Announcement of Classes: Spring 2021


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

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Nathan, Jesse
Time: MWF 9-10
Location:


Book List

Heaney, Seamus: Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996; Milosz, Czeslaw: New and Collected Poems (1931-2001) ; Morrison, Toni: Beloved [ISBN: 0-452-26446-4]; Walcott, Derek: The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 [ISBN: 978-0374125615]

Description

One survived World War II in Poland. Another hailed from a small island in the eastern Caribbean, an outpost on the verge of breaking free of Europe's colonial grip. One was born to a people burdened and ravaged by centuries of enslavement. Another grew up in war-torn Ireland. They came, generally, from small towns and provinces, but their lives were both rural and urban, local and worldly, and they each went on to achieve great acclaim as poets and storytellers. Each was awarded the highest literary honor there is, the Nobel Prize. In this course, we'll explore the lives and works of Czeslaw Milosz, Derek Walcott, Toni Morrison, and Seamus Heaney, considering each writer's context, how they spoke to their times, and how they spoke against them. We'll consider, too, the question of greatness—What is a "great writer," and who gets to decide? Are there timeless literary qualities? How does "great work" in one time and place resonate—or not—in another? What, in 2020, can a concept of universality possibly mean? What makes a poem so sure, so sweet, or so powerful that it lodges in our lives, never leaving us?

The broader purpose of this course is to develop your critical reading and writing skills, whatever your major might be. Over the semester, you'll write a series of short papers and revise three of them. We'll study the summary and synthesis of materials we read, the construction of logical and persuasive arguments, the conveying of attitudes and information. You'll learn by practicing these skills, by thinking about and talking about your own efforts and those of your fellow students, and by analyzing the work of other writers.


Reading and Composition: (Un)Belonging Bodies and Citizenship

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: MWF 10-11
Location:


Book List

Lee, Chang-rae: Native Speaker; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Orange, Tommy: There, There

Other Readings and Media

 

Films: 

Rea Tajiri’s History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige; Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman

Other Readings: 

Texts to be included in a physical or digital course reader will possibly include: excerpts from This Bridge Called My Back (eds. Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga), Laila Lalami’s Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s The Undocumented Americans, Cathy Hong Park’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, and select works from Mary Rowlandson, Phyllis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, W.E. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston. 

 

Description

 

Our bodies – even if we might claim them as our own – are far from neutral, as they carry embedded signals, scripts, and even silences that reflect our unique social positions. This course explores narratives of embodiment, considering how bodies can create forms of social (il)literacy and reflect certain ideals of the nation. In particular, we will think about connecting the processes and consequences of “reading” bodies through normative paradigms of race, class, ethnicity, gender and/or sexuality to larger understandings of assimilation and belonging in the U.S. Students will compose regular reflective pieces on assigned readings and their own writing processes in addition to completing a series of connected, peer-reviewed essays that are geared towards the development of argumentative and analytical skills.

 


Reading and Composition: Allegory and Experience in American Literature.

English R1A

Section: 3
Instructor: Robinson, Jared
Time: MWF 11-12
Location:


Description

The century that spans 1820 to 1920 witnesses the formation of American literature as we know it. Just on the heels of the war of 1812, the America of this century takes its hard-fought independence and heads west to war with Mexico: revising its foundational ideals to admit its own colonialism, attempting to upend entire indigenous civilizations, and importing slave labor in its wake until the body count of its manifesting destiny soars into the millions. These among other “economic” pressures lead this fledgling nation finally into the self-annihilating massacre of the Civil War which, along with the failure of its subsequent reconstruction, results in some of the most horrifically quotidian spectacles of death this nation has ever known, before plunging it headlong again into a great war, World War I. This period of intense violence, migration, and societal reorganization was met and described at every point in equal measure by religious zealots and polyamorous socialists, “bad women” and “noble savages”, vindictive industrialists and their jealous slave drivers, transcendental idealists who wandered off into the woods where once lived the devil himself, and former slaves turned senators, to name just a few. It is the era of America’s hasty construction of its own myths and subsequent recasting of the present in its own image—a sprint from Renaissance to Modernism. Perhaps as a result of this, the literature of this century is in a tense and harried relation to the reality it describes, seeking as it does to participate in some meaningful way, either to promote reform or recalcitrance, and at every point to record the birth of the nation. In this class we will explore the literature of this period, beginning with Washington Irving’s Sketchbook and ending with Jean Toomer’s Cane, in an attempt to map two concomitant formulations: the American now and the American then. How does history become a myth? What does this mythology mean in the present? How can we hold a nation in our minds whose first principle is equal parts deception and dispersion? And ultimately, as these writers did, we will ask if language itself is a force that corrupts or redeems life.


Reading and Composition: Five Ways of Looking at a Poem

English R1A

Section: 4
Instructor: Swensen, Dana
Time: MWF 12-1
Location:


Book List

Bishop , Elizabeth : Poems ; Burt, Stephanie : Don't Read Poetry ; Chan, Mary Jean: Fleche ; Harris , Will: RENDANG ; Hayes, Terrance : American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin ; O'Hara , Frank: Lunch Poems ; Rosenwasser, David: Writing Analytically, 8th Edition ; Shakespeare, William : Sonnets of William Shakespeare; Whitman , Walt: Leaves of Grass--introduced by Harold Bloom

Description

In this course we will move through and across the history of poetry, focusing on poems and poetry through a set of open categories: Character, Identity, Form, Community and Sound. These open categories will be the lenses through which we interpret a broad swath of poetry in English. We'll also follow along with a few of these categories guided by the work of Stephanie Burt in her introductory text Don't Read Poetry.  Beginning in the 21st century with the work of poets as distinct as Terrance Hayes, Will Harris and Mary Jean Chan, we will move back and forth in time. From the 21st to the 16th century, we’ll end in the Renaissance period with the sonnets of William Shakespeare and Thomas Wyatt.  

This course will teach analytical writing, doing so through a broad variety of in-class and independent writing assignments. We will write three papers as we train our rhetorical skills and develop our ability to make complex arguments in discussion and on paper.


Reading and Composition: Sports, Politics, and Protest

English R1A

Section: 5
Instructor: McWilliams, Ryan
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Book List

Perec, Georges: W, or The Memory of Childhood; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen

Other Readings and Media

Because we will watch several 30 for 30 documentaries, you will be required to acquire subscription access to ESPN+; additional streaming purchases may be required.

Most readings will be available online as PDFs; authors are likely to include Sherman Alexie, Roland Barthes, Bill Bradley, Noam Chomsky, Don Delillo, Harry Edwards, Ralph Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates, Helen Ann Peterson, David Foster Wallace, and many more.

Description

Playing fields might be designed to separate winners from losers, but they have recently become sites where privilege and disenfranchisement collide in volatile ways. In response, some have argued that sports should be a field apart: an escape that transcends political divisions. Others have complained that sports cannot truly be more than “bread and circuses”: distractions from the truly pressing issues. We’ll consider each of these arguments, but focus primarily on the compositional, rhetorical, and performative strategies athletes and their fans use to bring attention to injustice.

To contextualize the increasingly visible relationship between sports, politics, and protest, we’ll look to both past and present, considering examples as far afield as Roman gladiators, Teddy Roosevelt and the cult of masculinity, the tactics and style of rezball, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show, and Lebron James’s remarks on Breonna Taylor. Most centrally, we will address the fraught relationship between race and sports in American culture. Other topics will include class and labor politics (including the question of NCAA amateurism), gender (in)equity, violence and nationalism, literary experimentation, and ability/disability.

Over the course of the semester, you will hone your skills in multiple written genres. You’ll learn to model your prose on works by sportswriters, literary luminaries, and literary critics (not to mention literary luminaries and critics moonlighting as sportswriters). In addition to refining analytic essays, you’ll conduct interviews and blog about an issue at the intersection of sports and protest that unfolds live over the course of the semester. By the end of the semester you will produce at least thirty-two pages of carefully edited work.

 


Reading and Composition: Borderline Crooks

English R1A

Section: 6
Instructor: Walter, David
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Book List

Erdrich, Louise: The Round House; Kushner, Rachel: The Mars Room; Slater, Dan: Wolf Boys; Sophocles (tr. Fagles): Oedipus Tyrannus

Other Readings and Media

Film:

Boys N the Hood, (dir./wr. John Singleton,1991); Sin Nombre (dir./wr. Cary Jôji Fukunaga, 2009); Cidade de Deus (dir. Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund/wr. Paulo Lins, Braulio Mántovani, 2002)

Selected Materials:

Aristotle, Robert McKee, Judith Weston, Anabel Hernández, Quentin Tarantino, Charles Bowden

Description

A plague-ridden Thebes, an Indian reservation, a Rio slum, a U.S.-Mexico border town, the LA hood, a California women's prison. These are the settings for our examination of characters who run up against obstacles—from within themselves, their families and tribes, the economic and legal systems they live in—that lead them to make criminal choices. These choices, and the risks they provoke, taint the characters even as they dare us to care for them.

How do fiction writers, dramatists, journalists and filmmakers get us to invest our feelings in morally compromised characters? To answer this question, we will pull out the guts of their stories to examine their wiring—then try to put them back together again on our own. In the process we will examine classic attempts to say what makes an effective tale, and put to the test the idea that every type of story has "rules" that make it successful. A major segment of the course will be devoted to examining the structure of the feature film in relation to drama and the novel.

In order to prepare students for the writing typically required in college-level courses and in civic discourse, this class teaches the composition of thesis-driven argumentative essays. Students will gain practice in composing brief to medium-length arguments that are focused, clearly organized, well supported and based on accurate critical reading of assigned materials. Students will turn in one short essay of three pages followed by two larger ones of 16 pages total, all of which they will develop out of informal written reflections and drafts. In addition, they will make class presentations, and collaborate on final group projects designed to creatively tie together the themes of the class.


Reading and Composition: Collectives

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Bernes, Jasper
Time: MWF 2-3
Location:


Book List

Luiselli, Valeria: Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions; Williams, Joseph: Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace

Description

Literary writing often presents us with profound forms of individual, subjective life—the "I" of the lyric poet, the well-developed character of the realist novel. What opportunities are there, however, for the writer who wants instead to focus on the life of a group, a neighborhood, a workplace, an organization, or a collective? In pursuing answers to this question by way of an examination of American literature, we will pay special attention to the relationship between literary form and the forms into which humans organize themselves.

This is a writing-intensive course, which means that half our time will be spent examining the fundamentals of the thesis-driven essay, from sentence grammar and paragraph structure to close reading and interpretation.


Reading and Composition: Global Nineteenth-Century Literatures

English R1A

Section: 8
Instructor: Viragh, Atti
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Description

This class examines how nineteenth-century novelists, poets, diarists and essayists try to "think globally" in a globalizing world. We will see how their individual stories and ideas participate in much larger narratives--narratives of imperial conquest, nationalism, revolution, slavery, exile, philosophical speculation, and scientific discovery. What boundaries do they find separating each other's languages, aesthetic forms, political priorities, religious beliefs, and intellectual paradigms? How far are these writers able to adjust their world visions to include what lies beyond them? These questions take us across the literary empires of Germany, France, Austro-Hungary, Persia, Ottoman Turkey, Japan, Russia, and into South America. Through such juxtapositions, we will see see how quickly one set of problems gives way to new ones, as territorial divisions become cultural ones, political ideas becomes aesthetic, distance becomes difference. We will also sound out certain deeper boundaries: how literary voices are silenced, and resist silencing, by hegemonic power structures; the limits of personal understanding in the face of nationalist prejudice, racism, social Darwinism, and imperialism; and the durability of all these mythologies and projections in the face of actual encounters with the other. Readings include works by Madame de Staël, Wilhelm Goethe, Ugo Foscolo, Lajos Kossuth, Najaf Kuli Mirza, Lady Mary Leonora Sheil, Mustafa Sami Effendi, Harriet Jacobs, Okakura Kakuzō, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Rubén Darío, Anton Chekhov, Rabindranath Tagore.

The goals of this class are to develop your abilities to read closely, critically and sensitively; to persuasively argue for unique and significant interpretations of your reading; and to develop a sense of the art and craft of writing. Assignments will include weekly discussion posts and papers to be revised and resubmitted throughout the semester. Two books are required for purchase: the ISBN numbers are  978-1843910022 (Ugo Foscolo, The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis) and 978-0-205-62591-8 (Volume E of the Longman Anthology of World Literature, 2nd edition). All other readings will be uploaded to bCourses. I encourage you to compare these with other translations or even read the original (if you have some familiarity with the language) to help us see what is being lost in translation. 


Reading and Composition: Girls, Misunderstood?: “Deviant” Women in Literature

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Ghosh, Srijani
Time: MWF 9-10
Location:


Book List

Chopin, Kate: The Awakening; Kaysen, Susanna: Girl, Interrupted ; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye

Other Readings and Media

 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"; Doris Lessing, "To Room Nineteen"

 

Description

 

Recent psychological thrillers such as The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train have made the figure of the unreliable female narrator-cum-protagonist very popular, and the plots of these stories are driven by the seeming mental instability of the narrator. This trope of female instability has a long literary history and has its roots in deeming women “mad” or “hysterical” when they deviate from the established sociocultural norms of a given time period or community. What drives women to madness? Is a woman mentally sound only when she exhibits “proper” feminine behavior? How does society punish a woman when it considers her an Other? This will be a reading- and writing-intensive course where we will examine short stories and novels, focusing on the way gender, class, and race contribute to the definition and treatment of mental illness.

We will focus on developing the writing, reading, research, and critical thinking skills that you will need throughout your college career. The class will build on the reading, analytical, and composition skills that you already have, and prepare you for writing longer and more complex papers, improve your research skills, and teach you to incorporate source material effectively.

 


Reading and Composition: How Words Do Things

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: Vinyard Boyle, Elizabeth
Time: MWF 10-11
Location:


Book List

Marías, Javier: A Heart So White; Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale; More, Thomas: Utopia; White, T. H.: The Book of Beasts;

Recommended: Borges, Jorge Luis: The Book of Imaginary Beings

Description

When we speak of language, it is usually in terms of what it says, what it means, what it might imply or suggest.  What if we ask instead what words do: what can, or should words do, and what can we do with them?  What is a speech act, and is there a magical quality to words?  How does allegory work, and is this different from symbol and metaphor?  Is there such a thing as a pure image?  How do poetry and myth transform meaning, and in what way do stories conjure characters, or sustain plot?  Do works of literature exchange value, gather currency, or talk to each other? 

 

Our language is driven by such substitutions, and throughout the term we will also investigate how everyday practices operate by the same approximations and transferences – even as we transform our own writing through attention to these metaphorical conjurings and alchemical substitutions.  It will be the very seeming-ness of image, symbol, metaphor, and character that drive us to understand these concepts as they evolve across genres, modes, and literary eras.  In the process, we will explore renaissance allegory and medieval bestiaries, discover spell-making and christian miracles, examine symbols and myths as they make and un-make themselves, move through the echoes of poetry both ancient and modern, and delve into novels that take us to far-flung places as they plumb the depths of human experience.  Do words define our experience of the world, or have the power to generate new ones?  Along the way, we will consider the grammar of translated knowledge as we sharpen our critical eyes and become flexible in describing both language mechanics and the devices by which it makes and sustains meaning.  We will harness the potential of our own writing to uncover, respond to, and even generate these registers, developing a repertoire of attentive reading practices that will unfold and take shape through and as our writing, and which will culminate in a long paper designed to flex our descriptive power to do things with words.


