Announcement of Classes: Fall 2019


Reading and Composition: Human Resources: Problems in the American Workplace

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Ramm, Gerard
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Steinbeck, John: Of Mice and Men

Description

Fiction has provided a means for workers to re-imagine or even escape their everyday issues from the dawn of the labor movement to the heyday of the tech startup. Across a long history of media about work—including the muckraking of Upton Sinclair, the 1980 Dolly Parton star vehicle 9-to-5, and select episodes of the American sitcom The Office—this course will train us not only to read and write reflectively about labor, but hopefully to look differently at the daily torments and rewards of our own work. In all, by going beyond the purview of the average HR office, we will be thinking together about what essential human resources we access to survive in the workplace.

This course will teach analytical writing through a range of different assignments. We will be engaging one another in critical conversations on literature, film, and media to distill our arguments on different works, themes, and issues. Through short writing reflections as well as two paper-length analyses, students will hone their rhetorical skills and learn to express new insights on art, entertainment, and the working world around them.


Reading and Composition: The Making of Americans

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: de Stefano, Jason
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume B; Du Bois, W. E. B.: The Souls of Black Folk

Description

Americans are not born but made, and who they become is bound up with what they make. This course explores the long and varied history of these linked assumptions, with a particular focus on the nineteenth century. It was in this period that a broad fascination with making became associated with the national character: from the constitution of the Early Republic and the rise of the nation as a world economic and political power; through the effort to reconstruct, in the wake of civil war, the nation's political community as a multiracial democracy; to the advent of the factory and assembly line, the automation of labor, and a national obsession with productivity and work. We will study how nineteenth-century writers sought to create a national literature adequate to make sense of these developments and to make sensible the diverse experiences of those who lived them. What did it mean to make a uniquely American work of art, and how did such works inform what it meant to be American? In what ways did Americans find in materials of their work a set of conceptual resources for imagining their role as citizens? We will also investigate problems posed by these preoccupations. What kinds of making were possible or proscribed for African Americans under and after slavery? How was labor, particularly creative labor, wielded both for and against segregation and exploitation? Finally, we will reflect on our own making, finding in the nineteenth century the historical roots of our own "maker culture" and of how we came to believe, in the words of the poet Frank Bidart, that "we are creatures who need to make."

R1A is designed to engage students in their own making through extensive writing. In this course you will develop your writing practice and hone your skills in critical thinking, rhetoric, and interpretive analysis by writing essays. To that end, we will ask: what is an essay, how do essays work, and what does it mean to create them? An essay is not only an exercise in composition but also "a trial, testing, proof"—an "experiment" (OED, "essay," n. 1a.). Assignments in this course will allow students to experiment with different kinds of writing, from informal reflections on course readings and concise prospectuses to longer argumentative essays. We will also test our work, as it were, through continuous and thoughtful peer review. The goal is to create an open and engaged conversation about writing well and how to make our writing better.Note the changes in the instructor, topic, course description, and texts for this section of English R1A (as of August 7).

Please note the changes in instructor, topic, course description, and book list for this section of English R1A (as of August 7).


Reading and Composition: Inscribing Fear: Written Horror, Living Flesh, and the Cultures that Produce Both

English R1A

Section: 3
Instructor: Tomasula y Garcia, Alba
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Ito, Junji: Junji Ito's Cat Diary; Lavelle, Victor: The Ballad of Black Tom; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Vandermeer, Jeff: Annihilation; Wells, H.G.: The Island of Dr. Moreau

Description

The horror genre—whose very purpose is to let us experience that which frightens, startles, or disgusts through a fictional lens—is capable of inciting a wide range of visceral responses. What will be the particular focus of this class, however, is the sub-genre of body horror, which puts emphasis on violations to the human form, and in doing so often delineates what sorts of terrors have defined social production; that in concerning themselves with bodies and what horrors may befall them, in other words, works falling under this sub-genre often effectively portray an encounter between the all-too-real symbolic order that underlies our material reality, and that which threatens this order's stability. This course will critically examine but a few of literature's fleshy terrors—in pieces from Victorian science fiction to Japanese graphic novels, and starring every being from suffering human-animal hybrids to beleaguered scientists to runaway antebellum slaves—to not only provide a few prime examples of how terror has been utilized in literature, but to also analyze how body horror has had an important hand in making clear—and even in influencing—what we find frightening, monstrous, and unacceptable within the living world. As we read, we will consider multiple aspects of how body horror has been utilized in fiction: what literary and rhetorical devices are used to represent that which is obscene, atrocious, or unspeakable; how the social/material constructions of class, race, and gender get embedded into the flesh of horror's protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters; what sorts of social pressures may be at work when it comes to determining what even counts as "horrific."

