Announcement of Classes: Fall 2020

Course #
Course Area


Reading and Composition:
Screens, Pages, and Visual Rhetoric in Contemporary Fiction

MWF 9-10

A study from the Global Web Index reveals that internet users aged sixteen to sixty-four averaged 6 hours and 43 minutes online per day in 2019. This amounts to 102 full days of screentime per person. If people are spending nearly a third of their liv...(read more) Catchings, Alex


Reading and Composition:
Genres of Plague: 1347, 1981, 2020

MWF 10-11

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) a pandemic. Since this announcement, the pandemic has wreaked havoc in practically every country around the world: millions of cases and hundreds of thousands o...(read more) Hinojosa, Bernardo S.


Reading and Composition:
Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

MWF 11-12

This Reading and Composition course will focus on selected speeches, fiction, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. In addition to providing a set of broad critical, aesthetic and historical issues to engage over the course of the semester,...(read more) Koerner, Michelle


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

MWF 12-1

Book List: Ford, John: ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore; 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 additio...(read more) Scott, Mark JR


Reading and Composition:
Four Nobelists: Great Writers of the Last One Hundred Years

MWF 1-2

One survived World War II in Poland. Another hailed from a small island in the eastern Caribbean, an outpost on the verge of breaking free of Europe's colonial grip. One was born to a people burdened and ravaged by centuries of enslavement. Another gr...(read more) Nathan, Jesse


Reading and Composition:
Octavia Butler: Writing the Body

Note new time: MW 3-4:30

How do fictional identities relate to lived ones? How does a body relate to a mind, a self, or a person? And how do these relationships change as cataclysmic events change the societies in which our identities develop?     In this course we will re...(read more) Homans-Turnbull, Marian


Reading and Composition:
Performances of Identity

MWF 2-3

             "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 perform...(read more) Ghosh, Srijani


Reading and Composition:
Borderline Crooks

MW 5-6:30

A plague-ridden Thebes, an Indian reservation, a Rio slum, a U.S.-Mexico border town, the LA hood, a California women's prison. These are the settings for our examination of characters who run up against obstacles—from within themselves, their familie...(read more) Walter, David


Reading and Composition:
Reading and Rereading

MWF 9-10

According to Vladimir Nabokov, “one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.”  In this course, we will provide ourselves with the space to engage more deeply with texts thr...(read more) Yniguez, Rudi


Reading and Composition:
Literature’s Social Life

MWF 10-11

Literature doesn’t exist in a vacuum, nor does it exist only in classrooms—it has a history, a context, a wider social life that affects how it is produced as well as how it is read, interpreted, circulated, and put to use. In this course, we will exa...(read more) Wang, Jacob


Reading and Composition:
Placing “No Place”: Fact and Fiction in Early Modern Utopia

MWF 10-11

In 1519, Thomas More coins the word utopia, literally translating to “no place,” an ideal society which does not exist. And yet, the imaginative vision that animates his Utopia hardly emerges from “no place”: More explicitly bases the voyages of his f...(read more) Lesser, Madeline


Reading and Composition:
Imagining the Collapse of Society

MWF 11-12

When a civilization falls, what becomes of those remaining? When society collapses, what is left? Is the end of the world just another beginning? Fiction, particularly speculative fiction, has attempted to understand what might come if life as we k...(read more) Gable, Nickolas


Reading and Composition:
Robert Frost: Education by Poetry

MWF 11-12

"The closeness—everything depends on the closeness with which you come, and you ought to be marked for the closeness, for nothing else." This course will study the works and thinking of Robert Frost, a poet of deceptive fame who, by seeming to need...(read more) Laser, Jessica


Reading and Composition:
Epic Romance, Novel Histories: Chronicling Fiction

MWF 12-1

What does it mean to tell a history of history-telling?  What are the stakes for narrating, recording, or imagining events and eras through inherited (epic, romance) or novel genres—what is gained or lost, and what relation to past and future selves d...(read more) Vinyard Boyle, Elizabeth


Reading and Composition:
The New American Poetry

MWF 12-1

When accepting the National Book Award in 1960 for his poetry collection Life Studies, the poet Robert Lowell characterized U.S. poetry as a house divided between two camps: “the raw” and “the cooked.” This course will focus on what Lowell in 1960 cal...(read more) Dunsker, Leo