Reading and Composition: War Writing: What Is It Good For?

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: Furcall, Dylan
Time: MWF 10-11
Location:


Book List

Aristophanes: Lysistrata; Orwell, George: Homage to Catalonia; Rankine, Claudia: Don't Let Me Be Lonely; Sontag, Susan: Regarding the Pain of Others

Other Readings and Media

Excerpts and shorter works by Isaac Babel, Thomas Hobbes, Julia Ward Howe, Langston Hughes, Yusef Komunyakaa, F.T. Marinetti, Gertrude Stein, Wilfred Owen, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf, and W.B. Yeats. 

Description

It is commonplace to conceive of the war writer—whether journalist, memoirist, novelist, or poet—as a dispeller of fictions and purveyor of cold, hard truths about the "reality" of warfare. Yet writers themselves have often questioned the written word’s capability to represent that reality; those most skeptical have asked whether such representations ever amount to more than propaganda of one stripe or another.

In this course we will study the relationship, both storied and fraught, between war and writing in Western literature. As such, the historical and generic range of the course will be quite broad: we will read ancient Greek comedy and Vietnam War journalism, Civil War poetry and stories from the Russian Revolution; we will also engage with political oration, visual art, and film. Rather than studying the literature associated with any single war, or the phenomenon of war more generally, we will consider the relationship between writing and warfare primarily in writerly terms: how does one write about war, and to what end? What standard of truth can various kinds of war writing be said to satisfy? If not truth, what value does war writing afford? Of course, as our conception of war writing develops, so too will our picture of “war itself.”

As a composition class, the point of this course is not to “master” content; indeed, the range and complexity of the materials with which we will engage make mastery an impossibility! Instead, our objective will be to hone our analytic, argumentative, and research skills, and to practice those skills in academic writing. To that end, in addition to covering poetry, fiction, criticism, memoir, and film, we will spend a significant portion of class time practicing and reviewing rhetorical craft, logical argumentation, and research methods.


Reading and Composition: Against the Theatre

English R1B

Section: 4
Instructor: Ogunniyi, Kevin
Time: MWF 11-12
Location:


Book List

Barish, Jonas: The Antitheatrical Prejudice; Benjamin, Walter: Origin of the German Trauerspiel; Brecht, Bertolt: Brecht on Theatre; Freeman, Lisa: Antitheatricality and the Body Public; Puchner, Martin: Stage-Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama; Williams, Raymond: Modern Tragedy

Other Readings and Media

 

(Potential) shorter readings (via PDF or library access) from Sappho, Plato (Ion and The Republic), Boethius (Consolation of Philosophy), Langland (Piers Plowman), Michel de Montaigne (Essays), Thomas Beccon (Displaying of the Popish Mass), The Marprelate Tracts, William Prynne (Histriomastix), Henry Fielding (Shamela), Jonathan Swift, Jeremy Collier (Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage), Lawrence Langer (Holocaust Testimonies), and others.

Critical and theoretical readings from Jonas Barish (The Antitheatrical Prejudice), Martin Puchner (Stage Fright), Lisa Freeman (Antitheatricality and the Body Public), etc.

 
 

Description

 

What’s in a theatre? A stage, props, audiences, actors, devices— all sustained by a general acceptance that what happens on stage is not “real.” While the theatre’s composition has remained largely stable over time, the last few centuries have seen the emergence of a category called the “theatrical,” which both informs and derives from dramatic stagecraft. Not only plays but all human actions share in this quality. Alongside theatricality, a psychological resistance to the theatre and all that it represents has emerged—what Jonas Barish calls an innate “antitheatrical prejudice.” How has this so-called prejudice manifested? Does it drive toward the abolishment of all imposture, all theatre, all literature? Why have so many plays, alongside other “theatrical” works, seemingly sought to undermine the premises of the very illusion that sustains them? Can a work be antitheatrical without also being theatrical (and the reverse)? And is antitheatricalism really just a prejudice to be dismissed?


This class will survey the genealogy of “antitheatricality,” from antiquity to the twentieth century—considering both the historical trend of opposition to the theatre as an institution, largely on religious grounds, and the more general and pervasive suspicions of ‘inauthentic’ representational practices (e.g. dandyish dress, wearing make-up, writing garishly). Hostility to and suspicion of the theatre often arise at the margins of a given text—its paratext—and so might stand for the text’s internal tension or drive to contradict itself. Using the techniques of close reading and literary analysis, we will read plays that seem to reject different aspects of the stagecraft that sustains them, writings explicitly composed to attack the stage, and works that embrace and criticize different forms and practices of “inauthenticity.” Ultimately, we will consider whether the antitheatrical can be a positive (i.e. productive) aspect of a work of literature, or even of life.

As an R1B, this course is aimed to give students experience in reading and in writing substantial research papers informed by secondary sources. The theme reflects the purpose. While works of invective against the theatre tend to have different evidentiary standards from academic research papers, the 'antitheatricalist's' literary methods and techniques for producing rhetorical copia—e.g. the use of commonplaces, subtle “They say/I say” gestures, the mutual (and theatrical!) substantiations of the argument and the one arguing—overlap with the scholar’s and might well spur good critical writing.

 
 


Reading and Composition: Audio Texts: Reading and/as Listening Since 1930

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Ullman, Alexander
Time: MWF 11-12
Location:


Description

“Every book is already an audiobook,” argue Matthew Rubery and Christopher Cannon in their “Introduction” to the 2020 PMLA forum on “Aurality and Literacy.” Their statement is meant to signify the double ontology of the codex: how textuality and orality—the shapes of the letters and the shapes of the vocal chords—are always connected in the acts of reading and writing. But to many ears, the statement could also double as a marketing slogan for the audiobook industry, which, led by companies like Audible.com, produces over five-thousand new recordings every month. What’s different when we listen to a text than when we read it silently? How are literary forms affected by the acoustic formats in which they are marketed and experienced?

This class takes up these questions by looking closely at the aesthetics and the politics of audio texts. We’ll cover a variety of different forms (drama, narrative, poetry), genres (sci-fi, fantasy, literary fiction, personal narrative), and formats (radio program, audiobook, podcast). But the core of the class will be exploring the history of radio drama across three different historical periods: American (1937-54); mid-century British (1954-1974) and the contemporary era (1970-now). What is specific to the history, theory, and medium of radio drama, and how did the genre leave its mark on the other forms of audio texts, both fiction and non-fiction? We’ll also look closely at what is called the “politics of narration”: if identity markers across race, class, gender, and ability shape the human voice, is some degree of stereotyping inevitable in these audio texts?

Students will write at least one research paper but will also have the opportunity to produce writing in other forms and formats, including: close readings and listening to selected radio dramas; interviews with a current audio writer, actor, or director; collaborative work to write, rehearse, record, and mix an original audio drama based on a classical piece.


Reading and Composition: What Is Literature?

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: Wang, Jacob
Time: MWF 12-1
Location:


Description

What is literature? According to the literary theorist Jonathan Culler, the answer is simple if a 5-year-old is asking: literature is stories, poems, and plays. But what if university students are asking? In this course, we’ll ask the question for ourselves and investigate the range and complexity of answers and issues that follow. For the concept of literature proves not as simple as it appears – if we dig a little deeper, we find that it arises from a history that touches on everything from the formation of nations to the development of capitalism to the invention and proliferation of new media, and more.

The primary aim of this course is to develop your skills as a writer and researcher – someone who engages with other people’s work and investigates the conditions of the world around them in order to shape their own thinking and writing. We’ll achieve this aim through a regular series of shorter writing assignments that will culminate in longer essays. And just as the category of literature potentially includes a broad range of writings, we’ll practice different modes of writing that are appropriate for different contexts, purposes, and disciplines.

Possible topics include: literature as language, literature as genre, literature as media, literature as social value, history of books, literary education and canons. In addition to the question of what is literature, we’ll also ask: what should we do with literature? What, ideally, should literature be? And why care about literature?


Reading and Composition: Self-Multiplicity and Bildung

English R1B

Section: 7
Instructor: Yniguez, Rudi
Time: MWF 12-1
Location:


Book List

Brontë, Charlotte: Jane Eyre; Burney, Frances: Evelina; Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Dickens, Charles: Great Expectations; Rushdie, Salman: Midnight's Children

Other Readings and Media

Other readings by R.D. Laing, Alex Woloch, Martin Marprelate, James Holstun, Judith Butler, Bruce Robbins

Description

How does a first-person narrator relate and relate to herself as a character amongst other characters? How is the narration of one’s individual growth dependent upon a synchronization with and outpacing of the environment that has produced oneself? What kinds of violence are imposed by the first-person narrator upon his surroundings to make them fit within a novel? What about violence he imposes upon himself?  In this class we will be accounting for what is lost and what is reproduced in the making of a hero and in writing about oneself.  Doing so will directly implicate the writing we do within the class into the political, psychological, and literary systems we will learn to identify, conceptualize, and respond to as we read the writings of others.


Reading and Composition: Down the Rabbit Hole

English R1B

Section: 8
Instructor: O'Brien, Garreth
Time: MWF 12-1
Location:


Book List

Carrington, Leonora: The Complete Stories; Carrington, Leonora: The Hearing Trumpet; Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland; Gaiman, Neil: Coraline

Other Readings and Media

We will watch a number of movies, likely including: Alice (1988); Alice in Wonderland (1933, 1951, and 2010); The Blood of a Poet (1930); Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974); The Matrix (1999); Orpheus (1950); Pan's Labyrinth (2006); Repulsion (1965); Spirited Away (2001); Tideland (2005); Us (2019); and The Wizard of Oz (1939). We will also consider illustrations by artists including John Tenniel and Salvador Dalí.

Description

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, have wormed their way into how we talk and think about fantasy. In this course, we'll read these works along with some of their many adaptations and reimaginings for the light they shed on the opportunities and dangers of escaping into imaginary worlds.

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


Reading and Composition: Caribbean Poetry In and Out of English

English R1B

Section: 9
Instructor: Dunsker, Leo
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Book List

Brathwaite, Kamau: Black + Blues; Césaire, Aimé: Notebook of a Return to the Native Land; Philp, M. NourbeSe: Zong!; Walcott, Derek: Omeros

Other Readings and Media

Because much of the work we'll be reading is either out-of-print or will be read only in parts, there will be plenty of material provided in PDF form.

Description

In this course, we will be reading the work of a wide range of Caribbean poets. Most of the poetry will have been written in English, some of it translated from French or Spanish; some of it in "correct" English, but much of it written in local dialect. Some of these poets understand their work as primarily spoken or oral, in line with a sense of heritage that roots itself across an ocean; others insist that poetry, in the 20th century, should be understood as existing chiefly on the page, as most literature from Europe or the U.S. is. The possibility of an oral poetics and the value of non-standard Englishes will certainly concern us here, but so will the history of the region itself as it is negotiated through the poetry. Can a region where heterogeneity (of linguistic inheritance, or ethnic background) really be considered as one? Or is this in fact the very basis for understanding a region as itself something more than merely geographical? Theorizations of identity -- whether Caribbean theorizations of identity, or theories of Caribbean identity -- such as négritudeantillanité, and creolité, along with philosophical concepts like "tidalectics" or "the right to opacity" devised by the poets and thinkers represented here, will play an important part in our consideration of these and other questions.

In addition to the books listed above, we'll also be examining the more canonical poetry of Claude McKay, Nicolás Guillén, Louise Bennett, Martin Carter, Eric Roach, and others; the written and recorded work of dub poets like Mikey Smith, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Jean "Binta" Breeze; and the work across media of many other writers still living and working today, including Grace Nichols, Lorna Goodison, David Dabydeen, Dionne Brand, and Kei Miller.

This writing-intensive course is designed to improve students’ skills in both writing and thinking. Over the course of the semester, students will write and revise two papers, the first analytic and the second based on individual research. Accordingly, students will be instructed in how to locate and engage with primary and secondary sources as well as in how to properly employ them so as to advance their own original claims.

 


Reading and Composition: Robert Frost

English R1B

Section: 10
Instructor: Laser, Jessica
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Book List

Frost, Robert: Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays (ed. Poirier and Richardson)

Description

"Improvement will not be a progression but a widening circulation.”

This course will study the works and thinking of Robert Frost, a poet of deceptive fame who, by seeming to need no introduction, needs an introduction at least a semester long. We will look at Frost’s poems in relation to each other, to his prose, to contemporary poetry, and in context of historical and political moments that helped define his legacy. A majority of the class will focus on a question about poetry’s uses as "representative" - of a people, a nation, a culture, an individual, a feeling, a butterfly, etc. Our primary interest will be in using the practices of reading, writing, thinking and discussing to discover the scope and stakes of any inquiry. The goal of the course will be to produce an experiential sense of the widening circulation Frost speaks of in the epigraph above, one that might be taken into whatever field of study you will pursue.

Work for this course will be directed primarily at accruing materials (research, writing and insights) surrounding a particular poem or set of poems such that a final research paper will tie together the disparate materials and methods of inquiry practiced across the semester and offer a reading of that poem (or set). Aside from the Frost book, all readings provided by instructor. 

 

 


Reading and Composition: LGBTQ and Chicanx Literature and Cultural Work

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Trevino, Jason Benjamin
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Book List

Anzaldúa, Gloria: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza ; Cuadros, Gil: City of God; Islas, Arturo: The Rain God

Other Readings and Media

(all available as either a course reader or online) Short pieces by Cherríe Moraga, Jose Estéban Muñoz, Heather Love, Tomás Almaguer, Antonio Viego, Leo Bersani, Mel Chen, Michael Hames-Garcia, Judith Butler, and David Halperin.

Description

In this course, we will explore literatures that explore LGBTQ and queer themes in Chicanx/Latinx cultural work.  In our approaches to the course material, we will consider the interrelationships between art and activism. How can not explicitly activist literature function as activism? What does canonical Chicana/o/x work emphasize and what does it invisibilize? And what are the costs?  These are some of the questions we ask as we read a set of multivalent texts that form a triangle that encompasses the Texas Río Grande Valley, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay area.

As we set ourselves to the task of travelling across time and space with these authors, we will encounter a number of obstacles. We will question the political thrust of the term “queer” and encounter its denaturing in generalized academic study.  We will also think about the term “queer” in relation to LGBTQ studies and the emergence of intersectional theory that asks us to consider the importance of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation in relation to its usefulness as a moniker for political activism.

As we analyze the various methods of research and exposition that our authors employ to convey social and literary meaning, we will work on developing our own methods of research and analysis for effective critical thinking and writing. To this end, we will focus throughout the semester on asking precise and significant questions, on identifying useful print and online sources to help us refine and answer these questions, and on translating our research findings into strong scholarly arguments. Students will author one diagnostic essay at the beginning of term, a diagnostic midterm, and a series of short essays of increasing length (for example one 3-page essay, one 5-page essay, and one seven-page essay).  These assignments will allow students ample time to consider the writing process and grow as readers and writers at Berkeley and beyond.


