Announcement of Classes: Spring 2022


Reading and Composition: Poetics from the Global South

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Dunsker, Leo
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Description

This course will focus a range of poetries written in English from what we might broadly call the Global South. Its aim is essentially comparative, tracking similarities and differences – thematic, generic, and stylistic – among this large and diverse corpus of poetry. How do various geographies (political or natural) leave their mark on poems? Where does the "local" end and the "global" begin? How does one write "decolonial" poetry in a colonial society? How can poetry imagine the future or re-imagine the past?

We will read poems by Louise Bennett (Jamaica), Wilson Harris (Guyana), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Okot p’Bitek (Uganda), Kofi Awoonor (Ghana), Ee Tiang Hong (Malaysia), Arun Kolatkar (India), and Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Australia), among others. All readings will be distributed digitally.

This course is dedicated ultimately to the cultivation of students’ writing and thinking skills, and so a great deal of time will be devoted to practicing the elementary techniques of summary, synthesis of ideas, and logical argument. Students will complete regular shorter papers in which they will explore the texts and themes of the course, which will become the basis in turn for peer review exercises and written reflections on the process of writing and revision.


Reading and Composition: Animals and Other People

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: Bircea, Jason
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be made available online. Possible writers include Christopher Smart, Ann Yearsley, Gilbert White, Robert Burns, Anna Laeitia Barbauld, William Cowper and John Clare.

Description

"How knoweth he by the vertue of his understanding the inward and secret motion of beasts...when I am playing with my cat, who knows whether she has more sport in dallying with me than I have in gaming her."

Michel de Montaigne, An Apology for Raymond Sebond (1569)

 

Later eighteenth-century verse is populated with animals. Poets in the period penned missives, eulogies, odes and petitions on behalf of dogs, cats, mice, sheep, hares and other animals. The poet Christopher Smart, for instance, dedicated a section of his religious poem Jubilate Agno to praising his cat Jeoffrey: “For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey. / For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.” 

Growing interest in the behavior and inner lives of animals was caused, in part, by the later eighteenth-century discourse of sentimentality, which raised the problem of creaturely feeling and emotion (e.g., can animals suffer?) Another was the emerging discipline of natural history, which, as one naturalist from the period explained, sought to describe “properties, manners, and relations, which [the various products of nature] bear to us, and to each other.”

In this class, we’ll explore the shifting status of animals in later eighteenth-century, British culture. In the final stretch of the course, we’ll read Kazuo Ishiguro’s science-ficition novel Never Let Me Go (2005) and consider the continuing relevance of eighteenth-century conceptions of nature, culture and creatureliness.


Reading and Composition: Transpacific Poetry

English R1A

Section: 3
Instructor: Choi, 최 Lindsay || Lindsay Chloe
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Adams, Stephen: Poetic Designs: An Introduction to Meters, Verse Forms, and Figures of Speech ; Cha, Theresa Hak Kyung: Exilée and Temps Morts: Selected Works; Nakayasu, Sawako: Mouth: Eats Color; Silko, Leslie Marmon: Ceremony

Other Readings and Media

Other texts will be uploaded to bCourses as .pdf files. These will include essays, poems, and possibly some visual art and/or short stories. Depending on the vote of the class, another novel may be added to the syllabus.

Description

This course focuses on poetry written during the twentieth century across the Pacific Ocean, with a large part of the texts emerging from North America, East and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Though these works emerge from a variety of national contexts, our goal will be to question and analyze the modes of literary dialogue and aesthesis that appear through inter- and trans-national crossings of the oceanic divide, with an eye toward, particularly, questions of literary form and technique.

The aim of this course will be to exercise our skills in reading and writing on literary texts, and to think critically about our analytic methods, as well as how, why, and to what end we might believe that they work. Students will write, peer-review, and rewrite a series of literary-critical essays, with the goal of fostering attentive reading and viewing, imaginative analysis, and bold writing. As this course fulfills the R1B requirement, we will focus on scaling progressively longer essays and incorporating research.


Reading and Composition

English R1A

Section: 4
Instructor: Trevino, Jason Benjamin
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Book List

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

Other Readings and Media

Additional texts will be available through Perusall and, potentially, through an optional course reader. We will also view some films (available through reserves for our course or through widely available websites), both in class or on our own, that will shape our discussions and approaches to our topics.

Description

In this Rhetoric and Composition course, we will explore what it means to “enunciate” ethnic and queer positionality in LGBT and Latinx/Chicanx works. We will explore course materials with an eye to the “slipperiness” of clear enunciation and identity practices. Doing so will allow us to think, talk, and write about historical and contemporary notions of queer and ethnic belonging, separation, invisibility, and vibrancy. We may be encouraged to think about the costs of prescriptive group identification, consequences for not “enunciating” identifications clearly or in line with group articulation, and alternatives to the desire for enunciation itself. Desire will be a keyword. "Desire" for enunciation, belonging, and autonomy will shape much of our thinking in this class as we consult a range of Tejana/o/x, California/o/x, and other U.S. Latinx artistic productions.

This is a Rhetoric and Composition class. In it, we will work to develop effective reading, note-taking, and writing strategies for college writing. We will work on developing our analytical skills through close reading of non-fiction, fiction, and theory/philosophy. This is a writing-intensive course. Students will be asked to practice basic skills required of most college essays including summary, analysis, thesis construction, and text citation. Students will also have the opportunity to write practical documents required across disciplines like proposals, précis, and memos and develop skills in collaborative work with peers through peer-to-peer text review and critique.


Reading and Composition: Asian American Women Writers Across Genre

English R1A

Section: 5
Instructor: Kao, Libby
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Book List

Faizullah, Tarfia: Seam; Hong, Cathy Park: Minor Feelings; Joseph, Janine: Driving Without a License; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; Miller, Chanel: Know My Name; Shah, Sejal: This is One Way to Dance

Description

What do writings by Asian American* women** have to tell us about emotional labor, transnational intimacies, and hope?

This question serves as the organizing frame for our semester's exploratory journey of critical thinking. We will do our best to situate readings in the broader (immeasurable) aesthetic and political traditions of Asian American history, literature, and culture, but our more urgent focus will be on how to read for, with, and through these three ideas—emotional labor, transnational intimacies, hope—in turn. 

Along the way, we will define what these terms mean, while grounding ourselves in anti-racist, decolonial, intersectional feminist thought. What do we mean by emotional labor—a term first coined by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, neighbor to the Marxist concept of affective labor, crucial to the burgeoning field of affect theory? Transnational intimacies between whom, what, where; and what are these intimacies interrupted or sustained by? How do we responsibly and imaginatively read for hope in literature?

You will build your own theory of these ideas by engaging them across a range of genres we'll traverse and problematize together: the novel, the essay, poetry, memoir, the short story, journalism/ethnography. These aims go hand in hand with the writing-intensive objectives of this R1A composition course: close reading, asking good questions, purposeful discussion — which open up into the argumentation, development, and revision of analytical writing. 

* "Asian American" as shorthand for a much more capacious category, to which Asian North American and the Asian Anglophone are essential.

** "Women" inclusively construed; while trans studies/method is beyond the scope of this class, we will make space for it when exploring questions of gender, sexuality, and identity.

(Note: Please do not buy books until after the first week of class, as the book list may change.)


Reading and Composition: Voyage to the Moon

English R1A

Section: 6
Instructor: Serrano, Joseph
Time: MWF 8-9
Location: 122 Wheeler


Description

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on the moon at 1:17 pm, Pacific Time. The moon landing seemed like the very definition of modernity: using cutting-edge technology to cross the boundary between Earth and outer space. But the idea of visiting the moon long predates the Apollo mission; human beings have been speculating about such visits since antiquity and probably before. This class will focus on one particularly intense moment of moon speculation in the 17th, 18th, and 19thc centuries, embodied in a new genre of fiction: accounts of voyages to the moon.

We will read the work of familiar writers--like Galileo Galilei, Cyrano de Bergerac, Jules Verne, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, and Edgar Allan Poe--as well as a number of less-well-known figures, such as Bernard le Bovier de Fontanelle, John Wilkins, Frances Godwin. We will also read the work of Margaret Cavendish--whose Blazing World is regarded as one of the earliest works of science fiction--and Aphra Behn, whose farce The Emporer of the Moon drew large audiences in late 17th-century London. The work of these two writers asks us to think about why a voyage to another world might be particularly appealing to women writers, and more broadly, to those who are disenfranchised and/or outsiders. To help answer these and other questions, we will explore the scientific, political, and historical contexts that gave rise to this interest in traveling to the moon, from the Copernican Revolution (the shift from an earth-centered to a sun-centered model of the solar system), to the influence of recent global exploration and the “discovery” of the New World.


Reading and Composition: Whose Civil War?

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Warren, Noah
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

Crane, Stephen: The Red Badge of Courage; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Whitman, Walt: Drum-Taps

Description

This class will explore the many legacies of the American Civil War. Starting with journalistic accounts and poetry from the war itself, and moving forward into novels and films, we'll think through how successive generations of writers from different identity positions—especially Union, Black, and Southern—ground claims about their moment in reinterpretations of this national wound.  


Reading and Composition: Sexual Ethics in Feminism and Fiction

English R1A

Section: 8
Instructor: Nyiri, Jesse
Time: MWF 3-4
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Book List

Defoe, Daniel: Roxana; Dunye, Cheryl: The Watermelon Woman; Fielding, Henry: The Female Husband; Haywood, Eliza: Fantomina; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw; Rosetti, Christina: Goblin Market; Shaw, George Bernard: Mrs Warren's Profession

Other Readings and Media

Other readings by Immanuel Kant, bell hooks, Gayle Rubin, Catharine MacKinnon, Audre Lorde, Amia Srinivasan, Thomas Laqueur, and Judith Butler will be made available on bCourses.

Description

In this class, we'll read English fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries alongside American feminist writing of the late 20th century to look for answers to the following questions: Can sex be ethical—perhaps even good? Is desire ever sympathetic or benevolent? If not, can selfish sexualities at least be brought together through mutually beneficial exchanges? Do such exchanges make “sexual commerce” seem a little too, you know, commercial for polite society? What other political economies structure and constrain sexual ethics? When prevailing sexual values do more harm than good, what changes might bring about more ethical sexual relations? Would such changes involve changing sex itself? Does that question call for a different answer if “sex” refers to what one is rather than what one does?

This course brings together historically disparate frameworks for thinking about the ethics of sex/gender systems and of sexuality. These unlikely juxtapositions will help us assess the limitations and unintended consequences of the sexual theories we'll encounter. Hopefully, in thinking through constructions that won't work, we will begin to think toward some that could. 

This is a writing-intensive course oriented toward helping students develop complex and precise questions, arguments, and close readings. Regular short responses will accompany a series of formal writing assignments.


Reading and Composition: Sensational Transformations

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Hobbs, Katherine
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Collins, Wilkie: The Woman in White; Le Fanu, Sheridan: Uncle Silas; Waters, Sarah: Fingersmith

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be made available in pdf form on bCourses. The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan-wook, 2016) is also requried for this course and is available to rent or purchase on a variety of screening platforms; I will provide further details on the syllabus.

Description

We may think we’re past the Victorian era, but even a cursory look at our contemporary pop culture tells us otherwise. BBC keeps churning out successful period pieces. Sherlock Holmes and Dracula just won’t die. Jane Eyre is constantly recycled in new contexts. And these works aren’t simply regurgitations: the past is always reconstructed, rewritten, and reformed. New perspectives on issues such as race, gender, and class come to light as the past interacts with the present. How does a novel’s legacy and meaning change as new works respond to it? How do authors transform recognizable plot structures and characters into something new? What does it mean that we are still so interested in the characters, tropes, and stories of Victorian literature today? What can we learn about both the past and our own time by exploring a historical period through modern imitative adaptations?

This class will address these questions of Victorian transformation, taking Wilkie Collins’s sensation novel The Woman in White (1859-60) and some of its many afterlives—Victorian and modern—as our case study. Collins’s astronomically popular mystery spawned imitators almost immediately, and rewritings of the novel have not yet stopped. But every adaptation brings different elements to the foreground. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas (1864) weaves aspects of Collins’s legal Gothic into a mystical, atmospheric tale of dread. Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith (2002) is a queer retelling through the eyes of two lesbian main characters. Park Chan-wook’s film The Handmaiden (2016) reimagines Waters’s novel in early twentieth-century Korea. Over the course of the semester, we will trace how these adaptations reframe, transform, and critique Collins’s original. We will also discuss the changing political, social, and literary contexts of these adaptations.

As we consider the legacies of The Woman in White, we will practice our critical writing and research skills. Students will write, workshop, and revise a series of writing assignments over the course of the semester, culminating in a final research paper.