Reading and Composition:
Cannibals, Collectors, Chroniclers: Fictions of Empire

MWF 12-1

This class will focus on Anglo-American representations of colonial encounter from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period of dramatic imperial expansion. What are the conventions of fictions of empire? How are figures like cannibals and col...(read more) Struhl, Abigail


Reading and Composition:
Western War Literature

MWF 1-2

Western literature has, since its inception, been preoccupied with war: war as historical and as personal event, as political and ethical crisis, as quotidian reality. Insofar as war has been a master-narrative in our conception of human society, it’s...(read more) Furcall, Dylan


Reading and Composition:
Romantic Satanism: "Paradise Lost" and Its Radical Legacies

MWF 1-2

What does it mean to be a romantic reader of Paradise Lost? In this course, we will closely read the canonical epic poem by John Milton, before exploring its reception in a few key Romantic texts. By reading Milton alongside William Blake and Olaudah ...(read more) Sulpizio, Catherine


Reading and Composition:
Jewish and Black-ish: Race Relations in American Literature

MWF 1-2

Judaism may be the only religion that takes an “-ish” in its adjectival form, but it’s certainly not the only identity in American culture to consider its partiality through language. As the 2014 sit-com Black-ish showed through its very title, Africa...(read more) Ullman, Alex


Reading and Composition:
Missing Home: Stories of Exile and Dislocation

MWF 2-3

Please note the changes in the instructor and course content of this section of English R1B (as of June 15). This course turns to the experience of exile and its diverse representations in texts drawing from the post-Enlightenment to contemporary p...(read more) Cho, Jennifer


Reading and Composition:
Quarantine/Pandemic, Alienation/Globalization, Alone/Together

MW 5-6:30

Does Covid-19 have you feeling isolated and alone? Unusually connected to far-flung strangers, friends, and family members who are going through the same thing at the same time? Perhaps both? In this course, readings and essay topics will consider the...(read more) McWilliams, Ryan


Reading and Composition:
Wronged Women: Violence and Gender in Early English Literature

TTh 8-9:30

(Note new instructor, topic, and course description as of May 11.) The brutal representations of sexual violence on the HBO series Game of Thrones have provoked heated debate in recent years. Under what circumstances, if any, is it ethical to repre...(read more) Ripplinger, Michelle


Reading and Composition:
Against the Theater

TTh 5-6:30

What’s in a theatre? A stage, props, audiences, actors, devices— all sustained by a general acceptance that what happens on stage is not “real.” While the theatre’s composition has remained largely stable over time, the last few centuries have seen th...(read more) Ogunniyi, Kevin


Reading and Composition:
Religion in the First Person

TTh 5-6:30

“O Lord, I truly toil at this task and labor in myself. I have become a troublesome field that requires hard labor and heavy sweat. We are not trying to explore the regions of the sky, or measuring the distances of the stars, or inquiring about the we...(read more) Delehanty, Patrick
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Course Area


Modern British and American Literature:
Pandemic Fiction

MW 5-6:30

Through the centuries, pandemics have supplied storytellers with fodder for reflections on community and isolation, humanity and inhumanity, hope and despair, and how the future might be imagined in the face of widespread disease and death. In 2020, t...(read more) Snyder, Katherine


Freshman Seminar

This section of English 24 has been canceled (8/3/20). ...(read more) Miller, D.A.


Freshman Seminar:
Reading Walden Carefully

W 4-5

As close and careful a reading of Thoreau's dense and enigmatic work as we can manage in the time we have. Regular atttendance and participation and five pages of writing will be required. This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve ...(read more) Breitwieser, Mitchell


Freshman Seminar:
Emily Dickinson

Thurs. 2-3

We will read and discuss extraordinary poems by Emily Dickinson. This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major. ...(read more) Wagner, Bryan


Freshman Seminar:
English Sonneteers: Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne

M 12-1

The finest practioners of the English sonnet tradition were, in death-date order, Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and John Donne. After brief biographical surveys, this seminar will consider sonnet types (Italian, English), met...(read more) Nelson, Alan H.


Freshman Seminar:
Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: Voice, Argument ,Character, and Plot

W 10-11

Shakespeares' sonnets are arguments—addressed to himself, a male friend, and a mysteriously alluring woman—and most of them concern love. We're going to read them all in the course of the semester, and at each meeting read several aloud, then talk abo...(read more) Altman, Joel B.