Reading and Composition: The Novel as Cultural Form

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Struhl, Abigail
Time: MWF 2-3
Location:


Book List

Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre; Rhys, Jean: Wide Sargasso Sea

Description

In this class, we will read two classic novels: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) and Jean Rhys’s postcolonial response to it, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). As we read, we will consider the relationship between literary form and culture. How do novels reflect, replicate, or challenge structures of power? Are ideologies around class, race, gender, and colonialism built into the form, or can novels also be sites of subversion? What kind of experiences can be represented in a novel? What other kinds of experiences are registered only to be displaced or repressed? We will consider influential accounts of the novel as a bourgeois, colonial, feminized form, as well as complexities that escape such totalizing accounts.

Although two examples are hardly a comprehensive basis to develop a robust theory of “the” novel, our texts will nevertheless afford us ample opportunities to practice the main objectives of this class: interpreting textual evidence, analyzing scholarly arguments, and using research to enter a critical conversation. The materials may be specific to the study of English literature, but the skills requisite to making an evidence-based argument will serve you well in classes and research projects throughout college.

This class will use the assessment method of “contract grading,” which means that if you complete a sequence of required assignments, you are guaranteed a B in the class (to get higher than a B, you can complete additional labor assignments). Please reflect on whether you would be comfortable with this method of assessment before registering for the class; and please do not buy any books until instructed, in case of adjustments prior to the start of the semester.


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

English R1B

Section: 13
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Other Readings and Media

 

 

 
 

Description

 

This Reading and Composition course will focus on selected speeches, fiction, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. In addition to providing a set of broad critical, aesthetic and historical issues to engage over the course of the semester, selected readings and films place considerable emphasis on the student movements of the decade, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, the Third World Liberation Front, and the Free Speech and Anti-War Movements.

Over the course of the semester, students will strengthen their capacities to make historically informed arguments, formulate compelling questions to guide their own research, and explore creative approaches to academic writing. Writing assignments emphasize critical engagement with historical documents and literary texts. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two formal essays focused on rhetorical and literary analysis (3-5 pages), post frequently to the discussion board, and complete a final research project.

 
 


Reading and Composition: Girls, Misunderstood?: “Deviant” Women in Literature

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: Ghosh, Srijani
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location:


Book List

Chopin, Kate: The Awakening; Kaysen, Susanna: Girl, Interrupted; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye

Other Readings and Media

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"; Doris Lessing, "To Room Nineteen"

Description

Recent psychological thrillers such as The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train have made the figure of the unreliable female narrator-cum-protagonist very popular, and the plots of these stories are driven by the seeming mental instability of the narrator. This trope of female instability has a long literary history and has its roots in deeming women “mad” or “hysterical” when they deviate from the established sociocultural norms of a given time period or community. What drives women to madness? Is a woman mentally sound only when she exhibits “proper” feminine behavior? How does society punish a woman when it considers her an Other? This will be a reading- and writing-intensive course where we will examine short stories and novels, focusing on the way gender, class, and race contribute to the definition and treatment of mental illness.

We will focus on developing the writing, reading, research, and critical thinking skills that you will need throughout your college career. The class will build on the reading, analytical, and composition skills that you already have, and prepare you for writing longer and more complex papers, improve your research skills, and teach you to incorporate source material effectively.


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the "Sixties"

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location:


Other Readings and Media

Course readings/viewings available online/pdfs this coming semester.

Description

This Reading and Composition course will focus on selected speeches, fiction, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. In addition to providing a set of broad critical, aesthetic and historical issues to engage over the course of the semester, selected readings and films place considerable emphasis on the student movements of the decade, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, the Third World Liberation Front, and the Free Speech and Anti-War Movements.

Over the course of the semester, students will strengthen their capacities to make historically informed arguments, formulate compelling questions to guide their own research, and explore creative approaches to academic writing. Writing assignments emphasize critical engagement with historical documents and literary texts. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two formal essays focused on rhetorical and literary analysis (3-5 pages), post frequently to the discussion board, and complete a final research project.


Reading and Composition: Haunted Nation: Studies of American Horror

English R1B

Section: 16
Instructor: Cho, Jennifer
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location:


Book List

García, Cristina: Dreaming in Cuban; James, Henry: Turn of the Screw; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; Morrison, Toni: Beloved

Other Readings and Media

 

Supplementary readings will be provided in physical or digital course reader; Get OutThe Terror: Infamy

 
 
 

Description

 

Why do monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural embodiments continue to haunt us? What feeds our cultural desires and refusals to be “spooked” by otherworldly visitors who point to unfinished business and unresolved crises? This course examines the ways in which the horror genre – both in its conventional appearance and in its more fluid interpretations – remains an enduring form in the American literary and cultural imagination. In addition to turning to earlier iterations of “horror” (Mary Shelley, Herman Melville, Edgar Allen Poe, Henry James, H.P. Lovecraft) and more contemporary narratives of haunting (possible texts: BelovedThe Woman WarriorDreaming in Cuban, Get Out, and The Terror: Infamy), we will consider popular and critical theorizations of the monstrous and the spectral. In the process, we will explore how the haunted and those who haunt direct our attention to painful, subterranean histories, underlying social anxieties and/or the possibilities of reconciliation and new futures. Students’ own texts produced in the class will also be of primary study and import; regular written responses to readings, shorter essays, and writing-focused workshops will eventually prepare students to compose an argument-based research essay around a horror narrative of their choice.

 
 
 


Freshman Seminar: Some Essays by Emerson

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Breitwieser, Mitchell
Time: Wednesdays 4-5
Location:


Description

A close reading and open discussion of a few of Ralph Waldo Emerson's most interesting and puzzling essays. The instructor will post PDFs of all reading assignments. The students will post brief comments on the assigned reading in bCourses and attend a synchronous Zoom discussion meeting each week.

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: 2
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: Tuesdays 1-2
Location:


Book List

Dickinson, Emily: The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition (Franklin, 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: Nineteenth Century Fiction and the Boundaries of the Human

English 24

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


Description

Dramatic advances in science in the 19th century transformed English understanding of the nature of man and his place in the universe. Theories of evolution, discoveries in the fossil record, advances in electrochemistry, new theories of the mind all challenged the traditional conception of humankind as special, unique, separate in its very nature from the nature of other living beings. Scientific theories, and the anxieties they occasioned, had a notable effect on popular fiction, visible in works reflecting new ideas of the monstrous.

In this freshman seminar, we will read a number of works of nineteenth-century fiction that explore the boundaries of the human including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Time Machine, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.  

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


Freshman Seminar: Cults in Popular Culture

English 24

Section: 4
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: Tuesdays 4-5
Location:


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 exposês, and films—to consider what cults might tell us about society, politics, religion, and our sense of self.

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


Introduction to the Study of Poetry

English 26

Section: 1
Instructor: Schweik, Susan
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Book List

Recommended: Rankine, Claudia: Just Us: An American Conversation; Sharif, Solmaz: Look: Poems

Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

In this course we’ll read poems together, intensively, across a long historical span, a variety of contexts (cultural, philosophical, political), and a wide range of modes, forms, genres, styles and techniques. We’ll respond to poems, analyze them, listen to them and write about them; there will be opportunities to play with translating, editing, and visually presenting them, as well as with writing and performing them. Requirements: Short analytic and creative written exercises due in every class period; one short (5 pp) and one longer (8-10 pp) paper; a final exam.

This is a reading- and discussion-intensive course designed for prospective majors and transfer students looking to understand poetry and learn how to write about it critically. It will be taught synchronously; please contact the instructor if you need an asynchronous option.


Introduction to the Writing of Short Fiction

English 43A

Section: 1
Instructor: Rowland, Amy
Time: MW 3-4:30
Location:


Description

This is an introductory workshop that focuses on writing and revising short fiction. We will also read published short stories and other literary work to see how writers handle the essentials of voice, character, setting, structure, point of view, conflict, and the use of language. Students will present their own fiction, and will also be close and empathetic readers of the work of others.   

During the course, students will be responsible for constructively critiquing their classmates’ work, sharing their own work, and reading closely for class discussion. Each student will write two short stories over the course of the semester.

Since this is an introduction to the writing of short fiction, all space in the class will be saved for sophomores and freshmen (at least inititally). Interested students should enroll directly into this course, and no application or writing smple is required.


Introduction to the Writing of Short Fiction

English 43A

Section: 2
Instructor: Wilson, Mary
Time: MW 3:00-4:30
Location:



Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: Lecture MW 9-10 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 10-11; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 1-2)
Location:


Book List

Cavendish, M.: The Blazing World; Chaucer, G.: The Canterbury Tales; Milton, J.: Paradise Lost; Spenser, E.: The Faerie Queene, Book III; Stump and Felch, eds.: Elizabeth I and Her Age; Webster, J.: The Duchess of Malfi

Description

English 45A introduces students to the foundations of literary writing in Britain, from the early Middle Ages to the Renaissance and English Civil War. This semester I'd like to focus on how that foundational narrative—the story of how British authors claim authority— is shot through by questions of gender. Is literary activity implicity, or explicitly, masculine? Is authority itself, in a patriarchal society, necessarily masculine? Do women who write count as authors? How do male writers engage the possibility of female authority?

We'll range in chronological sequence across our period, but at the center of our semester's study will be the figure of Elizabeth Tudor, for fifty years the sovereign Queen of the English patriarchy, adored and abhorred by her male subjects in equal measure (and often in the same breath). Spenser professed the representative system of his Elizabethan epic, The Faerie Queene, to offer "mirrors more than one" to contemplate his sovereign, and we will read our syllabus as likewise refracting the image of female authority into different shapes and scales.


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

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: Lectures MW 2-3 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 10-11; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 1-2; sec. 104: F 2-3; sec. 105: Thurs. 10-11; sec. 106: Thurs. 11-12)
Location:


Description

   Readings in prose fiction, poetry and autobiography from the British Isles and the Atlantic world from 1688 through 1850: a century and a half that sees the formation of a new, multinational British state, with the political incorporation of Scotland and then Ireland, the global expansion of an overseas empire, the revolt of the North American settler colonies, and the expansion and abolition of the British slave trade. Our readings will explore the relations between home and the world in writings preoccupoed with journeys outward and inward, real and imaginary, voluntary and forced.

We’ll read works by Mary Rowlandson, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Lady Mary Wortly Montague, Anne Finch, William Collins, Thomas Gray, James Macpherson, Robert Burns, Margaret Chalmers, Phyllis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, and Herman Melville.

Books include:

Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Behn, Oroonoko; Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience; The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Austen, Persuasion; Gates, ed., The Classic American Slave Narratives; Melville, Bartleby and Benito Cereno. A course reader, containing selections of poetry and short fiction, will be made available.


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

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Falci, Eric
Time: Lectures MW 11-12 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 10-11; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 1-2; sec. 105: Thurs. 1-2; sec. 106: Thurs. 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart; Eliot, T.S.: The Waste Land; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs Dalloway

Description

This course will survey Anglophone literature from the mid-nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth. We will evoke some of the key aesthetic, cultural, and socio-political trends that characterized the movements of modernity as we closely investigate a selection of the major texts from this period. At times the lectures will zoom in on particular features of texts, and at other times they will zoom out to consider cultural conditions, political contexts, philosophical matters, and aesthetic tendencies. We'll also consider modern literature in relation to modern music and visual art as well as developments in photography and film. In addition to the books listed above, there will be a small reader with texts by Whitman, Dickinson, Hardy, Hopkins, Du Bois, Yeats, Joyce, Stein, Eliot, McKay, Toomer, Stevens, Williams,Moore, Hughes, Auden, Bennett, Walcott, Beckett, and a few others. All texts will be available online. There will be two essays and a final exam.

Lectures will meet at the scheduled time and also be recorded and available for students to view on their own time. Attendance at scheduled discussion sections is expected, but students are welcome to contact the instructor to discuss any particular needs.


Sophomore Seminar: Hitchcock

English 84

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


Description

This course will focus on the Hitchcock oeuvre from the early British through the American period, with emphasis on analysis of cinematic representation of crime, victimhood, and the investigation of guilt. Our discussions and critical readings will consider socio-cultural backgrounds, gender problems, and psychological and Marxist readings as well as star studies.

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


Medieval Literature: Love in the Middle Ages

English 110

Section: 1
Instructor: Strub, Spencer
Time: MWF 10-11
Location:


Book List

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise; Capellanus, Andreas: The Art of Courtly Love; Chaucer, Geoffrey: Troilus and Criseyde; de France, Marie: Lais; de Troyes, Chrétien: Arthurian Romances

Other Readings and Media

Further readings to be posted on bCourses.

Description

Set aside the stereotypes: there’s more to medieval love than gallant knights and fair maidens. In this course, we'll traverse the many ways one could write about love before 1400. Some medieval authors cultivated divine love, while others told dirty jokes; some celebrated marriage, while others derided it; some regulated gender expression, while others subverted its norms. And sometimes the same author did all these things at once. 

Our focus will fall on works written in France and England during the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. In twelfth-century Paris, a particular idea of romantic love came into being alongside new modes of philosophy and literature. By the fourteenth century, this idea––what we now call “courtly love”––had become the subject of satire and debate across Europe, a shift in temperament that we will explore in the second half of the semester. Because these two moments in the history of love emerge from broader cross-cultural exchange in the Middle Ages, we will attend to their antecedents in medieval Arabic and Hebrew love literature, as well as the classical and scriptural sources all three traditions shared.

As we explore these texts, we will uncover medieval ideas about love, sexual ethics, and gender, but we will also pose transhistorical questions about consent, agency, and desire. In order to do so, we must ask how literary forms from the lyric to the epic condition our understanding of love and its consequences. To that end, you will produce a number of short analytical writing exercises in addition to two longer essays. The class will end with a sustained engagement with Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde––one of the great works of love-literature of any era.

Readings in Middle English will be read in the original; all other readings will be in modern English translation. No previous experience with medieval literature is necessary.

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


Middle English Literature

English 112

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

For more information on this course, please contact Professor Miller at j_miller@berkeley.edu.

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


Shakespeare

English 117S

Section: 1
Instructor: Knapp, Jeffrey
Time: Lectures TTh 1-2 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 12-1; sec. 103: F 1-2; sec. 104: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Shakespeare, William: The Comedy of Errors (Signet ed.); Shakespeare, William: The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays (3rd ed.);

Recommended: Greenblatt, Stephen: Will in the World

Description

What makes Shakespeare Shakespeare?  We’ll search for answers to that question through the astonishing variety of Shakespeare’s plays.  We’ll explore the ways that Shakespeare develops plot and character in his drama, as well as the literary, social, sexual, religious, political, and philosophical issues that he conceptualizes through plot and character.  Finally, we’ll trace how Shakespeare’s dramaturgy is shaped by his evolving sense of pride and shame in his work as a mass entertainer.

This course satisfies the Shakespeare requirement for the English major.


Literature of the Restoration and the Early 18th Century

English 119

Section: 1
Instructor: Turner, James Grantham
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Description

The period from the “Restoration” of Charles II (1660) to the death of Alexander Pope (1744) produced the last poems of Milton, the first English pornography and feminist polemic, the most devastating satires ever written, influential novels like Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels, the most amusing comedies, and the most outrageous obscenity. London (already the largest city in the world) was shut down by a deadly plague, then burned to the ground – does this sound familiar? We will begin by reading and analyzing contemporary accounts of this catastrophe. Yet within a few generations London bounced back, for better or worse: this period invented great literature, architecture and music, the scientific revolution, insurance and paper money, but also the stock market and the colonial empire based on slavery. We will explore the contrasts and contradictions as well as the abundance and brilliance. Canonical figures like Hobbes, Dryden, Congreve, Pope and Swift will be juxtaposed to scandalous and/or marginal authors: women writers like Aphra Behn, Mary Astell and Mary Wortley Montagu, Puritan outlaws like John Bunyan, and renegade aristocrats like the Earl of Rochester. Dominant themes, always treated with devastating wit and skeptical realism, include sexuality and identity, the politics of gender as well as nation, and the representation of “other” cultures (Surinam, West Africa, Ireland, Ottoman Turkey, cannibals, giants, talking horses).

