CoursesUndergraduate Courses

The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses at the general and advanced levels. Courses are divided into the following sections:

0-99 Lower Division Courses (Freshman, Sophomore)
100-199
Upper Division Courses (Junior, Senior)
200 & above
Graduate Courses

Spring 2018

Lower Division Courses in English

Please note that these courses do NOT fulfill any requirements for the major in English or American Literature & Culture or the English minor.

Introduction to Screenwriting

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminar
English 19.1 / Prof. Stefans

Weekly assignments help students learn how to write dramatic scene, comedy sketch, montage, first five pages of feature, episode of web series, and so forth. Students start by looking at basic but specific rules for formatting screenplay page. Discussion of standard Hollywood feature act structure, and classic concepts derived from Aristotle’s Poetics and Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces. Students read and discuss one full screenplay. Remaining class time entirely devoted to students’ 4- to 5-page writing assignments.

Stories in Black: 100 Years of African American Short Fiction

Fiat Lux Freshman Seminar
English 19.2 / Prof. Yarborough

Over several decades, novels by African American authors have received considerable popular and critical attention. Notable example is awarding of Nobel Prize for Literature to Toni Morrison in 1993. However, many other black novelists have won significant recognition for their work, among them James McBride, Edward P. Jones, Alice Walker, and Colson Whitehead. Indeed, this year Jesmyn Ward won her second National Book Award. Although less notice has been taken of short fiction by African American writers, that literary form has rich tradition that goes back over 100 years. Students read selected short stories by black writers, ranging from 1890s through 20th century. Emphasis on diversity of stylistic approaches, and extraordinary range of issues and topics engaged. Authors covered include James Baldwin, Charles Chesnutt, Ernest Gaines, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Richard Wright.

Environmental Literature and Culture

English M30 / Prof. Heise

“Environment and Cultures”

This lecture will explore the cultural dimensions of the environment and environmental problems through literature, media, history, philosophy, geography, and anthropology. The course readings and themes are structured around three units: (1) Wilderness and Garden, (2) Environmental Justice, and (3) Biodiversity and Climate Futures. Throughout the course, we will learn to identify and analyze the basic storytelling patterns that structure conversations about the environment in a wide variety of arenas, from politics and mainstream media to environmental activism and policy. We will pay particular attention to how these patterns differ between regions and languages around the world, and between cultural communities in the United States.

This course counts toward the Literature and the Environment Minor.

Medievalisms: Medieval Literature and Contemporary Culture

English 70 / Prof. Chism

Introduction to medieval texts juxtaposed with modern texts and media to analyze how and why the medieval (in form of crusade, quest, romance, world-construction, etc.) is continually reproduced and transformed in large scale popular productions, novels, film, and television. Textual focus on medieval works in comparison to analysis of 20th- and 21st-century works may include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte Darthur, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter.

Major American Authors

English 80 / Prof. Lorhan

Introduction to chief American authors, with emphasis on poetry, nonnarrative prose, and short fiction of such writers as Poe, Dickinson, Emerson, Whitman, Twain, Frost, and Hemingway.

Aestheticism and Decadence

Lower-Division Seminars: Special Topics in English – Victorian Literature
English 88F / Prof. Wilhelm

This course will focus on the emergence and development of two related literary movements in the late nineteenth century: Aestheticism (or “art for art’s sake”) and Decadence. Readings will emphasize the generic diversity and transnational character of these movements, as well as their interactions with contemporary ideas about gender, race, urbanization, and other significant political and cultural topics. Figures of note include canonical authors such as Alfred Tennyson, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde as well as lesser-known writers such as Amy Levy, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), and Toru Dutt. Graded materials include one short paper, a presentation, and a longer research paper.

Shakespeare

English 90 / Prof. Little

Survey of Shakespeare’s plays, including comedies, tragedies, and histories, selected to represent Shakespeare’s breadth, artistic progress, and total dramatic achievement.

Introduction to Fiction

English 91C / Prof. Wilhelm

Introduction to prose narrative, its techniques and forms. Analysis of short and long narratives and of critical issues such as plot, characterization, setting, narrative voice, realistic and nonrealistic forms.

Honors Research Seminar for Freshman and Sophomores – CANCELLED

English 97H / Prof. Stephan

“How Do We Ask? An Introduction to Literary Research”

Literary criticism is, above all, conversation, and good conversations begin with a compelling question. As a student of literature, you also become a critic—part of that conversation. Whether you are hoping to write an Honors thesis or simply want to learn how scholars develop arguments about texts, this lower-division course will introduce you to literary research methods: what, how, and why we read. We will read and discuss literary theory and critical essays in order to understand the larger frameworks of the conversation; you will also complete practical assignments, including finding and analyzing suitable secondary sources, compiling an annotated bibliography, and writing a research paper proposal. While I will assign much of the reading for the course, what you read will also be determined in part by the question(s) you decide to pursue.

Upper Division Courses in English

 

Practicum Courses

Please note that these are 2-unit courses. English and American Literature & Culture majors may satisfy 1 English Elective if they take multiple 2-unit upper division English courses (for a total of at least 4 units).

Westwind Literary Magazine

Undergraduate Practicum in English
English M192.1 / Prof. Wilson

Section 1 of English M192 is a course for the editorial staff of Westwind, UCLA’s literary magazine. If you are interested in joining the staff of Westwind, visit www.westwind.ucla.edu for more information.

Poetry in Public Places

Undergraduate Practicum in English
English M192.2 / Prof. Wilson

(Continuation of English M192.2 from Winter 2018)

Description coming soon.

 

Literatures in English Before 1500

 

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales

English 140A / Prof. Jager

We will read selections from Chaucer’s famous anthology of romances, comic stories, saints’ lives and cautionary tales as told by a motley crew — pilgrims on the road to Canterbury  in the tumultuous 1380s amid threats of war, corrupt government, popular revolt, and plague.  We will read the tales in Middle English, with regular quizzes and exams, a 2000-word research paper, and a required recitation of the 18-line proem to the General Prologue. Unofficially meets diversity requirements for encounters with “sondry folk” and time travel to “straunge strondes.”

Early Medieval Literature

English 141 / Prof. Burdorff

Major poetry and prose of early medieval Britain, including epic, romance, history, saints’ lives, and travel literature. Texts and topics include Beowulf, Vikings, poems on women, Bede, and King Alfred.

Mystics and Misogynists: Women and the Medieval Church

Medieval Literatures of Devotion and Dissent
English 145 / Prof. Winningham

Female devotional literature offers a way to think through the shifting relationship between the church and the holy woman, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, conformity and rebellion, and between legal and literary discourses. Hagiography, generally speaking, is a genre of biography carefully constructed to serve institutional ends, and thus our focus will be on the hagiographical representations of holy characters and the rhetorical conventions governing them, as well as the historical contexts of their circulation. Given that hagiography is based on the craft of medieval rhetoric, we will examine how, by whom, and to what ends holy women were represented. In questioning the figures of holy and rebellious women in a world otherwise hostile to women, we will explore the various ways this literature shaped and was shaped by medieval institutions.

Black Knights, Fair Maidens, and Saracens: Using and Misusing Medieval Literature

Medievalisms
English 149 / Prof. Moyer

In a literary “Medievalisms” course, the goal is not only to learn about medieval texts—in this case, English medieval literature—but also to examine how later cultures interpret, adapt, and deploy those same texts to create their own literature or amplify their own ideas. In this course, we’ll draw most of our medieval texts from the genre of medieval romance (think quests, war, true love, and King Arthur). We’ll pair those texts with 21st-century medievalisms ranging from popular fantasy storytelling to public discourse (in which concepts such as “crusade,” “chivalry,” or the word “medieval” itself may be invoked in discussions about gender, race, religion, and other important topics). We’ll examine how our present-day popular understandings of the Middle Ages developed over the centuries, how those understandings reflect or distort the culture(s) depicted in actual medieval texts—and why all this matters.

