Announcement of Classes: Fall 2020


Introduction to Old English

English 104

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 140 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

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), hagiographical (saints' lives) and homiletic (sermons). By the end of the semester, you will be competent, if not virtuosic, readers/interpreters of Old English prose, and know a decent amount about the culture that produced the books in which it survives.

*graduates, please contact me for enrollment information and a review of the requirements

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.


Shakespeare

English 117S

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: Lectures TTh 2-3 in 2060 VLSB + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 10-11; sec. 103: F 1-2; sec. 104: F 12-1)
Location:


Book List

Greenblatt, Stephen: The Norton Shakespeare

Description

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 the rule, and what is the exception in Shakespeare's works? How is a comedy supposed to end? How does it end? What makes a tragic hero? Is Hamlet a tragic hero? What are the rules of theater? What are the rules of literature? Who creates them and why? When do they get transgressed, and why? A tentative list of the plays includes Titus Andronicus, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, King Lear, and The Tempest. We'll also read some of the sonnets. Assignments include two essays and a final exam.  

Book list: The Norton Shakespeare (ed. S. Greenblatt). Additional materials will be distributed through bCourses. 
 


Milton

English 118

Section: 1
Instructor: Goodman, Kevis
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 141 McCone


Book List

Milton, John (ed. Kerrigan, Rumrich, Fallon): The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton

Description

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 know his work frequently assume that he was a remote or traditional religious poet. They are wrong: in fact, he was an independent and unconventional thinker, who distrusted any passively held faith and was relentlessly self-questioning. As we follow Milton’s carefully shaped career from the shorter early poems, through some of the controversial prose of the English Civil War era, and into the astounding work that emerged in the wake of political defeat (Paradise LostParadise RegainedSamson Agonistes), we will discover a very different literary and political figure—one known in his time as a statesman as well as a poet, and in both pursuits considered more an iconoclast than an icon. We will come to understand Milton’s writing in relation to the political and scientific revolutions that he witnessed and in which he took part, and we will also think about his experiments in poetic form, his ambivalent incorporations, revisions, and expansions of classical literature and biblical texts alike, the literary dimension of his often unorthodox theology, his writings on love, gender, marriage, and divorce, his life-long preoccupation with vocation, and more.
 
Note: This single textbook for the course is an absolute necessity: John Milton, The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen Fallon (Modern Library edition; the ISBN-13 is 978-0679642534). Avoid Kindle versions, which are problematic. Cheaper, used copies of this edition should be readily available online.
 
This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.


American Literature: 1800-1865

English 130B

Section: 1
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: Lectures MW 12-1 in 240 Mulford + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 12-1)
Location:


Book List

Fern, Fanny: Ruth Hall; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Levine, Robert: Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. B (9th ed.); Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick; Whitman, Walt: Leaves of Grass (1855 ed.)

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied reader (available at Copy Central, 2411 Telegraph Ave).

Description

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 Melville, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. We will pay particular attention to literary form and technique, to social and political context, and to the ideological formations and transformations of these decades, especially the urgent debates about democracy, slavery, race, gender, sexuality, individuality, theology, economic system, social reform, the role of writers, and the power and limits of words. Two midterms and one final examination will be required.

This course satisfies L & S's Historical Studies breadth requirement. 


American Poetry

English 131

Section: 1
Instructor: O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 108 Wheeler


Description

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 modernisms, the Harlem Renaissance, the New York School, and Language Poetry, on our way to the contemporary. Rather than cover all major figures briefly, we'll spend extended time with the work of a few: poets considered will include Paul Dunbar, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Lyn Hejinian, Claudia Rankine, and Layli Longsoldier. Along the way we'll consider renovations and dissipations of conventional form and meter, the task and materials of the long poem, seriality, citationality, who and what counts as a poetic subject, and how U.S. poetries have imagined community over and against their actual Americas.

All readings will be drawn from a Course Reader.


American Novel

English 132

Section: 1
Instructor: Lee, Steven S.
Time: Lectures MW 2-3 in 204 Wheeler + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Cahan, A.: Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto; Faulkner, W.: The Sound and the Fury; Hawthorne, N.: The Scarlet Letter; James, H.: Daisy Miller; Kingston, M.H.: China Men; Morrison, T.: A Mercy; Nabokov, V.: Pnin; Twain, M.: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; West, N.: The Day of the Locust; Whitehead, C.: Zone One

Description

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 as an outpost of Europe?  To what extent has the novel been able to incorporate the diversity of American experiences, and to what extent has it promoted racial, gender, and class inequality?  What are the limits of both novel and nation, and how does literary experimentation push against these limits?