With the goal of developing your critical reading, research, and writing skills, we wil primarily devote class time to discussing the course reading through a combination of lecture material, question and answer, and group discussion. We will also dedicate time to preparing for graded essays by building writing, editing, and research skills in weekly writing workshops.


Reading and Composition: (Un)Belonging Bodies & Citizenship

English R1A

Section: 4
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 237 Cory


Book List

Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Okada, John: No-No Boy; Vuong, Ocean: On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous

Other Readings and Media

Film: Jordan Peele's Get Out

Course reader (working list): Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, select poems by Walt Whitman, excerpts from Walden Pond, by Henry Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, Gloria Anzaldua's La Mestiza/The Borderlands, Theresa Hak Kyun Cha's Dicteé, Claudia Rankine's Citizen, select stories from Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties

Description

Our bodies—even if we might claim them as our own—are far from neutral, as they carry embedded signals, texts, and even silences that reflect our multiple social positionings. This course explores narratives of embodiment, considering how bodies can reflect certain ideals of the nation, whether through self-desire, discipline, or forced submission. In particular, we will untangle the normative paradigms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion that feed into the American imagination, while finding openings for resistance, alternate expressons of identity, and community.

Students will compose regular short responses to readings in addition to a series of formal writing assignments (essays that practice close reading, critical analysis, argumentation supported by evidence, and rhetorical appeals).

(Note the changes in the instructor and content of this section as of June 7.)


Reading and Composition: Theorizing Race and Space in Asian American Studies

English R1A

Section: 5
Instructor: Su, Amanda Jennifer
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 78 Barrows


Book List

Chiang, Ted: Stories of Your Life and Others; Goh, Teow Lim: Islanders; Lai, Him Mark: Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940; Ng, Fae: Bone

Other Readings and Media

Please obtain the texts on your own, as they will not be ordered through the campus bookstore. A course reader will also be assigned.

Description

How does an understanding of space and the built environment inflect our understanding of ethnicized forms of belonging? My course charts the development of Asian American identity and literature through four sites in the Bay Area: Angel Island, the San Francisco Chinatown, UC Berkeley, and Silicon Valley. Beginning in the early 20th century with classical Chinese poems carved into the walls of the detention center on Angel Island by unknown immigrants, we will explore the impact of exclusion on Asian Amerian literature and the implications of writing from a liminal space. We will juxtapose the creation of Chinatown through public health and sanitary regulations in the mid-20th century against the contemporary threat of gentrification facing the neighborhood. Turning to the sixties, we will dive into the radical political activism of the Third World Liberation Front at UC Berkeley and the subsequent creation of Asian American Studies. Finally, we will conclude the course by speculating about how the recent spate of foreign Chinese investment in technology and real estate in the Bay Area might reshape our understanding of racialized geography and capital.

My course will entail an element of urban exploration—students will visit each of the sites and write about what they see and observe. We will learn to read buildings, streets, intersections and monuments as palimpsests of history and forms of institutional memory. Engaging the theories of Foucault, Bachelard, LeFebvre, among others, we will critically analyze our own relation to and movement within these structures. The goal of the course is to build a material account of the ways in which a certain space gives rise to a particular form of literature, as well as a dialectical understanding of how the reading of literature changes our relation to that space. Students will also learn to navigate a rich medley of personal, archival, literary and analytical data (field research, newspapers, manifestos, poems, public policies, financial reports) towards the construction of a final critical or creative project.

In accordance with the curricular requirements of the R1A, which focus on developing a strong expository and argumentative style over more research-based claims, students will write and revise a set of shorter-length essays over the course of the semester.

Note the new instructor and content of this section as of June 7.