 

Literatures in English 1500-1700

 

Shakespearean Disability Studies

Studies in Disability Literatures
English M103 / Prof. Gottlieb

What happens when we look at Shakespeare’s plays through the lenses provided by disability studies? Shakespeare’s plays are full of characters with disabilities, but these representations have only recently begun to receive critical attention. This course will introduce you to disability studies and Shakespeare studies by exploring the dynamic points of contact between the two. We will consider how physical and mental differences are marked in texts and performed on stage and in film. We will examine the construction of dis/ability in relation to constructions of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Through analyzing representations of disability in Shakespeare’s time and in our own, you will be introduced to the history of disability and will become familiar with major concepts in disability studies.

Hamlet‘s Lyric Histories

Lyric Histories
English 114 / Prof. Morphew

In this class we will explore the lyric histories of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, taking our cue from the Dane’s letter-poem to Ophelia in II.ii. This will send us to ancient Greek and Roman literature, to Petrarch’s Canzoniere, to English Renaissance sonnet sequences, and beyond. You will write two papers and take midterm and final exams.

Shakespeare: Later Plays

English 150B / Prof. Watson

An intensive study of Shakespeare’s works from 1604 onward, including Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Coriolanus and The Tempest. Students will write a brief exposition essay and a longer final essay, and will take midterm and final exams. Careful reading of the plays in their original language before class is essential, and regular attendance is required.

Resourceful Shakespeare: Origins, Analogues, and Offshoots

Topics in Shakespeare
English 150C / Prof. Dickey

This course will explore selected plays by William Shakespeare from the general perspective of source study, considering both Shakespeare’s use of sources and the use of Shakespeare as a source.  We will first read some narrative and dramatic works that Shakespeare used in crafting his own plays so that we may better understand the playwright’s transformational strategies. In so doing, we will hope to recover a fresh awareness of the plays’ particular idiosyncrasies as well as a more complex sense of Shakespearean imitation and originality. We will then consider those plays as sources, in turn, as they are riffed on/ripped off by modern theatrical, cinematic, and musical derivatives. Although our main focus will be, throughout, on Shakespeare’s plays, we will also acquire a sense of their durable importance as cultural properties, resources, and totemic objects of veneration, homage, allusion, and parody.

London Theater

Theatrical Renaissance: Early Modern Texts and Performances
English 153 / Prof. Braunmuller

Shakespeare’s plays were written in highly competitive and collaborative theatrical environment. Survey of competition, from Christopher Marlowe to Ben Jonson and John Webster and John Ford. Topics include transvestism, same-sex romance, fraud, world-conquering, and much else. Participant familiarity with Shakespeare, early modern theater buildings, and Industry would be advantage.

 

Literatures in English 1700-1850

 

Feminist Imperialism

Culture and Imperialism
English 132 / Prof. Soni

The importance of women in the British Empire has received significant attention in literary criticism in the past few decades. Women were not only living and working in the colonies, they were also writing and corresponding about the empire, both at home and abroad. This course hypothesizes that British women created the culture of the British Empire as much as British men did, and that women often worked to sustain dominion over vast territories by “writing” the Empire. Study will focus on 18th- and early 19th-century British literature.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

JONATHAN SWIFT: Writing, Life, and Afterlife

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Deutsch

This course will explore the poetry and prose of perhaps the greatest satirist in the history of English literature, the Anglo-Irish Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). Since Swift endures not just as an influential writer, whose Gulliver’s Travels has achieved the status of a myth, but also as a character who starred in novels and plays by the likes of Edith Sitwell and William Butler Yeats, we will also study his literary afterlife, while sampling a range of critical responses to Swift from William Makepeace Thackeray to George Orwell to Edward Said, who insightfully described Swift as a writer proleptically aware of himself as “a problem for the future.”

Literature of Later 18th Century

English 160B / Prof. Soni

“The Age of Sterne”

Following the publication of Lawrence Sterne’s novels, Tristram Shandy (1759) and A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768), the English reading public expressed an undoubted fascination with Sterne and his works. Besides frequent reprintings of his major works, letters, and sermons following his death in 1768, English authors frequently attempted to write “in the style of Sterne,” attempting (and often failing) to imitate his humor, sentiment, and style. This course will study literature of the later eighteenth century as a response to Sterne. Study will focus primarily on novels, but may include drama and poetry.

Earlier Romantic Literature

English 162A / Prof. Nersessian

This course introduces students to poetry, fiction, and critical prose written in England during the most turbulent decades of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The early Romantic age saw revolutions in America, France, and Haiti; it saw the rise of imperialism, the emergence of industrial technologies and of the working class, the development of social movements including feminism and abolitionism, the invention of modern science and of the modern prison system, environmental devastation, and the birth of what we now refer to as the avant-garde aesthetic tradition. The writers featured in this course used uniquely experimental practices to engage, and often to oppose, the world around them. We will emphasize this experimental dimension, as well as the methods of reading that literary critics have evolved to deal with and sometimes to suppress it. Authors include: Blake, Coleridge, Cowper, Equiano, Godwin, C. Smith, T. Spence, Wollstonecraft, and the Wordsworths, plus visual artists and political cartoonists.

American Literature, 1776 to 1832

English 166B / Prof. Salway

Historical survey of American literatures from Revolution through early republic, with emphasis on genres that reflect systematic attempts to create representative national literature and attention to American ethnic, gender, and postcolonial perspectives.

American Fiction to 1900

English 167B / Prof. Hyde

Sleepwalkers, headless horsemen, obsessive narrators, disobedient subjects, and revolts at sea—nineteenth-century American literature is as unruly as it is contemplative. This survey moves from the gothic tales of Brown, Irving, and Poe, to the psychological riddles of Melville, Bierce, and James. The course will introduce students to the major movements of the period—the gothic, the historical novel, transcendentalism, romance, and realism—paying special attention to literature’s broader role in shaping and reimagining the contentious cultural and political questions that animated the long nineteenth century.

 

Literatures in English 1850-Present

 

Queer Lives in Early Queer Literature

Queer Literatures and Cultures, 1850 to 1970
English M101B / Prof. Little

A time of rage and ambivalence, of setbacks and triumphs, and of literary milestones and achievements—oh what a queer time it was! From the elegiac to the tragic, from the tragic to the comic, this LGBTQ literature course, beginning with Walt Whitman and ending with Rita Mae Brown, surveys some of the most memorable LGBTQ texts—novels, poems, and plays—written between 1860 and about 1970 (just past the birthdate of the modern LGBTQ movement). Our course pays particular attention to how this literature challenged efforts to silence queerness and LGBTQ bodies and subjectivities and render them invisible and how LGBTQ writers and a few non-LGBTQ ones worked tirelessly and often self-consciously to establish “a literature” (a literary tradition) in order to make manifest their lives. This course serves as a literary and cultural introduction to the period under consideration as well as to some of the ideas that have come to shape our own contemporary queer sensibilities.

Home and the World

Contemporary Asian American Literary Issues and Criticism
English M102B / Prof. Cheung

This course examines the growing ethnic diversity and formal complexity in Asian American writing.  Attempts to recover ethnic history are accompanied by ambivalence about static notions of race or ethnicity, especially in light of the transnational affiliations of many new immigrants.  Complicating the earlier impulse among Asian American writers to “claim America” or reclaim an Asian heritage is a sense of hybridity or diaspora. Issues explored include what constitutes family and whether home is a haven or a repressive environment; whether one should hold on to ethnic heritage or forge a global citizenship; obstacles that emerge on account of gender, class, sexual orientation, or religion; interracial dynamics and the formation of interethnic or transnational communities.

