Announcement of Classes: Fall 2020


Graduate Courses

Graduate students from other departments and exceptionally well-prepared undergraduates are welcome in English graduate courses (except for English 200 and 375) insofar as limitations of class size allow. Graduate courses are usually limited to 15 students; courses numbered 250 are usually limited to 10.

When demand for a graduate course exceeds the maximum enrollment limit, the instructor will determine priorities for enrollment and inform students of his/her decisions at the second class meeting. Prior enrollment does not guarantee a place in a graduate course that turns out to be oversubscribed on the first day of class; fortunately, this situation does not arise very often.


Problems in the Study of Literature

English 200

Section: 1
Instructor: Lye, Colleen
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location:


Other Readings and Media

Materials to be provided via the course website.

Description

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.


History of Literary Criticism: History of Literary Theory

English 202

Section: 1
Instructor: Kahn, Victoria
Time: Tues. 3:30-6:30
Location:


Book List

Aristotle: Poetics; Kant, Immanuel: Critique of Judgment; Plato: Republic

Other Readings and Media

Other readings will be posted on B-courses.

Description

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 sublime. Readings in Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Augustine, Sidney, Erasmus, Kant, Adorno, Lyotard, Scarry, and Ngai.  The syllabus is designed to be particularly helpful to students in English, but students from other departments are welcome and may write their final paper on a primary text or texts in other languages.


Graduate Readings: Literature and Analytic Philosophy

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location:


Description

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 it does, and what it tells us about ourselves and/or the external world. In contrast, we appear considerably less indebted to analytic philosophy—even as we grant the importance of someone like Bertrand Russell for modernist literature and criticism. Whether because of its styles of argumentation, its naturalistic assumptions, or its perceived antipathies to politics and aesthetics, the consensus among literary critics is that analytic philosophy has less to offer us than its continental counterpart. 

This seminar puts that conclusion to the test. Our aim will be to determine what aspects of analytic philosophy might be valuable for literary study today—and the ways we might incorporate those aspects meaningfully and judiciously. After a brief overview of analytic philosophy’s foundations, each week of the seminar will pair key texts from analytic philosophy with key texts of literary criticism or critical theory on a related topic. Topics of consideration might include: linguistic reference, meaning, and performance; logic and rationality; empiricism and the external world; reductionism; intention; the natures of moral and aesthetic value; feminism and sexuality; personal identity; justice; human and animal rights; the concept of mind; mind-body dualism; and the problem of other minds. Philosophical readings will potentially include those by: Anscombe, Appiah, Austin, Carnap, Chalmers, Danto, Davidson, Goodman, Foot, Frege, Kripke, Manne, Murdoch, Nagel, Parfit, Quine, Rawls, Russell, Ryle, Singer, Strawson, Thomson, Williams, and Wittgenstein. Critical readings will include those by: Albright, Apter, Bartlett, Best and Marcus, Butler, de Man, Miller, Ngai, Richards, Scarry, Sedgwick, and Spivak, and many more.

All course readings will be made available online through bCourses. Evaluation will be based on several short papers and presentations as well as a longer essay at the end of the course.


Graduate Readings: Prospectus Workshop

English 203

Section: 2
Instructor: Abel, Elizabeth
Time: W 3-6
Location:


Book List

Recommended: Hayot, Eric.: The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities

Description

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 workshop provides a collaborative critical community in which to try out successive versions of your dissertation project and to learn how your peers are constructing theirs. We will review a range of prospectuses from the past to demystify the genre and to gain a better understanding of its form and function. 

Writing assignments are designed to structure points of entry into the prospectus: although some of the early assignments may be more immediately relevant to certain projects than to others, they all have the benefit of facilitating the passage from concepts to writing according to a series of deadlines. Beginning with exercises to galvanize your thinking, the assignments will map increasingly onto the specific components of the prospectus as the semester proceeds. The goal is to insure that by the end of the semester, every member of the workshop will have submitted a prospectus to his or her committee.


Graduate Readings: Harlem Renaissance

English 203

Section: 3
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: Thurs 3:30-6:30
Location:


Book List

Cullen, Countee: Color; Cunard , Nancy (ed.): Negro: An Anthology; Hughes, Langston: Fine Clothes to the Jew; Hughes, Langston: The Big Sea; Hurston, Zora Neale: Mules and Men; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God; Johnson, James Weldon: The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; Larsen, Nella: Passing; Locke , Alain (ed.): The New Negro: An Interpretation; McKay, Claude: Harlem Shadows; Thurman, Wallace (ed.): Fire!! A Quarterly Dedicated to the Younger Negro Artists; Toomer, Jean: Cane

Description

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, Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston as well as manifestos about the nature and function of black art. Course themes include migration and metropolitan life, primitivism and the avant garde, diaspora and exile, passing and identity, sexuality and secrecy, and the relationship between modern art and folk tradition.

Link to syllabus


Poetry Writing Workshop

English 243B

Section: 1
Instructor: Giscombe, Cecil S.
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Description

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 Literature in Transition, 2000-2010: "Ultimately, 'Ecopoetics' may be more productively approached as a discursive site, to which many different kinds of poetry can contribute, than as the precinct of a particular kind of 'eco' poetry." And then he asks the important question—"How, then, does an individual's sense of the larger Earth enter into an endeavor made small in the face of overbearing world-ecological forces?"

And Camile Dungy, in her introduction to the Black Nature poetry anthology, wrote, "I have to remember what has been said: I am black and female; no place is for my pleasure... How do I write a poem about the land and my place in it without remembering, without shaping my words around, the history I belong to, the history that belongs to me?"