Reading and Composition: (Un)Belonging Bodies & Citizenship

English R1A

Section: 6
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 7 Evans


Book List

Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Okada, John: No-No Boy; Vuong, Ocean: On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous

Other Readings and Media

Film: Jordan Peele's Get Out

Course reader (working list): Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, select poems by Walt Whitman, excerpts from Walden Pond, by Henry Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, Gloria Anzaldua's La Mestiza/The Borderlands, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dicteé, Claudia Rankine's Citizen, select stories from Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties 

Description

Our bodies—even if we might claim them as our own—are far from neutral, as they carry embedded signals, texts, and even silences that reflect our multiple social positionings. This course explores narratives of embodiment, considering how bodies can reflect certain ideals of the nation, whether through self-desire, discipline, or forced submission. In particular, we will untangle the normative paradigms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion that feed into the American imagination, while finding openings for resistance, alternate expressions of identity, and community.

Students will compose regular short responses to readings in addition to a series of formal writing assignments (essays that practice close reading, critical analysis, argumentation supported by evidence, and rhetorical appeals).

(Note the changes in the instructor and content of this section as of June 7.)


Reading and Composition: Energy Fictions

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Barbour, Andrew John
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Book List

Bacigalupi, Paolo: The Water Knife; Pinkus, Karen: Fuel: A Speculative Dictionary; Sinclair, Upton: Oil!; Wise, A.C., Phoebe Wagner, et al, eds.: Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation; Zola, Emile: Germinal

Description

This course explores literary and scientific perspectives on energy and its fictions from the early 19th century to the present, from the origins of carbon modernity and petroculture in the age of steam to contemporary 21st-century attempts to reckon with our carbon ideologies and transition to post-carbon energy regimes. From fossil fuels to electricity, oil to solar power, energy regimes and infrastructures fuel not only our politics and economics but also our everyday life. Energy forms from gasoline to wind move between science and literature, at once the domain of technological and scientific inquiry and of literary representation and energy narratives. We'll chart a trajectory from early 19th-century scientific and literary perspectives on coal and fossil capitalism at the outset of energetic modernity, from Émile Zola's Germinal and William Stanley Jevon's The Coal Question, to contemporary 21st-century science and literature narrativizing the fictions of fossil fuels and figuring post-carbon futures of alternative energy..

Over the course of the semester, we will mine both scientific and figurative elements of particular energy forms, from coal to renewable energy, and consider the extent to which scientific and aesthetic aspects of energy come into contact. Along the way, we'll investigate how particular energy forms from gasoline to solar power afford distinctive perspectives on questions of climate, ecology, and politics, and excavate our everyday experience of energy regimes and infrastructures. Readings include Émile Zola, William Stanley Jevons, Upton Sinclair, H.G. Wells, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Karen Pinkus. Over the course of the semester, you'll compose several essays of increasing length designed to empower your writing and fuel your composition skills.


Reading and Composition: Identity as Performance

English R1A

Section: 8
Instructor: Ghosh, Srijani
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: note new location: 2032 Valley LSB


Other Readings and Media

There will be a course reader, available at Copy Central on Telegraph Ave.

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 five plays 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.

(Note the new instructor and content of this section as of June 7.) 


Reading and Composition: Reading and Writing in the Digital Age

English R1A

Section: 9
Instructor: Zeavin, Hannah
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 189 Dwinelle


Description

In this course, we will survey the production, consumption, and study of literary texts in the digital age. Starting with a unit on writers' relationships to their writing technologies across time, we will engage experiments in making tdigital literature from the 1980s to the present. We will explore digital culture in social and networked practices of writing and reading, new theories of reading in the digital moment (distance reading, surface reading), popular moral and media panics, and debates within the digital humanities, media and literary studies. Moving from Internet 1.0 to Internet 2.0, we will engage many "born-digital" and online texts, such as Michael Joyce's afternoon, William Gibson's Agrippa, and Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary," as well as digital literary platforms and websites. We will conclude the semester by looking at digital writing and its reception now, including viral literature, the Instagram poetry of Rupi Kau, and Warsan Shire's poetics in Beyonce's Lemonade.