Reading and Composition: Sick

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: Cohan, Nathan
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Butler, Octavia: Clay's Ark (978-1538751503); Lorde, Audre: The Cancer Journals (978-0143135203); Sontag, Susan: Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors (978-0312420130)

Description

This course teaches reading, writing, and researching skills through a survey of sickness as a bodily and social condition and as a literary resource and mode. Students will practice formal analysis of texts in a variety of media including fiction, memoir, poetry, and film, and will enter existing critical conversations after reading some theories of sickness as a cultural phenomenon and as an ambivalently communicable experience. Topics will include historical conceptions of the body and disease, the healthiness or sickness of literature in general, and fictional, sometimes fantastical diseases. Readings include works by Giovanni Boccaccio, John Donne, Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag, Audre Lorde, and Octavia Butler; viewings include works by Forugh Farrokhzad, Marlon Riggs, Todd Haynes, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Students will write, peer-review, and rewrite a series of literary-critical essays, with the goal of fostering attentive reading and viewing, imaginative analysis, and bold writing. As this course fulfills the R1B requirement, we will focus on scaling progressively longer essays and incorporating research.


Reading and Composition: The Poetry of California

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: Nathan, Jesse
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Description

Poetry won’t give you the news, as William Carlos Williams said, and it won’t tell you how to avoid traffic in Los Angeles or where to find the best burritos in the Mission. But it can offer a profound glimpse into the spirit—or spirits—of a place. California, land of wondrous natural resources and state shaped by big visions and reckless desires, is no exception. To ask what kind of poetry is made in this state is to ask what kind of poetry California is. Artists of all sorts have long thrived in the Golden State. Why? What have they found here? How have they described it, defined it, or challenged its myths and failings? In this introductory course, we’ll read through the history and zeitgeist of California by way of its poetry, from the art’s roots here to its present-day possibilities, searching as we go for the California dream, for its meaning and its magic and its waking reality.

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 and revise three papers of increasing length, which will include library research. We will explore how to research literary topics, how to use the library, and how to incorporate research in your essays. 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: The Poetry of California

English R1B

Section: 4
Instructor: Nathan, Jesse
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Description

Poetry won’t give you the news, as William Carlos Williams said, and it won’t tell you how to avoid traffic in Los Angeles or where to find the best burritos in the Mission. But it can offer a profound glimpse into the spirit—or spirits—of a place. California, land of wondrous natural resources and state shaped by big visions and reckless desires, is no exception. To ask what kind of poetry is made in this state is to ask what kind of poetry California is. Artists of all sorts have long thrived in the Golden State. Why? What have they found here? How have they described it, defined it, or challenged its myths and failings? In this introductory course, we’ll read through the history and zeitgeist of California by way of its poetry, from the art’s roots here to its present-day possibilities, searching as we go for the California dream, for its meaning and its magic and its waking reality.

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 and revise three papers of increasing length, which will include library research. We will explore how to research literary topics, how to use the library, and how to incorporate research in your essays. 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: Dreaming on Paper: Exceptional Mental States and the Written Word

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Furcall, Dylan
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 210 Dwinelle


Book List

The Book of Margery Kempe; Carrington, Leonora : The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington; Chaucer, Geoffrey: The House of Fame; De Quincey, Thomas: Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man; Freud , Sigmund: The Interpretation of Dreams; Kurosawa, Akira: Dreams; Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: Reveries of the Solitary Walker

Description

What do we mean when we say that a text is “dreamlike?” We often appeal to this description when the text with which we are engaging is strange, experimental, or transgresses normative expectations. And yet to compare a novel, a film, or a painting to a dream tends to raise more questions than it answers. What is the relationship between our dreams and the waking experiences from which dreams are thought to gather their content? What rules or patterns do dreams follow, and to what extent can these formal tendencies be imitated or evoked in writing?  In this course, we will consider what the American psychologist and philosopher William James broadly termed “exceptional mental states,” a category comprising not only dreams but such  out-of-the-ordinary experiences as religious exultation, hallucination, trance, and meditation. Our interest is not so much to determine what these states of experiential exception fundamentally are from a scientific standpoint, but to explore how and to what ends (whether political, psychological, or aesthetic) writers and artists have sought to emulate and even produce them.

We will survey a broad range of texts (predominantly Western) that participate in this discourse and will consider their formal, generic, and historical specificities: from medieval dream visions (Geoffrey Chaucer’s “House of Fame”) and autobiographies (The Book of Margery Kempe) to clinical and theoretical writings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams and William James’ “Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide”), philosophical meditations of the enlightenment (Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Reveries of the Solitary Walker) to surrealist fiction (Leonora Carrington’s stories), episodic films (Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams and Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room) to dream journals (such as Franz Kafka’s). Other objects of study will include passages from Plato’s Republic, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, and poems by John Ashbery and Bernadette Mayer.

Over the course of the semester students will draft and revise a research paper pursuing a subset of the class’s materials and questions. Indeed, our goal will not be to master these materials (heterogenous and difficult as they are) but rather to develop and sustain lines of critical inquiry. We will cultivate our skills of textual and cultural analysis, composition, argumentation, research, and source evaluation. Some attention will be devoted to the application of these skills beyond the domain of literary interpretation. We will also compose dream journals.


Reading and Composition: Silence

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: D'Silva, Eliot
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 233 Dwinelle


Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot; Cage, John: Silence; Cusk, Rachel: Coventry; Scott, Judith: Bound and Unbound

Other Readings and Media

Cain, Susan: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking; Reichardt, Kelly: Wendy and Lucy

Description

How do writers have words to describe silence? How does silence evade speech while also being produced by it? How does silence seek expression in language, metaphors and images? This course tracks the ways in which writers and artists have employed silence both as a literary technique and as a major theme in their works, from the 1950s to the present. We will read texts that engage silence not as an absence of language but as a product of power relations and as a response to the unknown, ineffable and aporetic aspects of existence. The course will also put these texts in dialogue with reflections on silence in affect theory, disability studies and narratology. As an R1B course, the course will provide opportunities for students to pose analytical questions, construct arguments supported by evidence and undertake scholarly research. Over the semester, students will complete assignments including annotated bibliographies, independent and collaborative close analysis, library visits, and a final paper on one of our texts. There might also be opportunities to respond to creative prompts that build on the key terms and concepts of the course, such as keeping a meditation journal. Readings and screenings will include work by Samuel Beckett, John Cage, Rachel Cusk, Kelly Reichardt and Judith Scott.


Reading and Composition: Petrofiction and Climate Fiction

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Beckett, Balthazar I.
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Description

In 1992, Amitav Ghosh observed that, despite the ubiquity of petroleum in our lives, oil has “produced scarcely a single [literary] work of note.” And in 2006, commenting on the destruction caused by fossil fuels, Ghosh added that “climate change casts a much smaller shadow within the landscape of literary fiction than it does even in the public arena.” Other scholars have pointed out that, in their lack of critical engagement with worsening climate chaos, literature—and the humanities at large—are at risk of becoming obsolete. Heeding this call, this course will investigate the footprint that fossil fuel extraction has left on literature from a variety of geographical contexts, ranging from Bedouin communities in Saudi Arabia to Native American tribes in Oklahoma, and how literary texts address the challenges of global warming. We will read both non-fiction and fiction of various genres—from the realism of Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck to the dystopian novels of Octavia Butler and the emerging genre of climate fiction (Cli-Fi).

Building on the skills students acquired in R1A, this course will continue to develop reading, writing, and research skills with the aim to practice writing longer essays that are rhetorically aware and partake in relevant scholarly conversations. Students will conclude this course by submitting a research paper in which they will partake in a scholarly debate that they feel passionate about.


Reading and Composition: Fictions of Time, Space, Memory

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Vinyard Boyle, Elizabeth
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Book List

Brontë, Emily: Wuthering Heights; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Verne, Jules: Journey to the Center of the Earth; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway; de Lafayette, Mme.: The Princesse de Clèves

Other Readings and Media

Shorter readings will include selections from Sappho, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and Gertrude Stein; Plato, Lucretius, Galileo, Newton, and the British Royal Society; David Hume and Immanuel Kant; Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger, and Karen Barad; Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, and Gérard Genette.  These will be made available as pdfs and as a printed course reader.

Description

Does literature speculate, or theorize?  How does the history of the novel shadow – or shape – an idea of reality that modern science takes as given?  Does the existence of fictional worlds alter the material one that we inhabit?  How does memory compose the experience of human history?

Such questions will guide our explorations for this course, which will begin by situating our own moment within a history of physical experiment and theory – of the disconnect between human experience and our knowledge or vision of the cosmos – in order to appreciate the complexity of literature’s investigations of its own aesthetic powers of representation.  Does the poem expand as a dilated moment, or as a little room in which its reader may dwell?  How do spaces collapse or bend in the novel, and what happens when characters investigate the limits of its strange physics, or the precarity of their contingent durations?  As we travel this history, we will encounter experimental and experiential fictions that ask us to consider the relation of temporal, spoken utterance to the space of the page, as well as the power of language to reflect upon its own acts of imaginative conjuring.  We will ask not only how literature examines or anticipates material philosophy, but also how it interrogates our perception of a bounded, rule-governed world in the very nature of its correspondences.

We will read broadly and deeply, plumbing an expanse from ancient philosophy, to early modern science and historical fiction, to poetic and narrative theory, to modern works that bend our notion of what it takes to hold time and space together.  Much of our time will be devoted to reading and writing on our core novels, works that will unsettle our normal habits of thought including through depictions of gendered and racial violence.  We will compose a series of papers of increasing length and complexity, culminating in a research project that engages with one of our central texts.  As we work with our own writing alongside that of our authors, we will think of the material boundedness of self-narration as an ongoing and iterative process, situating our readerly perceptions within longer (and very short) historical durations, ruptures, and wrinkles.  We will also develop a place to dwell in our own writing, again and again, coming to terms with and at moments even transcending the situatedness of our own time.


Reading and Composition: Passing Narratives

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: Elias, Gabrielle
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location: 122 Wheeler


Description

This course will focus on passing narratives, stories, in which, a character is perceived as belonging to a racial or ethnic group different from their own. In particular, we will direct our attention to a series of twentieth-century texts that explore a multiracial character’s decision to “pass” for white. In conversation with those texts, we will investigate what passing narratives reveal about the performance of identity, the (in)stability of identity categories, and the anxieties that surface when the rigidity of those categories is called into question. We will also discuss key topics, like community, belonging, isolation, and visibility, which our texts have in common. 

Building on those readings, we will also think about the passing narrative in relation to genre, moving from tragedy to melodrama to mystery to science-fiction. Through that work, we will interrogate the flexibility of the passing narrative, questioning its continued popularity and varied forms. 

This course is also centered on composition; you will complete a series of writing assignments designed to help you think through the course’s main ideas and to help you develop your writing and research skills. 

 

Texts likely to include: James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Jessie Redmon Fauset’s There Is Confusion, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Langston Hughes’ “Passing,” Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress

Films likely to include: Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner


Reading and Composition: Genres of Dispossession

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Geary, Christopher
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 122 Wheeler


Book List

Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe; Federici, Silvia: Caliban and the Witch; Marx, Karl: Capital, Volume One (Penguin); More, Thomas: Utopia

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be made available on bCourses. These will likely include shorter texts or excerpts by Vasco de Quiroga, John Locke, Adam Smith, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Peter Kropotkin, Rosa Luxemburg, David Harvey, William Clare Roberts, Robert Nichols, Eric Williams, Cedric Robinson, Stuart Hall, Maria Mies, Silvia Federici, Glen Coulthard, Nick Estes, Sarah Hogan, Walter Benjamin, Fredric Jameson, Michael McKeon, Sal Nicolazzo, and Carolyn Lesjak.

Description

How did capitalism begin? There is so much at stake in this question – above all, perhaps, some clues as to what capitalism really is and how it will end. While many have presumed that capitalism arose naturally and inevitably, and that it represents a high point in the progress of the human species, more critical voices have long noted the violent dispossessions from which our present socio-economic system emerged and the equally intense violence and dispossession with which it is maintained. As one of those voices, Karl Marx, observed, the history of capitalism’s origins is “written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.”

In this course, we will read some of these critical reflections on the origins of capitalism and the role of violence and dispossession in shaping and sustaining it, beginning with Marx’s own account of that beginning, or what he terms “primitive accumulation.” We will then turn to some more contemporary thinkers of imperialism, patriarchy, racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and neoliberalism who critique, rework, and extend Marx’s idea of primitive accumulation to account for different forms of dispossession under capitalism, particularly from feminist, Black, and Indigenous perspectives.

Alongside these theoretical readings, we will consider how this history written in blood and fire was also written in ink. How did the transition to capitalism shape new literary genres such as utopia and the novel? How have different forms of dispossession taken literary form? And how have literary texts themselves critically reflected on the bloody and fiery history of our present? Some of the key literary texts we will initially consider in this light will be Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), but you will also have to choose your own literary text to work with over the course of the semester for your final project.

