape it into compelling prose? Can a short story be an essay? Can a list? Can, indeed, a lyric poem? While we will focus on the Anglophone personal essay in the twentieth century, we’ll read essays originally written in Latin, Chinese, Japanese, French, and German, and from the first century CE to the twenty-first; the authors we will study include James Baldwin, Seneca, Joan Didion, William Hazlitt, Sei Shonagon, and many others. We will also read a range of critics writing on the personal essay and the unique literary and literary-historical problems that the genre poses, and we will in turn act as critics of each other’s essayistic writing.

The object of the course is the personal essay, but since it is an offering in the University’s Reading & Composition program its objective is the production of the academic one. While the requirements of R1A mean that you’ll produce academic essays that put forward vigorous arguments supported with copious evidence from the texts you’ve read, you’ll produce a range of writing over the course, in a range of other, less academic genres — including, yes, the personal essay in a range of guises.


Reading and Composition: Cold War Literature and Culture

English R1A

Section: 8
Instructor: Gaydos, Rebecca
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 54 Barrows


Book List

Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer; Santos Perez, Craig: from Unincorporated Territory [guma']

Description

This course explores literature and culture from the Cold War era. Topics we will focus on include: how literature represents the threat of nuclear confrontation between global superpowers; the rise (and weaponization) of pop and mass culture; poetic and artistic responses to propaganda, nationalism, and conformism; and the pressure that an automated, technologized society places on traditional forms of human communication and identity. In addition to grappling with the ideological tensions that animate this era, we will consider how writers respond to the environmental devastation and violence associated with the atmospheric "testing" (i.e. the actual detonation) of nuclear weapons, the hot wars of the so-called Cold War, and the ongoing legacy of colonialism.

This course is designed to improve your argumentative writing skills. In addition to short writing assignments, peer revision, and in-class presentations, students will write three essays over the course of the semester.


Reading & Composition: Identity as Performance

English R1A

Section: 9
Instructor: Ghosh, Srijani
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: Starting on Mon., 8/27, this class will move from 204 to to 206 Dwinelle.


Book List

Akhtar, Ayad: Disgraced; Chopin, Kate: The Awakening; Kaysen, Susanna: Girl, Interrupted; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Satrapi, Marjane: Persepolis 1

Description

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players."—As You Like It, Act II Sc. VII

We often hear people say that actions speak louder than words. We express our identities, who we are, through our actions, our performances, our lived experiences amidst the context and structures within which we operate. We connect with our immediate socio-political circumstances, and these relations, in turn, determine our performances of our identities. Personal identity is thus not a concrete unchangeable idea, but its performance is constantly in flux depending on the context. This will be a reading- and writing-intensive course where we will examine short stories, poems, novels, plays, and films focusing on the construction of identity through performance.

Together with our critical inquiry into modes of reading, we will practice our writing skills. We will devote plenty of time to critical thinking and essay-writing skills, paying particular attention to argumentation, analysis, and the fundamentals of writing at the college level.


Reading & Composition: Cold War Literature and Culture

English R1A

Section: 10
Instructor: Gaydos, Rebecca
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer; Santos Perez, Craig: from Unincorporated Territory [guma']; Santos Perez, Craig: from Unincorporated Territory [guma']

Description

This course explores literature and culture from the Cold War era. Topics we will focus on include: how literature represents the threat of nuclear confrontation between global superpowers; the rise (and weaponization) of pop and mass culture; poetic and artistic responses to propaganda, nationalism, and conformism; and the pressure that an automated, technologized society places on traditional forms of human communication and identity. In addition to grappling with the ideological tensions that animate this era, we will consider how writers respond to the environmental devastation and violence associated with the atmospheric "testing" (i.e., the actual detonation) of nuclear weapons, the hot wars of the so-called Cold War, and the ongoing legacy of colonialism.

This course is designed to improve your argumentative writing skills. In addition to short writing assignments, peer revision, and in-class presentations, students will write three essays over the course of the semester.