The semester will feature a reoccurring peer-to-peer writing workshop as well as individual meetings with the instructor to work on writing and reserach skills, including digital research. In keeping with the aims of R1A, students will write and revise short essays in three dominant internet genres: the personal essay, "the hot take," and the think piece.


Reading and Composition: Gothic Trash

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Hobbs, Katherine
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 41 Evans


Book List

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth: Lady Audley's Secret; Mack, Robert L., editor: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be available in pdf form on bCourses.

Description

Gothic horror has never gone out of style. From the ominous castles of Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe in the eighteenth century to contemporary TV hits such as American Horror Story or The Haunting of Hill House (itself vaguely inspired by Shirley Jackson's classic novel), the Gothic is ever-adaptable and enduringly popular. But this popularity comes at a price. Gothic horror, despite—and sometimes because of—its wide appeal, is always at risk of being branded as "trash" or dismissed as aesthetically worthless. How can we account for this disparity between the Gothic's continuous hold on the popular imagination and its frequent exclusion from the realm of high literary art? In this course, we will explore the relationship of the Gothic to cheap popular forms, taking the rich periodical culture of the Victorian era as our archive. Nineteenth-century magazines and newspapers were home to a diverse range of literary genres—penny dreadfuls, sensation novels, ghost stories, detective fiction—that drew from the Gothic tradition. In the process of accommodating Gothic literary techniques to modern Britain, many of these works engaged with difficult questions of class and gender. But they did so in the dubious context of a print market associated with hack writing and mindless reading. We will consider these issues of genre, medium, political engagement, and reception as we practice our critical research and writing skills.

Primary readings for this course will include short stories and novels by Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Sheridan LeFanu, and others. In addition, we will read non-fiction articles and book reviews published alongside these fictional works in the Victorian press. Over the course of the semester, students will submit a series of writing assignments culminating in a final research paper.


Reading and Composition: Some Hard-Boiled Detectives

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: O'Brien, Garreth
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 214 Haviland


Book List

Chandler, Raymond: The Big Sleep; Hammett, Dashiell: Red Harvest; Himes, Chester: The Real Cool Killers; Macdonald, Ross: The Chill;

Recommended: Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein: "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing

Description

"It is not a very fragrant world, but it is the world you live in. . . ." So Raymond Chandler characterizes the world out of joint painted by "the realist in murder." The tradition of hard-boiled detective fiction offers (arguably) some of the most significant attempts to grapple with the nature of violence (criminal, institutional, and everything in between) in American society, whether we agree with it or not. This is a course on a few key novels from its most celebrated practitioners.

In this course we will consider five hard-boiled detectives—Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Chester Himes's Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson, and Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer—and the compelling, sometimes hilarious, frequently disturbing novels in which they appear. These are novels to enjoy; but we will also use this "lowbrow" genre to ask questions about the "literary": What is the relationship between literary style and popular language? What do we do when we read for the plot; and what are the values and dangers of this kind of reading? How do specific forms of narrative (like the mystery novel) model social structures?

There will be a number of shorter written assignments and revisions of those assignments, culminating in a longer research paper.


Reading and Composition: Novel Spaces: Contemporary Fiction and the Internet

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: D'Silva, Eliot
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 237 Cory


Book List

Lerner, Ben: 10:04; Pynchon, Thomas: Bleeding Edge; Rooney, Sally: Conversations with Friends; Sudjic, Olivia: Sympathy

Other Readings and Media

All other materials—websites, videos, music and short fiction—will be made available on bCourses.

We'll read a few works of cultural theory—Jean Francois Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition and Sianne Ngai's Our Aesthetic Categories— as well as selected excerpts from journalistic pieces and political speeches.

Description

In 1981, Kraftwerk released their landmark album Computer World. Since the time they recorded it, politicians, economists and journalists have suggested that the digitization of society would change everything, producing a world of infinite information, where there are no stable values and the very idea of the self feels outdated. Are they right? And if the technological developments of the last few decades have radically altered how society works, then what are their literary and aesthetic consequences?