All our readings will be available to download.

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


Literature of the Later 18th Century

English 120

Section: 1
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location:


Description

We’ll investigate the relationship of literature to other arts in the period, particularly painting and landscape design. Our focus will be on engagements with “nature,” understood as the non-human world and the ground of culture. In this period, nature also served as the foundation for the “rights of man,” yet those imagined as living “closest” to nature—animals, the laboring poor, slaves, and women—could not find a secure place in this discourse. We will explore why.

Readings will be available on bcourses.

Depending on student interest, we may experiment with some nonsynchronous work. Please contact the instructor to discuss any particular needs.

James Thomson, The Seasons; William Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty; Christopher Smart, Jubilate Agno; Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village; George Crabbe, The Village; Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery; Mary Woolstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women; Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France; Thomas Paine, Rights of Man; as well as poems by William Collins, Thomas Gray, Anna Letitia Barbauld, and Charlotte Smith.

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


The Romantic Period: Romantic Voices

English 121

Section: 1
Instructor: Langan, Celeste
Time: MWF 11-12
Location:


Description

"Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal/ Large codes of fraud and woe..." --P.B. Shelley, "Mont Blanc"

Romanticism has long been identified with democratic revolutions of the late 18th century, with the social demand that every citizen have a “voice” in the constitution of community and law.  In this survey of literature of the Romantic period, we’ll consider how “voice” gets represented, and to what ends.  Whose voices get heard, and who is spoken about?  What does it mean to speak before the law? How do human voices get heard or silenced in the context of the “voices” of nature (particularly birds and cataracts), of the state, and of conscience? How do verbal forms of repetition (rhyme, refrain, parody, quotation) work to disrupt or reinforce authority? Against the background of the treason trials and Gagging Acts of the 1790s and the Peterloo massacre of 1819,  we will read novels, poems, and dramas in which voice emerges to contest formal and informal laws--from vagrancy, slavery and other forms of “property” law to genre, grammar, and other conventions regulating “voice."


The English Novel (Dickens through Conrad)

English 125B

Section: 1
Instructor: Banerjee, Sukanya
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Book List

Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre; Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra: Rajmohan's Wife; Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities; Gaskell, Elizabeth: Mary Barton; Steel, Flora Annie: On the Face of the Waters; Stoker, Bram: Dracula

Other Readings and Media

Further readings will be posted on bCourses.

Description

In this course we will read novels that were written from the 1840s through the end of the nineteenth century, a period that is marked by Britain’s growth as the first modern industrialized society and as an expansive colonial power. This was a period that was also marked by a widespread demand for political and social reform as well as a recalibration of notions of gender, class, sexuality, and national/imperial identity. Placing the novel form at the heart of these debates, we will consider how (and if) the formal and aesthetic features of the novel as they evolved over the course of the nineteenth century shape and are shaped by these debates. We will pay close attention to the emergence of certain novelistic genres, such as the “industrial novel,” the “Mutiny novel,” or novels of the fin de siècle gothic. And even as our focus remains on the “English” novel, we will take the imperial backdrop of nineteenth-century Britain into account to expand the contours of our literary understanding of the British nineteenth century. Therefore, a few of the novels that we read will not be set in Britain or written by authors who conventionally fall under the purview of “nineteenth-century British.”


The European Novel: Desire and Form

English 125C

Section: 1
Instructor: Flynn, Catherine
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Book List

Boccaccio: The Decameron; Calvino, Italo: Invisible Cities; Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment; Huysmans, Joris-Karl: A Rebours ; Mann, Thomas: Death in Venice ; Voltaire: Candide

Description

The genre of the novel is named for its capacity for novelty or imaginative invention. This course will examine spectacularly creative instances of fictional prose in the European novel from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. We will examine how these works are inventive both in their construction and in their content. We’ll think about how narrative form is used, often at historical moments of constraint and danger, to create new worlds and ways of being. We’ll examine the conventional understanding that the novel takes its energy from conflict or unsatisfied desire, and consider how appetites of various kinds feature in these novels as organizing forces. How do hunger, lust, material greed, and the desire for order, beauty, and freedom structure these novels? What types of individuals are created through these desires? What kinds of collectives result?

All readings are in English. Reading: 120 pages per week. Written work: short written assignments and quizzes, midterm paper, final paper.


British Literature, 1900-1945

English 126

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: Lectures TTh 2-3:30 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Joyce, James: Ulysses; Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; West, Rebecca: Return of the Soldier; Woolf, Virginia: The Waves

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be provided as PDFs through bCourses. 

Description

How did British and Irish literature change over the first half of the twentieth century? Was “modernism” a historical moment, an aesthetic movement, or a critical attitude—or some combination of the three? How did writers contend with upheavals such as Irish nationalism, World Wars I and II, suffrage, Windrush, fascism, and the fluctuations of empire? And how did conventional literary forms respond to the advents of film, radio, and television? These are some of the questions this course will try to answer. Evaluation will be based on a combination of papers, exams, and course participation.

Readings will likely include those by Rupert Brooke, Joseph Conrad, TS Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound, Mina Loy, Filippo Marinetti, Wilfred Owen, Sigfried Sassoon, Sam Selvon, Muriel Spark, John Millington Synge, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, William Butler Yeats.


American Literature: Before 1800

English 130A

Section: 1
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: Lectures TTh 1-2 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 1-2; sec. 102: F 2-3)
Location:


Book List

Brown, Charles Brockden: Edgar Huntly; Levine, Robert: Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. A: Beginnings to 1820 (9th Ed.); Miller, Perry: The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry; Rowson, Susanna: Charlotte Temple

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied Course Reader

Description

This course will offer a survey of the literature in English produced in North America before 1800: competing British versions of settlement; Puritan history, sermons, and poetry; conversion, captivity, and slave narratives; diaries, journals, essays, and oratory; and eighteenth-century political debate, poetry, and novels. Authors will include William Bradford, John Winthrop, John Smith, Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Mary Rowlandson, Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, Susanna Rowson, and Charles Brockden Brown. Two midterms and one final examination will be required.

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


American Literature: 1865-1900

English 130C

Section: 1
Instructor: Tamarkin, Elisa
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Description

A survey of major works of U.S. literature after the Civil War, with special attention to artistic experimentation in these years and to the rise of "realism" in literature.  These decades put unprecedented faith in ideals of progress and individualism, in economic expansion and big business.  They also were marked by all the problems of Reconstruction, by racial injustice and the rise of Jim Crow laws, by deep poverty, and by unresolved debates about the role of the federal government in social welfare.  Writers engaged with this moment in a variety of surprising ways that also reflected on literature’s uncertain status as a medium of social protest or as a separate realm outside of the new social realities that were made visible to readers like never before.  Our authors will include Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane, William Dean Howells, Charles Chesnutt, Mark Twain, Jacob Riis, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Edith Wharton.


Topics in African American Literature and Culture: The African American Essay

English 133T

Section: 1
Instructor: Best, Stephen M.
Time: MWF 11-12
Location:


Book List

Als, Hilton: The Women; Baldwin, James: No Name in the Street; Baldwin, James: Notes of a Native Son; Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Coates, Ta-Nehisi : Between the World and Me; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen; Wright, Richard: 12 Million Black Voices

Description

Readers of James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, and other writers, often turn to their essays with a mind to better understanding their novels and other literary writing.  In this course we will consider the African-American essay as a form in its own right, one that rewards close formal analysis. The essay (from Old French essai, “attempt”) is a sort of rhetorical trial balloon, implying firstness, a want of finish, and a rigorous nonsystematicity. We will consider the matter of incompletion in two respects -- the essay as it engages the topic of the incomplete project of black freedom, and the essay as ongoing experiment in form – with a goal of puzzling out how the two are related.


Topics in African American Literature and Culture: The Art of the Black Diaspora

English 133T

Section: 2
Instructor: Ellis, Nadia
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Book List

Brodber, Erna: Louisiana; Gyasi, Yaa: Homegoing; Hartman, Saidiya: Lose Your Mother; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Other Readings and Media

Films will include Daughters of the Dust (dir. Julie Dash); Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins); and Atlantique (dir. Mati Diop).

Music will include works by Nina Simone, Burning Spear, and Beyoncé.

Shorter readings and excerpts will include works by W. E. B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, Marcus Garvey, Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham, James Baldwin, Saidiya Hartman, and Christina Sharpe.

*Please consult the instructor before purchasing course texts.

Description

The black diaspora is, amongst other things, a literary tradition: a complex, cross-generic set of texts produced by black writers located in almost every nation across the globe, equal in complexity and variation to the modern concept of race that is inextricably tied to its formation. But how can one conceptual framework possibly contain such a dazzlingly various canon? In this class we’ll read novels, watch films, listen to music, and look at art to begin to answer that question. We'll read critics and thinkers to understand the history of black diaspora, the political implications of its formations, and the theories underwriting its vibrant and varied aesthetics. Adapting to pandemic conditions, the course will favor shorter texts this semester though we will, as usual, move through a broad sweep of the twentieth century and into the contemporary moment, and we'll cover a wide variety of contexts and genres. This variety and breadth is crucial to laying a foundation in the field and to opening up the issue of identity-across-difference that is fundamental in black diasporic culture.


Contemporary Literature: Contemporary British Fiction (and a few films)

English 134

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: Lectures TTh 11-12 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 103: F 11-12; sec. 104: F 12-1)
Location:


Book List

Burns, Anna: Milkman; Cusk, Rachel: Kudos; Evaristo, Bernadine: Girl, Woman, Other; Hollinghurst, Alan: The Line of Beauty; Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Remains of the Day; Rushdie, Salman: Haroun and the Sea of Stories; Sebald, WG: Rings of Saturn; Smith, Zadie: White Teeth

Other Readings and Media

 

Dung Kai-Cheung's Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City is available electronically through the University Library. 

 

Description

This course will examine British novels and films from the past thirty years--from roughly 1990 through the present. Topics of discussion will include: the legacies of empire, World War II, Thatcherism, and New Labor; the erosion of the welfare state; British nationalism, multiculturalism, and immigration; feminism and LGBTQIA+ politics and aesthetics; Northern Ireland and Troubles; the Handover/Return of Hong Kong; the decline of British manufacturing; psychogeography; the literary marketplace; the EU, Euroscepticism, and Brexit. Evaluation will be based on a combination of papers, exams, and course participation.

Novels will include: Anna Burns, Milkman; Rachel Cusk, Kudos; Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other; Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day; Dung Kai-Cheung, Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City; Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories; WG Sebald, Rings of Saturn; and Zadie Smith, White Teeth.

Films will likely include: Stephen Frears, My Beautiful Laundrette; Richard Loncraine, Richard III; Wong Kar-Wai, In the Mood for Love; Derek Jarman, Edward II and Blue; Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot; Patrick Keiller, Robinson in Space; Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men. Additional films TBA.


Studies in World Literature in English: (Post)Colonial Fiction

English 138

Section: 1
Instructor: JanMohamed, Abdul R.
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Description

 

This course will examine some British colonial novels within the socio-political-economic context of late British colonialism and some (post-)colonial novels written after the devolution of formal British colonialism.  Texts will be chosen from the following: 

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Rudyard Kipling, Kim; E. M. Forster, A Passage to India; Joseph Conrad, Nostromo; J. M. Coetzee, Waiting For the Barbarians; Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart; George Lemming, In the Castle of My Skin; TsiTsi Dangarembga: Nervous Conditions; Nadine Gordimer, Burger’s Daughter; Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children.

 


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

English 141

Section: 1
Instructor: Abrams, Melanie
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location:


Description

This course will introduce students to the study of creative writing—fiction and poetry. 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. In weekly discussion sections, students will participate in class workshops where their work will be edited and critiqued by other students in the class.

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, Vikram
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location:


Book List

Sittenfeld, Curtis: The Best American Short Stories 2020

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, OCTOBER 29.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their applications by Tuesday, November 24.


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 2
Instructor: Abrams, Melanie
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location:


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, OCTOBER 29.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their application by Tuesday, November 24.


Verse

English 143B

Section: 1
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available from Krishna Copy (University Ave. at Milvia St.) shortly before our first meeting.

Description

In this course you will conduct a progressive series of explorations in which you will try some of the fundamental options for writing poetry today (or any day) — aperture and closure; rhythmic sound patterning; sentence and line (verse); short and long-lined poems; image & figure; stanza; poetic forms; the first, second, and third person (persona, address, drama, narrative, description); and prose poetry. Our emphasis will be on recent possibilities, with an eye and ear to renovating traditions. We will also read a number of poems by graduates of my 143B sections who have gone on to publish books.  I have no “house style” and only one precept:  you can do anything, if you can do it. You will write a poem a week, and we’ll discuss four or five in rotation (I’ll also respond each week to every poem you write). On alternate days, we’ll discuss illustrative poems in our course reader. If the past is any guarantee, the course will be fun and will make you a better poet.

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, OCTOBER 29.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their applications by Tuesday, November 24.


Verse: The Migratory Ear: Listening as a Generative Strategy

English 143B

Section: 2
Instructor: Hofer, Jen Eleana
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Description

“…listen/to the sound/of the grass/as we speak/the sound/of the grass/is the poem/we are writing/together/as we speak” (Cecilia Vicuña, ed. and trans. Rosa Alcalá)

What becomes possible when we listen differently, beyond the bounds of familiar voices and communication modes, and hence express ourselves differently, beyond the bounds of familiar constructs? We tend to think of writing as a form of speech, of self-expression, an exteriorization of ideas, thoughts and imaginings that are inside us. What if we were to invert that paradigm completely, constructing a writing practice based on listening, receiving, channeling, translating, transmigrating, and otherwise being a medium for what is already present in the world, or for what we might make present by our conjurings? Writing and art-making are material and thinking practices through which we can instigate ourselves to perceive the world differently, and to configure a different world. Radical shifts in perception and configuration are urgently necessary—right here and right now. Writers we are likely to consider in this class include: F. Douglas Brown, Don Mee Choi, CA Conrad, Heid E. Erdrich, Ashaki Jackson, Douglas Kearney, Sawako Nakayasu, Urayoán Noel, M. NourbeSe Philip, Cecilia Vicuña, and Joshua Whitehead.

This class is an intensive reading, conversing, and writing experience. As part of the class, we will experiment with a range of approaches and strategies for generating and/or revising text, all based on listening as a creative, social and political act. We will define and redefine “listening” in the broadest sense(s) possible, including auditory and sonic practice, but extending beyond those to investigate translation theory and practice, multilingualism, writing-through-music, the dérive, (soma)tics and other perceptual adventures. The Migratory Ear is open to anyone with a creative practice, whether or not you consider yourself a writer, and is especially designed to welcome students whose use of English inhabits many different "Englishes," whose first language was not English, and/or who are bilingual or multilingual.

Students will do some covid-safe "field work" in the form of listening tours on walks, hikes, bike rides, or just in their own spaces if they need to quarantine. They will also attend (via zoom) a reading or concert as part of a writing exercise. Most of these projects will be done as homework (i.e. inherently asynchronous, regardless of whether the class is meeting virtually or in-person) but once or twice they may replace classtime -- this will depend on what the group decides together.