Reading and Composition: The Marriage Plot and Its Afterlife

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Mittnacht, Veronica Vizuet
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

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

Other Readings and Media

Films:
You've Got Mail
Bridget Jones' Diary
Clueless
It Happened One Night
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Description

The marriage plot novel is seen as a thing of the past, but its influence very much lives on today in our movies, our music, and our notions of romance. This course will examine a series of genre-defining marriage plot novels from the 19th century, as well as contemporary films and other media, with an eye to identifying the conventions and the emotional logic which govern them, and learning to assess these narratives critically going forward. Students will also learn to write persuasive research papers and craft original arguments, satisfying the undergraduate R1B requirements.


Reading and Composition: Comic Relief

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: Chiang, Cheng-Chai
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 78 Barrows


Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; Fielding, Helen: Bridget Jones's Diary; Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest

Other Readings and Media

We’ll screen two films, Some Like It Hot and To Be Or Not To Be, as well as selected episodes from Arrested Development and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Additional readings will be made available on bCourses, including selections from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, Pu Song Ling’s Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, and poems by Wislawa Szymborska.

Description

In this course, we’ll consider the varied uses of comic relief in literature and popular culture, from the therapeutic effects of frivolity to the ingenuity with which comic intelligence brings what has been interpretively foreclosed into stark relief. To that end, we’ll examine a range of comic genres and impulses, from stand-up to sitcoms, from comedies of manners to comedies of menace.

Some of the questions we’ll consider along the way include: what is the relation between comedy and tragedy, and what happens when a comedy that engages with historical trauma refuses its spectators comic relief? How might we understand the exclusionary and reparative effects of comedy? Do stand-up and sitcoms offer different ways of conceptualizing the relation between art and life? We’ll also examine comedy as an agent of political intervention across various literary and cultural settings, considering how the cultural contingencies of comedy as an aesthetic form intersect with questions of gender, race, and sexuality in texts ranging from Classical Chinese tales to contemporary Polish poetry. 

Although we’ll be looking at all kinds of funny business, we’ll also take seriously the course’s primary aim of building on the critical reading and writing skills learnt in R1A. Students will develop their research capacities and work towards a substantial research paper by rigorously peer-editing and revising their work throughout the semester.


Reading and Composition: Utopian and Dystopian Fictions

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: Homans-Turnbull, Marian
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

Armitage, Simon, trans.: Pearl; Atwood, Margaret: The Handmaid's Tale; More, Thomas: Utopia; Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine

Other Readings and Media

Additional primary and secondary readings will be available on bCourses. 

Description

What would it be like to live in a perfect world? What could be worse than the world we live in?

This course will trace attempts to answer these questions—and investigate why they have proven so compelling—in English writing from medieval visions of heaven and hell to twentieth-century speculative fiction. As we read, we will consider the relationship between the two projects, and between the worlds writers imagine and the worlds in which they wrote. We will discuss the ways race, class, gender, and other categories of identity figure in imagined worlds, and the ways social structures can make the same imagined world ideal for some and terrible for others. With the goal of developing critical reading and analytical skills, we will pay close attention to literary world-building techniques, to the forms and genres in which writers have chosen to imagine other worlds, and to the rhetorical effects of locating them in the past, present, and future. And we will talk about the ways stories make arguments and arguments make use of stories.

All term we will be guided by the goal of developing your writing and research skills, including making extended arguments and incorporating secondary sources. We will talk not only about how course readings make arguments, but also about how to identify compelling research questions, engage in critical conversations, and make persuasive arguments of your own. Student writing will constitute an important third category of course material: in addition to several short written assignments, you will develop, draft, peer-edit, and revise two essays, an argumentative essay on course texts and a final research essay.


Reading and Composition: Staging Desire: Sex and Sexuality in Renaissance Drama

English R1B

Section: 4
Instructor: Scott, Mark JR
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Book List

Ford, John: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore; Lyly, John: Galatea; Marlowe, Christopher: Edward II; Shakespeare, William: As You Like It

Other Readings and Media

Edward II (film), dir. Derek Jarman (1991).

A course reader will also be produced containing additional primary and secondary texts including works from Renaissance antitheatricalists like Philip Stubbes and Stephen Gosson, as well as modern theorists of gender and sexuality such as Michel Foucault and Judith Butler.

