Announcement of Classes: Fall 2019


Shakespeare

English 17

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: Lectures MW 11-12 in 106 Stanley + one hour of discussion section per week in various locations (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 9-10; sec. 103: F 11-12; sec. 104: F 11-12)
Location:


Book List

Shakespeare, William: The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays and Sonnets (3rd ed.)

Description

English 17 offers an introduction to the study of Shakespeare that is intended for students new to the Berkeley English Department. Incoming transfer students, future majors, and non-majors are especially welcome.

The premise of our class is that Shakespeare's texts are remarkably good to think with—remarkably pleasurable, remarkably productive. The class will give sustained attention to about half a dozen major plays, using them to develop a rich set of themes and ideas as the semester unfolds: ideas about beauty and cruelty, performance and nature, citizenship and individuality, companionship and solitude, future and past.

We'll devote special attention to developing the skills that will allow us to think most productively with Shakespeare: skills of reading, of close analysis, of reasoned and structured argument, and maybe too some elementary skills of performance.

We will alternate between large-scale lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays, in which I will offer some concepts and arguments as raw material for your thinking; and discussion sections on Fridays, where you, your classmates, and your discussion leader will develop your thinking in conversation and work on techniques for realizing your ideas in writing.

We will start with a number of short assignments focusing on particular skills, which will build up to two medium-sized papers and a final exam.


Modern British and American Literature: The Handmaid's Tale in Adaptation

English 20

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 20 Wheeler


Book List

Atwood, Margaret: The Handmaid's Tale; Atwood, Margaret: The Testaments; Nault, Renee: The Handmaid's Tale (Graphic Novel)

Description

With the advent of the Trump presidency (2016-present), Margaret Atwood’s dystopian, feminist masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, has gained new relevance. And with the popular and critical success of its Hulu TV series adaptation (2017-present), this prophetic novel has reached a new and broader audience.

In this class, we will consider some of the many adaptations of Atwood’s prophetic novel, looking backward at the more than 30-year afterlife of this novel in order to assess its still-evolving vision of our present and our future. Since it was published in 1985, the novel has not only been translated into 35 languages, but it has also been adapted as a stage play, an opera, a ballet, and even a pop album. In addition to reading the novel carefully in various critical contexts, we will consider the (awful) 1990 movie version, the 2000 BBC radio play, the 2012 audio book, the ongoing Hulu series (with a primary focus on Season One), the graphic novel adaptation (just published this March), and Atwood’s sequel, The Testaments (to be released in September 2019). We will also read critical theory on intertextuality, intermediality, and adaptation in order to provide a framework for our explorations.

In additional to the required reading and viewing, assignments for the course will include a number of short analytical essays, book and movie/TV reviews, in-class presentations, and your own  creative adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale in your choice of media.


Freshman Seminar: Walt Whitman

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: Tues. 2-3
Location: 180 Barrows


Description

We will read and discuss extraordinary poems by Walt Whitman.

This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.


Freshman Seminar: Here Here in Tommy Orange's There There

English 24

Section: 2
Instructor: Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Time: Tues. 12:30-1:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Book List

Orange, Tommy: There There

Description

Tommy Orange's story cycle, There There, depicts the lives of contemporary indigenous people in Oakland, California. Shaped by a transgenerational trauma, Orange's characters nonetheless survive. Countering romantic stereotypes of the Noble Red Man, children of Nature, or the ecological Indian, these Oakland natives are the urban indigenous. There There counters Gertrude Stein's famous pronouncement that in Oakland, "there is no there there." A character itself, Oakland is described, mapped, and traversed. In this seminar, we will practice close reading, review indigenous history (particularly, how the Indian Relocation Act of 1956 encouraged native people to move from reservations to urban centers), and place There There in the context of 20th- and 21st-century Native American literature. Finally, we will go on a field trip or two to Oakland to walk in the steps of Orange's characters and navigate their urban interactions. This seminar is part of the On the Same Page initiative.

This one-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.


Literature of American Cultures: Growing Up Funny

English 31AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: note new location: 20 Barrows


Book List

Cisneros, Sandra: House on Mango Street; DuBois, W. E. B.: Souls of Black Folk; Truong, Monique: Bitter in the Mouth

Other Readings and Media

"Paris is Burning," Selections from Sherman Alexie, Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, among others.