The class will meet synchronously probably 98% of the time. 

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, OCTOBER 29.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their application by Tuesday, November 24.


Prose Nonfiction: Travel and Place

English 143N

Section: 1
Instructor: Giscombe, Cecil S.
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location:


Description

“Traveling, Thinking, Writing.”

Much of American literature has had to do with a sense of motion. Note the journeys, e.g., in the best known texts of Melville and Twain. But note also that Harlemite Langston Hughes’ autobiography, The Big Sea, begins on a boat and details his adventures in Europe and Africa; Canadian writer Gladys Hindmarch takes on Melville with her Watery Part of the World and Zora Neale Hurston travels to Haiti in Tell My Horse and through the American south in Mules and Men.  The point of this course is multiple and full of inquiry. 

The 
familiar question, “Is this trip necessary?”, is joined to “What makes this trip important enough to 
celebrate?” Another field is the role of Americans and/ or Westerners as travelers in the world.  What things are we heir to?  What gifts do we bring?  And what kinds of ignorance?  What’s the relation between the imperial West and our current situation? The point in this—and any writing—is to write consciously and to be mindful of the political import of our writing.  A third field is the defining of the relation between travel and place (and imagination). Place is still “hot,” as a topic.  What are the elements of the sentimental here and what assumptions?

Workshop.  Discussions.  Reading.  Writing assignments.  The writing vehicle will be, for the greatest part, the personal essay (with some forays outward into hybrid prose/ poetry forms).

Texts: Best American Travel Writing 2020, edited by Robert Macfarlane; Eddy Harris’s Mississippi Solo; excerpts from Linda Niemann’s Boomer; excerpts from Basho’s Back Roads to Far Towns (translated by Cid Corman).

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5-7 pages of your nonfiction prose, 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 deadine for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their applications by Tuesday, November 24


Topics in Asian American Literature and Culture: World, Nation, City

English 153T

Section: 1
Instructor: Leong, Andrew Way
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Book List

Bulosan, Carlos: America is in the Heart; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior: Memoir of a Girlhood Among Ghosts; Ma, Ling: Severance; Mukerji, Dhan Gopal: Caste and Outcast; Okada, John: No No Boy

Other Readings and Media

Additional short readings will be posted and made available on bCourses.

Description

This class (previously listed under "English 166/5" in Spring 2019) provides a foundation for reading Asian American literature at three levels of scale: world, nation, and locality. At the world scale, we will discuss the political origins of the phrase “Asian American” in the late 1960s and how associations with radical forms of political activism such as the Third World Liberation Front informed the invention of the concept of "Asian American literature." We will also look back to short texts from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries to see how a larger, world historical perspective of Asian American literature from the Manila galleon trade through the Spanish American War can illustrate the limitations of historical and literary narratives that focus too heavily on the North Atlantic. At the national scale, we will examine how Asian American writers confronted the anti-Asiatic creation of national borders through immigration exclusions and origin quotas from the 1880s to 1920s. We will trace how the legacies of these exclusions informed later works written during and after ghettoization, internment, and refugee resettlement. Finally, at the scale of "city," we will focus on ways of reading texts situated in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York.


Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism

English 160

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


Other Readings and Media

All readings will be posted and made available via bCourses.

Description

If you're reading this, and you've done coursework in English or other languages and literatures, then you're probably a literary critic. You've written who knows how many critical, interpretive, or comparative essays with more close readings than you might care to count. But, why? What does literary criticism do? Who gets to be a professional, certified, or published critic? When and why has "critical" writing been seen as separate from "creative" writing? What roles -- important, or irrelevant -- have critics played in shaping the reception, distribution, and appreciation of literary texts?

In this course, we'll work through these questions by reading key works of literary criticism in English, dating from periods in which literacy was restricted to the aristocracy and clergy, through periods of increasing print publication, to our present moment. Beginning with Sir Philip Sidney's "Apology for Poetry," and moving through writings by William Wordsworth, Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, W.E.B. DuBois, Cleanth Brooks, Mike Gold, Raymond Williams, C.L.R. James, Harold Bloom, Frank Chin, Eve Sedgwick, and others, we'll read English-language literary criticism to address two inter-related categories of question. First, what are the objects of criticism? What makes a literary text "literary"? What are the practical, political, or aesthetic aims of writing criticism? Second, who are the subjects of criticism? Who gets to criticize a text? Who are the intended readers of criticism? How can critics help to shape the sensibilities and subjectivities of formerly colonized or emergent nations, or of minoritized and marginalized communities?


Introduction to Literary Theory

English 161

Section: 1
Instructor: Hale, Dorothy J.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location:


Book List

Leitch, Vincent, et al: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, THIRD EDITION

Other Readings and Media

Additional required course readings will be posted on our b-courses site.

Description

This course explores the distinctive nature of “theory” as a twentieth-century approach to the study of literature.  Our inquiry is organized around the major movements in the field: formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, psychoanalysis, identity politics, and post-colonialism.  We will examine the different conceptions of literary value and critical method that define these approaches, as well as the family of ideas that “doing theory” comes to signify.  We will also consider the way recent critical trends (such as ecopoetics, global studies, affect theory, and the new ethics) build upon, revise, or attempt to work outside of the intellectual traditions consolidated in the twentieth century.

Our study of literary theory will be anchored in a particular question: why does prose fiction command sustained theoretical attention, across schools and throughout the twentieth century--often serving as the privileged example of literary value?  As we focus on the categories of importance attributed to prose fiction, we will develop an understanding of key theoretical concepts.  These include the story/discourse distinction, textuality, signification, ideology, master narratives, the unconscious, the split subject, binary opposition, dialectical logic, border crossing, voice, heteroglossia, mimicry, technologies of power, gender performativity, and ethical singularity.

To develop skills as close readers of theory, students will write two short papers (7-8 pages each).  A take-home final provides the opportunity for synthetic thinking.  Required b-course posts encourage students to work out their questions and responses to the course materials on a weekly basis.


Special Topics: Utopian and (mostly) Dystopian Movies

English 165

Section: 2
Instructor: Starr, George A.
Time: W 5-8
Location:


Description

Most utopian and dystopian authors and film-makers are more concerned with persuading readers and viewers of the merits of their ideas than with the "merely" literary or artistic qualities of their work. Although utopias have sometimes made converts, inspiring readers to try to realize the ideal society, most have had limited practical impact, yet have managed to provoke readers in various ways--for instance, as a kind of imaginative fiction that comments on "things as they are" indirectly yet effectively, with fantasy and satire in varying doses. Among the critical questions posed by such material are the problematic status of work that is not primarily mimetic, but has “an axe to grind”—i.e. is produced in the service of some ulterior purpose; the shifting relationships between what is and what some think might be or ought to be; how to create the new and strange other than by recombining the old and familiar; and so on. Most of the films included in the syllabus will be dystopian rather than utopian; all will be streamed, and discussed (but not shown) in class.


Special Topics: Popular Music and Social Critique

English 165

Section: 3
Instructor: Cruz, Frank Eugene
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Book List

Dyson, Michael Eric: Jay-Z: Made in America; Guthrie, Woody: Bound for Glory; Guthrie, Woody: House of Earth; Himes, Geoffrey: Born in the U.S.A.; Jay-Z: Decoded; Springsteen, Bruce: Born to Run

Other Readings and Media

Music List:

Guthrie, Woody, Dust Bowl Ballads

Springsteen, Bruce, Born in the U.S.A.

Jay-Z, Selected songs

Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine

A digital course reader including other media, music videos, concert footage, and essays by Horkheimer and Adorno, Roland Barthes, Joan Didion, Greil Marcus, Mike Davis, Jeff Chang and others will be available on bCourses.

Description

At the onset of the Second World War, a Communist country music singer armed with an acoustic guitar demands the nation examine the consequences of a man-made climate crisis and pledges to destroy fascism both at home and abroad…  A generation later, a bar band from the Jersey shore, heroes to the white working class, dare to challenge Ronald Reagan’s promise to “[Make] America Great Again,” and his vision of “Morning in America” at the dawn of the neoliberal era, in the shadow of the Vietnam War…  Meanwhile, a once lowly soldier in New York City’s drug wars of the 1980s finds salvation in hip hop, interpellates himself as the God of Rap, and ascends to the throne of pop poetics as America’s poet laureate of the late-capitalist hard-knock life…  And on Election Day 1992, just months after the Rodney King verdict and the Los Angeles uprising, a multi-racial, Marxist metal band challenge the white supremacist roots of the LAPD and call for nothing less than full scale revolution on their genre-bending debut LP…

In this course, we will analyze the music of Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, and Rage Against the Machine. We will consider the aesthetic and ideological tensions their work exposed for popular culture audiences in their own historical moment and think about the meaning of these tensions and texts for our current moment of climate crisis, resurgent fascist politics in the US, historic class inequality, and mass movements for racial justice.

A mixtape will be required. 


Special Topics: 21st-Century U.S. Poetry

English 165

Section: 4
Instructor: O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location:


Description

In this course we’ll review the U.S. poetry of the present, reading representative poems from the last 15 years or so in relation to a number of formal concerns, poetic subjects, and debates within the social field (and its media), including: the advent of the Internet and its ongoing effect on writing and reading practice, dissemination, and national conversations about race, gender, class, and community; the emergence of “ecopoetics”; the waning and reinvention of traditional forms; prose poetry; Conceptual poetry; movement poetry (Occupy-era and antiracist work). All readings will be drawn from a digital Course Reader and will include Kevin Davies, Juliana Spahr, Claudia Rankine, Ben Lerner, Jennifer Moxley, Graham Foust, Ariana Reines, Douglas Kearney, Fred Moten, Lisa Robertson, Cathy Park Hong, Brenda Hillman, Javier Huerta, and many others.


Special Topics: Alrish

English 165

Section: 5
Instructor: Flynn, Catherine
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot; Boucicault, Dion: The Colleen Bawn ; Carr, Marina: The Bog of Cats; Congreve, William: The Way of the World ; Friel, Brian: Translations; Shaw, George Bernard: Pygmalion; Sheridan, Richard Brinsley : The School for Scandal; Synge, John Millington: The Playboy of the Western World ; Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest ; Yeats, William Butler: Cathleen ni Houlihan

Description

This course will use both traditional and digital humanities methods to explore Irish drama from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Working through a series of historical periods, we will consider individual plays in their own right and against their contemporaries by referring to computational analyses of formal, lexical, and stylistic features (such as sentence length, speech length, scene length, number of characters, frequency of words and groups of words in individual plays). We will also consider individual plays in relation to scenes generated by artificial intelligence using the results of analyses of their periods. Throughout the course, we will consider how drama explores the relation between individual and collective identity; towards the close of the course, we will think about how to understand the dramatic medium at a moment in which individual subjectivity and collective life are increasingly routed through and constituted by digital space and subject to surveillance and data collection.

Knowledge of coding is not a prerequisite for the course. Assignments: two short essays, some quantitative analysis, and participation in a performance at the end of the semester. All texts will be available through bCourses.


Special Topics: “Moments of Truth”: Narrating the Endings of Lies, Disinformation, and Deceit

English 165

Section: 6
Instructor: Ramona Naddaff
Time: W 3-6
Location:


Description

As a new year and new semester begins, we begin an investigation of the dawning of the age of post- “post-truth” or, to state it differently, of the various attempts (sometimes successful) to end the lies, lying, and liars of the 2016-2020 US Administration. What are the cultural forms that have sprouted up to describe life in this “post post-truth” age? How can we narrate the “truth” without rigid recourse to the dictates of objectivity? We locate instances and movements in the recent past and present when lies, dissimulation, disinformation, and deceit have lost their privileged place as the primary epistemological, political, cultural and social regime. This course’s occupation involves exploration of theories and movements that seek to end lying’s reign of terror and to create new representations of the world, opposing and resisting the oppressive and fatal universe of untruths. “Moments of Truth” is structured around a series of case studies, some of which have historical precedence. Among those case studies are included Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, the pandemic, climate change, work, the memoir, and the dangers posed by Internet-based disinformation.

This course does not aim to return to a notion of either objective, universal, or factual truth as a remedy for the destructive force of lies. It seeks, rather, to explore whether diverging from the requirements of “factual truth” might have the capacity to counter the force of telling and talking in lies. This course is both a reading intensive and writing intensive course, designed to teach students how to write clear, critical, and persuasive prose across a broad range of genres. While we will concentrate on the art of writing an essay, we will also experiment with other modes of writing, such as the book review, the memoir, and of the letter. Canadian designer and author Bruce Mau will run a workshop for us on internet book design. The course will culminate with the production of our own book, under his direction and design.

This course is cross-listed with Rhetoric 189.


Special Topics in American Cultures: American Humor and Fictions of Race

English 165AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Fehrenbacher, Dena
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Description

American humor practices have long been a means for bolstering fictions about race, ethnicity and identity, but they also have been a means for understanding, navigating, and challenging those fictions. This course will explore how a range of literary and artistic mediums—from novels to comic books, movies to standup specials—have used humor to interrogate the fictions of race. In doing so, this course will consider some of the practices and histories that distinguish American humor: the role of oral performance, the centrality of topics like race and ethnicity, and the influence of an African American humor tradition on practices of American humor broadly. 

While this course will begin with histories of humor in the 19th century, the course will focus on the 20th and 21st centuries and will be organized by genres and mediums: texts may range from novels by Philip Roth to Paul Beatty, essays by Ishmael Reed and Cathy Park Hong, standup performances from Richard Pryor to Ali Wong, short stories from Charles Chesnutt to Junot Diaz, television shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fresh Off the Boat, as well as comics, movies, sketch comedy, and visual art. The end of this course will focus on art of the present, and students will be encouraged to identify and engage sites of American humor in their contemporary moment.

This course satisfies U.C. Berkleley's American Cultures requirement.


Special Topics: The Graphic Memoir

English 166

Section: 1
Instructor: Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Book List

Barry, Lynda: One! Hundred! Demons!; Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Ledesma, Alberto: Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life; Lewis, John: March (Trilogy Slipcase Set); McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art; Sacco, Joe: Palestine; Satrapi, Marjane: The Complete Persepolis; Spiegelman, Art: The Complete Maus; Yang, Gene Luen: American Born Chinese

Description

A graphic novel is often defined as "a single-author, book-length work, meant for a grown-up reader, with a memoirist or novelistic nature, usually devoid of superheroes." Many comic artists, however, ridicule the term as a pretentious and disingenuous attempt to rebrand comics in order to elevate their cultural status. We will examine the definitions, history, and diverse forms of graphic narratives in the U.S., focusing on graphic memoirs. We'll also discuss the multiplicity of contested American identities as these are represented in image and text.


Special Topics: Hemingway and Masculinity

English 166

Section: 3
Instructor: Danner, Mark
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Description

DIfficult to point to a more foundational American writer than Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway embodied a kind of balls-to-the-wall masculine energy that dominated American modernist fiction for decades of war and conflict. For more than fifty years the ideal of manhood in American media and culture was as Hemingway described it: taciturn, bellicose, neurotic and given to the heroic killing of people and animals. In this class we will explore the major works of this essential American writer and seek to understand, with unflinching candor, what makes his work go on living, as dream or as nightmare, for readers and writers. For answers, we will look to the work of Hemingway's epigones (whether or not they would welcome the title), from James Salter to Ken Kesey, from Robert Stone to Raymond Carver, from Ann Beattie to Joan Didion to Joyce Carol Oates.