Freshman Seminar:
Frankenstein and Its Rewritings

M 2-3

Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein has so much cultural resonance that Frankenstein itself has become a word. Reflecting a slippage between the scientist and the being he creates, Frankenstein has come to mean a monstrous creation that destroys its mak...(read more) Christ, Carol T.


Major Writers:
John Donne

TTh 5-6:30

Much of John Donne’s poetry speaks from the bedroom (“And now good-morrow to our waking souls”); much of the rest, from the grave (“When my grave is broke up again”). The voice, however, is always the same: morbid yet lively, tender but tyrannical, in...(read more) Marno, David


Literature of American Cultures:
American Hustle: Race, Ethnicity, and Dreams of Getting Ahead

TTh 9:30-11

In this class, we are going to do and to talk about work: getting work, making it work, working the system. This course, which constitutes a survey of ethnic American literature, asks about the desires, imagination, and labor that go into the Ameri...(read more) Saha, Poulomi


Freshman and Sophomore Seminar:
Reading Marx Now

W 2-5

Marx is being seriously and widely read again since the financial crisis of 2008, and Capital Vol. 1 in particular is considered his work most appropriate to our times. Reading Capital today, we’ll see why 20th- and 21st- century radical thinkers on q...(read more) Lye, Colleen
Salzinger, Leslie


Literature in English: Through Milton

Lectures MW 9-10 + 1 hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 103: F 10-11; sec. 105: Thurs. 11-12; sec. 106: Thurs. 1-2)

This course offers an introduction to English literary history from the late fourteenth to the late seventeenth centuries. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost will be our main te...(read more) Goodman, Kevis


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

Lectures MW 1-2 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 1-2; sec. 103: F 2-3; sec. 104: F 2-3; sec. 105: Thurs. 9-10; sec. 106: Thurs. 10-11

As we read works produced in a period of tumultuous change, we shall consider those works as zones of contact, reflecting and sometimes negotiating conflict. In a world of expanding global commerce (imports like tea suddenly becoming commonplace in En...(read more) Sorensen, Janet


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

Lectures MW 11-12 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 12-1; sec. 105: Thurs. 2-3; sec. 106: Thurs. 4-5)

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 wr...(read more) Gang, Joshua


Asian American Literature and Culture:
Voice, Text, Image

TTh 2-3:30

This is a lecture and discussion course that surveys 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, includin...(read more) Leong, Andrew Way


Sophomore Seminar:
The Coen Brothers

M 10-12

We will concentrate on the high and low cultural elements in the noir comedies of the Coen brothers, discussing their use of Hollywood genres, parodies of classic conventions, and representation of arbitrariness. We will also read some fiction and att...(read more) Bader, Julia
Course #
Course Area


Introduction to Old English

TTh 12:30-2

This course is aimed at beginners, whether graduate* or undergraduate, familiarizing them with the principles and practice of linguistic decoding and the grammar and vocabulary of, primarily, Old English prose: historiographical (histories), hagiograp...(read more) Miller, Jennifer



Lectures TTh 2-3 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 10-11; sec. 103: F 1-2; sec. 104: F 12-1; sec. 105: F 12-1; sec. 106: F 1-2)

This class focuses on a selection of works from Shakespeare’s entire career. We'll be reading a limited number of plays and some of the poetry. One of the main issues I'd like to focus on is the oscillation between "regular" and "irregular." What is t...(read more) Marno, David



MW 5-6:30

Probably the most influential and famous (and, in his own time, infamous) literary figure of the seventeenth century, John Milton has too often been misrepresented as a mainstay of a traditional canon rather than the rebel he was. People who do not kn...(read more) Goodman, Kevis


The Contemporary Novel:
The Historical Novel

TTh 11-12:30

Texts: Anna Burns: Milkman; E. L. Doctorow: Ragtime; Amitav Ghosh: Sea of Poppies; Toni Morrison: Song of Solomon; Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Sympathizer  What is historical and what is fictional about the genre of historical fiction? Since the ninetee...(read more) Bernes, Jasper


American Literature: 1800-1865

Lectures MW 12-1 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 12-1)

We will read the extraordinary fiction, poetry, essays, and speeches of this period, including works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Fanny Fern, Herman Melvi...(read more) Otter, Samuel


American Poetry

This course will be taught asynchronously.