This is because, through our shared theoretical and literary readings, you will be developing your skills as a critical thinker, researcher, and writer. As an R1B, our pedagogical focus will be on helping you become able to write outstanding research essays. Accordingly, you will be writing, workshopping, and revising a series of assignments throughout the semester, building towards and culminating in a research essay on your chosen literary text. Initial assignments will help you practice textual analysis and entering a critical conversation; later ones will help you develop a research question and a thesis and help you practice outlining and drafting long-form writing projects. Over the course of the semester, you will also be compiling an annotated bibliography of all of our theoretical readings, both to help you practice researching a topic and for you to draw on as a resource for your final project.


Reading and Composition: Rewriting Epic

English R1B

Section: 16
Instructor: Ripplinger, Michelle
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 204 Dwinelle


Book List

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Greenlaw, Lavinia: A Double Sorrow: A Version of Troilus and Criseyde; Headley , Maria Dahvana (trans.): Beowulf: A New Translation; Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Buried Giant; Ovid: Metamorphoses; Shakespeare, William: Troilus and Cressida; Wilson , Emily (trans.): The Odyssey

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings may include selections from Statius, Thebaid; the Old English "elegies"; Toni Morrison; Phillis Wheatley; and Danez Smith, as well as the 2021 film adaptation of The Green Knight.

Description

“Bro!” So begins a recent translation of Beowulf. Not with a solemn “So.” or an exclamatory “Listen!”, but rather with a playful invitation to reconsider the epic from a feminist standpoint, as a “bro story.” In this course, we’ll take this invitation seriously, as we study classical epic and its reception from antiquity to the later Middle Ages. As we’ll discover, this literary history is not simply a story about the preservation of tradition; to the contrary, it long has been characterized by rewriting, revision, even antagonism. Just as Ovid tempers the objectivity of male-centered epic by including female-voiced complaints in his hexameter Metamorphoses, so, too, the medieval romance genre takes shape by reimagining epic from a different point of view. As we study this reception history, we also will place these ancient and medieval works in conversation with the rich tradition of Black classicisms, as well as with medievalisms in the present moment. We conclude by reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight alongside Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant.

While the medieval reception of classical epic will be our primary subject, the underlying object will be to grow as critical readers and to learn to write more clearly and persuasively about difficult and complex topics. This course will teach you how to pose analytical questions, develop complex arguments supported by evidence, and build research skills applicable to other college writing as well as writing outside the university. The course will consist of three assignments: a short paper of literary analysis, a more substantial research paper, and a final creative project. In this final creative project, you will have the opportunity to place this premodern history of ideas in conversation with the present, and to consider what potential it might hold for us now.


Reading and Composition: Petrofiction and Climate Fiction

English R1B

Section: 17
Instructor: Beckett, Balthazar I.
Time: MWF 8-9
Location: 301 Wheeler


Description

In 1992, Amitav Ghosh observed that, despite the ubiquity of petroleum in our lives, oil has “produced scarcely a single [literary] work of note.” And in 2006, commenting on the destruction caused by fossil fuels, Ghosh added that “climate change casts a much smaller shadow within the landscape of literary fiction than it does even in the public arena.” Other scholars have pointed out that, in their lack of critical engagement with worsening climate chaos, literature—and the humanities at large—are at risk of becoming obsolete. Heeding this call, this course will investigate the footprint that fossil fuel extraction has left on literature from a variety of geographical contexts, ranging from Bedouin communities in Saudi Arabia to Native American tribes in Oklahoma, and how literary texts address the challenges of global warming. We will read both non-fiction and fiction of various genres—from the realism of Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck to the dystopian novels of Octavia Butler and the emerging genre of climate fiction (Cli-Fi).

Building on the skills students acquired in R1A, this course will continue to develop reading, writing, and research skills with the aim to practice writing longer essays that are rhetorically aware and partake in relevant scholarly conversations. Students will conclude this course by submitting a research paper in which they will partake in a scholarly debate that they feel passionate about.


Reading and Composition: Writing Modern Egypt

English R1B

Section: 18
Instructor: Beckett, Balthazar I.
Time: TuTh 3:30-5
Location: 301 Wheeler


Description

Egyptians often refer to their nation as أم الدنيا, the “mother of the world.” And Egypt has historically featured prominently in the western imaginary—from the legend of the Library of Alexandria to Napoleon’s invasion to the exploits of nineteenth-century Egyptologists. But Egypt’s history over the course of the past one hundred years is an intriguing one as well, as it features three revolutions—1919, 1952, and 2011—and changing (and often overlapping) contexts of colonialism, cosmopolitanism, changing gender norms, pan-Arab nationalism, socialism, neoliberalism, and authoritarianism. In the 1960s, for instance, Cairo becomes home to a sizable African American expat community, which, for a brief time, included Malcolm X. What is more, this tumultuous history has been chronicled in fascinating works of fiction and films by both Egyptian and foreign writers and filmmakers, including Naguid Mahfouz, E.M. Forster, Lawrence Durrell, Edward Said, Waguih Ghali, Youssef Chahine, Stratis Tsirkas, Shirley Du Bois, Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, Ahdaf Soueif, Mohamed Diab, and Omar Robert Hamilton. In Egypt’s recent history and in our response to it, one could argue, there are important lessons to be learned for us in the United States.

Building on the skills students acquired in R1A, this course will continue to develop reading, writing, and research skills with the aim to practice writing longer essays that are rhetorically aware and partake in relevant scholarly conversations. Students will conclude this course by submitting a research paper in which they will partake in a scholarly debate that they feel passionate about.


Shakespeare

English 17

Section: 1
Instructor: Arnold, Oliver
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 101 Morgan


Description

English 17 is an introduction to the study of Shakespeare; incoming transfer students, future majors, and non-majors are especially welcome.

Shakespeare’s poems and plays are relentlessly unsettling, sublimely beautiful, deeply moving, rigorously brilliant, and compulsively meaningful: they complicate everything, they simplify nothing.  As we puzzle over the way Shakespeare represents—and complicates our understanding of—compassion, republicanism, identity, colonialism, racism, anti-Semitism, tragedy, and desire, we will keep two overarching questions percolating: how does Shakespeare conceive theater (its uses, its value)?; and what makes Shakespeare SHAKESPEARE?  That is, what makes Shakespeare distinctive and what makes him a strange colossus, a touchstone for literary artists from Milton to Goethe, from George Eliot to Proust, from Emily Dickinson to Sarah Kane, from Brecht to Toni Morrison and for philosophers and theorists such as Hegel, Marx. Freud, Derrida, Kristeva, Lacan, and Zizeck?

We will read roughly 8 plays and a few handfuls of sonnets; we will also devote some class time to films and filmed performances of the plays.

Several short assignments, some of which will include creative options, will aim emphasize close reading, attention to form, and argumentation. Both the final essay and the final exam will allow students to turn to account the skills that they have honed in the short assignments.  


Modern British and American Literature: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

English 20

Section: 1
Instructor: Snyder, Katherine
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 222


Book List

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Ma, Ling: Severance; Mandel, Emily St. John: Station Eleven; McCarthy, Cormac: The Road; Whitehead, Colson: Zone One

Description

Apocalyptic stories have been told for centuries, even millenia. But novels, movies, and other forms of media that imagine the end of the world—and what comes after that—seem to have inundated us (floods!) in recent times... and that was even before COVID-19. In this course, we will consider the post-apocalyptic narrative tradition, and look closely at several particularly elegant 20th- and 21st-century examples of this popular genre. We will ask: what does the imagined end of the world currently look like? What do the most common scenarios—pandemic (of course), ecological collapse, angry robots, alien invasion—tell us about our own world? How are these visions of the end times interwoven with ideas about race, gender, class, and other forms of identity and difference? Why do we seem to have developed such a voracious appetite (zombies!) for narratives about our own obliteration and potential for regeneration?

We will consider a diverse selection of post-apocalyptic novels and movies, with glances at other media such as television, video games, and comics. We will also consider the popular and critical reception of our texts in order to gauge their impact (asteroids!) on the planet. Written work for this class will include analytical essays; frequent bCourses posts; and less conventional types of interpretive or “creative” responses.

The book list given here is just a serving suggestion; please wait until after the first class before purchasing. In addition to these possible novels, possible films include Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road, and WALL-E.


Freshman Sophomore Seminar Program: World Art Cinema: Some Parables of Repetition

English 24

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, D.A.
Time: W 1-3
Location: Evans 262


Description

We will watch and discuss three masterworks of world art cinema: Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (Japan, 1950), Pier-Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Italy, 1968), and Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry (Iran, 1997). Each is a kind of parable of repetition, involving the serial recurrence, over and over again, of a key plot-event. In Rashomon, a crime is recounted separately by each of the participants; in Teorema, a mysterious visitor proceeds to have sex with one after another member of a bourgeois family; and in Taste of Cherry, a man persists in asking a succession of men to bury him after his suicide. We will reflect on the different meanings of seriality and repetition in the three films. No background but your interest is required. 


Freshman Seminar: Emily Dickinson

English 24

Section: 2
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: W 2-3
Location: 301 Wheeler


Book List

Dickinson, Emily: The Poems of Emily Dickinson (RW Franklin Ed.))

Description

 

We will be reading and discussing extraordinary poems by Emily Dickinson.  

 


Introduction to the Writing of Short Fiction

English 43A

Section: 1
Instructor: Rowland, Amy
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: Social Sciences Building 180


Description

This is an introductory workshop that focuses on writing and revising short fiction. We will also read published short stories 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, or write and revise one story. 


Introduction to the Writing of Verse

English 43B

Section: 1
Instructor: Laser, Jessica
Time: MW 12:30-2
Location: 301 Wheeler


Description

"There is no greater fallacy going than that art is expression" (Robert Frost)

This introductory workshop will ask: what is poetry if it is not (or not only) self-expression? We will write, workshop and revise our own poems and we will study a variety of poetry from a broader literary tradition with the goal of recognizing and evolving our implicit assumptions about what poetry is and can do. Students will be expected to participate exuberantly in workshop and discussion, to memorize and recite a poem, and to produce a poem a week, leading to a final chapbook of revised poems fronted by a brief statement of poetics. 

Interested students should enroll directly into this course. No application or writing sample is required.


Literature in English: Through Milton

English 45A

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


Description

This is a story of discovering, then forgetting, then discovering again the fact that a particular language can be used not only for communication but also for creation. At the beginning of our story Caedmon, a shepherd, is called upon in his dream to praise God in poetry. A thousand years later, John Milton calls upon the “Heav’nly Muse” to sing “Of Man’s First Disobedience.” In between them, English turns from its humble beginnings into a medium of literature. In this course, we trace this transformation by readings works of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. 

Texts: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (original spelling edition, ed. Jill Mann);  Stephen Greenblatt (ed.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B. Additional materials will be posted on BCourses. If you do not own an edition of the Canterbury Tales, you may use the UMichigan online edition, which is accessible at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/CT/1:1.2?rgn=div2;view=toc


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

English 45B

Section: 1
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Time: MW 4-5 + 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, sec. 105: F 1-2, sec. 106: F 2-3)
Location: Barker 101


Description

This course is an introduction to British and American literature from the eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century. We'll read works from that period (by Swift, Franklin, Equiano, Wordsworth, Austen, Brontë, Melville, Eliot, Douglass, Dickinson, Poe, and others) and think about how politics, aesthetics, race, gender, identity, and the everyday find expression in a number of different literary forms. We'll especially consider the material and symbolic roles played by the idea and practice of revolution.


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

English 45C

Section: 1
Instructor: Gang, Joshua
Time: MW 2-3 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 1-2; sec. 103: F 2-3; sec. 104: F 3-4; sec. 105: F 4-5; sec. 106: F 11-12)
Location: Stanley 106


Book List

Dickens, Charles: Hard Times; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Tutuola, Amos: The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available for purchase at MetroPublishing.

Description

This course will examine different examples of British, Irish, American, and global Anglophone literature from the middle of the 19th century through the middle of the 20th. Moving across a number of genres and movements, we will focus on the ways novelists, poets, and dramatists have used literary form to represent, question, and even produce different aspects of modernity (broadly construed). Particular attention will be paid to concepts such as realism, naturalism, expressionism, and modernism, and to literature’s broader engagements with ideas of race and immigration, gender and sexuality, colonialism and empire, diaspora, literacy, mythology, economics and labor, and technological advancement. 

Readings will include fiction by Charles Dickens, Sui Sin Far/Edith Eaton, William Faulkner, James Weldon Johnson, James Joyce, Amos Tutuola, and Virginia Woolf; drama by Samuel Beckett, Adrienne Kennedy, Sophie Treadwell, and Luis Valdez; and poetry or essays by Matthew Arnold, WH Auden, Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and Virginia Woolf. 