Special Topics: The Social Media of Literature

English 166

Section: 4
Instructor: Zeavin, Hannah
Time: MWF 12-1
Location:


Other Readings and Media

All of our readings will be available in a digital course reader. 

Description

We tend to think of literary composition as a solitary act, but this obscures all the labors of friends, peers, and other readers before a work ever makes it to print. What do social networks and social media do to literary composition, dissemination, and reception? Considering the practice of manuscript-sharing between peers and the details and strategies of longstanding literary correspondences, this course traces the impacts of coterie, schools, and networks in their mediated contexts across the last four hundred or so years, with an emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries. From passing pamphlets back and forth to @ing on Twitter, we will examine what it means to relate and make literary works across distance.

Authors include: Kathy Acker, John Ashbery, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Roland Barthes, Lauren Berlant, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Frantz Fanon, William Gibson, Ishmael Reed, & Mackenzie Wark. Artists include: Chloe Bass, Sophie Calle, Moyra Davey, Peter Hujar, David Wojnarowicz.


Special Topics: Anton Chekhov

English 166

Section: 5
Instructor: Muza, Anna
Time: MWF 2-3
Location:


Description

Anton Chekhov's (1860-1904) prominence in the English-speaking world is comparable only to Shakespeare's place in Russian culture. This course is devoted to Chekhov's fictional and dramatic writing, and to the lasting influence of his art and persona on modern imagination.

We will read closely Chekhov's short stories and plays and situate his literary idiom in its historical context. We will discuss the inherent connections between his narrative and dramatic texts; examine his thematic and formal innovations; and consider his understated, elusive vision of human experience. We will compare different translations of his work and think about translation in broad cultural terms. We will also watch a few theater productions and film adaptations of Chekhov's drama and follow the idea of "Chekhovian' as it evolves in the course of the twentieth century, in Russia and beyond

Readings for every class are short (typically, 15-20 pages) but need to be thorough.

Random reading quizzes will check your textual knowledge. There will be three short essays (from one to three pages) and/or short written home assignments and a course paper or a final exam.

This class is cross-listed with Slavic 134E.


Special Topics in American Cultures: Literature in the Age of Extremes, 1900-1945

English 166AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Lee, Steven S.
Time: Lectures TTh 10-11 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 10-11; sec. 103: F 11-12; sec. 104: F 12-1)
Location:


Book List

Cahan, A.: Yekl; Dreiser, T.: Sister Carrie; Faulkner, W.: The Sound and the Fury; Tsiang, H.T.: And China Has Hands; West, N.: The Day of the Locust; Wright, R.: Native Son

Description

The aim of this course will be to capture the aesthetic and political extremes of the twentieth century’s first half. We will examine conflicting efforts to bridge the boundary between art and life against the backdrop of two world wars and economic depression, as well as ongoing struggles for race, gender, and class-based equality. The first part of the course will focus on two competing strands of thinking about racial and ethnic difference—one prescribing assimilation, the other emphasizing cultural pluralism. We will see how literary realism engaged the assimilationist strand, while the estranging aesthetics of modernism articulated difference in radical new ways. The course’s second part will then turn to the political extremes of communism and fascism, specifically how these re-inflected the assimilation-versus-pluralism, realism-versus-modernism oppositions established in the first part of the course. The at-times violent political and aesthetic impasses resulting from this overlay were ultimately overshadowed by triumphant notions of the twentieth century as an “American Century” touting civil rights and cultural freedom. However, the “American Century” was only first articulated in 1941, and today seems ever more eclipsed by a renewed age of extremes. Ultimately, this course seeks to provide cultural and historical perspectives from which to think across the many divides now confronting the United States.

This course satisfies U.C. Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.


Literature and the Arts: Metamorphoses

English 170

Section: 1
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location:


Book List

Ovid, trans. by Raeburn, D.: Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation

Other Readings and Media

Literature in English that will be available on bCourses:  W. Shakespeare, “Venus and Adonis”; J. Dryden, “The Transformation of Daphne into a Lawrell”, A. Marvell, “The Garden”, A. Fulton, “Give: A Sequence Reimagining Daphne and Apollo”; W. Morris, “Pygmalion and the Image” from The Earthly Paradise, G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion

Images of paintings and sculptures that will be available via links on bCourses to galleries’ collections:  Titian, “Venus and Adonis”; G. Bernini, “Apollo and Daphne”; P. Pollaiuolo, “Apollo and Daphne”, G. Tiepolo, “Apollo and Daphne”, G. Klimt, “The Kiss”; J.-L. Gérôme, “Pygmalion and Galatea”; E. Burne-Jones, “Pygmalion and the Image”

Operas that should be purchased as CDs unless they are found in alternative formats that include the libretto: J. Blow, Venus and Adonis; G.F. Handel, Apollo e Dafne; E. Sutherland, Daphne and Apollo Remade; G. Donizetti, Il Pigmalione

Description

This course will explore literature through comparisons with other arts. We will focus on a few stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that have inspired transmutations into English literature and also into paintings, sculptures, and operas across different periods, and ask how the fact that the medium of literature is language seems to affect what is or can be done with the stories, compared with what is or can be done with them in these other arts.  The stories we will consider in class will include those of Venus and Adonis, Apollo and Daphne, and Pygmalion; students’ final papers may address any story from Metamorphoses that affords a comparison between a version in English literature and one in another art.


Literature and History: The 1970s

English 174

Section: 1
Instructor: Saul, Scott
Time: MWF 10-11
Location:


Book List

Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; LeGuin, Ursula: The Dispossessed; Morrison, Toni: Song of Solomon

Other Readings and Media

Other works that we will be studying may include the following:

Films

Medium Cool (dir. Haskell Wexler, 1969)

The Godfather (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

Taxi Driver (dir. Martin Scorcese, 1976)

Network (dir. Sidney Lumet, 1976)

Saturday Night Fever (dir. John Badham, 1977)

Fiction and Poetry

Walter Abish, “Ardor/Awe/Atrocity” (1977)

Rosario Ferré, "The Youngest Doll" (1976)

Adrienne Rich, “Trying to Talk with a Man” (1971), “Diving into the Wreck” (1973)

Nonfiction

Selections from Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents, ed. Rick Perlstein (2007)

Adrienne Rich, “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” (1976)

James Fallows, “What Did You Do in the Class War, Daddy?” (1975)

Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977), selections

Joan Didion, “The White Album,” from The White Album (1979)

Richard Dyer, “In Defence of Disco” (1979)

Tom Wolfe, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening” (1976)

Alice Echols, selections from Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture (2010)

Jimmy Carter and the Energy Crisis of the 1970s (2005), ed. Daniel Horowitz, selections

Dear People: Remembering Jonestown (2005), ed. Denice Stephenson, selections

Ronald Reagan, “Time to Recapture Our Destiny” and First Inaugural Address

Description

As one historian has quipped, it was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. “The ’70s” routinely come in for mockery: even at the time, it was known as the decade when “it seemed like nothing happened.”

Yet we can see now that the ’70s was a time of cultural renaissance. It gave us the New Hollywood of Scorcese, Coppola and others; the music of funk, disco, punk and New Wave; the postmodern comedy of Saturday Night Live and the postmodern drama of Off-Off-Broadway; and a great range of literary fiction written by women authors from Ursula LeGuin and Margaret Atwood to Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston. It was also a period of intense political realignments — the moment the United States was roiled by the oil crisis, the fall of Nixon and the fall of Saigon; by the advent of women’s liberation, gay liberation, and environmentalism as mass grassroots movements; and by the rise of the Sunbelt and the dawning of the conservative revolution. One might even say that the ’70s were the most interesting decade of the post-WWII era — the period when the dreams of the ‘60s were most intensely, if achingly, fulfilled.

Lastly, the ’70s may be the decade closest to our own contemporary moment. We will consider how the roots of our current predicament lie in the earlier decade — with its backlash against movements for racial justice, its gun culture, its corruption of the political process, its fetish for self-fulfillment, and its fascination with the appeal of instant and often empty celebrity. We will, in turn, reflect on how Americans in the ’70s struggled with many of the dilemmas that we face now.

The last time this course was taught, the students in the class collaborated to produce "The Godfather: Anatomy of a Film" -- a site that approaches the film from 19 different angles (and that now receives around 300-400 visitors per day). We will aim to produce a similarly collective project about another artistic touchstone of the 1970s.


Literature and Popular Culture: Medieval Futures

English 176

Section: 1
Instructor: Strub, Spencer
Time: MWF 1-2
Location:


Book List

Delany, Samuel: Flight from Nevèrÿon; Du Bois, W. E. B.: Dark Princess; Herbert, Frank: Dune; Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Buried Giant; Miller, Walter: A Canticle for Leibowitz; Russ, Joanna: Extra(ordinary) People; Strugatsky, Arkady and Boris: Hard to be a God; Willis, Connie: Doomsday Book

Other Readings and Media

Further readings -- including Breton lais, excerpts from Chaucer and The Thousand and One Nights, and supplementary texts -- will be provided via bCourses. Films will include Star Wars (A New Hope), among others.

Description

We usually think of speculative fiction as forward-looking. But it’s no accident that the most popular modern sci-fi saga narrates the struggles of knights and monks “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”: even our most futuristic fantasies look backward, too. This course traces the strangely central role of the Middle Ages in modern genre fiction and popular culture. We begin with the ways in which medieval writers themselves pioneered recurrent features of speculative fiction, from time travel to space exploration. From those early experiments in the fantastic and marvelous, we turn to modern novels and film that borrow form, content, and setting from the Middle Ages, whether as a fantasy of twentieth-century liberation movements structured as a medieval romance or a narration of postapocalyptic life imagined from the confines of a monastery. To supplement our understanding of these works, we will read short excerpts from the medieval texts that inspired them. Throughout the class, we will ask what role the past plays in our fantasies about the future, and what that tells us about attitudes toward race, gender, religion, and the literary imagination. In order to help develop your thinking, you will write two papers, as well as a number of short exercises and a creative assignment.


Literature and Philosophy: Reading Capital

English 177

Section: 1
Instructor: Lye, Colleen
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Book List

Marx, Karl: Capital Vol. 1

Other Readings and Media

Please purchase the Penguin edition of Capital Vol. 1. All other readings will be made available on bcourses. 

Description

Why read the first volume of Capital more than 150 years after its initial publication in 1867?  Not only is Marx being seriously and widely read again since the financial crisis of 2008, but 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. The first ten weeks of the course will be devoted to a close reading of Marx. In the last four weeks of the course, we’ll turn to some contemporary thinkers as a way of gaining an introduction to Marx’s continuing critical presence in the radical politics of our time.


Comedy

English 180C

Section: 1
Instructor: Marno, David
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Description

Tragedy has been deemed dead for nearly as long as it has existed. For some, it gave up its soul when philosophy appeared in ancient Greece. For others, it’s capitalism and action movies that killed it in the twentieth century. But while tragedy has been dying or dead, comedy has been alive and well: from Aristophanes to Always Sunny in Philadelphia and from Plautus to Crazy Rich Asians, the past two and a half millennia could easily be described as an age in which comedy has been ever more successful. It has been so successful and pervasive, in fact, that today, when many are calling for comedy’s reformation and some are declaring its end, it appears hard for us to imagine a world without it. What makes comedy such an exceptionally successful genre, and are we seeing the end of its success today? 

In this class, we talk about these and related questions by looking at one specific device of comedy: the comedic anagnorisis, aka happy ending. For most modern conceptions of comedy, the key feature of the genre is that it generates laughter. The classical definition of comedy, in turn, emphasizes that comedy is about people “worse than us” in a social or ethical sense, and often both. How does the third most conspicuous and widespread feature of comedy, that fact that it ought to end well, relate to these two? What is this device supposed to do, and how have writers and artists used it from ancient Greece to 21st-century America? We’ll ponder these questions by looking at the works of playwrights from Aristophanes and Plautus to Kleist and Wilde, as well as twentieth- and twentieth-first century comedies from Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night to Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette.


The Short Story

English 180H

Section: 1
Instructor: Chandra, Vikram
Time: MWF 2-3
Location:


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

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne…

                                                                  -- Chaucer

This course will investigate how authors craft stories, so that both non-writers and writers may gain a new perspective on reading stories.  In thinking of short stories as artefacts produced by humans, we will consider – without any assertions of certainty – how those people may have experienced themselves and their world, and how history and culture may have participated in the making of these stories.  So, in this course we will explore the making, purposes, and pleasures of the short story form.  We will read – widely, actively and carefully – many published stories from various countries in order to begin to understand the conventions of the form, and how this form may function in diverse cultures.  Students will write a short story and revise it; engaging with a short story as a writer will aid them in their investigations as readers and critics. Students will also write two analytical papers about stories we read in class.

Attendance is mandatory.


Science Fiction

English 180Z

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Book List

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Butler, Octavia: Bloodchild; Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Forster, E.M.: The Machine Stops; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go; Wells, H.G.: The War of the Worlds; Whitehead, Colson: Zone One

Description

“Not real can tell us about real.” This is one of the fundamental lessons learned by a new race of genetically engineered trans-humans in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. It is also one of the fundamental principles of the popular narrative genre known as science fiction. In this course, we will explore some of the landmarks and lesser known way-stations of this diverse tradition, attending to the cultural and political implications of these brave new worlds and the creatures in them. Themes and topics to include: time travel and space travel; language, codes, and data; embodiment and cognition; science and technology; alternate history and speculative futurism; utopia/dystopia and post/apocalypse; eco-disaster and terraforming. In reading stories about clones, robots, aliens, zombies, and monsters, we will ask ourselves: what does it mean to be human?

Novels will likely include some of those listed here but the readings for the course haven't yet been finalized, so don’t buy the books until after our first class meeting. We will also read a number of short stories and watch several movies and/or TV show episodes.

In additional to the required reading and viewing, assignments for the course will include frequent bCourses posts, two short essays, a midterm, and a final exam.


Research Seminar: Literary Collaboration: Samuel Coleridge and William and Dorothy Wordsworth

English 190

Section: 1
Instructor: Goodman, Kevis
Time: MW 5-630
Location: Wheeler 102


Book List

Shelley, M.: Frankenstein; Wordsworth, D.: The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals; Wordsworth, W., and S.T. Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads, 1798 and 1800 (Broadview Critical Edition); Wordsworth,, W.: The Prelude, 1799, 1805, 1850 (Norton Critical Edition)

Other Readings and Media

 

A Course Reader, with poems by Coleridge and the two Wordsworths not collected in the books above, as well as selected works of criticism and theory.

 

Description

 

We will study the poetry and prose that emerged from the remarkable collaboration (and competition) between William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in the tumultuous decades around 1800. We will devote some of our time to questions raised by the complexity of collaborative authorship itself: matters of property and possession, conversation and miscommunication, friendship, influence, ventriloquism, and plagiarism. Moreover, since these three writers witnessed a time and a place rapidly changing under the pressures and effects of war, vagrancy, industrialization, and capitalism, we will study their ways of representing and responding to the flux around them – conditions that remain with us, in a later form, more than 200 years later. This class will culminate in a study of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a commentary on the dangers of solitary authorship and the failure to collaborate.