African American Literature and Culture Since 1917

English 133B

Section: 1
Instructor: JanMohamed, Abdul R.
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 151 Barrows


Book List

Butler, Octavia: Kindred; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes were Watching God; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl ; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Walker, Alice: The Third Life of Grange Copeland; Wright, Richard: Native Son

Other Readings and Media

Octavia Butler, "Bloodchild" (short story)

Description

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 into a fictionalized version of the notorious Margaret Garner trial for infanticide (1850s); the texts by Wright, Hurston, Ellison, and Walker will allow us to explore the socio-political forces that prevailed during the Jim Crow society in the “Deep South” in the mid-20th century; and Butler’s novel will take us to the intersection of science fiction and slavery.  This is a vast terrain to cover and so the chosen texts do not adequately represent the diversity and richness of the novels and autobiographies written during these periods.  Rather, they are chosen because they significantly address paradigmatic issues regarding race, gender, class, and “subject formation” in modern African American culture.


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

English C136

Section: 1
Instructor: Padilla, Genaro M.
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 108 Wheeler


Description

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 the border.

We will read The Devil's Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea, view documentaries like Rebecca Cammisa's Which Way Home? and Daffodil Altan's Kids Caught in the Crackdown, and read the poetry of Javier Zamorra, Emmy Perez, Michelle Otero, and Juan Felipe Herrera, among other poets/essayists, and we will consider art as border performance in the work of Ana Teresa Fernandez, Alberto Caro, and Guillermo Gomez Pena.

This class is cross-listed with American Studies C111E.


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

English 138

Section: 2
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: note new location: 101 Barker


Other Readings and Media

Films and readings may include Wild Wild CountryHoly Smokes: My Childhood in Orange, and Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego  

Description

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 documentary Wild Wild Country to novels, journalistic exposés, and films—to consider what cults might tell us about society, politics, religion, and our sense of self. This class hopes to invite students who are ready to be themselves fascinated, enthralled, and perhaps entranced. One of the tasks before us will be to learn how to think critically in the face of that fascination. Engaging theories of psychology, sociology, and religion, we will examine how cults and their representation in popular culture reveal questions of desire, belonging, and self-effacement.  

Students will also be asked to be ready to work collaboratively with one another over the course of the semester, building their own intentional community of sorts.


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

English 141

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Melanie Abrams
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 140 Barrows


Description

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 genres. Students will write a variety of exercises and more formal pieces and partake in class workshops where their work will be edited and critiqued by other students in the class.

This course is open to English majors only.

Course packet available at Instant Copying and Laser Printing, 2138 University Ave (between Shattuck Ave. & Walnut St.), (510) 704-9700


Short Fiction

English 143A

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


Book List

Burroway, Janet: Writing Fiction, 10th Edition

Other Readings and Media

Reader available at Instant Copying and Laser Printing, 2138 University Ave. (between Shattuck Ave. & Walnut St.), (510) 704-9700

Description

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 short stories, a number of shorter exercises, weekly critiques of their peers’ work, and be required to attend and review two fiction readings.  The course will be organized as a workshop and attendance is mandatory. All student stories will be edited and critiqued by the instructor and by other students in the class.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 10-15 double-spaced pages of your fiction, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.

 


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 2
Instructor: McFarlane, Fiona
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 180 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

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

Description

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 crafted. We'll discuss topics like voice, structure, suspense, beauty, humor, point of view, conflict, detail, and dialogue; and we'll spend time looking carefully at sentences and how they're made. Short writing exercises will provide opportunities to explore new voices, techniques, and ideas while practicing elements of craft.

Each student will write two short stories over the course of the semester. Students will read and edit each other's stories, write formal responses, and workshop the stories in class. Alongside these workshops, we'll discuss revision, publication, process, and practice. Attendance is mandatory.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 10-15 double-spaced pages of your fiction, by clicking on the link below; fill out the aplpication you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 3
Instructor: Chandra, Vikram
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Book List

Doerr, Anthony: The Best American Short Stories 2019

Other Readings and Media

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

Description

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 attend two literary readings over the course of the semester and write a short report about each reading they attend. Students will also take part in online discussions about fiction. Attendance is mandatory.

Throughout the semester, we will read published stories from various sources and also essays by working writers about fiction and the writing life. The intent of the course is to have the students confront the problems faced by writers of fiction and to discover the techniques that enable writers to construct  a convincing and engaging representation of reality on the page.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 10-15 double-spaced pages of your fiction, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.