Contemporary African American Literature

English M104D / Prof. Underwood

This course will explore depictions of leadership in Contemporary African American Literature. In Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership, Erica Edwards contends that traditional notions of leadership in the black community have been violently gendered and favor a Great Man top down approach. She argues that later twentieth century African American fiction “manages to satirizes singular, charismatic political authority while maintaining the position of black male heroes at the center of the drama of African American liberation.” Taking off where Edward’s concludes, we will explore how images of leadership function in novels by living African American fiction writers possibly including: Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Paul Beatty, Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, and Ishmael Reed. We will ask questions like: What does it mean to be a leader in the African American community? Does leadership take on different forms in these novels? How is leadership gendered in literature?

Queer Autobiography

Topics in Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
English 109 / Prof. Looby

Autobiography has been essential to the emergence of queer identities in the modern world. Autobiographies, memoirs, and other genres of self-writing have to do with selfhood and subjectivity; gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and other queer forms of selfhood and subjectivity have often been articulated in such forms and even, it can be argued, were substantially created by autobiographical forms. This course will explore various self-authoring forms (including graphic texts and films). Some of them are queer in ways anyone would recognize, such as Mary MacLane’s remarkable The Story of Mary MacLane (1902), Ralph Werther’s Autobiography of an Androgyne (1922), Jonathan Caouette’s film Tarnation (2003), and Alison Bechdel’s graphic Fun Home (2006). Others will test the boundaries of what we mean by “queer,” for example the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth (1653-1657) and Francis Parkman’s The Oregon Trail (1849). Careful attention will be given to the ways in which queer gender and sexuality intersect with experiences of race, ethnicity, class, and nationality.

American Fiction to 1900

English 167B / Prof. Hyde

Sleepwalkers, headless horsemen, obsessive narrators, disobedient subjects, and revolts at sea—nineteenth-century American literature is as unruly as it is contemplative. This survey moves from the gothic tales of Brown, Irving, and Poe, to the psychological riddles of Melville, Bierce, and James. The course will introduce students to the major movements of the period—the gothic, the historical novel, transcendentalism, romance, and realism—paying special attention to literature’s broader role in shaping and reimagining the contentious cultural and political questions that animated the long nineteenth century.

American Poetry since 1945

English 173B / Prof. Stefans

The first generation of American poets to make a large impact in the post-War period include Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and John Berryman, the latter three of whom are usually classed as “Confessional” poets due to the dramatic representations of intimate, not very happy aspects of their personal lives in their formally intricate poems.

By the late 50s, several poets and movements emerged that, purposefully or not, worked as a counterbalance to writing that was, by their standards, non-representative of American life and cut off from contemporary language usage. These included the non-conformist, explosive Beats (the most famous of whom was Allen Ginsberg), the playful New York School Poets (Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler and others) who often sought inspiration in the visual arts, “Projective Verse” poets (Charles Olson, Robert Creeley), and writers involved with the radical Black Arts Movement, namely Amiri Baraka. Arising in the wake of this generation of “New American” poets were the highly experimental Language School poets (Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, Lyn Hejinian and others) who explored the notion of a “poetics” that merged the formal and political.

After the core part of the survey, one week of the course will be given over to considerations on how digital technology (starting in the 90s) has impacted how poetry is created and distributed in the present day. Another week will be devoted to two Los Angeles poets not usually taught in classrooms, Charles Bukowski and Wanda Coleman, both of whom actively discouraged academic interest in their work. The last two weeks are devoted to contemporary poets such as Anne Carson, Terence Hayes and several others.

Students are expected to write one short early-term paper, a final paper, and to complete several short analytic and creative assignments.

American Fiction, 1900 to 1945

English 174A / Prof. Dimuro

“Modernist American Fiction of the 1920s”

The course covers five masterpieces of modernist fiction that emerged during a literary period of intense artistic experimentation between the end of the Great War and the beginning of the Great Depression. We will consider a wide variety of narrative inventions, stylistic innovations, and controversial themes in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House, and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. We will study each of these works in the context of international avant-garde movements in poetry, painting, film, music, and dance. Topics include the influence of Freudian psychology, consumer capitalism, racial ideologies, and urbanization. Requirements include two papers and a comprehensive final exam.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Underwood

This course will consider the American novel since 1945 with a focus on memory and multicultural voices. Texts may include: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, and Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist.

The Global South in US Film and Fiction, 1890s-Present

Hemispheric American Literature
English 176 / Prof. Solomon

Reflecting the increasing popularity of global tourism and the emergence of the US as a global power by the end of the 19th century, American writers and – somewhat later – American filmmakers increasingly focused their attentions upon the non-Western world. In this course, we’ll examine representative examples of US literature and film that engage with what we now refer to as “the Global South,” territories that American audiences had only previously glimpsed through a European Orientalist lens, darkly – typically as spaces of mystery or romance or degradation, inhabited by savages or sexual deviants or otherwise-inscrutable cultural “others.”  We’ll supplement our reading and viewing with short excerpts from contemporary works of literary theory, drawing insight from the recent contributions of scholars working in Hemispheric American Studies and Post-colonial criticism.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

American Sex

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177 / Prof. Looby

This course will explore the emergence of American sexualities through a series of literary, historical, and artistic case studies seen from an interdisciplinary perspective. We will read some novels and observe how they registered inflection points in the historical emergence of modern American sexualities—among them Charles Brockden Brown, Memoirs of Stephen Calvert (1799-1800); Julia Ward Howe, The Hermaphrodite (c. 1846-47); Margaret J. M. Sweat, Ethel’s Love-Life (1859); Theodore Winthrop, Cecil Dreeme (1861); Herman Melville, Billy Budd (1888-91). We will also look at several historical cases: Rev. Jonathan Edwards and the “bad book” affair (1744), in which some of his young congregants were alleged to have been looking at a midwifery manual for lascivious purposes, and Alexander Hamilton’s adultery scandal (1797), when he defended himself against charges of financial malfeasance by publicizing his sexual misbehavior. We will ask whether visual and plastic art works might contribute something essential to the history of sexuality, considering Hiram Powers’ sensational statue of the Greek Slave (1843) and other marble sculptures whose erotic power was ambivalently recognized, as well as the scandalous (and beautiful) Thomas Eakins painting usually known as “The Swimming Hole” (1884-85).

Modern Short-Form Fiction: Collections

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179 / Prof. Dimuro

This course studies the development of the modern short story from the perspective of the collection: that is, stories that were intended by their authors to form a thematic cycle or other organized conceptual plan, and published in book form rather than singly in literary magazines. The idea of the “collection” raises interesting questions about the boundaries of literary genre—for example that between the novel and the story. We will read Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find, Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, and others. Two papers and a comprehensive final exam.

 

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

 

Introduction to Ethnic Studies

English 100 / Prof. López & Prof. McMillan

“Ways of Reading Race”

Introduction to interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity, with primary focus on literature. Through examination of institutions that form understanding of race—citizenship, nationalism, class, gender, and labor—interrogation of how we come to think of ourselves and others as having race, and effects of such racialized thinking. Course is not about any particular racial or ethnic group, but highlights creation of ethnic categories and their effects on cultural production.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

Queer Lives in Early Queer Literature

Queer Literatures and Cultures, 1850 to 1970
English M101B / Prof. Little

A time of rage and ambivalence, of setbacks and triumphs, and of literary milestones and achievements—oh what a queer time it was! From the elegiac to the tragic, from the tragic to the comic, this LGBTQ literature course, beginning with Walt Whitman and ending with Rita Mae Brown, surveys some of the most memorable LGBTQ texts—novels, poems, and plays—written between 1860 and about 1970 (just past the birthdate of the modern LGBTQ movement). Our course pays particular attention to how this literature challenged efforts to silence queerness and LGBTQ bodies and subjectivities and render them invisible and how LGBTQ writers and a few non-LGBTQ ones worked tirelessly and often self-consciously to establish “a literature” (a literary tradition) in order to make manifest their lives. This course serves as a literary and cultural introduction to the period under consideration as well as to some of the ideas that have come to shape our own contemporary queer sensibilities.

Also fulfills GREDS for American Literature and Culture majors.