Description

America, we are told, is a nation of immigrants—of people from other lands who travel here and “become” American. That's a tall order. But what of those who can never quite belong—the misfits, outliers and strangers in this land that claims to welcome them all? What about those who, despite citizenship, resist inclusion? Moreover, what's it like to grow up, navigate the adventures and terrors of adolescence and young adulthood, as someone on the margins? 

In this course, we will look at novels, short stories, music and art from and about those who insistently remain strangers within America. We will examine the ways in which people who are excluded, whether legally or socially, negotiate relationships to the state and to a sense of Americanness. We will look at how they refuse, transgress, embrace and/or problematize their marginality—how they write themselves into or out of the nation. Beginning with slave narratives and moving into contemporary literature and art, we will think about how some outsiders—racial, sexual, and social—are able to move from the margins into the mainstream and how some never do.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.


Introduction to the Writing of Short Fiction

English 43A

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Melanie Abrams
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 186 Barrows


Book List

Burroway, Janet: Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

Description

(Note: This course was added on April 26.)

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the study of short fiction—to explore the elements that make up the genre, and to enable students to talk critically about short stories and begin to feel comfortable and confident with their own writing of them. Students will write two short stories, along with various exercises, and critiques of their peers' work. The course will be organized as a workshop. All student stories will be edited and critiqued by the instructor and by other students in the class.

Since this is an introduction to the writing of short fiction, all space in the class will be saved for sophomores and freshmen (at least initially). Interested students should enroll directly into this course, and no application or writing sample is required.


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Nolan, Maura
Time: Lectures MW 12-1 in 159 Mulford + one hour of discussion section per week in various locations (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 12-1; sec. 105: Th 1-2; sec. 107: Th 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Dickson, D., ed.: The Poetry of John Donne; Howe, N., ed.: Beowulf: A Prose Translation; Mann, J., ed.: Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales; Marlowe, C.: Dr. Faustus; Milton, J.: Paradise Lost; Niles, J., ed.: Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition

Description

What is the English literary tradition? Where did it come from? What are its distinctive habits, questions, styles, obsessions? This course will answer these and other questions by focusing on five key writers from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: the anonymous Beowulf poet; Geoffrey Chaucer; Christopher Marlowe; John Donne; and John MIlton. We will start with the idea that the English literary tradition is a set of interrelated texts and problems that recur over the course of several centuries. Some of these relationships are formal; we will pay special attention to the genres, techniques, and styles that poets use to create their works. Some of these relationships are linguistic; students will learn to read Middle English (out loud, too!) and explore the significance of linguistic change as the Middle Ages becomes the Renaissance. Other relationships are historical; we will explore not only the pressure of contemporary events on literature, but also literature's role in creating both historical continuity and change over time. And some of these relationships are cultural, as poets reflect upon, seek to change, furiously criticize, or happily embrace a variety of human behaviors, from religious practices to love relationships to debates about gender to death and dying.

Throughout the semester, students will work on developing their skill at close reading. We will work on close reading during lectures and in your discussion sections. You will do close readings at home. You are welcome to come to office hours to practice close reading! No one can be a literary critic who cannot perform a close reading of a literary text. We will work on learning the tools of the trade, the literary terms and generic distinctions necessary for close reading. Expect to write three papers and to take a final exam.


Literature in English: Late-17th Through Mid-19th Centuries

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Goldstein, Amanda Jo
Time: Lectures MW 2-3 in 101 Morgan + one hour of discussion section per week in various locations (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 1-2; sec. 103: F 2-3; sec. 104: F 2-3; sec. 105: Th 9-10; sec. 107: Th 10-11)
Location:


Book List

Austen, Jane: Persuasion; Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko; Blake, William: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Songs of Innocence and of Experience; Darwin, Charles: The Voyage of the Beagle; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life; Franklin, Benjamin: Autobiography; Frederick, Douglass: Narrative of the Life (and Other Writings); Melville, Herman: Benito Cereno; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Sterne, Laurence: A Sentimental Journey; Wordsworth & Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads.

Other Readings and Media

Readings from Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Eliza Haywood, Phillis Wheatley, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Nat Turner, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning (and more) will be available in a course reader and/or via the course website.