Description

The drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries offers a fascinating site for the analysis of gender and sexuality as historical and theoretical constructs, rather than as the timeless and universal ‘facts’ of human experience which they are often assumed to be. In a ‘transvestite theatre’ in which all roles, male and female, are played by boys and men, assumptions regarding the absolute and fixed nature of gender difference are called into question, while the fact that scenes of heterosexual desire are played out between men creates a space for the expression of homosexual and other transgressive desires. At the level of both form and content, the early modern theatre above all underlines the status of gender as performance. We will read a set of plays produced between the 1580s and 1630s which pose gender and sexuality as central problems, studying these in conjunction with a variety of both Renaissance and modern-day texts confronting these debates. We will seek to reflect upon the immense shaping power of the societal norms which govern sex and gender, and to locate those instances where non-normative identities and sexualities assert themselves.

The broader academic purpose of this course is to develop your critical reading and writing skills, whatever your major might be. You will write and revise three papers of increasing length over the semester, and work with peers to improve your writing and critical thinking.


Reading and Composition: Started From the Bottom: Masculinity, the American Dream, and the Myth of Starting Over from Horatio Alger to Jay-Z

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Cruz, Frank Eugene
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

Alger, Horatio: Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward; Burgett, Bruce: Keywords for American Cultural Studies; Faulkner, William: Absalom, Absalom!; Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby; Jay-Z: Decoded; MLA: MLA Handbook, 8th Edition; Obama, Barack: Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance; Williams, Raymond: Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society

Other Readings and Media

Jay-Z, Selected lyrics & music
Lurhmann, Baz (director). The Great Gatsby (2013).
Weiner, Matthew (creator). Mad Men (2007-15).
Additional required secondary readings will be available online and/or distributed in class.

Description

The texts for this course consider the roots and routes of the American Dream and the figure of the “self-made man” in the American cultural imagination over the past 150 years. From American literature to contemporary politics to popular culture, we will explore the American fascination with the idea of “starting over.” We will consider Horatio Alger’s Gilded Age and his impoverished hero’s rise to respectability, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mysterious icon of the Jazz Age, Jay Gatsby, and William Faulkner’s tale of the monomaniacal Thomas Sutpen, whose ghostly design speaks from the Antebellum South to the first decades of the 20th century. From Faulkner’s high modernist polytemporality, we will follow the American Dream to the end of the 20th century (and into popular culture and the 21st century) via Barack Obama’s journey from a bi-racial “broken home” in Hawai'i to the Oval Office, Dick Whitman's rebirth as Don Draper on a battlefield during the Korean War in Matthew Weiner's 2007 TV show Mad Men, and Jay-Z’s meteoric rise from a hustler in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects to the “God of Rap” who surveys his pop culture empire each year from high atop the Forbes’ List.

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

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 paper. In addition to these papers, in-class writing, workshops, participation, presentations, and full attendance are also required to earn a passing grade.


Reading and Composition: Stories of Exile and Dislocation

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 39 Evans


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Kang, Han: The Vegetarian

Other Readings and Media

Course reader including excerpts from Henry Thoreau, Albert Camus, Edwidge Danticat, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gloria Anzaldua, and relevant critical theory

Description

This course turns to the experience of exile and its plural representations in texts drawing from the post-Enlightenment to contemporary periods. To open up our line of inquiry, we will reflect upon the following questions: How might exile be a self-determined choice leading to greater freedom or autonomy? Are exile and its attendant feelings an unresolvable part of the human condition? How might larger sociohistorical, political, and cultural forces precipitate the need for individuals or groups to survive in a state of physical or psychological exile? What are the possibilities of life after exile, and what new knowledge can be produced about one's self through his/her/their uprooting from "home" (particularly in relation to others and to the larger communities to which he/she/they belong)?

Writing will be integrated into every class session, and also take the form of short responses to readings (1-2 pages) and argumentative papers that grow in length and complexity over the semester (3-10 pages).


Reading and Composition: Nature on the Page

English R1B

Section: 7
Instructor: Tomasula y Garcia, Alba
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 41 Evans


Book List

Carson, Rachel: Silent Spring; Dillard, Annie: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; Haushofer, Marlen: The Wall

Description

In this course, we will examine how relationships between humans and nature are represented; what histories, perceptions, and biases inform such representations; and what the real-world consequences of particular representations may be. We will read three primary works that focus on human/nature interactions in three different narrative forms: investigative environmental report (Silent Spring), nonfiction narration (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek), and novel (The Wall). Through this, we will gain a sense of how writing can capture and influence feelings about nature, open up a space to interrogate assumptions about nature, and even shape major political decisions regarding the natural world. In addition to our main texts, we will broaden our understandings on human/nature interactions and the writings that influence them by reading materials from a range of disciplines, including ecofeminism, critical race studies, history of science, and colonial ecology.