Home and the World

Contemporary Asian American Literary Issues and Criticism
English M102B / Prof. Cheung

This course examines the growing ethnic diversity and formal complexity in Asian American writing.  Attempts to recover ethnic history are accompanied by ambivalence about static notions of race or ethnicity, especially in light of the transnational affiliations of many new immigrants.  Complicating the earlier impulse among Asian American writers to “claim America” or reclaim an Asian heritage is a sense of hybridity or diaspora. Issues explored include what constitutes family and whether home is a haven or a repressive environment; whether one should hold on to ethnic heritage or forge a global citizenship; obstacles that emerge on account of gender, class, sexual orientation, or religion; interracial dynamics and the formation of interethnic or transnational communities.

Shakespearean Disability Studies

Studies in Disability Literature
English M103 / Prof. Gottlieb

What happens when we look at Shakespeare’s plays through the lenses provided by disability studies? Shakespeare’s plays are full of characters with disabilities, but these representations have only recently begun to receive critical attention. This course will introduce you to disability studies and Shakespeare studies by exploring the dynamic points of contact between the two. We will consider how physical and mental differences are marked in texts and performed on stage and in film. We will examine the construction of dis/ability in relation to constructions of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Through analyzing representations of disability in Shakespeare’s time and in our own, you will be introduced to the history of disability and will become familiar with major concepts in disability studies.

Contemporary African American Literature

English M104D / Prof. Underwood

This course will explore depictions of leadership in Contemporary African American Literature. In Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership, Erica Edwards contends that traditional notions of leadership in the black community have been violently gendered and favor a Great Man top down approach. She argues that later twentieth century African American fiction “manages to satirizes singular, charismatic political authority while maintaining the position of black male heroes at the center of the drama of African American liberation.” Taking off where Edward’s concludes, we will explore how images of leadership function in novels by living African American fiction writers possibly including: Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Paul Beatty, Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, and Ishmael Reed. We will ask questions like: What does it mean to be a leader in the African American community? Does leadership take on different forms in these novels? How is leadership gendered in literature?

Afro-Futures, Afro-Pasts: 20th and 21st Century African American Literature and Film

Topics in African American Literature and Culture
English M104E / Prof. Brickley

“This is not a story to pass on,” Toni Morrison writes to close Beloved, her 1987 masterpiece on the horrors and hauntings of slavery. And yet the ambiguity of that statement captures a key dilemma for the Black American literary tradition: is this a narrative we in the present must relegate to the past, or are we to preserve the story and keep it from being passed over and forgotten in the future? In this course, we will examine contemporary African American literature and film that attempts to engage this temporal problematic. Some works approach the unimaginable violence of the past and the precarity of the present with formal creativity—from appropriating the genre conventions of the horror film, to the use of magical realism, to the dynamic mixing of poetry and prose. Others create alternate worlds and possible futures in order to totally reconfigure formations like race, gender, sexuality, and class, and to reimagine the systems of power that circumscribe them. In addition to Morrison, authors may include Claudia Rankine, Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemisin, and Nnedi Okorafor, with various critical texts in Black studies, feminist and queer theory, and critical ethnic studies. Requirements include midterm and final essays, weekly responses, and a presentation.

One World Trade Center

Interracial Encounters
English 108 / Prof. Donig

The New Yorker, a magazine that stands at the center of American publishing and literary culture, has its headquarters at One World Trade Center, right in the heart of Manhattan—a city that itself stands at the center of American culture. Yet from this office space in the heart of New York City, the New Yorker has edited, published, and given space in the pages of its magazine to authors writing fiction from spaces around the world. In this group of global authors are major fiction writers from around the world, writing about places around the world, including Jamaica Kincaid, Zadie Smith, Vladimir Nabokov, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, Nadine Gordimer, Edwidge Danticat, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Roberto Bolaño, Yiyun Li, and Petina Gappah. What is the relationship between an American culture of publishing and its readership centered in an American city, and the world as depicted in fiction for New Yorker readers? What is “American” about the fiction published in the New Yorker pages. How does the idea of American fiction change when we consider these short stories from around the world as part of an American canon of literature?

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

Queer Autobiography

Topics in Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
English 109 / Prof. Looby

Autobiography has been essential to the emergence of queer identities in the modern world. Autobiographies, memoirs, and other genres of self-writing have to do with selfhood and subjectivity; gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and other queer forms of selfhood and subjectivity have often been articulated in such forms and even, it can be argued, were substantially created by autobiographical forms. This course will explore various self-authoring forms (including graphic texts and films). Some of them are queer in ways anyone would recognize, such as Mary MacLane’s remarkable The Story of Mary MacLane (1902), Ralph Werther’s Autobiography of an Androgyne (1922), Jonathan Caouette’s film Tarnation (2003), and Alison Bechdel’s graphic Fun Home (2006). Others will test the boundaries of what we mean by “queer,” for example the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth (1653-1657) and Francis Parkman’s The Oregon Trail (1849). Careful attention will be given to the ways in which queer gender and sexuality intersect with experiences of race, ethnicity, class, and nationality.

Literature of California and the American West

English 117 / Prof. Cheung

“Interracial Encounters in California Fiction”

This course focuses on the depiction of interracial encounters in California, particularly among African Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican/Latino Americans and European Americans. We will look at coalition and antagonism, gay and straight liaison, loyalty and espionage. In addition to seeing literature as mirroring society, we will explore how and why literature can offer a unique access to sociological questions, about how it can be used to depict racial relations in a much more nuanced way than can social sciences, how it can offer a unique access to sociological questions and unsettle chauvinism, binary notions of race, and heteronormativity.

Food Cultures and Food Politics

English M118F / Prof. Phillips

“Gender and Food Culture”

This course will use feminist theory to ask how food culture reflects and shapes ideologies of gender and sexuality. We will analyze fiction, poetry, cookbooks, and other cultural products. Primary sources will come mainly from the U.S. in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, though we will consider longer histories and transnational connections. Requirements will include two essays and a final exam.

History of Aesthetics and Critical Theory

English 120 / Prof. Nersessian

This course tracks the history and development of literary criticism from Plato onward, with special emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries. Lectures will provide students with the theoretical background and analytical tools necessary for the study of literature; they will also consider closely the social and political dimensions of literary study. Basic questions such as “what is literature?” will be joined by more wide-ranging inquiries into aesthetics and politics, including matters of gender, race, and class formation. Thus we will ask not only “what is literature?” but “what counts as literature?” “who writes literature and why?”, and “whom is literature”—not to mention literary study, or the English major—“for?”

“Unhappy Queers” and “Feminist Killjoys”

Feminist and Queer Theory
English M126 / Prof. Brickley

Investigating questions of “identity” that formations like gender and sexuality seem to beg, this class will employ feminist and queer theories not as lenses but rather critical tools focused on bodies and their desires, performances, and politics. Moving beyond the canonical texts of the field, we will use an intersectional approach that highlights queer of color critique, Third World feminism, and queer diaspora critique to examine topics from affect and the production of “unhappy queer” subjects and “feminist killjoys,” to homonormativity and state violence. Readings will include texts by Judith Butler, Gayl Salamon, Eve Sedgwick, José Muñoz, Jack Halberstam, Roderick Ferguson, Chandan Reddy, Lauren Berlant, Gayatri Gopinath, and Sarah Ahmed. In addition, works of literature and film may be interspersed throughout the quarter. Requirements include a midterm paper, final essay, weekly responses, and a presentation.