This survey of U.S. poetries will begin with 17th- and 18th-century poems by two women, Anne Bradstreet and Phyllis Wheatley, move to another (19th-century) pairing in Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, and then touch down in expatriate and stateside m...(read more) O'Brien, Geoffrey G.


American Novel

Lectures MW 2-3 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 2-3)

Rather than define a canon, this survey will trace how the novel form has contributed to the project of nation-formation in the United States.  How has the novel helped to define what it means to be American, starting from the country’s fledgling days...(read more) Lee, Steven S.


African American Literature and Culture Since 1917

MWF 1-2

This course will examine some major 20th-century African American novels; however, given the nature of the terrain, the course will also dip back into the period of slavery in the U.S. (the works of Douglass and Jacobs).  Beloved will take us back int...(read more) JanMohamed, Abdul R.


Topics in American Studies:
The Wall: Art, Literature, Performance on and about the U.S.-Mexican Border

MWF 2-3

This will be a course in which we will think about the emergence of a distinct border aesthetic, one in which form is often torqued by dispiriting content but which, simultaneously, also finds beauty in the cultural and natural ecologies that trace th...(read more) Padilla, Genaro M.


Studies in World Literature in English:
Multi-Culty: Cults, Pop Culture, and Globalization

TTh 12:30-2

We are fascinated by cults. What is it about communities and groups that promise total belief and total enthrallment that so captures the imagination? This course will look at a range of representations of cults in popular culture—from the document...(read more) Saha, Poulomi


Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.)

MW 5-6:30

This course will introduce students to the study of creative writing—fiction and poetry (with a brief dip into playwriting). Students will learn to talk critically about these forms and begin to feel comfortable and confident writing within these genr...(read more) Abrams, Melanie


Short Fiction

MW 1:30-3

The aim of this course is to explore the genre of short fiction—to discuss the elements that make up the short story, to talk critically about short stories, and to become comfortable and confident with the writing of them.  Students will write two sh...(read more) Abrams, Melanie


Short Fiction

TTh 9:30-11

A short fiction workshop with a focus on the craft of writing. In this course, we will be readers, writers, and editors of short fiction. We'll read a range of published short stories in order to discover the technical ways in which a short story is c...(read more) McFarlane, Fiona


Short Fiction

TTh 2-3:30

A short fiction workshop. Over the course of the semester, each student will write and revise two stories. Each participant in the workshop will edit student-written stories and will write a formal critique of each manuscript. Students are required to...(read more) Chandra, Vikram



This course will be taught asynchronously.

The purpose of this class will be to produce a collective language in which to treat poetry. Writing your own poems will be a part of this task, but it will also require readings in contemporary poetry and essays in poetics, as well as some writing as...(read more) O'Brien, Geoffrey G.


Long Narrative

TTh 11-12:30

This course is for students interested in or already working on a novel or novella. Questions of structure, plot, setting, character, time, and voice will be addressed in our readings and throughout the course, particularly during our workshops, where...(read more) Rowland, Amy


Prose Nonfiction:
Our Culture, Our Lives

MW 12-1:30

This course is a nonfiction workshop in which you’ll learn to write about many different types of art and culture, from TV to music and film, while also developing your own voice and sensibility on the page as you learn to write about your own life. B...(read more) Saul, Scott


Writing Technology:
Utopian Futures

Lectures TTh 11-12 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 2-3)

Recent science fiction narratives tend toward the dystopian, perhaps in reaction to the grim realities of our time.  But science fiction writers have always imagined better futures made possible by technological advances. In this interdisciplinary ...(read more) Chandra, Vikram


Introduction to Literary Theory:
Free Speech, in Theory

TTh 11-12:30

This course will interrogate the way in which "free" speech informs and complicates our understanding of literature and the literary. We will trace the conceptual intersection of freedom and speech both historically and across several disciplines, beg...(read more) Langan, Celeste


Special Topics:
Law and Literature in the United States

MW 12-1:30

This course will introduce students to law and literature studies by exploring the legal and literary culture of the United States from the Declaration of Independence (1776) to Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010). We will focus on ...(read more) de Stefano, Jason


Special Topics:
Writing as Social Practice

TTh 5-6:30

One of the ideas behind this course offering is that poetry and essays (life-writing, creative nonfiction, "essaying," etc.) have similar aims or field-marks—both are literary vehicles of exploration and documentation; both value experimental approach...(read more) Giscombe, Cecil S.


