Announcement of Classes: Fall 2020


Modern British and American Literature: Pandemic Fiction

English 20

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Book List

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Atwood, Margaret: The Year of the Flood; Mandel, Emily St. John: Station Eleven; Whitehead, Colson: Zone One

Description

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, the world of pandemic is too much with us, but reading pandemic narratives may allow us to reconnect, not blindly but with care and thought, to the world of the living. 

We will briefly survey excerpts from classics of the pandemic fiction genre ranging from the 14th to the 20th century, by such authors as Boccacio, Defoe, M. Shelley, Poe, London, and Camus. Next, we will consider several iconic representations of the AIDS crisis, especially Tony Kushner’s two-part play “Angels in America” and its HBO mini-series adaptation. We will devote the lion’s share of our time to recent post-apocalyptic pandemic novels and stories, well-wrought genre fiction by Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead, Junot Diaz, and Emily St. John Mandel. Along the way, we may view a couple of pandemic movies, possibly “12 Monkeys,” “Night of the Living Dead,” and/or “Shaun of the Dead.”

The readings for the course are subject to change, so don’t buy any of the listed books until you get the syllabus on the first day of class. Requirements include active participation in class discussions; frequent bCourses posts; two short essays; a brief personal narrative or work of fiction; and a final exam.


Freshman Seminar

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, D.A.
Time:
Location:


Description

This section of English 24 has been canceled (8/3/20).


Freshman Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully

English 24

Section: 2
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: W 4-5
Location:


Book List

Thoreau, Henry: Walden

Description

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 courses required to complete the English major.


Freshman Seminar: Emily Dickinson

English 24

Section: 3
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: Thurs. 2-3
Location:


Book List

Dickinson, Emily: The Poems of Emily Dickinson (Johnson Ed.)

Description

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.


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

English 24

Section: 4
Instructor: Nelson, Alan H.
Time: M 12-1
Location:


Description

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), metrics (meters, rhyme schemes), conventions (Petrarchan, anti-Petrarchan), sonnet "cycles," and varieties of subject matter (love, sex, religion . . . ???). Technical analysis will serve as a portal into worlds of desire, hope, jealousy, resignation, sorrow, bitterness, disgust, and love, both human and devine. As all materials required for this course will be available online, no textbook is required. Each student will write one short essay (doubtless with several drafts). An equally important goal will be mastery of the seminar format.

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


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

English 24

Section: 5
Instructor: Altman, Joel B.
Time: W 10-11
Location:


Description

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 about those we find especially interesting. We'll get to know the characters, the plot, and the poet's style and way of thinking—and learn to speak his words "trippingly on the tongue," as Hamet tells the players. Class participation, based on the week's reading assignment, two short papers, and regular attendance will be required.

Required reading: Shakespeare's Sonnets, edited by Katherine Duncan Jones (The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series)

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


Freshman Seminar: Frankenstein and Its Rewritings

English 24

Section: 6
Instructor: Christ, Carol T.
Time: M 2-3
Location:


Book List

McEwan, Ian: Machines Like Me; Saadawi, Ahmed: Frankenstein in Baghdad; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein: Original Edition; Winterson, Jeanette: Frankisstein

Description

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 maker. No less an economist than Milton Friedman writes, "How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?" With Hurricane Sandy, we even had Frankenstorm. We have Frankenfood. As cultural historian and collector of Frankensteiniana, Susan Tyler Hitchcock observes, Frankenstein is both a joke and a symbol for a profound ethical dilemma. Frankenstein is instantly recognizable as a cultural icon and has an enormous richness of referential context. In this seminar we will study Mary Shelley's novel, and several contemporary novels and films that re-imagine its central idea in the context of robotics, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering.

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


Major Writers: John Donne

English 29

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location:


Book List

Donne, John : The Complete Poetry

Description

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, intimate and gregarious, funny and moving in equal measures. It is a voice often relegated to the margins of English survey courses, overshadowed by those of Shakespeare and Milton, two authors who bookend Donne’s life. In this course, we’ll see that Donne’s poetry and prose yield handsome returns if we pay them the attention they demand. Their author was a character of extremes and contradictions: a “great visitor of Ladies” in his youth, he later became the foremost preacher in London and poured his considerable intellectual and rhetorical talents into writing some of the most arresting sermons in the English language. It is precisely in articulating and exploring extremes and contradictions that his writings offer not only an insight into life’s possibilities in early modern England, but a perspective on literature’s role in negotiating individuality and society.


Readings include Donne’s erotic and love poetry, his satires on early modern social life, and his religious verse; in addition, we will also read brief selections from his sermons and letters. Assignments will include a brief assignment focusing on a poetic device, two short essays, and a final exam. A. J. Smith's Penguin edition is the most affordable option including all of Donne's English poetry, but if you already own another major edition (Carey's Oxford, Robbins's Longman, etc.) you may use it for this course. Additional readings will be posted in bCourses. 
 