Verse

English 143B

Section: 1
Instructor: O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 301 Wheeler


Description

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 assignments done under extreme formal constraints. In addition, there'll be regular commentary on other students' work.

All readings will be drawn from a course reader.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 of your poems, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.

 


Long Narrative

English 143C

Section: 1
Instructor: Rowland, Amy
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 186 Barrows


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be made available for purchase, with additional reading accessible on bCourses.

Description

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 everyone will present the first chapter or two of work-in-progress. Much of the semester will be spent writing and revising your work. The goal is to begin your novel and to develop a blueprint to guide you through your story.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit no more than 5 double-spaced pages of your fiction, as well as (at the end of the same document, please) a rough outline/plot summary of your idea for a novel, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.


Prose Nonfiction: Our Culture, Our Lives

English 143N

Section: 1
Instructor: Saul, Scott
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

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. By the end of the class, you should come away with a working knowledge of how to write reviews, profiles, “think pieces,” and autobiographically-shaded essays that engage with a cultural figure, flashpoint, or landscape.

Our semester will be guided by a few basic questions: What can we demand from culture? What does it mean to love or hate a song, TV show, actor, director, performer, artist, athlete, celebrity? How are we changed by our encounters with specific works of art? And how do our arguments about a particular work of art, particular artist, particular place, or particular cultural phenomenon connect to broader dreams about politics, freedom, community, and our sense of the possible?

Three special features of the course bear specific mention.

First, on several occasions, we will be honored to host a visit (digital or in-person) with an esteemed writer whose work will be featured in the class. Previous guests to the workshop have included the poet-critic Hanif Abdurraqib, Ann Powers (NPRi), Hua Hsu (New Yorker), Vinson Cunningham (New Yorker), and Lili Loofbourow (Slate). 

Second, we will be guided by the understanding that the art of writing is, in large part, the art of re-writing. The workshopping of your pieces is designed to help you get some fresh perspective on how your earlier drafts play in the minds of your readers—and what might be improved. 

Third, there’s a digital publication attached to this course: “The Annex”. The goal is for every student to build their portfolio of published writing through the workshop.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit  5-10 pages of your creative non-fiction (no poetry or academic writing that presumes a limited audience), by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.


Writing Technology: Utopian Futures

English 145

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Vikram
Time: Lectures TTh 11-12 in 141 McCone + one hour of discussion section per week in different locations (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Banks, Iain M.: Surface Detail; Banks, Iain M.: The Player of Games; Ivan, Yefremov: Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale; Le Guin, Ursula : The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia; Lowry, Lois: The Giver; Piercy, Marge: Woman on the Edge of Time: A Novel; St. John Mandel, Emily: Station Eleven; Wells, H. G.: Men Like Gods

Other Readings and Media

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

Description

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 course, we will use methods and insights from literary theory, computer science, scenario planning, and historical studies to examine various utopian science fiction narratives written over the centuries.  The narrative forms we'll address will include short stories, novels, essays, computer games, the notion of idealistic "disruption" of current industries and political systems, and writing about programming techniques and systems.

Through our readings of science fiction, we will explore our relationships with the ethics and politics of technology, and what it means to have a "good life."

This writing-intensive course will allows students to engage in writing about technology, history, and the human imagination.  Students will write in the forms practiced by journalists, historians, literary critics, and scenario planners.


Introduction to Literary Theory: Free Speech, in Theory

English 161

Section: 1
Instructor: Langan, Celeste
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 24 Wheeler


Description

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, beginning with Plato and Aristotle, then proceeding to to consider the effect of general literacy on the conception and regulation of free "speech," reading Milton's Areopagitica and Marx's "On the Freedom of the Press." Turning from "public" to "private" speech, we will also examine psycholoanalytic and linguistic accounts of psychic and physiological disfluency. Throughout, we will consider the "freedom" of speech in relation to questions of both form and content. Are genre, meter, and grammar mere forms of constraint? Or are we free only when released by formal constraint from instrumental communication? Do political and psychic repression merely inhibit free speech, or is our idea(l) of free speech an effect of these repressions? And what do physical constraints on speech, from aphasia to stuttering, have to tell us of the relation of lterary form to speech freedom? Does the global hegemony of English threaten a speech freedom that ought to be understood as dependent upon a polyglot diversity? Finally, to what extent is free speech a diminished form of freedom itself? We will end by considering the current situation of free speech in the U.S., reading materials related to the "Citizens United" decision, current discussions of "campus climate," and earlier Supreme Court cases related to free speech.