Along with our readings, you will receive guidance from me and from your peers about conducting research, learning how and where to integrate literary criticism and theory into your writing, and the process of constructing and revising a longer paper over time.

This class is planned for synchronous instruction.

 

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


Research Seminar: The Art of Reconstruction

English 190

Section: 2
Instructor: de Stefano, Jason
Time: MW 9-10:30
Location:


Book List

Du Bois, W. E. B.: The Souls of Black Folk; Hurston, Zora Neale: Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”; Tourgée, Albion: A Fool's Errand

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings and other course materials will be provided on bCourses.

Description

This course will explore the role and legacy of art in the most important project of American self-creation since the nation’s founding: the post–Civil War era known as Reconstruction. The diverse group of writers, painters, sculptors, and other artists who collaborated with politicians, activists, and public figures in this project from around 1860 to 1890 sought to reconstitute the nation’s political community as a multiracial democracy that guaranteed representation to all. In the wake of slavery and civil war, they fought for the authority of African Americans as citizens of US government and as co-authors of the national experiment. The operative tropes of this transformation—collaboration, representation, authorship—carried their aesthetic valences alongside their political ones. Consequently, we will treat reconstruction not only as a historical period or phenomenon but also as an aesthetic and activist orientation. We will explore how the concept of reconstruction has persisted as an ideal of social justice and form of artistic praxis. As such, texts will range across genres and history, from the era of Reconstruction to today. We will read and view works by Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Zora Neale Hurston as well as by contemporary writers and artists like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ava DuVernay, and Arthur Jafa.

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


Research Seminar: Fictions of Los Angeles

English 190

Section: 3
Instructor: Saul, Scott
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location:


Book List

Boyle, T. Coraghessen: The Tortilla Curtain; Isherwood, Christopher: A Single Man; West, Nathanael: Day of the Locust; Yamashita, Karen Tei: Tropic of Orange

Other Readings and Media

In addition to the novels listed above, we will be engaging with a wide range of films, music, and other writings. These may include the following:

Films

Meshes of the Afternoon (dir. Maya Deren)

Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder)

In a Lonely Place (dir. Nicholas Ray)

Rebel Without a Cause (dir. Nicholas Ray)

Chinatown (dir. Roman Polanski)

Zoot Suit (dir. Luis Valdez)

The Decline of Western Civilization, Part One (dir. Penelope Spheeris)

Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott)

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (performed by Anna Deavere Smith, dir. Marc Levin)

Music

Selection of early LA punk (Germs, Weirdos, X)

NWA, Straight Outta Compton

Kendrick Lamar, good kid, M.A.A.D. City

Visual Arts

Betye Saar, mixed-media collages

David Hockney, paintings

Jaime Hernandez, The Death of Speedy (graphic novel)

Other writings

Raymond Chandler, "Red Wind"

Umberto Eco, "The City of Robots"

Joan Didion, "The White Album"

Description

Los Angeles has been described, variously, as a "circus without a tent" (Carey McWilliams), "seventy-two suburbs in search of a city" (Dorothy Parker), "the capital of the Third World" (David Rieff), and "the only place for me that never rains in the sun" (Tupac Shakur). This class will investigate these and other ways that Los Angeles has been understood over the last century—as a city-in-a-garden, a dream factory, a noirish labyrinth, a homeowner's paradise, a zone of libidinal liberation, and a powderkeg of ethnic and racial violence, to name but a few. We will trace the rise of Los Angeles from its origins as a small city, built on a late-19th-century real estate boom sponsored by railroad companies, into the sprawling megacity that has often been taken as a prototype of postmodern urban development; and we will do so primarily by looking at the fiction, film, drama, and music that the city has produced.

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


Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

English 190

Section: 4
Instructor: Schweik, Susan
Time: MW 1:30-3
Location:


Other Readings and Media

A course reader.

Description

In this class we’ll concentrate on just one poet, Emily Dickinson, using her work as an occasion to think about how poetry and history get made, revised, codified, brought forward, pushed aside, theorized, contested, remixed and – since this is a research seminar – researched. A series of exercises designed to hone research skills will lead you toward a final project. That could be a paper, or it could take some other form; you might stick close to Dickinson’s work, or you might move far afield. But her poems will anchor our discussions together. I never get tired of them.

I recommend that you get hold of a hard copy of either Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson or R.W. Franklin, ed., The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. That way, you can hand-write notes in the margins. But Dickinson’s work has been digitalized—a phenomenon we’ll be analyzing. So you will be able to access all of her work online.

Students will have the option to choose either a synchronous or an asynchronous version of the course; students in both "tracks" will have regular opportunities to work together. Contact the instructor for more information.

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


Research Seminar: Climate Change Fiction, or Cli-Fi

English 190

Section: 5
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Book List

Atwood, Margaret: The Year of the Flood; Bacigalupi, Paolo: The Wind-up Girl; Butler, Octavia: The Parable of the Sower; Watkins, Claire Vaye: Gold Fame Citrus

Description

Contemporary fiction writers have increasingly been turning their gaze, and ours, toward global climate change, an accelerating environmental crisis of our own making. In this class, we will consider the rise of the literary genre known since 2008 as Cli-Fi, with an eye to the generic and narrative forms that are used to figure forth the eco-cataclysm we now face. We will address topics including science fiction and literary realism; scales of geological time and planetary place; sudden catastrophe and slow violence; environmental injustice; capitalism, imperialism, and infrastructure; melancholy, guilt, and the potential for political agency. Among other questions, we will ask how a burgeoning awareness of the devastating impacts of the Anthropocene has shaped contemporary fiction, and how contemporary fiction might influence our ongoing role in changing the planet.

In additional to the required reading and viewing, assignments for the course will include presentations, online responses, short essays and reviews, and a longer analytical essay using secondary sources.

Novels will likely include some of those listed here but the list hasn't yet been finalized, so don’t buy the books until after our first class meeting. We will also read some non-fiction essays and short stories, and watch at least one movie..

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


Research Seminar: Black Postcolonial Cultures: Real and Imagined Spaces

English 190

Section: 6
Instructor: Ellis, Nadia
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location:


Book List

Broom, Sarah: The Yellow House; Butler, Octavia E.: Parable of the Sower; Lovelace, Earl: The Dragon Can't Dance; Smith, Zadie: White Teeth

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader with historical, theoretical, and fictional texts by writers including: Zora Neale Hurston, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Stuart Hall, Achille Mbembe, Paul Gilroy, Hazel Carby, and Saidiya Hartman.

Films will include Touki Bouki (dir. Djibril Diop Mambety); Atlantique (dir. Mati Diop) and visual albums by the Knowles sisters.

*Please consult the instructor before purchasing course texts.

Description

This research seminar explores black postcolonial cultures with an emphasis on texts that engage creatively with spatial constraint and possibility. Readings in theories of postcoloniality and diaspora as well as studies in questions of space, place, and geography will accompany close examination of novels, films, and music. Adapting to pandemic conditions, we'll focus on fewer cases studies than usual, create research "hubs" around particular concepts and figures, and have a few options for the final project. You'll still write weekly, do in-class workshops, and build incrementally toward a final, independently developed and significant piece of work that will emerge out of your engagement with the theoretical and aesthetic ideas you encounter in class.

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


Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

English 190

Section: 7
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available from Krishna Copy (University Ave. at Milvia St.)

Description

Ecopoetry – nature poetry that is environmental and environmentalist – is an international twenty-first century movement.  But in the nature poetry and poetics of the United States it has deep and wide-spread roots.  This seminar will explore this movement in U.S. nature and environmental(ist) poetry from the nineteenth century to the contemporary poetry and poetics, romantics and post-romantics (including Whitman, Dickinson, Emerson and Thoreau), modernists (including Frost, Stevens, Jeffers, Moore, Eliot, Brown) post-modernists (including Snyder, Merwin, Bishop, Berry) and contemporaries (including Diaz, Graham, Hass, Baker, Gander, Dungy, Hillman and Hirshfield).  We will also read relevant theories of nature and its representation in poetry; and also ecopoetics, essays about the natures and uses of ecopoetry.  While our exploration will be primarily historical, our focus will also be theoretical, involving a number of recurrent topics, including anthropocentrism (and ecocentrism), anthropomorphism (and the pathetic fallacy), animals, place, disaster and pollution, environmental justice, and global warming.  You will learn how to read a poem ecocritically.  You will be asked to write three five-page essays on a poem by a post-romantic, a modern, and a post-modern poet.  This seminar is multi-centered and open-ended.  It benefits from the local experiences and expertise of its students.  I learn as much as I teach. 

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


Research Seminar: The Other Melville

English 190

Section: 8
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location:


Book List

Berthoff, Warner: Great Short Works of Herman Melville; Bryant, John: Herman Melville: Tales, Poems, and Other Writings; Melville, Herman: Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War; Melville, Herman: Billy Budd; Melville, Herman: Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile; Melville, Herman: Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life; Melville , Herman: Redburn: His First Voyage

Description

We will read widely across Herman Melville’s literary career, exclusive of Moby-Dick: South Sea romance (Typee), transatlantic novel (Redburn), short fiction (“Bartleby,” “Benito Cereno,” and more), Revolutionary War narrative (Israel Potter), Civil War poetry (Battle-Pieces), and nautical tragedy (Billy Budd). We also will consider Melville’s journals, letters, manuscripts, and sources, as well as relevant literary criticism, digital resources, and nineteenth-century fiction and poetry. We will look at film versions of Billy Budd by Peter Ustinov and by Claire Denis. Course requirements include oral presentations and a substantial research paper (20 pages), written in stages across the semester on a topic that you will determine and develop.

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


Research Seminar: Chicanx Literature, Art and Performance

English 190

Section: 9
Instructor: Padilla, Genaro M.
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location:


Description

In this course, we will read the classics of Chicanx literature from the 1960s through the present.  We will open with Jose Antonio Villareall's Pocho (1959), a novel of both immigrant and first generation experience in the U.S. and then we will move to the major works of the Chicanx Movement of the 1960s and 1970s: y no se lo trago la tierra/and the earth did not devour him, Tomas Rivera (1971); Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya (1972); The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo (1971) and Revolt of the Cockroach People (1972), Oscar Zeta Acosta.  We will also read the poetry of Lorna Dee Cervantes, Alma Villanueva, Evangelina Vigil,  Gary Soto, Alurista, raul salinas, and a few others.  We will incorporate the performative influence of Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino and survey the art of the period.   

The astonishing narrative and poetry of the 1980s largely turns on a critique of the male-centric Chicano Movement.  We must read Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mexiza  (1987) as well as Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street (1983) and some of the stories in Woman Hollering Creek (1991),  We may also read Ana Castillo's So Far from God (1993), which I think of as a rejoinder to Anaya's Bless me, Ultima. 

 In the final section of the course we will read Salvador Plascencia's fantasic The People of Paper (2005), survey the contemporary art, film and performance scene, as well as read the poetry of Javier Zamora, Emmy Perez and other contemporary writers whose work resonates with critique of the xenophobic U.S.-Mexico borderwall.  

You will write two short essays of 5-6 pages and a final essay of 10-12 pages.

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


Honors Course

English H195B

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location:


Description

This course is a continuation of English H195A, taught by Janet Sorensen in Fall 2020. No new students will be admitted, and no new application needs to be submitted. Prof. Sorensen will give out permission codes in class in November.

No new texts are required for this class.


Honors Course

English H195B

Section: 2
Instructor: Langan, Celeste
Time: MWF 2-3
Location:


Description

This course is a continuation of English H195A, taught by Celeste Langan in Fall 2020. No new students will be admitted, and no new application needs to be submitted. Prof. Langan will give out permission codes in class in November.

No new texts are required for this class.


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.


Topics in the History of the English Language: A Linguistic Perspective on Variation and Change in a Modern English Metrical Tradition

English 201B

Section: 1
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location:


Other Readings and Media

For primary texts, all the poems we’ll look at together -- of Petrarch, Marot, Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Tennyson, Swinburne, Hopkins, Virgil and Cædmon -- will be made available on bCourses.  For students’ individual projects, good editions of the relevant texts will be needed, but we’ll talk about that in class.

For secondary texts, we’ll start with a manuscript of a book of my own, "An Art that Nature Makes":  A Linguistic Perspective on a Meter in English, which will be made available on bCourses.  Other readings will also be made available on bCourses as they come up.

George Saintsbury’s A History of English Prosody from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day (3 vols.) is always a delightful if sometimes opaque accompaniment to metrical study, but it is available online, and at the outset, at least, probably best consulted bit by bit.

Description

This course is not about the history of the English language itself, but rather about meter, conceptualized as a linguistic literary form with an internal history of its own, shaped by language and the mind’s capacity for language.  The focus will be on modern English, with reference to other meters insofar as modern English meters are related to them.  We will begin with the iambic pentameter of Shakespeare's Sonnets, which sits at the core of the modern English metrical tradition, and affords a well-worked out example of how to conceptualize a meter as a linguistic literary form.  We will then turn to where that meter came from, and where it went.  We’ll consider Romance sources in Petrarch and Marot, and English predecessors in Wyatt, Surrey and Sidney; some immediate successors, including different versions of iambic pentameter elsewhere in Shakespeare, and in Marlowe and Donne; and finally, more radical departures in Tennyson and Swinburne, and in Hopkins’ Sprung Rhythm, together with Classical and Old English antecedents of these meters.  None of this is intended to be a history, so much as to suggest how to think about pieces of one; and the main purpose of it is to help students conceptualize and contextualize meter(s) of poet(s) they themselves are studying.  A sequence of assignments designed to support that will be the principal requirement of the course, leading to a final paper.  No prior training in linguistics or in the languages of other meters we’ll discuss is required.  


Graduate Readings: Realism

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Duncan, Ian
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location:


Description

Realism achieves critical mass in England in 1856: the year George Eliot turned to writing fiction. Reviewing Ruskin’s Modern Painters, Eliot comments: "The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism – the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature." A hundred years later, the term acquires massive critical heft in studies in the novel – even as it splinters into an array of different, often vigorously contested uses and meanings. Realism is “a hybrid concept, in which an epistemological claim (for knowledge or truth) masquerades as an aesthetic ideal, with fatal consequences for both of these incommensurable dimensions” (Fredric Jameson); it depicts “the organic, indissoluble connection between man as a private individual and man as a social being” (Georg Lukács); it constitutes the “real” as “an object of desire and… therefore, necessarily, [as] a fantasy” (Audrey Jaffe); it persuades readers to “relinquish a beautiful fantasy and face a discomforting truth about the inadequacy of their own material existence” – by showing them that “the possible [is], after all, desirable” (Grace Lavery); it is “a speculative, abstract, nonmimetic form amenable to formalist address” which “mediates and theorizes the making of worlds” (Anna Kornbluh); by “[wobbling] between the antinomy of fictionality and reference, [it splits] off a seemingly infinite number of worlds” (Elaine Freedgood).  

We will bring these and other claims on, for, and against realism to bear on the nineteenth-century novel, the canonical vehicle of a realist aesthetic. We’ll consider the period's major genres of realist fiction – the Bildungsroman, the historical novel, and the novel of provincial life – within and also beyond the (soi-disant) core Anglo-French tradition. Alongside them, we’ll read some of the classic accounts of realism (Lukács, Eric Auerbach, Ian Watt) as well as more recent accounts, by Jameson, Lauren Goodlad, Freedgood, Kornbluh, et al, and in the recent collections Peripheral Realisms, ed. Jed Esty and Colleen Lye (MLQ, 2012), and Worlding Realisms, ed. Goodlad (Novel, 2016). 