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

English 31AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Other Readings and Media

Texts may include: W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Carlos Bulosan, America Is in the Heart; and Jish Gen, Mona in the Promised Land.

 

Description

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 American dream. What is the relationship between immigration and dreams of upward mobility in America? This course will examine films, novels, and short stories in which the American dream comes apart at the seams to think about the fantasies of belonging and prosperity that fuel immigration and its effect on how we think about race, ethnicity, class, and citizenship.

We will examine the ways in which people negotiate relationships to the state and to a sense of Americanness through fantasies of economic prosperity and increased possibility—how do some communities come to be figured as “model minorities” and others burdens on the state? We will study narratives of struggle, belonging, becoming, and coming undone across a variety of immigrant and ethnic American communities. There is no singular America that we will seek to depict in this class: its fractures, failures, and violences are of as much interest to us as its bounty, promise, and welcome. For this reason, we will engage a range of historical, sociological, and theoretical material to understand how ethnic and racial categories have been formed and produced in America. Students will develop a critical vocabulary for race, gender, and class in contemporary America and an understanding of their historical antecedents.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.


Freshman and Sophomore Seminar: Reading Marx Now

English 39A

Section: 1
Instructor: Lye, Colleen
Salzinger, Leslie
Time: W 2-5
Location:


Book List

Alvar, Mia: In the Country; Marx, Karl: Capital Vol. 1

Other Readings and Media

All other readings made available on bCourses.

Description

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 questions of gender, race, colonialism and environmental destruction have sought to build on its concepts and methods or, even in moving past them, feel that they must first be confronted and critiqued anew. Co-taught by a professor from the social sciences and one from the humanities, this freshman and sophomore seminar illuminates what interdisciplinary conversations can offer in developing integrative critiques of capitalism. How does the history of capitalism inform our theory of capitalism, and how does our theory of capitalism affect how we write its history? How does grasping the dialectical relation between theory and history allow us to imagine a solidarity politics that can transcend the limitations of intersectional politics? The semester’s theoretical reading will be capped by a sociological case study and a literary case study in which we will compare two kinds of approaches to documenting the traffic in global domestic labor. What aspects of the phenomena are captured by these two kinds of analysis and documentation? This course will be equal parts theoretically oriented and equal parts empirical or historically oriented. Please be sure to buy the Penguin edition of Capital.

This class is cross-listed with GWS 39A.

This course fulfills the Social Behavioral Sciences breadth requirement.

 


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Goodman, Kevis
Time: 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)
Location:


Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey (ed. Kolve and Olson): The Canterbury Tales: Seventeen Tales and the General Prologue; Milton, John (ed. Teskey): Paradise Lost; Spenser, Edmund (ed. Kaske): The Faerie Queene, Book 1

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader: includes Renaissance and early 17th Century lyrics, selected essays, and reading guides. There will also be an active bCourses site, with handouts and materials.

Description

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 texts, but we will also look at selected shorter poems from the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In addition to the historical and formal issues specific to each text, topics for discussion will include: changes within the English language; tensions between received authority (literary, religious, or political) and experience; poets’ readings of their predecessors; challenges to didacticism posed by playful literary form; competing ideas about gender; shifting definitions of place and personhood; and quests of various kinds. Along the way, we will probe the uses and implications of a range of literary genres, modes, and forms (epic, romance, lyric, allegory, irony, and others).


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

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: 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
Location:


Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Behn, Aphra: Oroonoko; Defoe, Daniel: Moll Flanders; Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself; Pope, Alexander: The Rape of the Lock and Other Major Writings; Wordsworth, William: Lyrical Ballads

Description

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 England), political revolution (English, American, French), and changing conceptions of what it means to be a man or woman (a new medical discourse viewing them as categorically distinct), increasingly available printed texts become sites of contestation—including debates about what constitutes "proper" language and Literature itself. We shall think about the ways in which separate groups—British and African, masters and slaves, slave owners and abolitionists, arch capitalists and devout religious thinkers, Republicans and Conservatives, men and women—use writing to devise ongoing relationships with each other, often under conditions of inequality. Throughout we shall be especially attuned to formal choices—from linguistic register to generic conventions and innovations—and how writers deploy these to incorporate opposition, resist authority or authorize themselves. Requirements will include two papers, a mid-term exam, a final exam, and reading quizzes.


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

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: 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)
Location:


Book List

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

Other Readings and Media

Additional required course readings will be made available on bCourses.

Description

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

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


Asian American Literature and Culture: Voice, Text, Image

English 53

Section: 1
Instructor: Leong, Andrew Way
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Book List

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

Other Readings and Media

Other media and readings will be distributed via bCourses.

Description

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

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


Sophomore Seminar: The Coen Brothers

English 84

Section: 1
Instructor: Bader, Julia
Time: M 10-12
Location:


Book List

Lahiri, J.: Interpreter of Maladies

Description

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

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