A few broad questions we will consider during this class include: What precisely is nature? How have particular human cultures (or even particular individuals) opposed or embraced it, and why? And how have certain human identities and behaviors been elevated “above” nature, stigmatized as “unnatural,” or even denigrated because of their supposed closeness to nature? We will also explore how different forms of narration and representation offer ways of examining extant assumptions about nature, humans, and animals, as well as in imagining different ways of relating to the natural world. In addition to this course’s required readings, students are encouraged to explore other sources through which to open up and clarify our ideas on nature, writing, and representation.

As the subject of nature in writing is vast and multifaceted, it offers a diverse lens through which students will tackle the project and the process of writing a substantial research paper. We will break down this larger project into a series of steps, including topic proposals, drafting, revision, and peer feedback. Students will be given writing assignments throughout the semester, leading up to a final research essay.


Reading and Composition: Conspiracy and Detection

English R1B

Section: 8
Instructor: Cohan, Nathan
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 45 Evans


Book List

Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49; Reed, Ishmael: Mumbo-Jumbo; Ross, Fran: Oreo

Other Readings and Media

Course reader

John Carpenter, They Live and/or Frances Ford Coppola, The Conversation

Description

This course teaches critical analysis and research skills through their doubles: forensic detection and conspiracy theory. We will therefore consider the disciplinary demands of academic writing in tandem with indisciplined forms of knowledge-production: paranoia, passion project, wild goose chase, hyperstition. Taking the detective as a literary mode rather than as a genre, our main course texts are incompletely generic novels from post-modern America. Alongside scholarly accounts of the generalization of conspiracy-theorizing and shorter literary texts of the paranoiac canon, they will free us up to ask about such topics as: genres of policing as well as the policing of genres; the private detective and corporate conspiracy; documentary evidence and modernist fragmentation; and the cop inside your head.

Students will write, peer-review, and revise a series of progressively longer (2, 5, and 9 page) essays, with the goal of integrating sophisticated and creative readings of literary texts into an existing critical conversation.


Reading and Composition: Romantic Self / Romantic Others

English R1B

Section: 9
Instructor: O'Connor, Megan
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 45 Evans


Book List

Abrams, M. H. (ed. Greenblatt, et al.): The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. D, The Romantic Period; Hogg, James: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein;

Recommended: Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers: A Pocket Style Manual

Description

What shocks the virtuous philosopher delights the chameleon poet... A poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence, because he has no identity—he is continually in for and filling some other body.—John Keats, Letter to Richard Woodhouse, 27 October 1818

When John Keats writes of the "chameleon poet" that "has no identity" and that wholly inhabits "some other body," he contrasts his model of poetic (non-)identity with William Wordsworth's so-called "egotistical Sublime." Wordsworth's poetry, Keats suggests, is all ego—all self and no other. While the stereotype of the solitary and even solipsistic Romantic lyric poet remains our most enduring commonplace about Romanticism, Keats's letter suggests that there are other competing models of identity that take shape in Romantic literature. From roadside encounters with strangers and the melancholy speakers of Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, to the "creature" and the "Arabian" Safie in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, this course will explore different models of Romantic literary selfhood and their relations to the representation of others. How do literary forms and genres shape the identities of Romantic selves and others? How does poetry imagine the shoring up or transgressing of boundaries of the self? To what extent is British Romantic selfhood defined and stabilized in opposition to non-European and non-human others? Alternatively, to what extent is identity mutable, performed, and hybridized?

This R1B course will continue to build on the reading, writing, and critical thinking practices developed in R1A. We will focus on analyzing and constructing complex and sustained arguments. The writing assignments will be longer than in R1A, and papers will incorporare a research component. 

Note the new instructor for this section.