Feminist Imperialism

Culture and Imperialism
English 132 / Prof. Soni

The importance of women in the British Empire has received significant attention in literary criticism in the past few decades. Women were not only living and working in the colonies, they were also writing and corresponding about the empire, both at home and abroad. This course hypothesizes that British women created the culture of the British Empire as much as British men did, and that women often worked to sustain dominion over vast territories by “writing” the Empire. Study will focus on 18th- and early 19th-century British literature. Course satisfies Imperial, Transnational, Postcolonial Studies and Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, Sexuality Studies breadth requirements.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

Mystics and Misogynists: Women and the Medieval Church

Medieval Literatures of Devotion and Dissent
English 145 / Prof. Winningham

Female devotional literature offers a way to think through the shifting relationship between the church and the holy woman, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, conformity and rebellion, and between legal and literary discourses. Hagiography, generally speaking, is a genre of biography carefully constructed to serve institutional ends, and thus our focus will be on the hagiographical representations of holy characters and the rhetorical conventions governing them, as well as the historical contexts of their circulation. Given that hagiography is based on the craft of medieval rhetoric, we will examine how, by whom, and to what ends holy women were represented. In questioning the figures of holy and rebellious women in a world otherwise hostile to women, we will explore the various ways this literature shaped and was shaped by medieval institutions.

American Fiction, 1900 to 1945

English 174A / Prof. Dimuro

“Modernist American Fiction of the 1920s”

The course covers five masterpieces of modernist fiction that emerged during a literary period of intense artistic experimentation between the end of the Great War and the beginning of the Great Depression. We will consider a wide variety of narrative inventions, stylistic innovations, and controversial themes in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House, and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. We will study each of these works in the context of international avant-garde movements in poetry, painting, film, music, and dance. Topics include the influence of Freudian psychology, consumer capitalism, racial ideologies, and urbanization. Requirements include two papers and a comprehensive final exam.

American Sex

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177 / Prof. Looby

This course will explore the emergence of American sexualities through a series of literary, historical, and artistic case studies seen from an interdisciplinary perspective. We will read some novels and observe how they registered inflection points in the historical emergence of modern American sexualities—among them Charles Brockden Brown, Memoirs of Stephen Calvert (1799-1800); Julia Ward Howe, The Hermaphrodite (c. 1846-47); Margaret J. M. Sweat, Ethel’s Love-Life (1859); Theodore Winthrop, Cecil Dreeme (1861); Herman Melville, Billy Budd (1888-91). We will also look at several historical cases: Rev. Jonathan Edwards and the “bad book” affair (1744), in which some of his young congregants were alleged to have been looking at a midwifery manual for lascivious purposes, and Alexander Hamilton’s adultery scandal (1797), when he defended himself against charges of financial malfeasance by publicizing his sexual misbehavior. We will ask whether visual and plastic art works might contribute something essential to the history of sexuality, considering Hiram Powers’ sensational statue of the Greek Slave (1843) and other marble sculptures whose erotic power was ambivalently recognized, as well as the scandalous (and beautiful) Thomas Eakins painting usually known as “The Swimming Hole” (1884-85).

 

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

 

Violence in Cultural Theory and Literature

English 125 / Prof. Craps & Prof. Rothberg

Since the 1990s, trauma has emerged as an important concept in literary and cultural studies. We will begin by exploring the rise of trauma theory, an approach meant to shed light on the event and aftermath of extreme violence. Working from the founding texts of the field as well as recent critiques and revisions, we will address the contributions a theory of trauma can make to understanding modern histories and literatures of violence. Because such a theory seeks to describe a kind of violence that persists beyond an initial event, memory also becomes a central notion in approaches to trauma. Trauma both troubles ordinary memory and seems to call for new forms of remembrance, testimony, and witness as part of strategies of working through and confronting violence. Once we have established trauma, memory, and testimony as key categories, we will read, view, and discuss a variety of literary, cinematic, and artistic works that respond to different types of trauma, ranging from sexual violence, through war, slavery, colonialism, and the Holocaust, to climate change.

Globalization and Postcolonial Literatures: Writing the Environment

Studies in Postcolonial Literatures
English 131 / Prof. DeLoughrey

How does the study of postcolonial literatures and texts help us to understand the globalization process? Globalization is often associated with recent social and economic shifts, but many scholars argue that its structures derive from the history of colonialism. Turning to the natural world seems to provide a model to dismantle colonial and national boundaries and to speak in terms of shared planetary concerns such as climate change. Or does it? To examine these relations between globalization, empire, and ecology, we will turn to postcolonial writers in English from Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands and examine how they inscribe threats to the world environment, with a focus on the ocean and sea-level rise. We will draw from diverse genres such as short stories, film, poetry, and the novel. Topics to be considered include indigenous and diasporic relationships to the land, plantation agriculture, nuclear militarization, oil drilling, and human and environmental sustainability.

Feminist Imperialism

Culture and Imperialism
English 132 / Prof. Soni

The importance of women in the British Empire has received significant attention in literary criticism in the past few decades. Women were not only living and working in the colonies, they were also writing and corresponding about the empire, both at home and abroad. This course hypothesizes that British women created the culture of the British Empire as much as British men did, and that women often worked to sustain dominion over vast territories by “writing” the Empire. Study will focus on 18th- and early 19th-century British literature.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

American Literature, 1776 to 1832

English 166B / Prof. Salway

Historical survey of American literatures from Revolution through early republic, with emphasis on genres that reflect systematic attempts to create representative national literature and attention to American ethnic, gender, and postcolonial perspectives.

The Global South in US Film and Fiction, 1890s-Present

Hemispheric American Literature
English 176 / Prof. Solomon

Reflecting the increasing popularity of global tourism and the emergence of the US as a global power by the end of the 19th century, American writers and – somewhat later – American filmmakers increasingly focused their attentions upon the non-Western world. In this course, we’ll examine representative examples of US literature and film that engage with what we now refer to as “the Global South,” territories that American audiences had only previously glimpsed through a European Orientalist lens, darkly – typically as spaces of mystery or romance or degradation, inhabited by savages or sexual deviants or otherwise-inscrutable cultural “others.”  We’ll supplement our reading and viewing with short excerpts from contemporary works of literary theory, drawing insight from the recent contributions of scholars working in Hemispheric American Studies and Post-colonial criticism.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

 

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

 

Queer Autobiography

Topics in Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
English 109 / Prof. Looby

Autobiography has been essential to the emergence of queer identities in the modern world. Autobiographies, memoirs, and other genres of self-writing have to do with selfhood and subjectivity; gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and other queer forms of selfhood and subjectivity have often been articulated in such forms and even, it can be argued, were substantially created by autobiographical forms. This course will explore various self-authoring forms (including graphic texts and films). Some of them are queer in ways anyone would recognize, such as Mary MacLane’s remarkable The Story of Mary MacLane (1902), Ralph Werther’s Autobiography of an Androgyne (1922), Jonathan Caouette’s film Tarnation (2003), and Alison Bechdel’s graphic Fun Home (2006). Others will test the boundaries of what we mean by “queer,” for example the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth (1653-1657) and Francis Parkman’s The Oregon Trail (1849). Careful attention will be given to the ways in which queer gender and sexuality intersect with experiences of race, ethnicity, class, and nationality.

Hamlet‘s Lyric Histories

Lyric Histories
English 114 / Prof. Morphew

In this class we will explore the lyric histories of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, taking our cue from the Dane’s letter-poem to Ophelia in II.ii. This will send us to ancient Greek and Roman literature, to Petrarch’s Canzoniere, to English Renaissance sonnet sequences, and beyond. You will write two papers and take midterm and final exams.

British Popular Literature

English 115B / Prof. Stephan

Gothic conventions—crumbling castles, supernatural villains, damsels in distress, dark doubles—have survived, thrived, and evolved in British popular fiction over the course of three centuries. In this course, we will explore examples of Gothic fiction from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. We will consider its historical and cultural contexts as well as its enduring mass appeal. Texts will include Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as shorter works by Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, M. R. James, and Angela Carter.