And Brian Teare, in "Poetry as Fieldwork," wrote, "One of the commitments I make to any site I walk through while writing is to learn as much as I can about it: its natural history, its flora and fauna, its geology, its hydrology, all the layers of empirical knowledge that get laid down by Western culture on top of the land."

Text: Geopoetics in Practice, edited by by Eric Magrane, Linda Russo, Sarah de Leeuw, and Craig Santos Perez.  Published 2020 by Routledge.  

A course reader will include work by A. R. Ammons, Gloria Anzaldua, Basho, Ed Roberson, and others.

Field trips, class visitors, writing workshops, weekly prompts, journal work, public performance.

Only continuing, graduate-level 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.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their applications by May 31.


Prose Nonfiction Writing Workshop

English 243N

Section: 1
Instructor: Kleege, Georgina
Time: Thurs. 9:30-12:30
Location:


Description

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 so forth. Reading will be determined according to the interests of the group. Students should expect to produce 30-50 pages of new work over the course of the semester, including critiques of classmates' work. Undergraduates should not apply unless they have completed two sections of the undergraduate workshop (English 143N). 

Only continuing, graduate-level UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course (with the exception listed above). To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5-10 pages of your creative non-fiction (this can be an excerpt of a longer work-in-progress, but please include a brief summary of the project as a whole), 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.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their applications by May 31.

  


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

English 246J

Section: 1
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: W 3-6
Location:


Book List

Alcott, Louisa May: Hospital Sketches; Barrett, Faith: Words for the Hour”: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry; Chesnut, Mary: Mary Chesnut’s Diary; Chesnutt, Charles: Conjure Stories; Crane, Stephen: The Red Badge of Courage; De Forest, John W.: Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty; Foster, Frances Smith: “A Brighter Coming Day”: A Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Reader; Griggs, Sutton: Imperium in Imperio; Higginson, Thomas Wentworth: Army Life in a Black Regiment; Hopkins, Pauline: Contending Forces; Melville, Herman: Battle-Pieces; Tourgée, Albion W.: A Fool’s Errand; Twain, Mark: Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins; Whitman, Walt: Democratic Vistas; Whitman, Walt: Drum-Taps

Other Readings and Media

Course reader containing works by W. E. B. Du Bois, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Abraham Lincoln

Description

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 literature, politics, race, aesthetics, and temporality, we will consider works produced by a range of writers in various genres, including fiction, autobiography, essays, and poetry. We will attend to recent critical developments, especially the effort to come to terms with the voluminous literature about a War that for many years had been construed as “unwritten” and the recent interest in the cultures of Reconstruction. Articulating the relationships between “canonical” and “recovered” texts and between literature and war, social change, and retrenchment inevitably will lead us to questions about literary value, periodization, and literary history. Course requirements include two 8-10 page essays (linked or separate) and one or two oral presentations.  


Research Seminar: Symposia in Trans Method

English 250

Section: 1
Instructor: Lavery, Grace
Time: F 9-12
Location:


Description

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 queer theory) and in the far larger archive of critial and creative writing by trans people working in spaces outside (and often oppositional to) the University. The course will proceed in two-week chunks; on the first week of the pair, we will read work by trans writers, and on the second, we will host a symposium with the authors of the work we will have read, with class participants offering short conference-style responses to the class reading. Confirmed symposium participants include Jules Gill-Peterson, Torrey Peters, Marquis Bey, Morgan Page, Emma Heaney, Cáel Keegan, Eva Hayward, Jeanne Vaccaro, Maxe Crandall, and Jordy Rosenberg, with more participants still to be confirmed. Additionally, we will read work by Riley Snorton, Che Gossett, Tourmaline, Susan Stryker, Dean Spade, Judith Butler, Kay Gabriel, Sheila Jeffreys, Sara Ahmed, Gayle Solomon, and Sandy Stone.


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

English 250

Section: 2
Instructor: Francois, Anne-Lise
Time: W 3-6
Location:


Description

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 Jarman) and to ask about literature's role in shadowing the commons as a persistent alternative to the expropriative and enclosing logics of capitalism and settler colonialism. With respect to the first, we will ask about the different relations to past and future time housed within a form not defined by narrative development, plot or argument but by iteration and incremental redundancy—a form in which one entry does not build on another even as it relies on there being a next or another time.

What features does the journal form share with other circulatory forms such as poetic sequences and song cycles associated with pastoral?

What is the relation between seasonal time, rhythmic time and common time or everyday time? What are the temporal commons?

What weight do literary examples have as counter-practices of the transient, provisional, fugitive and itinerant, in contesting the logic of scarcity and insecurity that drives over-production and accumulation in storage- and surplus-economies? We will also ask about the fate of the material commons in a time defined by mandated online instruction and by the artificial division between a class of precariat workers deemed "essential" and a class of people who are also if differently cut off from the means of production by the order to stay at home. Where is the "open" or "common ground"?

Other keywords we will seek to define in relation to one another: subsistence; maintenance; precarity; the undercommons (Moten/Harney), the indigenous commons; idlers-vagrants-commoners; beating the bounds; non-work/anti-work/inoperative time; phenology and the Anthropocene; ephemera, detritus, accumulation

One inspiration for this seminar is the 2020 ACLA seminar co-led by Joseph Albernaz and Lenora Hanson, "Attritional Catastrophe: Accumulation, Enclosure, Commons

https://www.acla.org/%E2%80%9Cattritional-catastrophe%E2%80%9D-accumulation-enclosure-and-commons


The Teaching of Composition and Literature

English 375

Section: 1
Instructor: Ellis, Nadia
Time: Tues. 10:30-12:30
Location:


Description

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 end of the semester, we will have developed sets of teaching materials and syllabuses for current and future courses. This course qualifies for the G.S.I. Teaching and Resource Center's Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.