This course starts with a survey of social theory that describes the texture of today: the world in which the decision about whether to take an Uber is happening at the same time as the decision to ask someone to marry you, and instant messaging has established itself as the default mode of communication. After surveying the social trends that are driving the production and consumption of contemporary literature, we'll read a few novels in which the internet and social media are actively featured and interrogated. Our encounters with these texts will generate a range of wider questions: What can the novel do in relation to the worldwide publication of tweets and the forms of self-exposure enacted by social media? Has the constant, everyday act of self-presentation through screens become a novelistic subject? How are received ideas about novel reading—as an emotional identification between reader and character—related to the ways that the internet has complicated people's emotions with regard to each other, through the creation of slightly gruesome feelings to do with the overstepping of boundaries or displays of sincerity that turn out to be artificial?

Over the course of the semester, writing, peer-reviewing and revising short papers will ensure that students learn how to patiently develop arguments that reveal the fruits of careful reading, accumulated analysis and scholarly research.


Reading and Composition: Reading and Writing in the Digital Age

English R1B

Section: 4
Instructor: Zeavin, Hannah
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Description

(Note the changes in the instructor and content of this section of English R1B as of early June.)

In this course, we will survey the production, consumption, and study of literary texts in the digital age. Starting with a unit on writers' relationships to their writing technologies across time, we will engage experiments in making tdigital literature from the 1980s to the present. We will explore digital culture in social and networked practices of writing and reading, new theories of reading in the digital moment (distance reading, surface reading), popular moral and media panics, and debates within the digital humanities, media and literary studies. Moving from Internet 1.0 to Internet 2.0, we will engage many "born-digital" and online texts, such as Michael Joyce's afternoon, William Gibson's Aggripa, and Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary," as well as digital literary platforms and websites. We will conclude the semester by looking at digital writing and its reception now, including viral literature, the Instagram poetry of Rupi Kau, and Warsan Shire's poetics in Beyoncé's Lemonade.

The semester will feature a reoccurring peer-to-peer writing workshop as well as individual meetings with the instructor to work on writing and research skills, including digital research. Across the whole of the semester, students will write and revise a research paper on a set of digital and/or online literary texts, cultures, or platforms.


Reading and Composition: The Monstrous Renaissance

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Rice, Sarah Sands
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 214 Haviland


Book List

Shakespeare, William: The Tempest: A Norton Critical Edition

Other Readings and Media

All other course readings will be made available through bCourses.

Description

This class ventures into Renaissance texts in search of the many monsters that dwell there. We will encounter eerily human beasts, snaky-haired Gorgons, monstrous births, and fierce cannibals. We will get to know those monsters through critical analysis, secondary scholarship, and self-directed research. Our journey into the realm of Renaissance monsters will take us through (among other things) a Renaissance bestiary, a medical treatise on monsters and marvels, and Shakespeare's The Tempest.

By applying the tools of literary analysis and scholarly research to those texts, we will investigate what led particular beings to be considered monsters in the cultural context of Renaisssance Europe. We will unpack the ideologies encoded in constructions of monstrousness and in the designation of a given being as a monster. How, for example, do the characteristics attributed to monsters in Renaissance Europe overlap with disability, gender, race, class, and colonialism? How do Renaissance portrayals of monsters relate to and challenge understandings of the human/animal divide? How do empathy and identification interact with exclusion and condemnation in Renaissance depictions of monsters?

This is a writing-intensive course designed to help you hone your literary analysis skills while expanding those skills to include research and thoughtful engagement with secondary sources. Writing assignments will include two relatively short essays and a longer argumentative research paper.


Reading and Composition: Drama and Disability

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: Drawdy, Miles
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 78 Barrows


Book List

Kuppers, Petra: Theatre & Disability; Lewis, Mike: Teenage Dick; Milton, John: Samson Agonistes; Shakespeare, William: Richard III; Williams, Tennessee: The Glass Menagerie; Yorkey, Brian and Tom Kitt: Next to Normal

Other Readings and Media

Additional materials will be made available on bCourses.

Description

It is a critical truism that the disabled body is always already a theatrical body—alternatively passing and masquerading. This course will interrogate the terms of this truism by examining how both disability and theatre have been historically understood. This is fundamentally a question of aesthetics, and yet it is also a question of spectatorship, expression, decorum, rhetoric, community, ethics, etc. Beginning with the contemporary Broadway musical, this class will move backward in time through Victorian melodrama and seventeenth-century closet drama to arrive at Shakespeare's Richard III before returning to the present with Mike Lew's Teenage Dick.