Detective Fiction

English 115D / Prof. Lorhan

“Locked Rooms, Red Herrings, and a Marvelous Mustachio: The Games Afoot in Classic Detective Fiction”

Beginning with Edgar Allan Poe’s “tales of ratiocination,” we will concentrate on the development of the detective story in England and America. A representative sampling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales from The Strand introduces the deductive methods of the famed Sherlock Holmes and the familiar cast of characters of the Holmes canon (e.g., Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft, and Irene Adler). The Golden Age of detective fiction will be represented by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. We will read Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd against the infamous rules for constructing detective fiction (e.g., Ronald Knox’s Decalogue) in the “fair play” tradition. Our consideration of the hard-boiled reaction against the mannered, female-dominated whodunit will center on Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The class will conclude with discussion of a modern, humorous counterpoint to the classic work of detective fiction, such as Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency or Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi’s film The Nice Guys (2016).

Children’s Literature and Childhood Literacy

Community-Based Studies of Popular Literature
English M115SL / Prof. Goodhue

Literature for children and young adults may look straightforward at first glance, but the goals, forms, and even definitions of this genre have been contested for centuries. Our entry point for examining the many modes of literature for young readers this quarter will be one overarching question: What does literature for children and young adults do? We’ll track that question over the course of history, from several different theoretical and educational perspectives, from your own knowledge of what literature has meant to you growing up, and most importantly through practice, as you work with a local community organization bringing literature to children and teens. Since this course also satisfies the College Diversity Requirement, we will pay particular attention to issues of gender, race, language acquisition, and other aspects of identity as they inform children’s literature. Simultaneously, we’ll work to cultivate strategies that will help you foster inclusivity while you read with youth in the diverse communities of Los Angeles.

In this service learning course, you can expect to study primary texts in a range of genres and formats (from picturebooks to middle grade/YA novels), as well as scholarly articles about the literary forms we study and about past and present efforts to foster literacy among children and teens in Los Angeles and around the world. Service learning integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Therefore, as part of your homework for this course, you will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience collaborating with a community organization that works to promote youth literacy (approximately 3 hours per week). Organizations will be selected in advance by the instructor and will be accessible via bus from campus.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

Literature of California and the American West

English 117 / Prof. Cheung

“Interracial Encounters in California Fiction”

This course focuses on the depiction of interracial encounters in California, particularly among African Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican/Latino Americans and European Americans. We will look at coalition and antagonism, gay and straight liaison, loyalty and espionage. In addition to seeing literature as mirroring society, we will explore how and why literature can offer a unique access to sociological questions, about how it can be used to depict racial relations in a much more nuanced way than can social sciences, how it can offer a unique access to sociological questions and unsettle chauvinism, binary notions of race, and heteronormativity.

Environment and Narrative

Literature and Environment
English 118E / Prof. Heise

This lecture focuses on the stories and metaphors we use to discuss current ecological problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, pollution, and environmental injustice. How do environmental stories differ or even conflict between different regions, countries, cultures, and social groups? What differences are there between environmental stories told in print, in film, on television, through photography, and online? How do these stories relate to wild, rural, and urban settings? What role does humor play in environmentalism? How does science figure in these stories? Which stories are old, which new, and how effective are they for environmental communication? Readings will include theoretical and critical texts from structuralism to cognitive science, as well as stories in a variety of genres and media from novels to disaster movies, and from pastoral to apocalyptic and utopian visions.

 

This course may also count toward the Literature and the Environment Minor.

Food Cultures and Food Politics

English M118F / Prof. Phillips

“Gender and Food Culture”

This course will use feminist theory to ask how food culture reflects and shapes ideologies of gender and sexuality. We will analyze fiction, poetry, cookbooks, and other cultural products. Primary sources will come mainly from the U.S. in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, though we will consider longer histories and transnational connections. Requirements will include two essays and a final exam.

History of Aesthetics and Critical Theory

English 120 / Prof. Nersessian

This course tracks the history and development of literary criticism from Plato onward, with special emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries. Lectures will provide students with the theoretical background and analytical tools necessary for the study of literature; they will also consider closely the social and political dimensions of literary study. Basic questions such as “what is literature?” will be joined by more wide-ranging inquiries into aesthetics and politics, including matters of gender, race, and class formation. Thus we will ask not only “what is literature?” but “what counts as literature?” “who writes literature and why?”, and “whom is literature”—not to mention literary study, or the English major—“for?”

Imagining Apocalypse: Histories and Theories

Theories of History and Historicism
English 123 / Prof. Gallagher

This course presents an overview of the deep history of the apocalyptic imagination, from biblical antiquity to twentieth-century expressions in literature, philosophy, film, and musical soundscapes. Our touchstone questions: How does the current popularity of apocalyptic expression reshape or deform narrative tropes associated with the apocalyptic mode in premodern and early modern cultures? How do these deformations help us assess the element of risk and contingency associated with perceptions of radical historical change? How does the apocalyptic “toolkit” alter notions of futurity, pastness, and what it means to inhabit the present? Texts include biblical touchstones (Revelation, Daniel), together with philosophical interventions (Benjamin, Blumenberg, Derrida, Agamben), and literary inquiries (medieval dream visions, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, early modern utopias (Cavendish’s The Blazing World), recent dystopian fiction (Sebald’s Rings of Saturn), and fictional evocations of queer apocalyptic revelation (Tournier’s The Four Wise Men).

Violence in Cultural Theory and Literature

English 125 / Prof. Craps & Prof. Rothberg

Since the 1990s, trauma has emerged as an important concept in literary and cultural studies. We will begin by exploring the rise of trauma theory, an approach meant to shed light on the event and aftermath of extreme violence. Working from the founding texts of the field as well as recent critiques and revisions, we will address the contributions a theory of trauma can make to understanding modern histories and literatures of violence. Because such a theory seeks to describe a kind of violence that persists beyond an initial event, memory also becomes a central notion in approaches to trauma. Trauma both troubles ordinary memory and seems to call for new forms of remembrance, testimony, and witness as part of strategies of working through and confronting violence. Once we have established trauma, memory, and testimony as key categories, we will read, view, and discuss a variety of literary, cinematic, and artistic works that respond to different types of trauma, ranging from sexual violence, through war, slavery, colonialism, and the Holocaust, to climate change.

“Unhappy Queers” and “Feminist Killjoys”

Feminist and Queer Theory
English M126 / Prof. Brickley

Investigating questions of “identity” that formations like gender and sexuality seem to beg, this class will employ feminist and queer theories not as lenses but rather critical tools focused on bodies and their desires, performances, and politics. Moving beyond the canonical texts of the field, we will use an intersectional approach that highlights queer of color critique, Third World feminism, and queer diaspora critique to examine topics from affect and the production of “unhappy queer” subjects and “feminist killjoys,” to homonormativity and state violence. Readings will include texts by Judith Butler, Gayl Salamon, Eve Sedgwick, José Muñoz, Jack Halberstam, Roderick Ferguson, Chandan Reddy, Lauren Berlant, Gayatri Gopinath, and Sarah Ahmed. In addition, works of literature and film may be interspersed throughout the quarter. Requirements include a midterm paper, final essay, weekly responses, and a presentation.

Performance and Protest

Performance, Media, and Cultural Theory
English 127 / Prof. Firunts

How might performance be considered a form of direct action, and what is the relationship between artistic activity and political activism? This course will address how performance intersects with protest, from the mid-twentieth century to the present. We will examine theories on the relationship between art and politics, and artists who have turned to the medium of performance to articulate resistant positions on issues surrounding race, gender, sexuality, and class. Performances by a range of artists will be covered in the course, including Coco Fusco, Sharon Hayes, Adrian Piper, Walid Raad, and Hito Steyerl.

English Petrachism

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Morphew

Francesco Petrarca—Petrarch—has been called “The Father of the Renaissance” and “The Father of Humanism.” These stone-etched encomiums obscure his work’s peculiarities and priorities, both of which have exerted a mighty influence on Western civilization. In this course we will read Petrarch’s scholarship and creative writing, in hopes of better understanding why he found “more pleasure with the dead than the living.” Relevant English poetry and criticism will also be presented. You will write two papers, give a presentation, and take a midterm exam.