Students will have the opportunity to write three progressively longer essays (ranging from 3 to 10 pages) on different theoretical questions of free speech: on a specific philosophical, political, or aesthetic theory of literature; on a legal or psychoanalytic "case"; on literary form.

Texts will include: Norton Anthology of Literary Theory; Butler, J.: Excitable Speech; Foucault, M.: Fearless Speech; Freud, S.: Dora; Melville, H.: Shorter Works; Plato: The Republic; Sophocles: Antigone; Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads.


Special Topics: Law and Literature in the United States

English 165

Section: 1
Instructor: de Stefano, Jason
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Arendt, Hannah: On Revolution; Douglass, Frederick: Selected Speeches and Writings; Fuller, Margaret: Woman in the Nineteenth Century; Hamilton, Alexander et al.: The Debate on the Constitution, parts 1 and 2 (Library of America)

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be provided in a course reader and on bCourses.

Description

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 issues pertaining to the aesthetics and politics of representation, personhood, private property, and, above all, interpretation. We will examine in particular how discussions and disputes about the right or best way to interpret texts has become central to American jurisprudence and politics as well as to literary study. Our approach will be both historical and theoretical and so our readings will range from transcripts of court hearings and congressional committees to contemporary literary theory and legal philosophy. The goal is to provide a combination of specific methodologies and broad historical sources that will allow students to pursue original research into problems and periods of their choosing. Central topics of discussion will be the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, the rise of corporate capitalism, and conflicts between notions of individual right and social justice. We will discuss texts by James Madison, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Fuller, Herman Melville, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, literary theorists Walter Benn Michaels and Barbara Johnson, philosophers Giorgio Agamben and Hannah Arendt, and others.


Special Topics: Writing as Social Practice

English 166

Section: 1
Instructor: Giscombe, Cecil S.
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 179 Dwinelle


Description

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 approaches; and both traffic with versions of the incomplete.

Another idea is that various wide particulars make up each of us—social class, race, ability, gender, place of birth, etc. These particulars endow us with privileges, deficits, blindnesses, insights, and the like. Prompts in this course will encourage students to document these and explore how they qualify us (and how or if they obligate us) to "speak" from various positions. The purpose of writing in this course is to engage public language on the one hand and personal (meaning specific) observations and experiences on the other. The purpose here is to pursue consciousness. The experiment is to attempt to do so in the forms of poetry and the personal essay.

A third idea is that hybrid forms—works that defy a single characterization or order, works that join rather than exclude—are of great interest.

Texts (tentative list): Borderlands/La Frontera, by Gloria Anzaldua; Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Marvelous Bones of Time, by Brenda Coultas; The Art of the Personal Essay, by Philip Lopate, American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang.

Supplemental readings by Dorothy Allison, James Baldwin, C. A. Conrad, Richard Ford, Gish Jen, X. J. Kennedy, Maxine Hong Kingston, Claudine Rankine, Adrienne Rich, Tess Slesinger, others

Some points of departure: 

How Scared Should People on the Border Be? (New York Times headline, 31 March 2017)

The situation is aggravated by the tremor that breaks into discourse on race. It is further complicated by the fact that the habit of ignoring race is understod to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture. To notice is to recognize an already discredited difference. (Toni Morrison)

The sea cannot be fenced/el mar does not stop at borders. (Gloria Anzaldua)


Special Topics: The Age of Crisis

English 166

Section: 3
Instructor: Strub, Spencer
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 229 Dwinelle


Other Readings and Media

A course reader including medieval primary sources, modern theory, and contemporary criticism and history

Description

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 fixed again: fourteenth-century Engand might have been a mess, but it's our kind of mess. The silver lining? During this period of crisis, a public eager to read Engish literature emerged. The literary corpus that spoke to this public—poems dedicated to protest, mourning, and joyous invention—is as inventive and resilient as any in the language.

This class will explore how late medieval poets engaged with the tumultuous world around them. We will study the forms that represented contemporary events openly or in code, from antifraternal satire to dream visions and personification allegories, while examining the assumptions about gender, race, nature, and religious belief that distinguished their age of crisis from our own. Our goal is to understand the fourteenth century on its own terms. But the class will not shy away from anachronism: we might learn some lessons in surviving tough times.

Texts include: Middle English Political Writings, ed. Dean (TEAMS); William Langland, Piers Plowman B, ed. Robertson and Shepherd (Norton); Geoffrey Chaucer, Dream Visions and Other Poems, ed. Lynch (Norton) 

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.