This course will ask questions of the relationship between theatrical forms and forms of disability. How might we leverage analytical models invented to describe and comprehand disability as literary critical tools? How do the ways in which we stare at disabled bodies change when we have been invited—indeed, when we have paid—to stare at them? How do disabled artists stare back? What are some of the ethical obligations for the production of disability theatre—accessibility, casting, marketing, etc.? Is the non-standard body obligated to communicate something—anything at all—about disability? How could it not?

As an R1B, we will be engaging with critical writing alongside the dramatic works on the syllabus. As we engage with both primary and secondary sources, this class will also hone your critical writing skills. Students will be asked to submit various formal responses to the plays as well as a final research paper.


Reading and Composition: The Literature of Aotearoa/New Zealand

English R1B

Section: 7
Instructor: Sutton, Emily
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Frame, Janet: Faces in the Water; Horrocks, Dylan: Hicksville; Hulme, Keri: The Bone People

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be available on bCourses.

Description

This course will focus first and foremost on the practice of academic writing and the skills needed to research, plan, draft and revise writing at a college level. More specifically, it stages the problem of scholarly research through an encounter with difference. While Katherine Mansfield is part of the modernist canon, New Zealand literature remains largely unread outside of New Zealand itself. Over the course of the semester we will think carefully about how we can make meaning from unfamiliar cultures and texts. We will read the canonical, and the not so canonical: Katherine Mansfield, Frank Sargeson, Janet Frame, Keri Hulme and Dylan Horrocks, as well as explore a selection of poems and the contemporary comedy of Flight of the Conchords. Through our reading of these texts we will explore the question of postcolonial national identity, with an emphasis on the way that this self-definition is complicated by race, gender and sexuality. How might we think about Maori and Pakeha/European literary traditions in relation to one another? We will also think about the place of New Zealand in the world—whether it be Hulme's winning the Booker Prize or the international success of Flight of the Conchords—and what it means to read New Zealand writing in an American context.


Reading and Composition: On Happiness

English R1B

Section: 8
Instructor: Ritland, Laura
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 106 Dwinelle


Book List

Smith, Danez: Don't Call Us Dead; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be posted on bCourses, and will include: essays, poetry, and short fiction by Audre Lorde, Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes, Adrienne Rich, Rohinton Mistry, Madeleine Thien, Jamaica Kincaid; and (short, excerpted) philosophical and academic texts by Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Arlie Hochschild, Aristotle, Epicurus, J.S. Mill, Jeremey Bentham, and Theodor Adorno. We will also watch films—tentatively, The Hours, directed by Stephen Daldry, and Fire, directed by Deepa Mehta.

Description

In contemporary popular culture, "happiness" is often pictured as an object just beyond our reach. We try to organize our future life-paths to be "happy," tend to collectively agree that happiness is a worthwhile pursuit, and develop whole industries to make us happier—from wedding planning agencies to meditation apps. However, what really is "happiness"? Is it an ongoing process or life ethics, as in the case of the Ancient Greeks' philosophical meditations on the "good life" or eudaimonia? Is it something that can be grasped or gained, like property or other forms of capital? Is it a political condition that every democratic citizen has a "right" to claim, as famously stated in the U.S. Declaration of Independence? Finally, and importantly, as the cultural critic Sara Ahmed has asked in The Promise of Happiness, "Do we consent to happiness?" When might happiness in fact be a dictum to assimilate to modes of life that may not be very happy at all? Can a resistance to happiness—or self-reflexive unhappiness—become a form of social resistance? And is happiness the best technique for living well, here and now?

We will approach these questions especially through literary works and narrative media by women, queer writers, and writers of color, to think about how happiness becomes defined and contested in the twentieth century. This course will also require you to think backwards into history and stretch your reading and interpretational skills through short excerpts from older philosophical texts (Aristotle, Epicurus, Bentham, etc.) and recent scholarly works (Ahmed, Berlant, Hochschild, etc.). Aside from providing a conceptual framework for you to begin to think and write about happiness, the primary goal of this course is to cultivate your skill as a writer and critical thinker. As such, you will be required to compose a series of short writing assignments throughout the course which will utimately lead to a large research paper.