London Theater

Theatrical Renaissance: Early Modern Texts and Performances
English 153 / Prof. Braunmuller

Shakespeare’s plays were written in highly competitive and collaborative theatrical environment. Survey of competition, from Christopher Marlowe to Ben Jonson and John Webster and John Ford. Topics include transvestism, same-sex romance, fraud, world-conquering, and much else. Participant familiarity with Shakespeare, early modern theater buildings, and Industry would be advantage.

American Fiction to 1900

English 167B / Prof. Hyde

Sleepwalkers, headless horsemen, obsessive narrators, disobedient subjects, and revolts at sea—nineteenth-century American literature is as unruly as it is contemplative. This survey moves from the gothic tales of Brown, Irving, and Poe, to the psychological riddles of Melville, Bierce, and James. The course will introduce students to the major movements of the period—the gothic, the historical novel, transcendentalism, romance, and realism—paying special attention to literature’s broader role in shaping and reimagining the contentious cultural and political questions that animated the long nineteenth century.

American Poetry since 1945

English 173B / Prof. Stefans

The first generation of American poets to make a large impact in the post-War period include Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and John Berryman, the latter three of whom are usually classed as “Confessional” poets due to the dramatic representations of intimate, not very happy aspects of their personal lives in their formally intricate poems.

By the late 50s, several poets and movements emerged that, purposefully or not, worked as a counterbalance to writing that was, by their standards, non-representative of American life and cut off from contemporary language usage. These included the non-conformist, explosive Beats (the most famous of whom was Allen Ginsberg), the playful New York School Poets (Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler and others) who often sought inspiration in the visual arts, “Projective Verse” poets (Charles Olson, Robert Creeley), and writers involved with the radical Black Arts Movement, namely Amiri Baraka. Arising in the wake of this generation of “New American” poets were the highly experimental Language School poets (Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, Lyn Hejinian and others) who explored the notion of a “poetics” that merged the formal and political.

After the core part of the survey, one week of the course will be given over to considerations on how digital technology (starting in the 90s) has impacted how poetry is created and distributed in the present day. Another week will be devoted to two Los Angeles poets not usually taught in classrooms, Charles Bukowski and Wanda Coleman, both of whom actively discouraged academic interest in their work. The last two weeks are devoted to contemporary poets such as Anne Carson, Terence Hayes and several others.

Students are expected to write one short early-term paper, a final paper, and to complete several short analytic and creative assignments.

American Fiction, 1900 to 1945

English 174A / Prof. Dimuro

“Modernist American Fiction of the 1920s”

The course covers five masterpieces of modernist fiction that emerged during a literary period of intense artistic experimentation between the end of the Great War and the beginning of the Great Depression. We will consider a wide variety of narrative inventions, stylistic innovations, and controversial themes in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House, and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. We will study each of these works in the context of international avant-garde movements in poetry, painting, film, music, and dance. Topics include the influence of Freudian psychology, consumer capitalism, racial ideologies, and urbanization. Requirements include two papers and a comprehensive final exam.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Underwood

This course will consider the American novel since 1945 with a focus on memory and multicultural voices. Texts may include: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, and Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist.

The Global South in US Film and Fiction, 1890s-Present

Hemispheric American Literature
English 176 / Prof. Solomon

Reflecting the increasing popularity of global tourism and the emergence of the US as a global power by the end of the 19th century, American writers and – somewhat later – American filmmakers increasingly focused their attentions upon the non-Western world. In this course, we’ll examine representative examples of US literature and film that engage with what we now refer to as “the Global South,” territories that American audiences had only previously glimpsed through a European Orientalist lens, darkly – typically as spaces of mystery or romance or degradation, inhabited by savages or sexual deviants or otherwise-inscrutable cultural “others.”  We’ll supplement our reading and viewing with short excerpts from contemporary works of literary theory, drawing insight from the recent contributions of scholars working in Hemispheric American Studies and Post-colonial criticism.

This course also satisfies the College of Letters and Science Diversity Requirement.

American Sex

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177 / Prof. Looby

This course will explore the emergence of American sexualities through a series of literary, historical, and artistic case studies seen from an interdisciplinary perspective. We will read some novels and observe how they registered inflection points in the historical emergence of modern American sexualities—among them Charles Brockden Brown, Memoirs of Stephen Calvert (1799-1800); Julia Ward Howe, The Hermaphrodite (c. 1846-47); Margaret J. M. Sweat, Ethel’s Love-Life (1859); Theodore Winthrop, Cecil Dreeme (1861); Herman Melville, Billy Budd (1888-91). We will also look at several historical cases: Rev. Jonathan Edwards and the “bad book” affair (1744), in which some of his young congregants were alleged to have been looking at a midwifery manual for lascivious purposes, and Alexander Hamilton’s adultery scandal (1797), when he defended himself against charges of financial malfeasance by publicizing his sexual misbehavior. We will ask whether visual and plastic art works might contribute something essential to the history of sexuality, considering Hiram Powers’ sensational statue of the Greek Slave (1843) and other marble sculptures whose erotic power was ambivalently recognized, as well as the scandalous (and beautiful) Thomas Eakins painting usually known as “The Swimming Hole” (1884-85).

Modern Short-Form Fiction: Collections

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179 / Prof. Dimuro

This course studies the development of the modern short story from the perspective of the collection: that is, stories that were intended by their authors to form a thematic cycle or other organized conceptual plan, and published in book form rather than singly in literary magazines. The idea of the “collection” raises interesting questions about the boundaries of literary genre—for example that between the novel and the story. We will read Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find, Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, and others. Two papers and a comprehensive final exam.

 

Creative Writing Workshops

Admission to all Creative Writing Workshops by application only.

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.1 / Prof. Kevorkian

Each week you write and turn in a poem of original composition. In a workshop setting, your poem is discussed and those of your classmates. You are expected to read and comment on the work of your classmates, as well as published poems as assigned.

As your ideas about contemporary poetry writing take shape, you will revise the poems you’ve written for the class. These revised poems are turned in the week of finals.

Admission to this class is by instructor permission only.  If admitted, you must attend the first class in order to be allowed to enroll. This is also required of those waitlisted for the class.

To apply, please submit 5 poems with your student identification number, your email address, year of graduation, and a brief statement about other creative writing or literature courses you’ve taken.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The first class meets April 3.

Please send your poems electronically in a single file attached to an email addressed  to kkevorkian@humnet.ucla.edu and cc creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

To avoid error, ALSO bring or mail hard copy of the poems to:

Karen Kevorkian
149 Humanities Bldg
UCLA English Dept
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1530

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.2 / Prof. Stefans

I’d like to think of this class as an “intensive” workshop to the degree that students will be expected to draft and redraft their own material as well as to complete a series of worksheets that will focus on specific poetic practices, research on a poet of the student’s own choosing, and feedback on a short essay that I’ve assigned. The worksheets will not be incredibly time intensive and will largely involve creative exercises but they must be completed with attention and care.
Poets of all levels are encouraged to apply. I also encourage writers interested in spoken word, experimental, translation and any other type not usually considered in a poetry workshop to apply. However, your submission should be comprised of poems on the page.
Students will be expected to have completed a small portfolio of their own work by the last class. We will also, given student interest, edit and design a short anthology of your poems and have a final public class reading as a sort of “launch” for the issue.
Admission to this class is by instructor permission only.  If admitted, you must attend the first class in order to be allowed to enroll. This is also required of those waitlisted for the class. To apply, please submit 5 poems with your student identification number, your email address, year of graduation, and a brief statement about other creative writing or literature courses you’ve taken.
Please email your submission in PDF form to stefans@humnet.ucla.edu and cc creativewriting@english.ucla.edu by Wednesday, March 28th. Please do not put poems in my mailbox. I will write you an email right away once I’ve received your submission to confirm that I’ve received. It.
IMPORTANT: Please title your PDF starting with your last name and something generic but informative like “poetry submission.” I.e. stefans_poetry_submission.pdf.