Evaluation will be based on a combination of papers, examinations, and course participation.


Asian American Literature and Culture: Voice, Text, Image

English 53

Section: 1
Instructor: Leong, Andrew Way
Time: TTh 6:30 - 8
Location: 56 Social Sciences


Book List

Bui, Thi: The Best We Could Do; Hirahara, Naomi: Clark and Division

Other Readings and Media

Other media and course readings will be distributed via bCourses.

Description

Professor Leong's course is listed both as English 53 and as Asian American Studies (ASAMST) 20C. It is the same course (same time, same room; slightly different title). If you cannot enroll directly in English 53, you can enroll via ASAMST 20C. All students who take the course as ASAMST 20C receive credit in the English major without petitioning.

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

The course is divided into three parts: Voice, Text, and Image. In Part I, “Voice” we will focus on Asian American speeches, oral histories, and songs. We will work through a series of assignments oriented towards preparation for class discussion and a short, low-stakes oral exam. In Part II, “Text,” we will focus on skills and techniques for close reading and analysis of printed texts, culminating in a take-home midterm that will allow you to demonstrate the development of these skills. In Part III, “Image,” we will focus on the analysis of images of, or images produced by, Asian Americans in comics, film, and digital media. The assignments in Part III will turn to visual outlining and organization strategies for drafting and completing a final paper project.


Children's Literature: Bad Seed: Monstrosity, Horror, and the Inhuman in Children’s Literature

English 80K

Section: 1
Instructor: Saha, Poulomi
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Latimer 120


Description

From cannibalistic witches to sadistic parents to dystopian hellscapes, children's literature is rife with terrifying figures and dark themes. This class will look at the forms of monstrosity, deviance, and horror that appear in a variety of texts and films oriented towards children to ask why it is that there is such pleasure in perversion. We will think about the psychological, political, and cultural work of representations of violence, inhumanity, and the grotesque in a genre so often figured as cute, sweet, or safe. Authors may include Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, V.C. Andrews, and Hans Christian Andersen. We will also read a wide selection of theory and philosophy which includes SIgmund Freud, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Louis Althusser among others. 


Sophomore Seminar: Film Noir and Neo-Noir

English 84

Section: 1
Instructor: Bader, Julia
Time: F 12-2
Location: Online


Description

An analysis of some classic American crime films and some recent examples of the genre.

THIS IS AN ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS COURSE. 


Practices of Literary Study

English 90

Section: 1
Instructor: Picciotto, Joanna M
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 300


Description

How do poems use language differently than other forms of oral or written expression? We'll explore how people have answered this question, and try to come up with some answers of our own. Readings will be made available on the coursesite and in a reader.

 


Practices of Literary Study: Where Did the Realist Novel Come From?

English 90

Section: 2
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: Dwinelle 279


Description

Before the literary form we now think of as the realist novel took critical shape as an aesthetic entity in the nineteenth century, a wide range of very interesting and new forms of prose fiction in eighteenth-century Britain (works we now call novels) aimed to represent the real, sometimes at the expense of aesthetics. These works represented everyday and even “low” life (thieves and prostitutes) as well as probable as opposed to clearly imaginary scenarios—and they sometimes claimed to be “true stories.”  

 

Suggestively, this new attention to the particulars of quotidian, local life took place in the midst of an expanding British maritime empire. In this introductory course on the practices of literary study, we shall think about how we might analyze formal innovations in prose fiction alongside such social and historical changes. How did relations of empire impact and even give rise to representations of local life in Britain? What aspects of this society might have made it matter that stories be empirically true—or seem as if they could be? How did new technologies—both scientific and narrative—invite attention not only to what was represented but how it was represented? To think through these questions, we’ll read novels alongside a range of other writings—keeping in mind that at this moment “literature” named all writing, not simply imaginative “literary” works. As we read philosophical writing of the period, voyage narratives, “spy” stories, and science writing, we’ll discuss how to integrate different genres of writing and fields of knowledge into our literary analyses. We’ll pay special attention to writing in class, from passage analysis to thesis development to argument structure. Two 5-page and one 7-page paper are required, and occasional quizzes will help you keep up with the reading.  

 

Readings will likely include Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Daniel Defoe, Roxana, Tobias Smollett, Roderick Random, Transactions of the Royal Society, William Dampier, Voyages, John Locke, Essay Concerning  Human Understanding, Ned Ward, The London Spy


Practices of Literary Study: Shakespeare

English 90

Section: 4
Instructor: Altman, Joel B.
Time: MW 9:30-11
Location: 305 Wheeler


Description

“‘A sad tale’s best for winter,’ but for spring a comedy is better.”  Focusing on three of Shakespeare’s most engaging plays—The Comedy of ErrorsThe Tragedy of King Lear, and The Winter’s Tale—which all concern divisions in a family (sometimes hilarious, often violent, always deeply moving)—we’ll study how genre informs the way stories are represented on the stage.  We’ll be looking at the shape of plot, character development through actions and words—especially words so vivid that the listener seems to be seeing what is described--how private thoughts are conveyed to the audience, and how Shakespeare’s work relates to its predecessors.  We’ll attend to staging, the mingling of verse and prose, verbal meaning, such themes as patriarchy and misogyny, friendship, and parent-child relations.  The title of the course refers to the last of our dramatic trio, in which the two traditional genres are associated with seasonal change, creating the hybrid “tragicomedy.”  I expect we’ll have some lively discussions and read passages aloud to one another, for analysis and enjoyment.  You’ll be expected to participate actively in class and to write three short papers.  


The Seminar on Criticism: Henry James and His Admirers

English 100

Section: 1
Instructor: Hale, Dorothy J.
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: Wheeler 122


Description

For over a century, Henry James (1843-1916) has been regarded as a writer’s writer.  Hailed as the “Master” within his lifetime by the many who prized his narrative art as well as his professionalism, James found new fans in each subsequent generation of British and American writers.  In our own century, James’s importance for other artists shows no sign of diminishment.  2004 saw not one, not two, but three different novels that made the master of fiction the subject of fictional treatment.

This course examines James’s legacy through the wide range of imitations, adaptations, and revisions that his writing has directly inspired.  We will pay particular attention to James’s importance for novelists who identify as social outsiders.  We will also investigate why James is simultaneously regarded as the consummate artist (an ethical paragon who puts before all else his commitment to his creative work) and a dangerous connoisseur of dark knowledge, whose fiction lures the reader into an ethical abyss. 

The fiction and films that we will be studying ask us to consider a host of other cultural and philosophical questions.  What does it mean to be a stranger in a strange land? Is there such a thing (or was there such a thing) as a particularly American social type? What does it mean to live the good life?  What are the possibilities for shared consciousness between two people? What are the social circuits of sexual desire?  How does the open secret function as a condition of epistemology as well as sexuality?  And a question that all the readings engage: what might be the value of beauty for life as well as art?

Writing requirements for the course include a five-page close reading essay and a ten-page final essay.  For the final essay, students will learn how to formulate their own thesis claims in relation to published scholarship.  Because his work has received wide critical attention, James criticism provides an excellent introduction to theoretical methods.

Course reading will include

H. James, The Turn of the Screw (1898); The Ambassadors (1903); selected short stories. P. Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955); J. Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956); P. Roth, The Ghost Writer (1979); C. Tóibin, The Master (2004); C. Ozick, Foreign Bodies (2010); S. Rooney, Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021).

Films will be drawn from:

R. Clement, Purple Noon (1960); J. Clayton, The Innocents (1961); I. Softley, The Wings of the Dove (1997); S. McGhee and D. Siegel, What Maisie Knew (2012); A. Minghella, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).


The Seminar on Criticism: Approaching Walden

English 100

Section: 3
Instructor: Tamarkin, Elisa
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: Wheeler 122


Description

Our seminar will take up Thoreau’s challenge to read Walden as deliberately as it was written.  We will work through the book slowly over the course of the semester, while learning how best to approach it, and the environment in which it was written, at different moments and in response to changing questions, problems, and needs.  We will treat Walden as a guide to reading Walden, teaching us how to be attentive, to notice things we normally miss, and to keep something as long and slow as Thoreau’s book can be interesting to us, “a fresh prospect every hour.”  Along the way, we’ll assume a range of critical, historical, political, and theoretical perspectives that require engagement with Ralph Waldo Emerson, with other Transcendentalists and some anti-Transcendentalists, and with diverse traditions of philosophical and poetic writings that consider Walden to be important.


The Seminar on Criticism: Histories of Writing

English 100

Section: 4
Instructor: Francois, Anne-Lise
Time: TuTh 9:30-11
Location: Wheeler 305


Description

In this seminar of literary criticism, we will explore some of the stories that have been told about writing as a technology of reproduction, dissemination, circulation, amplification, preservation, and citation. While writing commonly refers to the one-way transfer of speech to some kind of material object capable of circulating on its own, how does literature bear witness to the ongoing transfers between oral practices and written objects?  If writing is commonly understood to originate as a means of recording debt and storing accumulated knowledge, what is its relation to other figures of temporal prosthesis and play--figures that disperse as well as extend the otherwise passing moment? While not technically a course in the environmental humanities, we will spend some time on the notion of the Anthropocene as the inscription of racialized violence and genocide upon the earth’s geological strata.  Readings will include works by Cha, Derrida, Douglass, DuBois, Ong, Plato, Vicuña, Yusoff.  Dear students, please accept this description as a temporary placeholder! 


The Seminar on Criticism: Indigenous Autobiography

English 100

Section: 5
Instructor: Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: Dwinelle 189


Book List

Arnold, Krupat: Native American Autobiography: An Anthology; Black Elk, Nicholas: Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition; Hale, Janet Campbell: Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter; Harjo, Joy: Poet Warrior; Hogan, Linda: The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native memoir; Miranda, Deborah E.: Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir; Momaday, N. Scott: The Way to Rainy Mountain; Mourning Dove, Jay Miller: Mounring Dove: A Salishan Autobiography; Silko, Leslie Marmon: The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir; Swann, Brian and Arnold Krupat, eds.: I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers

Description

As we develop our critical reading and writing skills, we will examine a wide range of Native American personal narratives, from pre-contact pictographic narratives painted on animal hides and later drawn in ledgerbooks to nineteenth-century as-told-to autobiographies to twentieth and twenty-first century personal memoirs. We’ll focus on Indigenous epistemologies and self-constructs; transcultural definitions of autobiography and subjectivity; transgenerational trauma and resilience; and the role of memory, imagination, and story in resisting and surviving settler-colonialism.


The Seminar on Criticism: In the Wake of Moby-Dick

English 100

Section: 7
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: Dwinelle 211


Book List

James, C.L.R.: Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways: Herman Melville and the World We Live In; Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick: or, The Whale; Niemeyer, Mark: The Divine Magnet: Herman Melville's Letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne; Olson, Charles: Call Me Ishmael

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied course reader

Description

We will read Moby-Dick slowly and scrupulously, immersing ourselves in Melville’s extraordinary prose and assessing the book’s literary, historical, and biographical contexts; the 20th- and 21st-century critical traditions it has generated; narrative theory relevant to understanding Melville’s literary experiments; and the presence of the book in global culture. Course requirements include oral presentations and two essays (5-7 pages and 8-10 pages). 


Chaucer

English 111

Section: 1
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: MWF 1-2
Location: Social Sciences Building 180


Description

For more information about this class, please contact Jennifer Miller at j_miller@berkeley.edu.


Shakespeare: Later Works

English 117B

Section: 1
Instructor: Landreth, David
Time: MW 10-11 + one discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 12-1; sec. 102: F 1-2)
Location: Social Sciences Building 56


Description

This class offers an in-depth study of the second half of Shakespeare's career, featuring the major tragedies alongside later comedies and tragicomedies. We'll read ten of those plays together: Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Othello, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Macbeth, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest. Our main focus will be on how Shakespeare uses the technology of the theater, and the living bodies of its actors, to craft characters and experiences that are larger than life. We'll also think a lot about the difference in values among different political systems that Shakespeare stages, and how they interact with differences in time, place, race, gender, and genre.

All of our plays are available to Cal students for free via the library's online resources (in the Arden Shakespeare editions). If you prefer to read paper, the best bang for your buck is vol. 2 of The Norton Shakespeare, which includes all our plays but Julius Caesar, plus a paperback of that play; I've ordered this combination at the bookstore. But any post-1970 edition of a play will do, as long as you find the annotations sufficient to understand the language.