Special Topics:
The Age of Crisis

TTh 3:30-5

There was a recurring plague, a changing climate, a never-ending war, a failed revolution and a cruel reaction, paranoia and persecution, political strife and inept leadership and a widespread sense that everything had gone wrong and could never be fi...(read more) Strub, Spencer


Literature and the Arts:
Opera and Literary Form

TTh 12:30-2

Opera and Literary Form "An exotic and irrational entertainment" (Samuel Johnson). Invented in Renaissance Italy as a revival of classical Greek drama, opera became a major European art form, interacting dynamically with literary and philosophical ...(read more) Duncan, Ian


Literature and the Arts:
The Writing on the Wall -- African-American Literature and Visual Art

TTh 2-3:30

We tend to separate art forms for the convenience of study and instruction, and to talk about writers in terms primarily of their influence upon other writers, but this is hardly how most artists work. In this course we will explore a tendency in Afri...(read more) Best, Stephen M.


Literature and Psychology

TTh 9:30-11

In this course, we will survey literatures of the self and their history from antiquity to the present. We will attend to the writing of the self in its many genres and forms: the diary, the autobiography, the poem, the novel, the memoir, the case stu...(read more) Zeavin, Hannah


Literature and Disability

TTh 2-3:30

We will read drama, poetry  and short fiction by contemporary authors with disabilities. Requirements will include two analytical essays, a group presentation project and a take-home final exam.  This is a core course for the disability studies min...(read more) Kleege, Georgina


Literature and Linguistics

TTh 11-12:30

The medium of literature is language. This course aims to deepen understanding of what this means through consideration of how certain literary forms cn be defined as grammatical forms. These literary forms include meter; rhyme and alliteration; synta...(read more) Hanson, Kristin


The Short Story

TTh 12:30-2

This course will be a survey of the short story from the 19th century to the present: its historical and cultural contexts, its formal and stylistic properties. We'll consider the short story's predecessors, the work of its major practitioners, and th...(read more) McFarlane, Fiona


Research Seminar:
Utopia and Anti-Utopia

MW 10:30-12

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.  And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.”             ...(read more) Lee, Steven S.


Research Seminar:
Eco-crisis and Climate Refugueeism

MW 9-10:30

Note:  Newly added section of English 190 (as of 4/20): In this seminar, we will analyze historical, contemporary, and speculative narratives that explore social locations of eco-crisis and climate refugeeism. We will consider John Steinbeck's Grap...(read more) Cruz, Frank Eugene


Research Seminar:
The Spy Novel

MW 5-6:30

This course will survey a variety of spy novels, comparing their diverse modalities.  We will explore the genre’s origins that lie in values dictated by a traditional white masculinity, from the machismo of a James Bond to the quiet, deliberate sleuth...(read more) JanMohamed, Abdul R.


Research Seminar:
Modern California Books and Movies

W 5-8

Besides reading and discussing fiction and essays that attempt to identify or explain distinctive regional characteristics, this course will include consideration of various movies shaped by and shaping conceptions of California. Writing will consist ...(read more) Starr, George A.


Research Seminar:
Is It Useless to Revolt?

TTh 9:30-11

“Is it useless to revolt?”  Our course borrows its title from an essay by Michel Foucault on the Iranian Revolution of 1979.  Foucault urges us to suspend judgment and listen to the voices of revolt, even as they seem entangled in a history of inescap...(read more) Goldsmith, Steven


Research Seminar:
Anatomy of Criticism

TTh 3:30-5

What is literary criticism?  All English majors and their professors do it, or try to do it; but articulating what it is, or should be, is not easy.  In this course we will consider this question with Canadian literary critic and theorist Northrop Fry...(read more) Hanson, Kristin


Research Seminar:
James / Baldwin

TTh 5-6:30

James Baldwin made little secret of the importance of Henry James to his creative life, paying debt in complex, archly poetic sentences that drew snide dismissals from friends and rivals alike (Mailer: “even the best of his paragraphs are sprayed with...(read more) Best, Stephen M.