Reading and Composition: Tricksters and Transformations in the Old, Weird America

English R1B

Section: 10
Instructor: McWilliams, Ryan
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 47 Evans


Book List

Alcott, Louisa May: Behind a Mask; Bird, Robert Montgomery: Sheppard Lee; Chesnutt, Charles: Conjure Tales

Other Readings and Media

Bob Dylan, extensive audio selections

Film: I'm Not There, Todd Haynes

Television: Better Call Saul episodes

A course reader will include excerpts from Native American trickster narratives, P.T. Barnum, Joel Chandler Harris, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Description

In this course, we'll examine how authors have imagined and re-imagined the carnivalesque aspects of American life. We'll read stories about con-men, tricksters, wandering ghosts, seducers, conjurers, and other rhetorical magicians. In addition to considering how characters con one another, we'll focus on ways that Native-American and African-American authors use theatricality and language to subvert power structures and preserve cultural heritages. We'll conclude the course with a unit on artistic metamorphosis, evaluating ways that Bob Dylan constantly reinvents himself in part by excavating folk traditions from the Old, Weird America.

You will choose a research topic related to the course theme and ultimately produce a polished 12-15 page argumentative essay. The course focus on performativity will provide a means to consider broader questions of academic norms and audience expectations. You will learn to find critical works, differentiate between more and less credible sources, and locate your arguments in an ongoing scholarly conversation. Along the way, you will refine your project by producing formal research questions, annotated bibliographies, and drafts, and by reviewing one another's work.


Reading and Composition: The Feeling of Labor

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Walton, Alex
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Readings will be made available via a course reader (to be purchased)

Other Readings and Media

We will plan to screen two films: Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936, silent), and Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, English subtitles). 

Description

This course will take up the changing ways in which work and labor have been depicted in literature and other arts as conditions and conceptions of labor have transformed over time, from subsistence labor to post-industrial production. How have the many modes of work -- agricultural, reproductive, domestic, factory-floor -- shaped the making of literary artifacts? How, as readers and thinkers, do we engage with (artistic or literary) works that seem especially demanding of our labor, throwing the burden of understanding or enjoyment on their audience? In addition to poems, short stories, and films, we will be reading a small set of critical essays to orient our thinking about these questions.

At the practical level, we will experiment with writing in various forms and formats, practicing and talking through the particular kind of work that scholarly writing (and thinking) about literature demands: this will involve revision and peer writing workshops, and a semester-long effort to find and form practices genial to developing your own process and habits of writing. By the end of the semester, students will complete a substantial piece of critical writing based on their own research, engaging with primary and secondary source material.


Reading and Composition: Riddle Me This: Puzzles, Puns, and Palimpsests

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Clark, Amy
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation; Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland (Norton Critical Edition); Donoghue, Emma: Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins; Gaiman, Neil: The Sleeper and the Spindle; Snyder, Scott: Batman: Zero Year, vols. 1 and 2

Other Readings and Media

Selections from other texts will be provided online and in class.

Description

"Have you guessed the riddle yet?" the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

"No, I give it up," Alice replied. "What's the answer?"

"I haven't the slightest idea," said the Hatter.

"Nor I," said the March Hare.

Alice sighed wearily. "I think you might do something better with the time," she said, "than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers."

Well, then: why IS a raven like a writing desk? In Alice, no one seems to know, but the pen and the bookchest in the Old English riddles might have an opinion! In the texts for this course, bells and onions speak, happy endings fail to end, and nothing is quite as it seems—but that, of course, is the fun of it all.

Our goal in this course is to "get messy." Like solivng a riddle, academic writing is a process of discovery: we walk new roads, we test our ideas, and when we lose the way we back up and try again. And whatever Alice may think, it is the riddles without answers—the wrong turns, revisions, and unexpected detours—that demand our greatest insights and innovations. The course readings combine Old English medieval riddles with graphic novels, fairy tales, and Alice's classic adventures to consider how these texts form a response to the genres, styles, and stories that came before them. Each has, at one point or another, been dismissed by literary critics, and yet each has unique strengths and experimental possibilities that deserve our attention.

We will begin the semester with an extended exploration of what it means to enter a critical academic conversation. Who else has written about the works we are reading? What do they have to say, and how does that change our own interpretation of the the text? In addition to working with library databases and resources, you will also be learning to think of yourselves and your classmates as producers of academic writing. Throughout the course, you will receive feedback not only from me, but from one another, as you learn to integrate published books, articles, reviews, and other forms of academic writing into your own research papers.