The English Novel (Defoe through Scott)

English 125A

Section: 1
Instructor: Sorensen, Janet
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: Wheeler 300


Description

The period from which our reading draws has been credited with the “rise of the novel”—the emergence of the then new genre, the “novel,” so familiar to us today. While critics have qualified and revised that claim, the texts we’ll read do experiment with new forms of prose fiction and new ideas about what is worth representing. As we read these works and track their innovations, we shall be especially interested in considering what it was that some found dangerous about them. Like surfing the internet, novel reading wasn’t something you wanted the “impressionable”—from teenagers to women—to do alone, or maybe at all. Might the perceived threat have had something to do with early novels’ connection to romance and the erotic? Might it have to do with what one critic calls the “narrative transvestitism” of the early novel—in which men write books featuring female heroines who will describe, in an innovative, frank prose style, how a woman really feels? Highly conscious of these debates, eighteenth-century writers responded to them in their generic experiments, deploying rhetorical and thematic means to legitimate their writing, appealing to (and sometimes transforming) moral discourse, and creating hybrids of new and classical writing, all offering complex new forms of writing and, some would argue, consciousness.

Course Requirements will include quizzes, participation, including a group presentation, two papers, a mid-term exam, and a final. 

Course texts will likely include: Eliza Haywood: Love in Excess; Daniel Defoe: Roxana; Samuel Richardson: Pamela; Henry Fielding: Shamela and Joseph Andrews, Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto; Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey.

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


The European Novel

English 125C

Section: 1
Instructor: Creasy, CFS
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: Wheeler 200


Book List

Balzac: Père Goriot; Flaubert: Madame Bovary; Goethe, Johann Wolfgang: Wilhelm Meister’s Year of Apprenticeship; Grimmelshausen: The Adventures of Simplicious Simplicissimus; Louis: Who Killed My Father ; Smith: White Teeth ; Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway

Description

In The Theory of the Novel the critic Georg Lukacs writes, “The novel form is, like no other, an expression of transcendental homelessness.” This course will survey the history of the European novel in the context of “rootlessness” and “estrangement”—“rootlessness” vis-a-vis class, nation, and gender, and “estrangement” vis-a-vis the self. 

 


The Contemporary Novel: Screens, Pages, and Visual Rhetoric in Contemporary Fiction

English 125E

Section: 1
Instructor: Catchings, Alex
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: Social Sciences Building 174


Book List

Browning, Barbara: I Am Trying to Reach You; Cohen, Joshua: Book of Numbers; Lin, Tao: Shoplifting from American Apparel; Rooney, Sally: Conversations with Friends

Other Readings and Media

Digital Reader featuring excerpts from J. David Bolter, Andrew Keen, Theodor Adorno, Marshall McLuhan, N. Katherine Hayles, and Lev Manovich

Description

A study from the Global Web Index reveals that internet users aged sixteen to sixty-four averaged 6 hours and 43 minutes online per day in 2019. This amounts to 102 full days of screentime per person. If people are spending nearly a third of their lives engaging screens now, what has changed about the way we engage things that have always existed off of screens? Like, for instance, a physical page from a codex book?

This course will cover four contemporary novels and examine how they represent text that is normally rendered on computer or smartphone screens. From Gmail chat to Java compilers and plaintext that has been copied and pasted, these novels work to replicate visual facets of screen-interfaces that make us use the books differently. In addition, these novels try to represent through language lives that are lived both digitally and "in reality." During this course, we will explore theories of human-computer interaction alongside the history of the book to understand precisely how the power of typography changes as it appears in different mediums. We will begin devising responses to questions that define this century: how do interfaces manipulate our sense of agency? Which holds the most revolutionary potential—smartphones, desktop computers, or books? How ethical is the "open source" mentality that underscores coding languages, Wikipedia, and YouTube?


American Literature: Before 1800

English 130A

Section: 1
Instructor: Tamarkin, Elisa
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: Dwinelle 88


Description

A survey of English-language American literature to 1800. We will read a wide range of texts from narratives of colonial settlement through the literature of the American Revolution, the Constitutional Convention, and the early republic. Topics to be discussed include: the role of Puritanism in American society; the language of liberty, rights, and representation; the rise of the novel in America; evangelism and secularism; the rhetorics of slavery and abolition; and the price of independence. 


American Literature: 1800-1865

English 130B

Section: 1
Instructor: Otter, Samuel
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Dwinelle 219


Book List

Fern, Fanny: Ruth Hall: A Domestic Tale of the Present Time; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Levine, Robert S.: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. B: 1820-1865; Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick; Whitman, Walt: Leaves of Grass (1855 edition)

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied course reader

Description

We will take up the remarkable fiction, poetry, and essays of this period, including works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Fanny Fern, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. We will attend to literary form and technique, social and political context, and the ideological formations and transformations of these decades, especially the urgent debates about democracy, slavery, race, gender, sexuality, individuality, theology, economic system, social reform, the role of writers, and the power and limits of words. Two midterms and one final examination will be required.

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


Topics in American Studies: Harlem Renaissance

English C136

Section: 1
Instructor: Wagner, Bryan
Time: MW 12-2
Location: Haviland 12


Book List

Cullen, Countee: Color; Hughes, Langston: Fine Clothes to the Jew; Hughes, Langston: The Weary Blues; Hurston, Zora Neale: The Sanctified Church; Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God; Johnson, James Weldon: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Larsen, Nella: Passing; Locke, Alain: The New Negro; McKay, Claude: Harlem Shadows; Thurman (et al), Wallace: Fire!!; Toomer, Jean: Cane

Description

This course explores the social, cultural, political, and personal awakenings in the literature, art, and music of the Negro Renaissance or the New Negro Movement, now commonly known as the Harlem Renaissance. This is remembered as a time (roughly 1918-1930) when, in the midst of legal segregation and increasing anti-Black mob violence, Black American writers, artists, philosophers, activists, and musicians, congregating in New York City’s Harlem, reclaimed the right to represent themselves in a wide range of artistic forms and activist movements. At stake: who were, and are, Black Americans? What was distinctive about Black art? What gave it such broad, international appeal? Could art be used to uplift the conditions of a people? Were Black artists obligated to make their art a means of protest against racism? If they were, would they produce art or propaganda? Our task in this course is to explore these and other questions through close analysis of major works by W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and many others. This course is co-taught by Professor Christine Palmer (American Studies) and Professor Bryan Wagner (English).


Topics in Chicano Literature and Culture: Riding Chicanx Literature’s First Wave and Beyond, c/s

English 137T

Section: 1
Instructor: Reyes, Robert L
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 24


Book List

Acosta , Oscar Zeta: The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo; Castillo, Ana: Sapogonia; Chavez, Denise: Loving Pedro Infante; Diaz, Natalie: When My Brother Was an Aztec; Hernandez, Jaime: The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.: A Love and Rockets Book; Munoz, Manuel: What you see in the Dark; Plascencia, Salvador: The People of Paper; Rivera, Tomas: ...and the earth did not devour him

Description

“The student of Chicano literature will look back at this group and this first period as the foundation of whatever is to come, even if only as the generation against whom those to come rebel. The best of the best will survive—but then survival is an old Chicano tradition.”

Juan Bruce-Novoa, Chicano Authors: Inquiry by Interview.

Nearly forty years have passed since Juan Bruce-Novoa published Chicano Authors. An early Chicano literary critic, Bruce-Novoa documents this boom of creative writers in his book of interviews, naming them the “first wave.” This first wave—which he and others have come to regard as a consequence of the Chicano Movement—will serve as a reference point. In this course, we will encounter some of the most influential practitioners of Chicanx letters. This will include a variety of genres and media: novels, short stories, poetry, essays, film, comics, and music. Among the many themes in our exploration, we will observe how these writers (and artists) imagine place, history, citizenship, race, class, gender, nation, the body, art, community, and the cosmos. We will begin with the idea of the first wave as a “guide post,” to question where and when it began, and to consider how it became Chicanx Literature.


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

English 141

Section: 1
Instructor: Abrams, Melanie
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: Cory 277


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


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 1
Instructor: Abrams, Melanie
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: Wheeler 301


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.

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

Writing samples should be 8-15 pages of fiction (a complete short story, a few short shorts, a section of a novel, etc.). Since this is a class that focuses on psychological realism, please avoid genre fiction for your sample (no sci fi, fantasy, fan fic, etc.). No need to strive for perfection here (this class focuses on learning the craft of fiction, so I expect you have much to learn!), but strong sentences, an understanding that fiction revolves around conflict, and three-dimensional characters are encouraged.


Short Fiction

English 143A

Section: 2
Instructor: Chandra, Vikram
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Ward, Jesmyn: The Best American Short Stories 2021

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 will also take part in online discussions about fiction. Attendance is mandatory.

Students will only write fiction within the genre of psychological realism.  We will not workshop science fiction or fantasy fiction.

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.

Please note that you have to apply to get into this class. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 10-15 double-spaced pages of your fiction by clicking on the link below. You may submit one or more stories, but please stay within the page limit and remember to double-space.


Verse

English 143B

Section: 1
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: MW 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 305


Other Readings and Media

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

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 culturally and poetically diverse course reader. If the past is any guarantee, the course will be fun and will make you a better poet.

TO APPLY, ATTACH YOUR WRITING SAMPLE BELOW.  PLEASE SEND ME FIVE PAGES OF FIVE OR MORE POEMS.  


Verse

English 143B

Section: 2
Instructor: Solie, Karen
Time: MW 3:30-5
Location: Wheeler 305


Description

In this class we will read as writers and write as readers, explore some of the larger mysteries and technical fine points of poetry, and how one is often to be found in the other. Course readings covering a range of 20th and 21st-century poetry will be provided, along with interviews and essays that address poetics and technique. Students will give brief informal presentations on writers up for discussion, and will have the opportunity to introduce to the class poems or collections not represented on the reading list. Our workshop will include experiments in established forms, free verse, avant-garde procedures, and their hybrids, and a variety of writing prompts and exercises will be available. Students will respond carefully to one another’s work and we’ll talk about strategies for revision, how to liberate the energy and immediacy of a poem. In the course of our conversations we will develop together a reading list and set of questions to carry forward into our creative lives.

TO APPLY, ATTACH YOUR WRITING SAMPLE BELOW.  PLEASE SEND FIVE PAGES OF FIVE OR MORE POEMS.


Long Narrative

English 143C

Section: 1
Instructor: McFarlane, Fiona
Time: MW 12:30-2
Location: Wheeler 305


Description

This course is for students who are interested in or already working on a novel or novella. Through creative writing exercises and reading, we’ll explore how a novel is made, including questions of structure, research, and planning; through workshops, you’ll share the beginning of your own project. By the end of the semester, you will have the first chapter or two of a novel- or novella-in-progress, and a sense of where to take your work next. Reading to be confirmed.

Please note that access to this class is by application only. Click the link below to apply before October 29, 2021. Your 10-15 page writing sample need not be from a novel-in-progress - it can be any fiction that you consider your strongest.


Prose Nonfiction: Food Writing

English 143N

Section: 1
Instructor: Kleege, Georgina
Time: MW 11-12:30
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Gilbert, Sandra M. : Eating Words: A Norton Anthology of Food Writing

Description

This is a creative nonfiction writing workshop focused on the topic of food.  Food writing encompasses more than snooty restaurant reviews or poetic descriptions of the taste of wine, coffee, and chocolate.  Food writing can include memoir, cultural critique, and scientific explication.  Topics writers might pursue include but are not limited to: food traditions, food taboos, food trends, fast food, slow food, junk food, fad diets, eating disorders, food as medicine, food production, agribusiness, organic and sustainable farming and  fishery, migrant farm labor, restaurant work, food science, bioengineering of food, food deserts, hunger, etc.

Students will read examples of food writing from the assigned anthology and other sources.  They will also read and discuss their classmates’ work.  Written assignments will include 3 short exercises (approximately 2 pages each) and 2 full-length essays (approximately 8-20 pages), plus formal critiques of classmates’ work.

Only continuing UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course.  To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5-8 pages of your writing (which need not be food-related but should not be academic writing, fiction, or poetry), 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.  


Prose Nonfiction

English 143N

Section: 2
Instructor: Saul, Scott
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: Wheeler 301


Description

This course is a nonfiction workshop in which you’ll learn to write about many different types of art and culture, from TV to music and other forms of performance, while also developing your own voice and sensibility on the page as you learn to write about your own life and the lives of others. By the end of the class, you should come away with a working knowledge of how to write reviews, profiles, and autobiographically-shaded essays that engage with a cultural figure, flashpoint, workplace, or landscape.

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

Two special features of the course bear specific mention.

First, we will be guided by the understanding that the art of writing is, in large part, the art of re-writing. The workshopping of your pieces is designed to help you get some fresh perspective on how your earlier drafts play in the minds of your readers—and what might be improved. You are expected to engage in substantial revision of several of the pieces you write for the course, with both first versions and revised versions submitted as part of your end-of-term portfolio.