Literature and the Arts: Opera and Literary Form

English 170

Section: 1
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 229 Dwinelle


Description

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 genres. Attending to opera’s hybrid, multimedia status – as a dramatic as well as a musical form – the course will consider a series of major works produced between 1787 and 1935 in relation to the literary genres they invoke (lyric, epic, comedy, tragedy, novel, film); to philosophical debates they generated; and/or to major models, sources, and subsequent adaptations. We will attend to questions of translation not only across languages (especially vexed in the case of Eugene Onegin) but also across genres and media (Pushkin's Onegin is a “novel in verse,” Tchaikovsky's, “lyric scenes in three acts”).  If there's an overarching theme or topic across our readings, it is opera's staging of the relations between eros and empire – contending fantasies of desire, freedom, power and bondage – in an era of bourgeois ascendancy and imperial decline. Opera’s tutelary erotic demons, masculine and feminine, are Don Giovanni (at one end of our chronology) and Lulu (at the other); and if Verdi’s Falstaff stages a comic redemption of Mozart’s hell-bound libertine, our other works exalt the operatic heroine in her struggle with the bonds of family and marriage (Lucia, Tatiana, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Isolde…)

We’ll study Don Giovanni (Da Ponte/Mozart) in relation to its Romantic reception and literary and philosophical revisions (E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kierkegaard, T.W. Adorno); Donizett's Lucia di Lammermoor and its source, Walter Scott’s romantic historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor; Pushkin’s versus Tchaikovsky’s versions of Eugene Onegin; national myth, epic, tragedy and the "total artwork" in Wagner's The Valkyrie /OR/ Tristan and Isolde and "the music of the future" (readings from Schopenhauer and Nietzsche); Verdi’s Falstaff and other remediations of Shakespeare’s great comic character; Berg’s Lulu and the contemporaneous forms of cabaret-opera (Brecht/Weil, The Threepenny Opera) and silent film (G.W. Pabst, Pandora’s Box).  We will also attend and discuss at least one of the San Francisco Opera’s fall season productions (Mozart’s Così fan tutte; maybe also Beethoven’s Fidelio). Technical musical knowledge, or even prior acquaintance with opera, is not expected (let alone required); however one of our collective tasks will be figuring out how to talk seriously about the music in the absence of musicological expertise. You will be required to watch/listen to each of the operas (audio files and video streaming to be provided on b-Courses) as well as keep up with the literary, philosophical and critical readings.

Our operatic case studies: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Don Giovanni; Giuseppe Verdi, Falstaff; Gaetano Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor; Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, Yevgeni Onegin; Richard Wagner, Die Walküre OR Tristan und Isolde; Alban Berg, Lulu. Opera texts (libretti and musical scores) will be made available on b-Courses, along with most of our literary, critical and philosophical readings, except for Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor and an English version of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, which will be available from University Press Books.


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

English 170

Section: 2
Instructor: Best, Stephen M.
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 310 Hearst Mining


Book List

Ellison, R.: Invisible Man; Hughes, L.: The Sweet Flypaper of Life; Hughes, L.: The Weary Blues; Locke, A.: The New Negro; Morrison, T.: Jazz; Wright, R.: 12 Million Black Voices

Description

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 African American art toward what the novelist Toni Morrison called liquidity: the ways in which artists of disparate disciplines “fold into, energize, and transfer the aesthetics of one another.” Another novelist, Ralph Ellison, saw what he described as “the planned dislocation of the senses” as the essential condition of fiction: “Here is where sound becomes sight and sight becomes sound, and where sign becomes symbol and symbol becomes sign.” While it is common to celebrate this liquidity in the traffic between literature and musical forms such as the blues and jazz, in this course we will consider a century-long conversation between literature and the visual arts, from the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s to the present. We will read Ellison and Morrison, Alain Locke, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Claudia Rankine—considering their work alongside that of artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, Beauford Delaney, Kerry James Marshall, Glenn Ligon, Isaac Julian, J.M.W. Turner, Pablo Picasso, Jeff Wall, and Kara Walker.

We will consider these text-image exchanges in the context of political debates about “representing the race,” the rivalry between words and pictures, as well as the long tradition of ekphrasis (the use of a work in one artistic medium to represent or respond to the work in another artistic medium). The course aims to inspire students in the belief that close reading and close looking are skills ideally developed in tandem.