Reading and Composition: The Information Society

English R1B

Section: 9
Instructor: Hinojosa, Bernardo S.
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 41 Evans


Book List

Cline, Ernest: Ready Player One; Gleick, James: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be posted on bCourses. We will also watch television episodes (Black Mirror, Silicon Valley) and films (Her, The Truman Show).

Description

What is an information society? How do we read and think in a world of information? Numerous publications in recent years, both inside and outside the academy, have identified the late twentieth and twenty-first centures as an age of information, an age in which digital technologies have drastically increased the availability and accessibility of textual and non-textual content. The internet has revolutionized pretty much every aspect of everyday life, from shopping to dating. The ubiquity of mobile technologies has made entire libraries fit inside a user's pocket. These new technologies have deep-rooted cultural, social, and ethical implications, and it is precisely these implications that this class explores. What do internet phenomena such as "Twitch Plays Pokémon" and Reddit's "Mildly Interesting" tell us about the formation of digital communities? What are the ethical implications of data science and machine learning? How can digital technologies both bolster and resist structures of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia in our society?

In this class, we will discuss what "information" is and what it means to live in an "information society." In order to do so, we will also read and analyze examples of some of the major genres of the information age (the listicle, the meme, the thinkpiece, the tweet, the fake news article, among others) alongside works of fiction that explore these issues. Throughout the class, we will also compare our own digital age to other milestone moments in the history of information: the popularization of the codex in late antiquity, the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, and the development of telecommunications in the nineteenth century.

In addition to engaging in critical reading and thinking, in this class you will also develop your critical writing skills by producing a number of short written assignments culminating in an academic research paper. Indeed, the issues we discuss and read about will serve as topics, prompts, and starting points for you to plan, research, write, and edit your own work.


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

English R1B

Section: 10
Instructor: Scott, Mark JR
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 39 Evans


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: Re-Visioning the 1960s

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 35 Evans


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Charters, Ann, ed.: The Portable Sixties Reader; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Other Readings and Media

Further course materials will be available through bCourses and will likely include: images from Andy Warhol's Death and Disaster series (1964), George Oppen's long poem "Of Being Numerous" (1968), Valerie Solanas's The SCUM Manifesto (1967), Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisted (1965), as well as the documentaries The Black Power Mixtape and Berkeley in the Sixties.

Description

This Reading and Composition course will explore selected works of literature, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. Our theme places emphasis on the relationship between artistic experimentation and the emancipatory social movements of the decade (in the United States as well as internationally); we will ask how innovative practices of literary form, cinema, and music engaged with the more directly political questions of the period. How did writers, visual artists, and musicians use their creative work to challenge war, racism, social and economic inequality, sexual violence, and gendered discrimination? What role do poetry, music, and visual art play in composing new collectivities and democratic potentials for social transformation?

In addition to gaining skills in literary and rhetorical analysis, students will strengthen their capacities to make persuasive arguments, formulate compelling questions to guide their own research, and explore creative approaches to academic writing. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to peer feedback. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two formal essays (3-5 pages), frequent response posts to discussion board, and complete a final research project. 


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the 1960s

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 78 Barrows


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Charters, Ann, ed.: The Portable Sixties Reader; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Other Readings and Media

Further course materials will be available through bCourses and will likely include: images from Andy Warhol's Death and Disaster series (1964), Goerge Oppen's long poem "Of Being Numerous" (1968), Valerie Solanas's The SCUM Manifesto (1967), Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited (1965), as well as the documentaries The Black Power Mixtape and Berkeley in the Sixties.

Description

This Reading and Composition course will explore selected works of literature, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. Our theme places emphasis on the relationship between artistic experimentation and the emancipatory social movements of the decade (in the United States as well as internationally); we will ask how innovative practices of literary form, cinema, and music engaged with the more directly political questions of the period. How did writers, visual artists, and musicians use their creative work to challenge war, racism, social and economic inequality, sexual violence, and gendered discrimination? What role do poetry, music, and visual art play in composing new collectivities and democratic potentials for social transformation?