Second, there’s a digital publication attached to this course: “The Annex” (http://www.medium.com/the-annex). Everyone in the class should consider contributing at least one of their pieces to The Annex (though you should feel to publish pieces elsewhere too, of course—on the Medium platform all rights are retained by the author). It’s anticipated that, before publication on The Annex, each piece will undergo a process of editing and revision.


Prose Nonfiction

English 143N

Section: 3
Instructor: Farber, Thomas
Time: Friday 9-12
Location: Wheeler 301


Description

An upper division writing workshop, open to undergraduate and graduate students from any department who have either taken English 43-level writing seminars or have equivalent skills/experience.

Drawing on narrative strategies in memoir, the diary, travel writing, and fiction, students will have work-shopped in seminar two literary nonfiction pieces, 5-15 pages. Each week, students will turn in one-page critiques of the (one or two) student pieces being workshopped. Some weeks, as well, there will be a 1- or 2-page journal entry on prompts assigned (these entries may be used as part of the longer pieces).


Special Topics: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

English 165

Section: 1
Instructor: Shoptaw, John
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 104


Other Readings and Media

We will read from a course reader, which will be available before the beginning of the term from Krishna Copy (University Ave. and Milvia).

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 to the contemporary poetry and poetics, romantics and post-romantics (including Whitman, Dickinson, Emerson and Thoreau), modernists (including Frost, Stevens, Jeffers, Moore, Eliot, Sterling Brown) post-modernists (including Snyder, Merwin, Bishop, Berry) and contemporaries (including Diaz, Graham, Hass, Baker, Gander, Dungy, Hillman and Hirshfield).  We will read relevant theories of nature and its representation in poetry; and we’ll also read ecopoetics, essays by poets and others 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), place, disaster and pollution, environmental justice, and climate change.  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.  Alternately, you may write a five-page essay on a post-romantic or modern and a ten-page essay on a contemporary poet.  I welcome students from English and from other majors.  This seminar is multi-centered and open-ended.  It benefits from local the experiences and expertise from its students.  I learn as much as I teach. 


Special Topics: Beckett

English 166

Section: 1
Instructor: Danner, Mark
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 30


Description

The Twentieth Century offered a unique blending of advancement and atrocity, genocide and progress, and surely no single artist captured this more fully and more fearlessly than Samuel Beckett. Spanning the modernist and postmodernist eras, Beckett's vast body of work in fiction and drama confronts us with a relentless exploration of loneliness and destruction and a single-minded flight to the very limits of human expression. Out of this near maniacal quest he produced -- impossibly -- writing that is off the charts funny. How did he achieve this pungent blending of laughter and doom in works like Waiting for GodotMolloyEndgame and so many others?  In this class, through a close reading of Beckett's stories, novels and plays, and a taste of some of the writers who most influenced him and whom he most influenced, we will seek to find out. In addition to Beckett's major works we will read a bit of Descartes, some Joyce, a pinch of Proust and a sprinkling of Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Sam Shepherd and Suzan-Lori Parks, among others.


Special Topics

English 166

Section: 2
Instructor: Naiman, Eric
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 202


Book List

Nabokov, Vladimir: Laughter in the Dark; Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pnin; Nabokov, Vladimir: Short Stories; Nabokov, Vladimir: The Defense; Nabokov, Vladimir: The Gift

Description

We will study the work of Nabokov as a novelist on two continents over a period of nearly sixty years. The course will be structured (more or less) chronologically and divided between novels translated from Russian and written in English. After beginning several short stories, we will examine some of the fiction of his European period, before turning our attention to Lolita and Pnin. Competing interpretations of Nabokov will be considered, but our emphasis will be on metafiction, the theme of perversity and Nabokov's cultivation of a perverse reader.

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it.” Students should expect to devote a considerable amount of time to reading and rereading and should come to class prepared to discuss the assigned texts. Participants in the class should anticipate reading (and then, in a perfect world, curiously rereading) 150 pages per week. Written work will consist of two papers (5 to 10 pages) on topics to be chosen in consultation with the professor. Penalties will be assessed for late papers. There will be a midterm and a final examination.


Special Topics in American Cultures: Racial Joy

English 166AC

Section: 1
Instructor: Cutler, John Alba
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: Social Sciences Building 166


Description

Is happiness possible in a world of ecological catastrophe, economic inequality, and racial oppression? This course will explore recent literature by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American writers and poets preoccupied with the nature of joy. Against the grain of literature that represents the experience of racialization as immiseration, these texts explore the possibilities of meaning, happiness, beauty, and community both as responses to racialization and as the generative outcome of artistic creation. We will pay particular attention to the specificity of differently racialized histories as they impinge on or, alternately, create the conditions in which human flourishing (an idea whose influence runs from Aristotle through Marx to contemporary political theory) becomes possible. We will read in all genres and supplement our consideration of primary texts with theoretical texts on the political valences of happiness, bodily pleasure, ecological communion, and racial solidarity. Texts will include Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels, Ross Gay’s Be Holding, Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem, Louise Erdrich’s LaRose, and Gish Jen’s Typical American, among others. Students will learn to identify and analyze different conceptions of joy and their relation to theories and histories of racialization. They will also develop essays that synthesize theoretical concepts and closely examine the form and function of primary texts. 


Literature and Sexual Identity: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism

English 171

Section: 1
Instructor: Abel, Elizabeth
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: Wheeler 108


Book List

Baldwin, James: Giovanni's Room; Barnes, Djuna: Nightwood; Cunningham, Michael: The Hours; Hollinghurst, Alan: The Line of Beauty; Larsen, Nella: Passing; Nelson, Maggie: The Argonauts; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway; Woolf, Virginia: Orlando

Other Readings and Media

The bCourses site will include samples of modernist poetry (T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes), theoretical essays (Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, Lee Edelman, Susan Stryker), short stories (Henry James, Bruce Nugent), and visual materials drawn from contemporary art installations.  

Description

This course will focus on one area of the rapidly expanding field of literature and sexual identity: the early twentieth-century literary experiments that have earned the title “modernism.” Famously “queer,” modernism’s challenges to literary and social norms entangled formal and sexual “deviance.” To unravel these entanglements, we will read back and forth across the twentieth century to stage a series of encounters between the aesthetic practices and discourses of modernism and those of contemporary queer theory and cultural production.  As we read texts by Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Djuna Barnes, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, and James Baldwin,  we will consider (among other issues) the mobile dimensions of queer time and space; the historical migration of concepts such as perversion, inversion, masquerade, transvestism, abjection, and shame; the mutual implication of race, gender, and sexuality; the formal attributes of the closet; the legibility of transgender bodies; and the composition of affective histories. To complement (and complicate) the chronological axis of this inquiry, we will also attend to the metropolitan spaces in which sexual boundaries blurred and subcultures thrived, especially the three urban sites central to modernist experimentation: London, New York, and Paris.  

The course will require two papers, a midterm, and a final exam.


Literature and Psychology

English 172

Section: 1
Instructor: Viragh, Atti
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: Wheeler 300


Book List

Dilthey, Wilhelm: Poetry and Experience; Dostoevksy, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment; Freud, Sigmund: The Penguin Freud Reader; Gilman, Charlotte Perkins: The Yellow Wall-Paper, and Selected Writings ; James, William: The Principles of Psychology; Karinthy, Frigyes: A Journey Round My Skull; Plath, Sylvia: Ariel: The Restored Edition; Rilke, Rainer Maria: The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge; Sacks, Oliver: An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales ; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Other Readings and Media

Course reader will include works by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), Georg Simmel, Charles Baudelaire, Edouard Dujardin and others

Description

Is psychology a science that deals with objective facts? Are these facts established through third-person observation and verification, or first-person experience? Is the object of psychology the neuroanatomy of the brain or the cognitive structures of thought and feeling? Are the origins of mental phenomena best understood through a study of evolutionary history, anatomy and physiology, philosophy of mind, or social interaction? Such questions bedeviled psychology from the moment of its birth as an independent discipline in the late nineteenth century. Answers were provided not only by those now calling themselves “psychologists,” but by writers experimenting with literary forms such as the interior monologue, stream of consciousness, free indirect discourse, life writing and experimental poetry. In fact, we will see how such questions about psychology are not merely matters of scientific debate. They are part of larger cultural and philosophical questions about what it means to be human. As a result, the answers we settle on determine much more than the scope of psychology as a discipline. They entail a vision of the value and role of humanistic thought in a scientifically and economically rationalized society. In this class, we will unravel these interdisciplinary problems that appear braided together in scientific and literary works. Students will develop papers addressing fundamental problems of psychology from both “ends,” finding in literature new ways of framing and understanding the structures of human experience.


Literature and Disability: Helen Keller and Her Cultural Legacies

English 175

Section: 1
Instructor: Sirianni, Lucy
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: Wheeler 104


Book List

Keller, Helen: Midstream; Keller, Helen: The Story Of My Life; Keller, Helen: The World I live In; Kleege, Georgina: Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller; Nielsen, Kim: The Radical Lives Of Helen Keller

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader;Film: The Miracle Worker

Description

Every schoolchild knows the story of Helen Keller. We learn early that Keller became blind and deaf as a toddler, that after years without language, she was taught to sign, read and write, and eventually speak, that she was the first deafblind college graduate. Keller has captured our collective imagination, inspiring countless biographies, academic treatises, children's picture books, an Oscar-winning film, and even a Barbie doll. We quote her words, tour her childhood home, praise her teacher Anne Sullivan, speculate about her love life, and most of all, admire her indomitable spirit. But how much do we really know about Helen Keller? Has her story been obscured by the extent to which we have mythologized it? How can we seek out the truth of the story, and what does the impulse to mythologize it reveal about our ever-shifting understandings of disability and disabled identity?

We will begin our exploration by considering the writings of Helen Keller herself. Reading her autobiographies, essays, and letters, we'll examine the many roles she chose to take on throughout her long and multifaceted career. We'll discuss her work as a philosopher of the sensory who responded from her lived experience as a disabled woman to philosophers like John Locke, Samuel Molyneux, and Denis Diderot's theorizations about the blind and deaf's conceptions of sight and hearing. We'll talk, too, about Keller as a tireless activist—a feminist, a pacifist, an early supporter of the NAACP and ACLU, and of course a crusader for disability justice. We will then consider others' representations of Keller, examining how her story was alternately exalted, diminished, repurposed, and deployed. Why does Keller occupy such an enduring place in the non-disabled imagination, and how has her story been used? And how, in works like Georgina Kleege's Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, have today's disabled thinkers built on, challenged, and celebrated Keller's life and legacy?

Because Keller was so prolific during her life and so constantly referenced thereafter, our analysis of her will serve as an introduction to the broader field of disability studies. We will learn, through our work on Keller, about the history, terms, and concepts integral to the field, and we will see how changing attitudes toward Keller reflect large-scale changes in attitudes toward disability itself. We will also prioritize attending closely to the textual details of Keller's exceptionally evocative writing, and as such, the course will serve, too, to give students a strong foundation in the value and techniques of close reading and literary analysis


Literature and Popular Culture: The Sit-Com

English 176

Section: 2
Instructor: Lavery, Grace
Time: MW 10:30-12
Location: Wheeler 315


Description

The television situation comedy has been one of the most durable, wide-ranging, and successful genres of  popular  culture  of  all  time.  Its  narrative  forms  (such  as  the  “will they/won’t  they”  romance  that depends  on  the  televisual  mode  of  serialization)  have  become  premises  of  everyday  life;  its stage-set cinematography  is  instantly  recognizable;  even  the  sound  editing  (historically  organized  around  the bizarre  and  coercive  rhythms of  a  “laugh  track”)  has  profoundly  changed  the  way  we  experience  the sound of words. In this class, we will critically assess the characteristic formal and aesthetic features of a genre too rarely subjected to scholarly analysis, and even more rarely to the kind of close reading we will practice  here.  Working  across  the  full  chronological  range  of  sitcoms  in  English,  from  the  screwball comedies of the postwar period, through to the high-concept star vehicles of the present, we will watch several  episodes  of  different  sitcoms  each  week,  and  each  week  focus  on  a  recurring  theme.  How  do sitcoms balance the competing demands of family, friendship, and erotic emplotment? How does the serial  form  enable,  or  else  impede,  the  sitcom’s  ability  to  represent  reality?  How  realistic  are  sitcoms, anyway – and how have their various relations to realism shifted from the stage-set/laugh-track shows of the 1950s, to the deadpan mockumentaries of the 2000s? What does the American sitcom have to say, finally,  about the  post-1945  period’s  emerging  ideas  about  love,  drugs,  race,  sex,  youth,  community, secularism, capitalism, gender, wealth, Christmas, family, and time?