Novels include (a provisional selection): Jane Austen, Emma; Walter Scott, Redgauntlet; Hannah Crafts, The Bondwoman’s Narrative; Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Bankim Chatterjee, Rajmohan’s Wife; María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Who Would Have Thought It?; George Eliot, Middlemarch


Graduate Readings: "A dream of passion": Affects in the Renaissance Theater

English 203

Section: 2
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: MW 12-1:30
Location:


Book List

Beaumont, F.: The Knight of the Burning Pestle; Beaumont & Fletcher: A King and No King; Dekker, T.: The Shoemaker's Holiday; Heywood, T.: A Woman Killed with Kindness; Jonson, B.: Bartholomew Fair; Kyd, T.: The Spanish Tragedy; Marlowe, C.: Edward II; Middleton & Rowley: The Changeling; Shakespeare, W.: As You Like It; Shakespeare, W.: Coriolanus; Shakespeare, W.: Hamlet; Shakespeare, W.: Macbeth; Shakespeare, W.: The Winter's Tale

Description

This class studies the production of feeling on and around the early modern stage. We'll consider a range of vocabularies for the experience of theatrical feeling, from Aristotle's theory of purgative pleasure, to the medical-ecological model of the humors and passions, to contemporary analyses of cognition and affect in performance environments. A central question will be what it might have meant for early modern theatergoers to share space with a fiction, and how that site of embodied fellow-feeling makes the theater a privileged instance of the relationship between art and its audience. About half our plays will be by Shakespeare and half by his major contemporaries; the booklist here is tentative, so don't buy any of them before the start of the semester (though Hamlet is a pretty safe bet). As the texts date between 1590 and 1620, students may use the class to fulfill either the English department's medieval-to-1600 coverage requirement or its 1600-1800 requirement. 


Graduate Readings: Radical Enlightenment

English 203

Section: 3
Instructor: Goldstein, Amanda Jo
Time: W 2-5
Location: Zoom


Book List

Adorno and Horkheimer: Dialectic of Enlightenment; Büchner, Georg: Danton's Death; Carpentier, Alejo: The Kingdom of this World; Diderot: Supplement to the Voyage of Bouganville and D'Alembert's Dream; Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Life; James, CLR: Toussaint Louverture; La Mettrie: Machine Man and Other Writings; Lucretius: De Rerum Natura; Mee and Fallon, eds.: Romanticism and Revolution: A Reader; Spinoza: Ethics; Sterne, Lawrence: A Sentimental Journey; Thelwall, John: The Daughter of Adoption

Other Readings and Media

To be distributed through the course website:

Primary poetry, prose and theory, including: Blake, William, Visions of the Daughters of Albion; John Gabriel Stedman, Narrative of a Five Years' Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam; Immanuel Kant, "An Answer to the Question, What is Enlightenment?"; Jean Le Rond D'Alembert, "Preliminary Discourse" to the Encyclopedia; Erasmus Darwin, The Economy of Vegetation; J.G. Herder, "On the Sensation and Cognition of the Human Soul,"; Eliza Haywood, "Fantomina, or, Love in a Maze"; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract; exerpts from the 1790s pamphlet wars (Price, Burke, Paine, Wolstonecraft) and the ultra-radical press.

History, cricism and theory, including: Louis Althusser, Giles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Sylvia Wynter, Hortense Spillers, Jürgen Habermas, Donna Haraway, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Michael Warner, Saidiya Hartman, Warren Montag, Margaret Jacob, Jonathan Israel, Sunil Agnani, Doris Garraway, Natania Meeker, Monique Allewaert, Marcus Wood, Dana Simmons, Srinivas Aravamudan, Susan Buck-Morss, Jan Golinski, Adom Getachew,

 

 

 

Description

Channeling the voice of his own Enlightened despot, Kant’s famous answer to the question “What is Enlightenment?” included the chilling injunction to “argue as much as you want and about whatever you want, only obey!” In Foucault’s hands, the limit-setting project of Kantian critique yields a positively transgressive “limit-attitude,” yet Foucault is also quite clear that this ethos must turn away from “all projects that claim to be global or radical.” This seminar, on the contrary, turns toward the “radical” pretenses and partisans of Enlightenment – the heretical ontologies, clandestine associations, violent enthusiasms, trans-Atlantic crosscurrents, and hubristic linkages between philosophy and material freedom – against which the canonical statements of Enlightenment liberalism were wrought. What do radical and minoritarian versions of Enlightenment have to teach us about the stakes and limits of the renewed yearning, in contemporary political life, for something like civil, public discourse? What less familiar relationships between reason and emancipation, personal and collective freedom, revolutionary and colonizing violence, revisionary historiography and radical pedagogy, do they imagine? 

With an eye toward the fictional forms (dreams, dialogues, voyages) that often convey extreme ideas and illicit desires, and keeping in mind the partiality of the textual archive as a record of mass aspirations and casualties, this course will survey some English, German, French and Carribbean expressions of the radical strains in Enlightenment, as scholars from CLR James to Louis Althusser and Srinivas Aravamudan have sought to theorize their ideas and effects. We will study Lucretius and Spinoza in their clandestine Enlightenment circulation and “new materialist” popularity; examine the spread of “Jacobin” science through dissenting societies and public entertainments; trace, with anti-colonial historiographers, the non-European agents and places that shaped Enlightenment from the inside and put its propositions to unauthorized use; and evaluate Enlightenment in Romantic radicalizations and retrospects, asking, with nineteenth-century people, to what extent ideas and their print media authored the American, French and Haitian Revolutions.

Readings will be assigned in English translation, but students are encouraged to obtain and read original language editions if they wish.


Graduate Readings: Philosophical Contexts for Modernist Poetry

English 203

Section: 4
Instructor: Altieri, Charles F.
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location:


Book List

Clark, Andy: Supersizing the Mind; Heidegger, Martin: Introduction to Metaphysics; Heidegger, Martin: Poetry Language Thought; James, William: Radical Empiricism; Noe, Alva: Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature; Wittgenstein, Ludwig: Philosophical Investigations;

Recommended: Barthes, Roland: Critical Essays; Elliot, T.S: Knowledge and Experience in the Thought of F.H. Bradlley

Other Readings and Media

There will be elaborate readings in bcourses at least for Hegel, Bradley, various theorists, the poets and painters, and one book not yet chosen on how most philosophers now think about consciousness (which I think art and poetry allow us to contest, or demand us to contest).

Description

This course will concentrate on supplementary readings that help give context and significance to Modernist writing.  It will begin with William James and F.H. Bradley on the concept of experience as an alternative to Romantic ideals of subjective expression.  There will be an interlude where we discuss Picasso's recastings of Cezanne in terms foregrounding tensions between construction and fidelity to nature or "realization."  Then we will spend some time with Hegel's Lectures in Aesthetics in order to get clear on his ideal of inner sensuousness and the appeal of abstraction as exploring new kinds of concreteness in the arts.  Then Heidegger and Wittgenstein will provide exciting frameworks for talking about the kinds of languages that can be foregrounded in imaginative work.  We may have a class devoted to Roland Barthes in order to dramatize how fascination can be a plausible ideal for art that avoids moralism.  And I want to study Alva Noe, Andy Clark, and David Chalmers in order to develop an ability to elaborate the consequences of contemporary anti-Cartesian approaches to the study of consciousness.  And there will be at least one section reading Lyn Hejinian as theorist along with essays on Karen Barard.  There will be some classes on Marianne Moore, Myna Loy, and Wallace Stevens highlighting specific works.  And we may have each student report on what the student thinks is an important context for the study of this material.  I realize now all teaching seems to me involved in making clear the stakes involved in human actions or powers of observation and analysis.  This course addresses the stakes in reading Modernism now.


The Renaissance: 17th Century Through Milton

English 246D

Section: 1
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location:


Description

A straightforward survey of seventeenth-century literature, emphasizing breadth not depth and reading rather than writing. Poetry will be our focus, but we'll also sample some prophetic and political literature of the civil war period.

Readings will be available on the course site. Authors include John Donne, Robert Herrick, Lucy Hutchinson, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Anna Trapnell, Gerard Winstanley, and Mary Wroth. You'll have a choice of short assignments.


Research Seminars: Literature, Communism, Fascism

English 250

Section: 1
Instructor: Lee, Steven S.
Time: Tues. 3:30-6:30
Location:


Book List

Boye, K.: Kallocain; Platonov, A.: The Foundation Pit; Seghers, A.: Transit; Weiss, P.: The Aesthetics of Resistance, Volume 1; West, N.: The Day of the Locust; Wright, R.: Native Son

Description

“Humankind, which once, in Homer, was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, has now become one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached the point where it can experience its own annihilation as a supreme aesthetic pleasure. Such is the aestheticizing of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism replies by politicizing art.”

The starting point for this course is Walter Benjamin's famous distinction from the late 1930s between the aestheticized politics of fascism and the politicized art of communism. The course will begin by exploring how Benjamin, other members of the Frankfurt School and their interlocutors understood this distinction as well as the broader relationship between aesthetics and politics. The course will then turn to a series of keywords--e.g., "Avant-Garde," "Epic," "Machine," "Masses," "Race," "Realism"--that at times will bring into greater focus, and at others will complicate, the opposition of communism and fascism. Throughout the semester we will discuss what lessons the interwar period might have to offer amid the renewed political and aesthetic extremes of the present day.

The course will explore a wide range of texts, most of which will be made available online: for instance, films by Sergei Eisenstein and Leni Riefenstahl, poems by Bertolt Brecht and Ezra Pound, and novels by Karin Boye and Richard Wright. 

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


Research Seminars: Autotheory

English 250

Section: 2
Instructor: Best, Stephen M.
Time: Note new time: M 3-6
Location:


Book List

Berlant and Stewart: The Hundreds; Clark, T.J.: The Sight of Death; Eribon, Didier: Returning to Reims; Hartman, Saidiya: Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments; Keene, John: Counternarratives; Nelson, Maggie: The Argonauts; Preciado, Paul: Testo Junkie; Sharpe, Christina: In the Wake; Stewart, Katie: Ordinary Affects; Wilderson, Frank: Afropessimism

Description

There is very little criticism we could point to today that purposely flies under the banner of “theory.” This course will explore one variant that does—autotheory—the name given to work that, in one form or another, stages the encounter between first person narration and theory as an established body of contemporary thought. In the hands of Kathleen Stewart or Maggie Nelson, autotheory connects affect to everyday life; in that of Christina Sharpe or Frank Wilderson, it attends to the resonant landscape between the personal and the historical. However rigorously or sketchily defined, one may well wonder what is behind this placement of the self at the center of critical theory, considering how thoroughly a previous generation of poststructuralists critiqued the individual as a self-authorizing ground of discourse. We will respond to that concern by exploring autotheory’s various idioms: forms of attention and intimacy; the ordinary (i.e., acceptance of the everyday as a zone of theoretical activity; the critical desire to remain, as the poet Claudia Rankine put it, “in the quotidian of disturbance”); the commitment to avoid theoretical shorthand that telegraph experience into the limited terms of a totalizing system, and to developing modes of address adequate to their objects (i.e., the effort, as Stewart writes, “not to finally ‘know’ [the uncertain objects of ordinary affect] but to fashion some form of address that is adequate to their form”). At another level of generality, autotheoretical works are often experiments in academic form—a style of academic writing intent to bypass the conventions of academic writing. Acknowledging that a basic task of the graduate seminar is to “discipline” students in the forms of academic writing, we will also inquire into whether (and how) this body of writing, characterized by self-reflexivity and late-stage career adjustment, remains pertinent to scholarly lives in the spring of their formation.

The course reading is likely to include the following: Lauren Berlant and Katie Stewart, The Hundreds; T.J. Clark, The Sight of Death; Didier Eribon, Returning to Reims; Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments; John Keene, Counternarratives; Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts; Paul B. Preciado, Testo Junkie; Christina Sharpe, In the Wake; Katie Stewart, Ordinary Affects; Michael Taussig, Walter Benjamin’s Grave; Frank Wilderson, Afropessimism. In addition, we will trace the relevant genealogies in psychoanalysis, feminism, the black radical tradition, and critical theory (Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon), as well as autotheory’s relation to New Narrative and autofiction.


Research Seminars: Freud and His Followers

English 250

Section: 3
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: Thurs. 3:30-6:30
Location: Social Sciences 170


Other Readings and Media

 

 

 

Description

 

This course looks at the development of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic practice and critical methodology in the humanities. We will take up some of its foundational questions -- What is a body? What is the social? What do women want? What is the self? What is history? -- through an examination of Freud's key writings and concepts and those of his commentators. More than intellectual geneology, this course will trace the antecendents and future possibilities of psychoanalytic thinking in feminist, queer, trans, and critical race theories. 

Readings may include: Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Civilization and Its Discontents, Papers on Technique, “The Uncanny,” and “Negation”;  by his interlocutors, Lacan, Ferenczi, Klein, and Abraham; critical work by Fanon, Butler, Sedgwick, Salamon, Gherovici, Marriott, and Spillers.

 


Collaborative Research Seminar: Beauty

English 298

Section: 1
Instructor: Hale, Dorothy J.
Time:
Location:


Other Readings and Media

Request syllabus for course readings.  Most readings will be on b-courses.

Description

Townsend Center Collaborative Research Seminar

Tuesdays, 3-6 PM, Geballe Room, Townsend Center (or via Zoom , TBA).  Enrollment by Application

Participating Faculty:

Jacob Dalton, South and Southeast Asian Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Buddhist Studies

James Davies, Music

Dorothy Hale,  English

Victoria Kahn, Comparative Literature and English

Niklaus Largier, Comparative Literature and German

Alan Tansman, East Asian Languages and Cultures

 

Description:

Beauty: a topic both ubiquitous and perplexing. This Townsend Center Collaborative Research Seminar approaches beauty from multiple disciplines and through a wide variety of materials: literature, the visual and performative arts, aesthetic theory, philosophy, and religion.  Our aim is to investigate the value and function that has been assigned to beauty in different humanist contexts, to explore possible bases of commonality and influence, and to consider whether beauty has or should be a key critical term for contemporary scholarship.

In the first half of the term, the faculty seminar members will lead sessions related to their research expertise.  Topics will be drawn from readings in Plato, Kant, Tibetan Buddhism, Bach, Japanese photography, novelistic aesthetics, and others. In the second half of the term, seminar sessions will be split between invited outside speakers, whose work takes up the problem of beauty or of aesthetics more generally, and the graduate student seminar members, who will collaboratively design their own seminar sessions on topics of their choice.  Participating outside speakers include Rob Marks, Richard Moran, Jane Newman, Alex Rehding, and David Shulman.  Hannah Ginsborg will also join us for a session.

Requirements: Regular attendance and reading; the collaborative design and leadership of one seminar session; a final essay.

Application: This seminar is open to graduate students in any year of the Ph.D. program.  To apply, please submit a paragraph that describes why you are interested in joining the seminar and a list of courses that you have taken (at Berkeley or elsewhere) that might relate to the work of the seminar.  If you have other experience that is relevant, feel free to list that as well.  Please email these materials to any one of the participating faculty by December 1, 2020.  A draft syllabus can be requested by emailing a participating faculty member.

Accepted students enroll for the course through the 298 Independent Study option offered through the home departments of participating faculty.