In addition to gaining skills in literary and rhetorical analysis, students will strengthen their capacities to make persuasive arguments, formulate compelling questions to guide their own research, and explore creative approaches to academic writing. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to peer feedback. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two formal essays (3-5 pages), frequent response posts to discussion board, and complete a final research project.


Reading and Composition: (Im)personal Essays

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: Khan, Mehak Faisal
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 55 Evans


Book List

Nelson, Maggie: The Argonauts

Other Readings and Media

There will also be a Course Reader.

Description

What does it mean to give your writing "personality"? In this course we will consider varying kinds of nonfiction (travel writing, reportage, Netflix comedy specials, autobiographical games, autotheory, and the classic "personal essay") to think about the relationships that persons and personalities—particularly as they relate to race, class, gender and sexuality, nation, and land—have to their writing/art/games. We will use these forms to think about academic writing, and how personal and impersonal modes of writing function in the work we do.

This is a research-focused course geared towards developing and experimenting with academic writing skills. (Note: please do not buy books until after the first week of class, as the book list may change.)


Reading and Composition: Don't Go There! Fairy Tales

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Baker-Gibbs, Ariel
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Description

There is almost nothing more familiar than a fairy tale, yet they all address unfamiliarity, danger, and risk. For children, young women and everyone else, the world is full of mysterious knowledge and dreadful ordeals. So how do fairy tales configure this world around us? What are they about? How do they depict growth and learning? How do they expect us to respond to story, text, place? How does our conception of what fairy tales are, and how they work, and what they're for, change over the years? From warnings not to go into the woods to challenges to pass through labyrinths, we will look across folktales, myths, short stories, novels, and films to explore how the fairy tale presents or conceals itself through retelling, adaptation, and interpretation.

In this course, we will focus on reading critically, developing analytical questions, and researching through in-class exercises, and on the gradual construction of an original final research paper on a fairy tale of the student's choosing, or a creative project of devising a fairy tale of your own along with a reflection on your work. We will work together over the semester to engage with critical reading and critical writing on a number of levels, through a process of drafting, revising, editing, researching, and peer-reviewing.

Texts will include selected fairy tales, such as "The Story of Grandmother" (French); "The Myth of Psyche and Eros" (Greek); "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" (Scandinavian); "The Myth of the Labyrinth" (Greek); Wendigo stories (Algonquin); short stories including "The Husband Stitch" in Her Body and Other Parties," by Carmen Maria Machado, "Bloodchild" in Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler; films including Pan's Labyrinth and Hunger Games.


Reading and Composition: Queer I

English R1B

Section: 16
Instructor: Stevenson, Max
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 121 Latimer


Book List

Augustine (trans. Sarah Ruden: Confessions; Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Nelson, Maggie: The Argonauts; Staley, Lynn, trans. and ed.: The Book of Margery Kempe

Description

This course asks how writers use the stories of individual lives to negotiate what it means to be "queer," in the widest possible sense of the term. Most of what we read will be pieces written by authors describing their own lived experiences, but given R1B's focus on research we'll also engage the unruly body of thought that is queer theory, asking how both it and writing itself can provide tools for living all sorts of lives.

The various Is (and hes and shes and theys) of the course include everything from funeral directors to college students, from artists to crossdressing saints in monastic drag. And much like the retrospective I of the memoirist, this course has a double vantage point: we'll study contemporary life writing side by side with life writing from the long Middle Ages, reading together two thinkers who offer their lives as opportunities for theorizing or theologizing (Augustine's Confessions and Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts) and two attempts at self-definition under the shadow of demons past, present, and familial (the Book of Margery Kempe and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home). Other authors we will study include Alexander Chee, M. F. K. Fisher, Chang-rae Lee, James Baldwin, Richard Rodriguez, and the writers of anonymous Old English elegies and saints' lives.

While those lives are our subject of study, they are not its object. As a course in the University's Reading and Composition program, our objective is your own improvement as a writer. While the requirements of R1B mean that you'll produce academic essays that put forward vigorous arguments supported with copious evidence gathered through careful research, you'll produce a range of writing over the course, in a range of other, less academic genres—including, yes, writing on your own life.