Research Seminar:
Medieval Sexuality

TTh 5-6:30

For more information about this section of English 190, please contact Professor Miller at This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major. ...(read more) Miller, Jennifer


Honors Course

MW 9-10:30

In the first semester of this two-semester-long course, we will familiarize ourselves with a number of critical approaches to literary study and reflect a bit on the institution of criticism itself. These discussions will provide a background from whi...(read more) Sorensen, Janet


Honors Course

TTh 3:30-5

In the fall semester we will consider what makes a research question, problem, or project a significant one. Does it merely involve choosing to study a "significant" writer or text? (And what makes some writers/texts more significant than others?) Or ...(read more) Langan, Celeste

Graduate students from other departments and exceptionally well-prepared undergraduates are welcome in English graduate courses (except for English 200 and 375) when space permits. Please contact the instructor if you have questions.

Course #
Course Area


Problems in the Study of Literature

MW 10:30-12

Approaches to literary study, including textual analysis, scholarly methodology and bibliography, critical theory and practice. Enrollment is limited to entering doctoral students in the English program. ...(read more) Lye, Colleen


History of Literary Criticism:
History of Literary Theory

Tues. 3:30-6:30

An introduction to Western literary theory from antiquity to the present, focusing on the historical shift from the disciplines of poetics and rhetoric to that of aesthetics, with special attention to the concept of aesthetics and the discourse of the...(read more) Kahn, Victoria


Graduate Readings:
Literature and Analytic Philosophy

MW 1:30-3

It’s hard to overstate literary study’s indebtedness to continental philosophy. For much of the past century, figures such as Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Rancière have informed some of our most important conversations about what literature is, what...(read more) Gang, Joshua


Graduate Readings:
Prospectus Workshop

W 3-6

This is a hands-on writing workshop intended to facilitate and accelerate the transition from qualifying exams to prospectus conference, from prospectus conference to first dissertation chapter, and from the status of student to that of scholar. The w...(read more) Abel, Elizabeth


Graduate Readings:
Harlem Renaissance

Thurs 3:30-6:30

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement of black artists and writers in the 1920s and 1930s. Centered in New York, its activities extended outward through international collaboration. We will be reading works by writers including Claude McKay, ...(read more) Wagner, Bryan


Poetry Writing Workshop

TTh 2-3:30

In this semester's 243B we'll be actively fielding questions around environmentally conscious/location-oriented writing. Some beginnings: From Jonathan Skinner's introduction to the Ecopoetics section of the Cambridge anthology American Literatu...(read more) Giscombe, Cecil S.


Prose Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Thurs. 9:30-12:30

This is a writing workshop for Ph.D students interested in writing nonacademic literary prose. This might mean creative nonfiction, personal essay, memoir, food writing,, sports writing, nonacademic reviewing of books, film, performance, and art, and ...(read more) Kleege, Georgina


Graduate Pro-seminar:
The Literature of Civil War and Reconstruction

W 3-6

We will read literature produced in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century that engages issues having to do with the Civil War and Reconstruction and its aftermath—issues that reverberate in the present. Taking up matters of li...(read more) Otter, Samuel


Research Seminar:
Symposia in Trans Method

F 9-12

Is there a trans method? Should there be? These two questions will guide our study of work by trans writers, artists, and activists, both within the historical institution of "trans studies" (conceived of as distinct from and even oppositional to quee...(read more) Lavery, Grace


Research Seminar:
Studies in Pastoral: The Itinerant/Iterative Commons

W 3-6

The ambition of this class will be twofold—to address some of the formal possibilities specific to calendric forms such as the natural history or travel journal (Matsuo Bashõ, Gilbert White, Dorothy Wordsworth, John Clare, Henry David Thoreau, Derek J...(read more) François, Anne-Lise


The Teaching of Composition and Literature

Tues. 10:30-12:30

This course introduces new English Department G.S.I.s to the theory and practice of teaching literature and writing, first for discussion sections of lecture courses, and second, for self-designed reading and composition (R & C) courses. By the en...(read more) Ellis, Nadia

BERKELEY CONNECT: Would you like to get together with your peers to talk about literature and books? Are you wondering what to do with your English major once you graduate? Do you want to hear about the books that most influenced your English professors? Do you want expert advice about which courses to take? Would you like to see your favorite professors debating about a great work of literature? If so, please join Berkeley Connect!