Each week we will watch a total of six episodes of television, and class will entail two lectures and one discussion session. The episodes will be drawn from:

30 Rock Fresh Off the Boat The Monkees
The Addams Family The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air New Girl
Amos ‘n’ Andy Friends Parks and Recreation
Arrested Development Full House Punky Brewster
The Beverly Hillbillies Home Improvement The Office
The Big Bang Theory I Love Lucy Roseanne
Bob’s Burgers It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Sanford and Son
BoJack Horseman It’s Garry Shandling’s Show The Simpsons
The Brady Bunch The Good Place South Park
Brooklyn Nine-Nine The Jeffersons Taxi
Community The Larry Sanders Show Third Rock from the Sun
The Cosby Show Leave It To Beaver Tom Goes to the Mayor
The Dick Van Dyke Show Louie Veep
Dinosaurs Married… With Children Welcome Back, Kotter
Don’t Trust the B– In Apartment 23 Mary Kay and Johnny Who’s the Boss
Drawn Together The Mary Tyler Moore Show Will and Grace
Ellen M*A*S*H*  
Episodes Master of None  
Family Guy Meet the Wife  
Family Matters Mister Ed


Literature and Linguistics

English 179

Section: 1
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: Wheeler 220


Book List

Heaney, S.: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition); Woolf, V: Mrs. Dalloway;

Recommended: Pinker, S: The Language Instinct

Other Readings and Media

A reader containing miscellaneous articles and literary texts, including poems of Shakespeare, Yeats, Thomas, Dylan, Blake and others, and stories of Mansfield. 

Description

The medium of literature is language.  This course aims to deepen understanding of what this means through consideration of how certain literary forms can be defined as grammatical forms.  These literary forms include meter; rhyme and alliteration; syntactic parallelism; formulas of oral composition; and special narrative uses of pronouns, tenses and other subjective features of language to express point of view and represent speech and thought.  The emphasis will be on literature in English, but comparisons with literature in other languages will also be drawn.  No knowledge of linguistics will be presupposed, but linguistic concepts will be introduced, explained and used.

 


Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

English 190

Section: 1
Instructor: Schweik, Susan
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 305


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.

Note: Students who took/are currently taking Amanda Jo Goldstein's English 100/4 ("Emily Dickinson and her Critics") in the fall of 2021 must consult Professor Schweik before enrolling in this class.

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


Research Seminar: Anatomy of Criticism

English 190

Section: 2
Instructor: Hanson, Kristin
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Frye, N.: Anatomy of Criticism; Shakespeare, W.: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Shakespeare,, W.: Antony and Cleopatra; Shakespeare,, W.: The Winter's Tale; Shakespeare, , W.: Henry IV, Part I;

Recommended: Anon.: The Bibile (authorized King James Version); Aristotle: Poetics; Brinton, D.: Rig Veda Americanus; Faulkner, R. and Goelet, O. (trans): The Egyptian Book of the Dead; Frazier,, J. : The Golden Bough; Frye, N. : The Educated Imagination; Graves, R.: The Greek Myths

Description

What is literary criticism?  All English majors and English professors do it, or try to do it; but articulating what it is, or should be, is not easy.  The question is a theoretical one, which in this course we will consider with Canadian literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye as our guide.  Frye’s monumental Anatomy of Criticism (1957) argued that literary criticism ought to contribute to the development of an organized body of knowledge about literature, analogous to the organized body of knowledge about nature called physics.  Developing a strikingly contemporary argument through cross-cultural comparisons of literature with myth, religion, magic and ritual, Frye takes mankind’s relationships with nature on the one hand, and with language on the other, as fundamental to literature.  In this course, we will consider these ideas alongside occasional examples from Shakespeare that we are all likely to have encountered at least passingly in other courses.  The emphasis, however, will be on using the ideas to help each of us think about what our own literary criticism may contribute to such a body of knowledge.  Reflecting Frye’s deep commitment to every work of literature being relevant to understanding literature as a phenomenon, each student will research and write a long (20 pp.) valedictory paper of literary criticism on any work of English literature they choose.

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


Research Seminar: What is Community?

English 190

Section: 4
Instructor: Lavery, Grace
Time: MW 8-9:30
Location: Wheeler 305


Description

Deference to the instincts of a community serves as final arbiter in much intellectual and political work: when, for example, the linguist Noam Chomsky defines a the syntax of a language as the “instincts of a native speaker.” Yet as that framing indicates, discourses of “community” can also traffic in contested sociological categories, especially those relating to race, ethnicity, and nativity. In queer and trans spaces, meanwhile, “community” appears both as the cherished goal of cultural practice and as its enabling premise. This class asks how these questions shape our understanding of literature and culture. Building in work in critical race studies, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology, we will ask both how distinct literary communities develop theories and practices of community, test the utility of a generalizable theory of community, paying attention especially to queer critiques of community-based movements by writers like Stephen Best, Jodi Dean, Lee Edelman, and Miranda Joseph. Other readings will include Sarah Ahmed, David Eng, Michel Foucault, Jillian Hernandez, C. L. R. James, Immanuel Kant, Colleen Lye, Fred Moten, José-Esteban Muñoz, Amber Musser, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Mecca Jamilah Sullivan.

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


Research Seminar: Repression and Resistance

English 190

Section: 5
Instructor: Gonzalez, Marcial
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: Wheeler 301


Book List

Allison, Dorothy: Bastard Out of Carolina; Gonzalez, Rigoberto: Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa; Jones, Gayl: Corregidora; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer; Ozick, Cynthia: The Shawl; Trumbo, Dalton: Johnny Got His Gun; Wideman, John Edgar: Philadelphia Fire

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader

Description

In this course, we’ll analyze representations of repression and resistance in a collection of contemporary literary works, mainly novels. We’ll examine various forms of repression—physical, social, political, and psychological—represented in these works, and we’ll study the various ways the novels resist repression. (Please be forewarned: some of these works include graphic and disturbing representations of violence and abuse.) Several questions inform the course theme: How is it that literature can convert forms of repression into aesthetically pleasing representations? Can pain and suffering be symbolized, stylized, or transfigured into an aesthetic form and still retain its sociohistorical value? At what point does an event become so horrific that it can no longer be represented aesthetically? Where is the line drawn? What are the formal features of the literature of repression and resistance? We’ll make use of a comparative approach to analyze the similarities and differences between the various literary works, and we’ll strive for a critical appreciation of both the social significance and the aesthetic quality of the literature. We’ll also spend a considerable amount of time during the semester discussing research strategies and essay writing.

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


Research Seminar: The Historical Novel

English 190

Section: 6
Instructor: Bernes, Jasper
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Burns, Anna: Milkman; Doctorow, E. L.: Ragtime; Morrison, Toni: Song of Solomon; Spufford, Francis: Red Plenty; Welch, James: Fools Crow

Description

What is historical and what is fictional about the genre of historical fiction? Since the nineteenth century, this oxymoronic genre has redrawn the border between history and fiction, realism and romance. In this survey, we will begin by reading a couple of examples from the 1970s —works such as Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime—and then focus primarily on novels from the twenty-first century. How is the sense of history these novels offer itself a product of changing history? In pursuing answers from contemporaries, we might also wonder about the future of historical fiction, not to mention fiction and history more broadly.

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


Research Seminar: Race and Travel: Relative Alterity in Medieval Times and Places

English 190

Section: 7
Instructor: Miller, Jennifer
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 305


Description

Anyone who has travelled or lived in parts of the world (including their own country) where they were visibly an outsider—by countenance, clothing or conduct—will have experienced the sometimes fearful instability of “otherness”. Contrary to common notions of medieval parochialism, medieval people did a lot of travelling, and they did it for the most part on foot, entering and exiting communities in relation to which their “sameness” or “otherness” was obvious and shifting. In line with common notions of medieval parochialism, these relative differences were telling in a world embroiled in religious conflict, for instance, in which not looking or behaving like those around you could get you killed. How did medieval people, embodied as they were, and marked (by choice or force) with the signs of their cultural origins, engage the ever-changing world through which they moved? How did they negotiate these relative alterities—of themselves and of those they encountered—recording them for posterity (that is, for us)?

Looking closely at medieval maps, manuscript illuminations, legal documents, personal letters and travel narratives of different Christians, Muslims and Jews, as well as the accounts of those they encountered both inside and outside their prescribed communities, we will aim to see how race shaped up and metamorphosed, transforming both self and “other” kaleidoscopically, for medieval people on the move—and for those who travelled with them, vicariously, from the comfort of their reading chairs.

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


Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Movies

English 190

Section: 8
Instructor: Starr, George A.
Time: MW 6:30-8
Location: Wheeler 300


Book List

Chandler, R: The Big Sleep; Didion, J: Slouching Toward Bethlehem; Steinbeck, J: The Long Valley; Steinbeck, J: The Pastures of Heaven; West, N: The Day of the Locust

Description

Besides reading and discussing fiction and essays that attempt to identify or explain distinctive regional characteristics, this course will include consideration of various movies shaped by and shaping conceptions of California. Writing will consist of a term paper of 16-20 pages. There will be no quizzes or exams, but seminar attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.

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


Honors Course

English H195B

Section: 1
Instructor: Hale, Dorothy J.
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 301


Description

The Honors Seminar is a year-long course.  In this second semester, we focus on drafting and revising a 40-60 page Honors Thesis.  The course is not open to new enrollment.  No new books are required.


Honors Course

English H195B

Section: 2
Instructor: Saul, Scott
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: Wheeler 301


Description

This course is a continuation of English H195A, taught by Scott Saul in Fall 2021. No new students will be admitted, and no new application needs to be submitted. Prof. Saul 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.


Graduate Readings: Marx and Marxism Today: Re-Reading the Grundrisse

English 203

Section: 1
Instructor: Lye, Colleen
Time: Wednesday 2-5
Location: Wheeler 300


Book List

Althusser, Louis: Reading Capital; Boggs, James: The American Revolution; Marx, Karl: Capital, Vols. 1-3; Marx, Karl: The Grundrisse

Other Readings and Media

Additional course readings will be made available through bCourse.

Description

The 1960s’ return to Marx centered on the 1857-8 manuscripts, or The Grundrisse, which were then made widely available in the West for the first time. The Grundrisse inspired diverse interpretations of Marx’s critique of political economy—ranging from (post)structuralist readings such as Louis Althusser’s Reading Capital, (post)workerist readings such as Antonio Negri’s Marx Beyond Marx, and “value-form” readings by Hans-Georg Backhaus and Helmut Reichelt. Over the next forty years, versions of these differing interpretations would exercise competing influence in the Anglophone academy at different times, but they all sought to rescue the author of The Grundrisse from the author of Capital—to rupture method from content. Since 2008, or the felt sense of the fundamental crisis tendency of capitalism, the return to Marx has centered on Capital. What if we return to The Grundrisse in light of the most developed version of Marx’s dialectical presentation of capitalist form contained in Capital? This course’s aims are twofold. First, to ask: is the Marx of the 60s the Marx we need today? Second, to undertake a (at least partial) reconstruction of the forking paths traveled by French, Italian and German Marxist theory since the start of the Long Crisis in the early 1970s. Depending in part on the needs of the group, this course may emphasize a slow reading of Marx, or move more quickly from Marx to Marx’s 60s and 70s reception, including in the US and UK at the time. To aid with course planning, those intending to take this course are encouraged to communicate with the instructor before the end of the Fall semester about their prior background in Marx and Marxism. The book list will not be finalized till the start of the spring semester (when book orders will be set up through East Wind Books in Berkeley). However, should anyone wish to go ahead and procure the titles listed here, you can be assured that whatever happens these are worth having. Be sure, in that case, to obtain the Penguin editions of the Marx volumes.

This course fulfills CT240 in the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory.


Graduate Readings: The Sixties

English 203

Section: 2
Instructor: Goble, Mark
Time: Thursday 2-5
Location: Wheeler 337


Description

This course surveys literature, film, and art of the 1960s with a particular focus on works from the United States that highlighted the period’s many forms of social, political, and ecological crisis, and assess the limits and possibilities of the existing traditions and styles of expression that were available to represent them. We will situate our figures in the broader global contexts that their projects variously embraced or repressed. We will read a mix of writers who were popular and prominent in the moment alongside others who were neglected for the genres or publics they engaged. Since it is impossible to provide a comprehensive overview of such a contentious period--especially one whose histories are so recent and contingent--we will instead work collectively to identify themes, aesthetics, and patterns of both affiliation and resistance that can help us organize different versions of “the Sixties” for future research and teaching of twentieth-century materials.

 

We will trace how writers, artists, and filmmakers after 1945 pursued their projects in the wake of global modernism and its institutions, and witnessed versions of its decline, persistence, or and radicalization--more often than not at the same time. We will see how different figures attempted to maintain the hierarchies of literary or cultural prestige in the face of generational upheaval, while others laid claim to the power of such iconic struggles as the Civil Rights Movement, the opposition to the Vietnam War and Western imperialism, and the demand for recognition across a broad and contested spectrum of gender, sexual, and racial identities.