While some riddles may remain unsolved, you will gain experience in "getting lost" as you develop your skills as an academic writer and literary critic—and these, of course, will help you find your way.


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

English R1B

Section: 13
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Charter, Ann (editor): The Portable Sixties Reader; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Description

This reading and composition course will explore selected works of literature, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. Placing emphasis on the relationship between artistic experimentation and social movements of the era, we will ask how innovative practices of language, image, and sound engaged with the more directly political events of the period (from the Civil Rights Movement to the protests against the Vietnam War and Women's Liberation). How have writers, visual artists, and musicians used their creative work to challenge militarism, racism, social and economic inequality, sexual violence and gendered discrimination? What role do poetry, popular music, and visual art play in composing new social formations and transformations?

Over the course of the semester, students will strengthen their capacities to make persuasive arguments as well as formulate compelling questions to guide their own final research projects. This course places particular emphasis on rhetorical analysis and literary critique. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to peer feedback. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two critical essays (5-6 pages) and complete a final research project.


Reading and Composition: When Reading Goes Wrong

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: Bauer, Mark
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 80 Barrows


Book List

MLA Handbook, 8th edition; Hwang, David Henry: M. Butterfly; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Remains of the Day; McEwan, Ian: Atonement; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pale Fire; Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Other Readings and Media

Essays and poems on bCourses

Description

Every day, we're called upon to make hundreds of interpretive judgments based on things we read, see, or hear. But what happens when we misjudge one of these texts, or when we're unable to judge it at all? Besides being a common element in post-World War II literature on both sides of the Atlantic, these depictions of failed readings also raise important questions about our expectations for genres, not just as readers, but as writers. What do we assume about a poem, for example, or an essay, when sitting down to read or write one? How do the writers of those pieces manipulate generic assumptions for maximum effect?

These generic assumptions, along with other sets of conventions and codes that underwrite the reading and writing process, are easiest to see when a reader fails to employ them appropriately. Therefore, the reading for the course will consist mainly of novels whose narrators and characters get it wrong—socially, factually, textually, or some combination of the three. Much of the drama in these texts comes from our sense of these mistakes, so they provide perfect opportunities to ask how and why the conventions of reading are breaking down, and how those breakdowns might be prevented, both from the reader's side and the writer's. In turn, this exploration will lead to careful considerations of writing and the elements that help to constitute skillful uses of language. We'll also be reading some essays about reader response and generic convention to give us a firmer grasp of the subject, in addition to a few poems that will put our own use of conventions to the test.

The writing part of the course will take the form of short essays (mostly 3-5 pages in length), a research paper (8-10 pages), and brief assignments designed to acquaint you with the research process.


Reading and Composition: Decadent Poetry

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Viragh, Atti
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Baudelaire, Charles: Les Fleurs du Mal; Wilde, Oscar: The Major Works

Description

“The ballads teem with imagination, they palpitate with emotion. We read them with laughter and tears; the metres throb in our pulses, the cunningly-ordered words tingle with life; and if this be not poetry, what is?” So wrote the critic William Archer in 1901, as he tried to describe how it felt to read a contemporary poet’s work. The closing decades of the nineteenth century witnessed profound changes in sociopolitical, scientific, and artistic life. It was all the poets could do to keep up; what could they add to this age of “progress” and prose, when novels were considered more serious literature, and the major cultural debates were being carried out in essay form? In these disorienting times, poets took advantage of the freedom they had when no one was looking. They began to think in surprising new ways about the relationship of poetry to the body, the senses, and the material and social world. They may even have invented some of the ways we think about poetry today. In this class, we will situate these poets alongside essays from the period, as well as one key novel, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. We will explore the rich variety of poetic styles and theories they came up with, and speculate about what they have contributed to our own ideas about poetry’s pressures, powers, touches and tingles. 

This writing-intensive class builds on the skills developed in R1A. It is designed to extend your knowledge of the arts of reading and writing, while introducing the fundamentals of researching, evaluating and working with secondary sources. In addition to weekly discussion posts, three essays will be required, in draft and revision, followed by a final research paper.