Literature and Disability

English 175

Section: 1
Instructor: Kleege, Georgina
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 240 Mulford


Book List

Black, Bartlett & Northen, S., J. & M.: Beauty is a Verb; Finger, Anne: Call Me Ahab; Lewis, V.A. : Beyond Victims and Villains

Description

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 minor.   


Literature and Linguistics

English 179

Section: 1
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 126 Wheeler


Book List

Booth, Stephen: Shakespeare's Sonnets; Heaney, Seamus: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, Bilingual Edition; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway;

Recommended: Pinker, Steven: The Language Instinct

Other Readings and Media

A photocopied course reader containing most required readings and literary texts.

Description

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; syntactic parallelism; formulas of oral composition; and special narrative uses of pronouns, tenses and other subjective features of language to express point of view and represent speech and thought. The emphasis will be on literature in English, but comparisons with literature in other languages will also be drawn. No knowledge of linguistics will be presupposed, but linguistic concepts will be introduced, explained and used.


Autobiography: American Autobiography: Race, Gender, Culture

English 180A

Section: 1
Instructor: Padilla, Genaro M.
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 182 Dwinelle


Book List

Acosta, Oscar: Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; DuBois, W. E. B.: The Souls of Black Folk; Dumas, Firoozeh: Funny in Farsi; Franklin, Benjamin: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; Momaday, N. Scott: The Way to Rainy Mountain; Thoreau, Henry David: Walden; Whitman, Walt: Song of Myself; Yetman, Norman: When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collecction

Description

We will take a group of texts—conventional memoir, poetry, painting, photography, and I-focused new media—to explore what American auto/bio/graphy really means. We will start in the 18th century with Benjamin Franklin and close with a group of late-20th-century narratives by writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston and Jimmy Santiago Baca, as well as artists like Jacob Lawrence, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Yolanda Lopez, and Cindy Sherman. In between, we'll study works by Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Mary Cassatt, and Mary Antin.

We will trace what these and other "autobiographers" have to say about being American, about their sense of identity in the U.S. at different historical moments, about racial and cultural relations, about gender expectations/performance, and about the formation of an individual identity within/against the social structures that often determine the contours of identity formation.


The Short Story

English 180H

Section: 1
Instructor: McFarlane, Fiona
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 88 Dwinelle


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be made available for purchase, with additional reading accessible on bCourses.

Description

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 the role of the literary magazine and the university in its development. We'll read stories in a variety of genres and from a variety of cultures as we explore the particularities and pleasures of the form. Our approach will be both creative and critical: students will write and workshop a short story, as well as write two analytic papers.


Research Seminar: Utopia and Anti-Utopia

English 190

Section: 1
Instructor: Lee, Steven S.
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Anzaldúa, G.: Borderlands/La Frontera; Bellamy, E.: Looking Backward; Hawthorne, N.: The Blithesdale Romance; Le Guin, U.K.: The Dispossessed; More, T.: Utopia; Platonov, A.: Soul; Stoppard, T.: Arcadia; Whitehead, C.: Zone One; Zamyatin, Ye.: We

Description

“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.”                      

-Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man” (1891)

Utopia brings to mind the elusive dream of heaven on earth, and a better place in the form of “no place.”  It captures the desire not only to reimagine and remake the world, but to use literature to achieve these ends.  However, this literary genre is inextricably bound to an anti-utopian tradition that has portrayed utopian thought as naïve, dogmatic, even murderous.

Over the semester we will encounter a wide range of utopias and anti-utopias—from imagined islands and planets, to communal societies and communist states, to theme parks, gardens, and borderlands.  Our goal will be to understand the variety of political projects and literary techniques associated with utopia and anti-utopia, which we will also consider in relation to science fiction and post-apocalypse.  We will see how the romantic socialist utopias of the nineteenth century gave way to the mass industrial utopias of the early twentieth century, and then the ecological, ethnic, and neoliberal utopias of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  Throughout the semester, we will consider the viability of utopian thought  and vision for our current, anti-utopian times.

Note: Since the reading list may change, please don't purchase texts until after the first class.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Eco-crisis and Climate Refugueeism

English 190

Section: 2
Instructor: Cruz, Frank Eugene
Time: MW 9-10:30
Location: 301 Wheeler


Description

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 Grapes of Wrath and Pare Lorentz' documentary film The Plough That Broke the Plains, which both grapple with the Dust Bowl. This man-made environmental catastrophe produced one of the largest internal migrations in the nation's history—250,000 people fleeing the American south and southwest to escape devastating drought and deadly dust storms during the Depression decade. Next, we will analyze Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones and Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke. These two stories of "superstorm" Hurricane Katrina lay bare the racialized and classed contradictions of contemporary ecological entropy in the United States. Our survey of the U.S. cultural imagination of eco-crisis and climate refugeeism will end with two cinematic visions of eco-crisis dystopias set in the near future: Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. 