Readings will include fiction and prose by such writers as by John Updike, Saul Bellow, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Slyvia Plath, Donald Barthleme, Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and Philip Roth--writers who let us outline the contours of the period’s literary canon as it has been understood. But we will challenge what these writers can tell us about the 1960s by placing them alongside figures such as James Baldwin, J. G. Ballard, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ursula K. LeGuin, Robert Smithson, John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and more. The course will also trace the emergence of various forms of poststructuralist theory in the 1960s (Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Barthes) in their historical and cultural contexts. Painting, photography, land art, and other visual culture from the period will be included along the way, and we will screen a small selection of films including Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde, Michael Snow’s Wavelength, and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Graduate Readings: Novel Theory, Narrative Theory, and the Sociology of the Novel

English 203

Section: 3
Instructor: Puckett, Kent
Time: Tuesday 9-12
Location: Wheeler 337


Book List

Aristotle: Poetics; Armstrong, N.: Desire and Domestic Fiction; Auerbach, E.: Mimesis; Bakhtin, M.: The Dialogic Imagination; Barthes, R.: S/Z: An Essay; Barthes, R.: The Pleasure of the Text; Bourdieu, P.: The Rules of Art; Brooks, P.: Reading for the Plot; Forster, E. M.: Aspects of the Novel; Freud, S.: Beyond the Pleasure Principle; Genette, G.: Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method; Girard, R.: Deceit, Desire, and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure; Hamburger, K.: The Logic of Literature; Kojève, A.: Introduction to the Reading of Hegel; Kristeva, J.: Desire in Language; Lukács, G.: The Historical Novel; Lukács, G.: The Theory of the Novel; Lynch, D.: The Economy of Character; Propp, V.: Morphology of the Folktale; Sedgwick, E.: Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire; Watt, I.: The Rise of the Novel; White, H.: Metahistory; Woloch, A.: The One vs. the Many

Other Readings and Media

 
The texts listed above are some on which we'll draw for our readings.  In a few cases (Narrative Discourse, S/Z), we'll read whole volumes.  In many cases, we'll read selections and individual essays, all of which I'll make available to members of the seminar.  

Description

In this course, we will read a lot of writing about narrative and the novel for a few related reasons.  First, we’ll consider several representative texts in narratology, novel theory, and the sociology of the novel to trace out some key arguments about narrative structure and narrative voice; the rise, nature, and ostensible ends of the novel; omniscient narrators, minor characters, and ideal readers; the novel and history, the novel and sex, the novel and politics, and the novel and lost illusions.  We will read books and essays by, for instance, George Eliot and Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson and Henry James, Ralph Ellison and Gérard Genette, Mikhail Bakhtin and Erving Goffman, E. M. Forster and Julia Kristeva, Georg Lukács and Virginia Woolf.  Second, we will use these readings not only to understand these different critical fields but also to think about their respective and intertwined histories.  When and why did narrative theory begin to diverge significantly from the theory of the novel?  How should we think about the movement of ideas between Russian, Continental, and Anglo-American critics and theorists?  What’s the difference between the novel as a narrative structure, the novel as an aesthetic form, and the novel as an especially eloquent index of a disenchanted modernity?  Third, we will apply these theories as we go.  I’ll ask each participant in the seminar to pick a novel or another kind of narrative at the start of the semester and to use it as an object against which to test the promise and the limits of these different ways of reading, thinking, and writing about novel theory, narrative theory, and the sociology of the novel.

 

 


Poetry Writing Workshop

English 243B

Section: 1
Instructor: O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
Time: M 9-12
Location: Wheeler 301


Other Readings and Media

All readings will be in a digitally available course reader.

Description

Studies in contemporary poetic cases will focus our discussions of each other's poems.


Prose Nonfiction Writing Workshop: Wright/Baldwin

English 243N

Section: 1
Instructor: Als, Hilton
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: Wheeler 301


Description

By the time James Baldwin died in 1987, he had, arguably, become the voice of black and queer America. As the author of numerous novels, essays, plays, and social commentaries, the Harlem-born author had managed, over his nearly forty-year career, to write about race, sex, gender, and the politics of difference in a style that was uniquely his own. His voice was personal, analytical, and highly literary, all at once.

In this course, we will not only examine James Baldwin’s career, but the times that defined him and a relationship that was, early on, central to his life as an artist: his friendship with Richard Wright, whose best-known works remain Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945). How did Baldwin, a Harlem born native, become our premiere poet of exile? Wright emigrated to Paris before Baldwin. Did their respective self-exiles make them quintessentially American artists, and our greatest critics?

Wright/Baldwin will be conducted like a seminar, so classroom discussion is key. Discussions will be divided between analyzing student writing, and various Wright and Baldwin texts. 

Book List:

J. Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name (Vintage)

---------, The Fire Next Time (Vintage)

--------, Notes of a Native Son (Vintage)

--------, Go Tell it to the Mountain (Vintage)

--------, Going to Meet the Man

--------, Nothing Personal (Penguin Random House) 

--------, Giovanni's Room (Vintage)

--------, No Name in the Street (Vintage)

-------, The Devil Finds Work (Vintage)

-------, One Day I was Lost: A Scenario Based on the Autobiography of Malcolm X

 

R. Wright, Black Boy (Harper Perennial)

---------, Native Son (Perennial Modern Classics)

---------, Eight Men (Harper Perennial Classics)

---------, Black Power (Harper Collins)

 

Cleaver, E., Soul on Ice (Delta)

Davis, Angela, Angela Davis: An Autobiography (Haymarket)

Malcom X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X


Graduate Proseminar: The Later-Eighteenth Century

English 246F

Section: 1
Instructor: Goodman, Kevis
Time: F 9-12
Location: Wheeler 305


Book List

Burke, Edmund: A Philosophical Enquiry; Burke, Edmund: Reflections on the Revolution in France; Burney, Frances: Evelina; Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Johnson, Samuel: Selected Poetry and Prose; Johnson/Boswell: Journey to the Western Islands; Tour of the Hebrides; Smith, Adam: Theory of Moral Sentiments; Sterne, Laurence: A Sentimental Journey; Walpole, Horace: The Castle of Otranto; Williams, Helen Maria: Letters, Written in France; Williams, Raymond: Keywords; Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads 1798,1800

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader

Description

This survey of British writing from (roughly) 1740 through 1800 takes up decades that have presented literary historians with more than the usual challenges to periodization and organization by author, movement, or genre. We will study the proliferation of new genres in verse and prose, the transformation of existing ones, and the recovery of archaic forms. Proceeding with more of a chronological drift than in strict chronological order, we will try to do justice to the heterogeneity and eccentricity of the period, investigating its adjacent and overlapping concerns largely by topic and question. These will include: the emerging category of “literature” within “letters”; aesthetic criticism in relation to empiricism and the “Science of Man”; Scottish Enlightenment theories of sympathy and their attempts to overcome social atomization and geographical sprawl, skirmishes over the “common” tongue and the idea of “the people”; landscape description; the revival of romance before “Romanticism”; antiquarian impulses, forms, and forgeries; borders and peripheries within the nation; new international spaces and sentiment; abolition and revolution. Alongside the primary texts, we will address both recent and some not-so-recent critical discussions within later eighteenth-century and early Romantic studies.

In addition to the books listed above, there will be a course reader with our shorter readings, including the verse of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith, George Crabbe, William Cowper, James Macpherson, and Anna Barbauld; non-fictional or philosophical prose by John Locke, David Hume, Hugh Blair, Lord Kames, Edward Young, among others; and selected literary criticism.


Victorian Period: Britain, Empire, "Victorian": Critical Framings

English 246H

Section: 1
Instructor: Banerjee, Sukanya
Time: W 9-12
Location: Wheeler 301


Book List

Baynton, Barbara: Bush Studies; Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre; Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities; Haggard, Rider: King Solomon's Mines; Plaatje, Sol: Mhudi; Schreiner, Olive: Story of an African Farm; Seacole, Mary: Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole; Sinha, Kaliprasanna: The Observant Owl: Hootum's Vignettes of Nineteenth-Century Calcutta ; Sorabji, Cornelia: Love and Life Behind the Purdah

Description

Taking as a starting point the fact that Britain’s nineteenth-century empire necessitates a capacious understanding of the term “Victorian,” this course will query the expansive contours of that term. What reading practices does such a commodious understanding of Victorian entail? What commonplace assumptions does it put pressure on? What critical models does it generate?  Is recalibrating Victorian a matter of ensuring representational breadth alone, important enough as such a practice remains?  Over the course of the seminar, we will read a range of texts authored in multiple locations of a highly variegated imperial terrain that included dominions as well as dependencies. We will consider the transmutation of genres such as the literary sketch, the bildungsroman, and the imperial romance. We will engage with texts variously coming to terms with notions of professionalism, mobility, and urbanity.  In doing so, we will pay attention to the comparatist models that we  invoke. To what extent can we—or should we—consider a Victorian literary system? What possibilities does such a system open up and, alternately, foreclose? In addressing these questions, we will read Charlotte Bronte, Barbara Baynton, Charles Dickens, Harriet Martineau, Rider Haggard, Sol Plaatje, John Ruskin, Mary Seacole, Kaliprasanna Sinha, Cornelia Sorabji, and Olive Schreiner, among others.  Our texts of study will comprise novels, short stories, travel accounts, memoirs, and essays, several of which will be uploaded to bCourses. Secondary readings will also be included in bCourses.


Research Seminars: Sensation and Participation from Chaucer to Spenser

English 250

Section: 1
Instructor: Nolan, Maura
Time: M 2-5
Location: Wheeler 301


Description

The idea of pairing “sensation” with “participation” as a means of identifying an aesthetic phenomenon characteristic of the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance emerges in part from Thomas Aquinas’ account of beauty:  he argues that beauty is fundamentally a means of “participation,” because it is a universal experience of visual pleasure that recalls the viewer to the beauty of the divine.  The viewer thus participates in the divine and shares that participation with other viewers.  In this class, we will examine what happens to this linked pair of aesthetic qualities as it appears in the late medieval vernacular English poetry of figures like Gower, Chaucer, Hoccleve, and Lydgate; we will also consider how these ideas change under Tudor absolutism and in the wake of the English Reformation, in the works of Wyatt, Surrey, Spenser, and others.  Medieval writers frequently depict forms of communal participation in their poetry; they were surrounded by participatory forms of art in their daily lives, such as the cycle dramas; royal entries; mumming; mayoral processions; wall paintings; “pageants,” or tableaux; even decorative sugar sculptures accompanied by verses (“solteltes”).  These kinds of displays continue and indeed grow more elaborate under Tudor rule; even the mystery plays continue to be performed until the late 16th century.  Sensation and participation thus continue to exert significant influence in the 16th century, even as the changes wrought by Tudor absolutism and the Reformation significantly alter the poetic landscape.  Students are encouraged to develop research topics that combine literary readings with material culture, in the form of theatrical performance, visual art, manuscript illustration and book construction, print history (production; circulation; censorship), and more.  Work for the course:  final seminar paper and occasional informal written reflections, plus one presentation.


Research Seminars: Idols and Ideology

English 250

Section: 2
Instructor: Kahn, Victoria
Time: T 2-5
Location: Wheeler 337


Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Marlowe, Christopher: Doctor Faustus and Other Plays; Milton, John: Complete Shorter Poems; Shakespeare, William: The Winter's Tale

Description

The history of Western literary theory is often told in terms of the concept of mimesis. But there is another, equally powerful, anti-mimetic strand to this history: the critique of mimesis as a form of idolatry. In this course, we will explore this critique from the prohibition against images in the Hebrew Bible up through modern attacks on mimesis and aesthetics as inherently ideological. One premise of this course, then, is that iconclasm is part of the pre-history of the critique of ideology.

Our main literary texts in the first half of the semester will be taken from Reformation England, when there was a fierce debate about the harmful power of images and the necessity of iconoclasm. We will focus on works by Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Milton. In the second half of the semester, we will discuss the afterlife of iconoclasm in Kant, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Adorno, Terry Eagleton, Isobel Armstrong, and Bruno Latour. Students whose interests lie primarily in national literatures other than English are welcome, and may write their final papers on primary texts and literatures not discussed in class, though they must engage the theoretical texts assigned for the seminar.

Required Texts:

Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus and Other Plays (Oxford) ISBN 978-0-19-953706-8 [also in pdf]

Milton, Complete Shorter Poems, ed. John Carey (Longman) ISBN  13: 978-0582019850 (or any other edition that includes Samson Agonistes)

Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale (any edition with line numbers)

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness