English 150AC

Senior Seminar in American Cultures: Fictions of Los Angeles

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2009 Saul, Scott
Saul, Scott
TTh 2-3:30 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1994); T. Coraghessen Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain (1996); Nathanael West, Day of the Locust (1939); Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man (1964); Walter Mosley, Little Scarlet (2004); Scott Bukatman, Blade Runner (1997); Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange (1997)


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

The seminar requirement for the English major may be satisfied by any ONE of the following: English 100, 150, 150AC, or H195A-B.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement. 

Enrollment is limited and a written application is due  BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28; be sure to read the paragraph on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes regarding enrollment in English 150!

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