Book List: Adamson, Joni: Keywords for Environmental Studies; Davis, Mike: Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of DisasterMLA Handbook, 8th edition; Steinbeck, John: The Grapes of Wrath; Ward, Jesmyn: Salvage the Bones

Films: Lee, Spike: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts; Lorentz, Pare: The Plough That Broke the Plains; Nolan, Christopher: Interstellar; Rivera, Alex: Sleep Dealer

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: The Spy Novel

English 190

Section: 3
Instructor: JanMohamed, Abdul R.
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Buchan, John: The Thirty-Nine Steps; Fleming, Ian: From Russia With Love; Greene, Graham: The Quiet American; Ignatius, David: The Quantum Spy; Le Carre, John: Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy; Ludlum, Robert: The Bourne Identity ; Nguyen, Viet: The Sympathizer; Quinn, Kate: The Alice Network; Silva, Daniel: The Kill Artist; Wein, Elizabeth: Code Name Verity; Wilkinson, Lauren: American Spy

Description

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 sleuthing of a George Smiley.  These characters and the values they embody will be contrasted with the very different values and sensibilities that characterize feminist spy novels.  The course will also contrast the invariably “white” protagonist with some rare non-white spies.  If time permits we will occasionally also contrast the literary texts with their cinematic avatars.  In addition to exploring the nature and structures of the deep unconscious paranoia that drives all spy novels, the course will also compare aesthetic characteristics of these novels: plot structures, narrative devices, point of view, prose styles, etc. 

Texts will be selected from the above list.  The final list will be posted prior to the beginning of classes.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Movies

English 190

Section: 4
Instructor: Starr, George A.
Time: W 5-8
Location: 206 Dwinelle


Description

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 of a term paper of 16-20 pages. There will be no quizzes or exams, but seminar attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Is It Useless to Revolt?

English 190

Section: 5
Instructor: Goldsmith, Steven
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Alderman, N.: The Power; Blake, W.: Blake's Poetry and Designs; Butler , J.: Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly; Kushner, R.: The Flame Throwers; Melville, H.: Billy Budd and Other Stories; Milton, J.: Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and the Complete Shorter Poems; Shelley, P.: Shelley's Poetry and Prose; Sphar, J.: That Winter the Wolf Came

Description

“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 inescapable, recurrent violence.  Attracted and repulsed by revolutionary violence, the authors in this course test Foucault’s proposition that, “While revolts take place in history, they also escape it in a certain manner.” The intersection of religion, art, and politics will loom large in our discussions.  Starting with Milton’s Samson Agonistes, we will consider how religious convictions inform both political aspiration and a willingness to justify acts of violence.  Such questions will lead us back to foundational representations of revolt in the Bible (Exodus and Revelation), and they will lead us forward to contemporary questions about “terrorism.”  (After 9/11, a much publicized debate on Samson Agonistes asked whether its central character might best be described as a terrorist.)  Other readings will range widely across historical periods and national cultures, including works by Blake, Nat Turner, Shelley, and Melville, as well as by contemporary authors such as Kenzaburo Oe, Rachel Kushner, Naomi Alderman, and Juliana Spahr.  On occasion, we will take up theoretical writings on the subject of revolt, liberation, and violence by Kant, Benjamin, Arendt, Zizek, Butler, and—of course—Foucault.  Students will write a short initial essay on Samson Agonistes and a research paper on a topic of their choice.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: What Is Literary Criticism?

English 190

Section: 8
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Frye, N.: Anatomy of Criticism; Frye, N.: The Educated Imagination; Frye, N.: Words with Power; Shakespeare, W.: Antony and Cleopatra; Shakespeare, W.: As You Like It; Shakespeare, W.: The Tempest

Other Readings and Media

Shakespeare, “Venus and Adonis”

Excerpts from Faulkner, R. and Goelet, O. (trans.), The Egyptian Book of the Dead; R. Graves, The Greek Myths; The Bible (authorized King James Version); and Brinton, D. (ed.), Rig Veda Americanus (on Aztec mythology)

Excerpts from Aristotle, Poetics; Jung, C., Man and His Symbols; Frazer, J., The Golden Bough;  Hogan, P., The Mind and Its Stories