Description

Do written words cause revolutions, and how might literature aid, absorb, or elude transformations of the social world? This course surveys the revolutionary middle of literary history in English, from 1688 to1848: a period driven and riven by political revolutions (England, America, France, Haiti), imperial rivalry and anti-colonial struggle, industrialization and the lure of the wilderness, chattel slavery and sentimental sympathy, and new forms of media connectivity and alienation. Charting many passages between “Old Europe,” the “New World,” and the “Dark Continent,” we will pay special attention to the ways differently fictional and factual kinds of writing – novel, slave narrative, travelogue, autobiography, poem, polemic and proto-science fiction – shape and parry the period’s scientific, industrial and political transformations, helping to invent (but also to resist) the categories of social, psychic, racial and consumer experience that are familiar to us as inheritors of Anglo-American empire. From the heyday of neo-classical imitation to the Romantic destruction of inherited forms and new experiments in democratic writing, we will ask what the British and American literature of the "Age of Revolution" has to teach us about today’s penchant for “innovation” and “disruption.”


Literature in English: Mid-19th Through the 20th Century

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: Lectures MW 10-11 in 159 Mulford + one hour of discussion section per week in various locations (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 9-10; sec. 103: F 10-11; sec. 104: F 10-11; sec. 105: Th 11-12; sec. 107: Th 1-2)
Location:


Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; Coetzee, JM: Disgrace; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Luiselli, Valeria: The Story of My Teeth; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

Required course reader available from MetroPublishing (2440 Bancroft Ave).

Description

This course will survey British, American, and global Anglophone literature from the end of the 19th century through the beginning of the 21st. Moving across a number of genres and movements, this course will examine the ways 20th- and 21st-century writers have used literary form to represent, question, and even produce different aspects of modernity. Particular attention will be paid to close reading and key concepts in literary study, as well as literature’s broader engagements with questions of race, gender and sexuality, colonialism, mass media, and economy.  Evaluation will be based on three papers and a final examination.

Readings will likely include: fiction by James Weldon Johnson, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Salman Rushdie, Alison Bechdel, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, JM Coetzee, and Valeria Luiselli; drama by Samuel Beckett, Susan-Lori Parks, and Caryl Churchill; poetry by Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Matthew Arnold, William Butler Yeats, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, TS Eliot, and WH Auden, among others.


Asian American Literature and Culture: Voice, Text, Image

English 53

Section: 1
Instructor: Leong, Andrew Way
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 204 Wheeler


Book List

Bui, Thi: The Best We Could Do; Yamashita, Karen Tei: I Hotel;

Recommended: Birkenstein & Graff: They Say, I Say; Crews, Frederick: The Random House Handbook

Other Readings and Media

Other short readings, films, videos, and digital media will be distributed through bCourses and a course reader.

Description

This is a brand-new lecture and discussion course that provides a survey of early to contemporary Asian American literary and cultural production. We'll study the broad range of forms that have served as vehicles of Asian American political and cultural expression, including: political oratory, oral histories, folksongs, popular music, traditional and avant-garde poetry, short stories, novels, graphic memoirs, films, fashion blogs, and web videos. Our emphasis on “reading for form” is designed to provide a foundation for students who might be interested in taking additional (historical or special topics) courses in Asian American literature and culture. However, the course can also be taken as a stand-alone, as part of a broader program of study in comparative ethnic literatures, or as a gateway towards further studies in English-language literature. This course is especially suitable for students who have never taken a college-level literary or cultural studies course and would like additional time to practice class discussion and essay writing skills.

The course is divided into three parts: Voice, Text, and Image. In Part I, “Voice,” we will study Asian American speeches, oral histories and songs. We will work through a series of short assignments oriented towards oral recitation and preparation for class discussion. In Part II, “Text,” we will study Asian American poetry, short stories, and novels. In this segment of the course, we will practice techniques for close reading of printed texts. In Part III, “Image,” we will turn to the analysis of images of, or images produced by, Asian Americans in comics, film, and digital media. The assignments in Part III will turn to visual outlining and organization strategies for essay writing. The course will culminate in an 5-7 page final paper.


Sophomore Seminar: The Coen Brothers

English 84

Section: 1
Instructor: Bader, Julia
Time: Tues. 9-12
Location: 300 Wheeler


Book List

Lahiri, J.: Interpreter of Maladies

Description

We will concentrate on the high and low cultural elements in the noir comedies of the Coen brothers, discusing their use of Hollywood genres, parodies of classic conventions, and representation of arbitrariness. We will also read some fiction and attend events at the Pacific Film Archive and Cal Performances.

This 2-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.