Reading and Composition: Books with Pictures

English R1B

Section: 16
Instructor: Hobson, Jacob
Time: Note new time: MWF 3-4
Location: Note new location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; Brosh, Allie: Hyperbole and a Half; Saunders, George: The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

Other Readings and Media

Additional Readings:  John Berger, Ways of Seeing; Sergei Eisenstein, Strike; Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Description

This course studies books with pictures in them, although we will occasionally ditch the books altogether to look at pictures in the Berkeley Art Museum and to watch moving pictures. We will study the relationship between image and text in a variety of media. Whether viewing high art or reading web comics, we will ask: how do images and words convey meaning? Do they convey the same kind of meaning? How do they work together?


Reading & Composition: Stories of Exile and Dislocation

English R1B

Section: 17
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Kang, Han: The Vegetarian

Other Readings and Media

Course reader including excerpts from Henry Thoreau, Albert Camus, Edwidge Danticat, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gloria Anzaldua, and relevant critical theory

Description

This course turns to the experience of exile and its plural representations in texts drawing from the post-Enlightenment to contemporary periods. To open up our line of inquiry, we will reflect upon the following questions: How might exile be a self-determined choice leading to greater freedom or autonomy? Are exile and its attendant feelings an unresolvable part of the human condition? How might larger sociohistorical, political, and cultural forces precipitate the need for individuals or groups to survive in a state of physical or psychological exile? What are the possibilities of life after exile, and what new knowledge can be produced about one's self through his/her/their uprooting from "home" (particularly in relation to others and to the larger communities to which he/she/they belong)?

Writing will be integrated into every calss session, and also take the form of short responses to readings (1-2 pages) and argumentative papers that grow in length and complexity over the semester (3-10 pages).


Reading & Composition: When Reading Goes Wrong

English R1B

Section: 18
Instructor: Bauer, Mark
Time: MWF 8-9
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Hwang, David Henry: MLA Handbook, 8th edition; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Remains of the Day; McEwan, Ian: Atonement; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pale Fire; Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Other Readings and Media

Essays and poems on bCourses

Description

Every day, we're called upon to make hundreds of interpretive judgments based on things we read, see, or hear. But what happens when we misjudge one of these texts, or when we're unable to judge it at all? Besides being a common element in post-World War II literature on both sides of the Atlantic, these depictions of failed readings also raise important questions about our expectations for genres, not just as readers, but as writers. What do we assume about a poem, for example, or an essay, when sitting down to read or write one? How do the writers of those pieces manipulate generic assumptions for maximum effect?

These generic assumptions, along with other sets of conventions and codes that underwrite the reading and writing process, are easiest to see when a reader fails to employ them appropriately. Therefore, the reading for the course will consist mainly of novels whose narrators and characters get it wrong—socially, factually, textually, or some combination of the three. Much of the drama in these texts comes from our sense of these mistakes, so they provide perfect opportunities to ask how and why the conventions of reading are breaking down, and how those breakdowns might be prevented, both from the reader's side and the writer's. In turn, this exploration will lead to careful considerations of writing and the elements that help to constitute skillful uses of language. We'll also be reading some essays about reader response and generic convention to give us a firmer grasp of the subject, in addition to a few poems that will put our own use of conventions to the test.

The writing part of the course will take the form of short essays (mostly 3-5 pages in length), a research paper (8-10 pages), and brief assignments designed to acquaint you with the research process.


Reading & Composition: Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

English R1B

Section: 19
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 47 Evans


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Charter, Ann (editor): The Portable Sixties Reader; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Description

This reading and composition course will explore selected works of literature, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. Placing emphasis on the relationship between artistic experimentation and social movements of the era, we will ask how innovative practices of language, image, and sound engaged with the more directly political events of the period (from the Civil Rights Movement to the protests against the Vietnam War and Women's Liberation). How have writers, visual artists, and musicians used their creative work to challenge militarism, racism, social and economic inequality, sexual violence and gendered discrimination? What role do poetry, popular music, and visual art play in composing new social formations and transformations?

Over the course of the semester, students will strengthen their capacities to make persuasive arguments as well as formulate compelling questions to guide their own final research projects. This course places particular emphasis on rhetorical analysis and literary critique. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to peer feedback. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two critical essays (5-6 pages) and complete a final research project.