Description

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 Frye as our guide.  Frye’s monumental Anatomy of Criticism (1957) argued that literary criticism ought to contribute to the development of an organized body of knowledge about literature, analogous to the organized body of knowledge about nature called physics.  Developing a strikingly contemporary argument through cross-cultural comparisons of literature with myth, religion, magic and ritual, Frye takes mankind’s relationships with nature on the one hand, and with language on the other, as fundamental to literature.  In this course, we will consider these ideas alongside some of their influences from philosophy and psychology, current ideas about literary universals, and examples from Shakespeare that we are likely to have encountered already at least passingly in other courses. Then, reflecting Frye’s deep commitment to every work of literature being relevant to understanding literature as a phenomenon, students will research and write a long (20 pp.) valedictory paper of literary criticism on any work of English literature they choose.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: James / Baldwin

English 190

Section: 9
Instructor: Best, Stephen M.
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Baldwin, James: Giovanni's Room; Baldwin, James: Go Tell It on the Mountain; Baldwin , James: Another Country; James, Henry: The Ambassadors; James, Henry: The Beast in the Jungle; James, Henry: The Portrait of a Lady

Description

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 perfume”). Baldwin and James certainly shared a great deal in life and art, having chosen European exile and then turned that exile into a major theme within their art.  Our contemporary bias for self-disclosure might predispose us to the view that Baldwin felt he found a fellow queer writer in James; however, James’s reticence on such matters means that “queer” (if it should signify anything) names the moment when the relationship gets awkward. This class will thus explore aesthetic and political concerns these writers shared as well as queer “sensibilities” that, always deniable if not always denied, may or may not be there—the many effects, both dramatic and formal, that keep us at a loss for knowledge of our subject, i.e., reticence, renunciation, opacity, bewilderment, and belated recognition.

We will read three novels by each author.  By James: The Portrait of a Lady, The Beast in the Jungle, The Ambassadors. By Baldwin: Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country.  Both writers also produced a vast number of essays and short stories; we will read selections from their wider oeuvre.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Research Seminar: Medieval Sexuality

English 190

Section: 10
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

For more information about this section of English 190, please contact Professor Miller at j_miller@berkeley.edu.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.


Honors Course

English H195A

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: MW 9-10:30
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

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 which to identify the critical methods and stakes of our own individual projects, culminating in a 40+ page paper due at the end of the two semesters. We will read selections from a collection of critical essays, and we will read one work together—like Jane Austen's Emma—and review a variety of critical approaches to it. Students will prepare a précis or two of critical works, collectively identify and prepare presentations on additional critics they would like to read, develop a thesis for their own writing project on a work (or works) of their choice, and produce an annotated bibliography on relevant materials for their project.

Please click here to read details about H195A prerequisites, how to apply, and how and when students will be informed of the results of their applications.

To be considered for admission to this course, you will need to electronically apply by clicking on the link below and filling out the application you will find there (and bearing in mind the indicated attachments you will need to include).

The deadline for completing this application process has been extended to 11 PM, MONDAY, JUNE 15.

Click here to apply for this class or to edit an existing application.


Honors Course

English H195A

Section: 2
Instructor: Langan, Celeste
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 305 Wheeler


Book List

Barthes, R.: S/Z; Culler, J.: Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction; Muller, J. P.: The Purloined Poe;

Recommended: Leitch, V., et al.: Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism

Description

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 do new issues and objects emerge as significant in response to different historical conjunctures and intellectual agendas? Together we will read and discuss essays that raise key issues about representation, imagination, communication, interpretation, and critique, undertaking what might be called (after "The Purloined Letter") "a thorough research of the premises" of literary study. Individually, students will consult with me to construct bibliographies on specific texts or issues relevant to their own interests, and use these bibliographies to define a compelling, workable thesis topic. Each student will participate in a "working group" responsible for designing a week's syllabus, choosing the texts and leading discussion of them.

Prospective students should read Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction over the summer. They should also begin to consider a writer or text or issue for research. A useful strategy in this selection might be: what writer or text or subject matter has most challenged or cemented my ideas about what literature is and what happens when it is read? 

Please click here to read details about H195A prerequisites, how to apply, and how and when students will be informed of the results of their applications.

To be considered for admission to this course, you will need to electronically apply by clicking on the link below and filling out the application you will find there (and bearing in mind the indicated attachments you will need to include).

The deadline for completing this application process has been extended to 11 PM, MONDAY, JUNE 15. 

Click here to apply for this class or to edit an existing application.