Berkeley Connect in English fosters community in the English Department and offers a space for “serious play”: small group discussions about ideas and texts, explorations of the many riches of the Berkeley campus, visits by department faculty and distinguished alumni, and one-on-one advice on courses and graduate programs from graduate students and professors.

Individual Berkeley Connect groups (each with about 15-20 students) meet every other week for one hour of “serious play.” On the off weeks, your graduate student mentor will hold office hours so that you can talk individually about issues important to you. Some of the small group meetings will be informal discussions of a range of literary issues, while others involve visits to places around campus (such as the Berkeley Art Museum and the Bancroft Library). On other weeks we will meet as a large group to hear from distinguished alumni, or to listen to Berkeley English professors talk about their own paths into literary study or debate key books in their field with other professors.

Berkeley Connect in English is intended for students who have taken classes in English and are interested in taking more. There are no essays, papers, exams, or outside reading for Berkeley Connect, just lots of good discussion, valuable advice, and all sorts of “serious play.” Although this is not a traditional course, each participant will enroll in and earn one unit for group independent study (as English 98BC or 198BC, on a Pass/NP basis). The program is not meant to offer extra help or tutoring on things like the mechanics of paper-writing or literary analysis; rather, it aims at providing a more relaxed and fun way to make the best of your Berkeley experience.

Berkeley Connect in English sections:  English 98BC sections 1-2 are intended for lower-division (freshmen and sophomore) students.  English 198BC sections 2, 5, and 7 are intended for continuing upper-division students; sections 3, 4, and 6 are intended for new junior transfer students; and sections 1 and 8 are intended for both.

Though Berkeley Connect may be repeated for credit, students may enroll in no more than one section of Berkeley Connect in English in a given semester.  Moreover, a Berkeley Connect class may not be taken in more than two departments in the same semester.


Please read the following instructions carefully:

(1)  All proposals for Fall 2020 English Department De-CAL classes must be submitted by WED., JULY 1 (rather than the later date listed on the Academic Senate's website). Students wishing to offer a De-CAL must provide, for approval, a carefully completed COCI Special Course Proposal Form, available at:, for 198 classes.  (Even if you have been a student facilitator of a De-CAL on the same topic sometime in the past, you must download a brand-new proposal form.)  The proposal includes—besides the information requested on the first part of the form—a fully developed syllabus of the proposed course; a course description, including the criteria for passing the course; a completed Unit Value worksheet; and the faculty sponsor's signed letter of support. (Make sure that the number of days that the proposed class will meet is the same wherever it is listed on the proposal. Also make sure that you have completed the training requirement for student facilitators, conducted by the Undergraduate Course Facilitator Training and Resources [UCFTR] program; facilitators are now being trained remotely via Zoom, so please check out the UCFTR's website at for information about trainings and other services in support of De-CALs.)

(2)  COCI/the Academic Senate will not consider proposals that are not first signed by all the necessary people. Because the proposal form must be handled remotely this semester, all the parties involved—the student facilitators, the sponsoring instructor, and the department chair (Steven Justice)—will need to either sign a paper copy that will be scanned and emailed amongst the parties, or to sign the form digitally. In the latter case, you can either use the "sign" function in Acrobat, or—if you and your faculty sponsor are game for the challenge of setting it up—send it around via Docusign. 

(3)  Once you have completed the proposal form and obtained all the necessary signatures on it (as well as the faculty sponsor's signature on the accompanying letter of support), you will need to submit it electronically to COCI/the Academic Senate, by Wed., July 1, on this google   (Note that the student facilitator will have to upload these three separate documents to the google form: [a] the completed proposal form (including the unit value worksheet); [b] the syllabus; and [c] the faculty letter of support.)

(4) Please also send (by email) a copy of your proposal to Laurie Kerr, in the English Department, at:; if your proposal is approved, she will contact you about getting a classroom for your De-CAL, submitting a copy of your approved proposal to the De-CAL office, and a few other details. 

INDEPENDENT STUDY COURSES: These are instructor-approved courses and require a written application, available on the English Department's website at; click "Undergraduate," then "Resources for English." Students will be emailed the class number that they will use to enroll in the class on Cal Central. Often students will elect to wait until fall courses have started to apply for independent study courses.