Creative Writing: Short Story

English 137.1 / Prof. Huneven

This class is an intensive workshop on the reading and writing of short literary fiction. We will consider the short story form, studying one or more great short stories weekly, which the students will be expected to read multiple times and annotate in an effort to grasp its mechanics and magic.

Students will write one short story every week. The goals of the class are 1) to help the students develop a regular practice of writing and 2) to foster and train technical skill. We’ll work on revision and the development of a sound critical faculty. Emphasis will be on developing the student writer’s voice and writing ability.

TO APPLY: Please submit no more than 5 (double-spaced) pages of your fiction and list any workshops you’ve taken in the past. Please list your three favorite short stories and their authors. Also, please tell me your class standing (sophomore, junior, etc.)

If you are applying to both workshops and have a preference, please indicate that preference.

Submissions must be e-mailed to huneven@me.com and cc creativewriting@english.ucla.edu. When e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: Smith 137.1)

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN “137.1” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY March 15

NOTE: A class list will be posted in English Department Office

Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, the professor will be unable to provide feedback or suggestions on the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Short Story

English 137.2 / Prof. Simpson

This class is an intensive workshop on the reading and writing of short literary fiction. We will consider the short story form, studying one or more great short stories weekly, which the students will be expected to read multiple times and annotate in an effort to grasp its mechanics and magic.

Students will write one short story every week. The goals of the class are 1) to help the students develop a regular practice of writing and 2) to foster and train technical skill. We’ll work on revision and the development of a sound critical faculty. Emphasis will be on developing the student writer’s voice and writing ability.

TO APPLY: Please submit no more than 5 (double-spaced) pages of your fiction and list any workshops you’ve taken in the past. Please list your three favorite short stories and their authors. Also, please tell me your class standing (sophomore, junior, etc.)

If you are applying to both workshops and have a preference, please indicate that preference.

Submissions must be e-mailed to monasimpson@mac.com and cc creativewriting@english.ucla.edu. When e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: Smith 137.2)

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN “137.2” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY March 15

NOTE: A class list will be posted in English Department Office

Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, the professor will be unable to provide feedback or suggestions on the students’ submitted work.

Narrative Nonfiction

Topics in Creative Writing
English M138.1 / Prof. Jager

Each week we will read and discuss short samples of successful narrative nonfiction, and students will read out their own work and discuss its use of the form or genre that is our focus that week.  Forms include chronology, cause and effect, analysis and argument. Genres include real-time reporting, memoir, interview and archival research. Enrollment is by instructor consent (PTE); interested students should submit a 250-word personal statement about their writing goals, a list of writing and literature courses taken so far, and a 5-10 page (double spaced) sample of nonfiction writing.

Please submit applications to the instructor’s mailbox in 149 Humanities or via email: ejager@humnet.ucla.edu.

 

Senior/Capstone Seminars

 

Radicalism and Dissent: Protestantism and English Literature, 1640 to 1799 (Ahmanson Undergraduate Seminar)

Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies
English 181B / Prof. Maniquis

Held at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (off campus)

 

Enrollment by instructor consent. Please see below for application instructions and deadlines.

The Ahmanson Undergraduate Seminar, Spring Quarter, 2018. Reading of such authors as Calvin, Milton, Defoe, Watts, Wesley, Priestley, Blake, Hazlitt. The rich book and pamphlet collections of the Clark Library will also be explored in preparing seminar presentations on explosive theological issues in politics from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Predestination, grace, faith and works, baptism, original sin, church governance, the filth or the glory of the body, female liberation, economic empire, racism and many more such topics dominate most discourse in Great Britain and America during these centuries. Some of these topics are as old as Christianity itself, but they burst into the seventeenth century in new ways. Everything, of course, is affected by the Protestant Reformation: metaphysical ideas, spiritual attitudes, vocabulary, style, prose formulas, dispositions toward the symbolic and the allegorical, indeed, the assumed purpose of metaphor itself. In reading both literary texts and theological polemics, students will consider, in great detail, the history and continued presence of English and American Protestantism in religion, politics, and popular imagination.

All students successfully completing the seminar will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

This seminar is open to upper-division students from any UCLA department; for permission to enroll, email Professor Maniquis (77delights@gmail.com) with the following information by Friday, February 16. You will be invited to a personal interview.

— Your name, major and year, and a list of any courses you have taken that prepare you in some way for this seminar, either in subject matter (early modern and/or eighteenth-century history and literature, religion, history of the book, philosophy, etc.) or in research methods.

— A clear statement of what interests you about this course, and its relation to your overall course of studies.

Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Topics in 19th-Century Literature
English 182E / Prof. Huneven

Enrollment restricted to senior American Literature & Culture majors during First Pass. This restriction will be removed during Second Pass.

 

In this seminar we will focus on Henry James’s extraordinary mid-career novel, The Portrait of a Lady (1881). We will read it slowly and discuss it in depth, enriching the experience with relevant critical, historical, and biographical material.  Students will do spot research on topics raised in class and complete a final project.

American Gothic Literature

Topics in 19th-Century American Literature
English 183B / Prof. Hyde

Readers long have been fascinated by the gothic excesses of early U.S. literature— its haunted origins stories, murderous plots, and unreliable narrators. However, critics have not always taken the gothic tendencies of early U.S. literature seriously—seeing in its overblown conventions the signs of an underdeveloped and almost juvenile culture. According to a field-shaping formulation of this critical narrative, American literature is “bewilderingly and embarrassingly, a gothic fiction, non-realistic and negative, sadistic and melodramatic—a literature of darkness and the grotesque in a land of light and affirmation.” This seminar grapples with the gothic depths of early U.S. literature, asking how its unreliable narrators, dopplegangers, and obsession with foreignness and race can help us to understand the political and cultural anxieties about identity and power that haunted writers and readers in the early U.S. Readings will include secondary criticism, as well as literature by Brown, Irving, Poe, Sigourney, Apess, Hawthorne, Melville, Jacobs, and Chesnutt.

Literature of the Beat Generation

Topics in 20th- and 21st-Century American Literature
English 183C / Prof. Dickey

Enrollment restricted to senior American Literature & Culture majors during First Pass. This restriction will be removed during Second Pass.

 

This course will explore the Beat phenomenon in its historical and cultural moment and will locate Beat literature in the tradition of American Romantic writing. We will concentrate on works by William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, paying some attention to other figures like Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose lives and works in some way confront and contest the pedestrian values of 1950s America (and after). We will also investigate the aesthetic principles that the Beats appropriated from diverse modernist and contemporary sources – Dada and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Bebop – in order to ratify their own contrivances of spontaneity. And finally, we will consider predecessors (e.g. James Fenimore Cooper, Walt Whitman, Henry Miller) and inheritors (e.g., Ken Kesey, Sam Shepard, Hunter S. Thompson) whose works illuminate the achievement, or fried shoes, of the Beats.

Whatever Happened to Joan Crawford? The Evolution of a Star and the Changing Roles of Women in the 20th Century

Capstone Seminar
English 184.1 / Prof. Allmendinger

Enrollment restricted to senior American Literature & Culture majors during First Pass. This restriction will be removed during Second Pass.

 

Joan Crawford was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history, as well as an actress whose persona evolved over the course of her career. In the silent era, she was cast as a flapper, as a new woman who was a product of the Jazz Age, independent and sexually liberated. In the 1930s, she played poor women, born on the wrong side of the tracks, who rose to success by manipulating wealthy men. In the 1940s, she switched roles again, playing middle-aged businesswomen who paid a price for their success in the workplace. In the 1950s and ‘60s, she unintentionally became a camp icon—a woman who refused to acknowledge that she was aging, in a culture and entertainment industry that was sexist and ageist. Mommie Dearest, and its adaptation as a film in 1980s, offered the cruelest depiction yet of Crawford the celluloid star and human grotesque; whereas Feud: Bette and Joan (2017) presents a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the actress, who has come to represent different things to succeeding generations of filmgoers.

Requirements include weekly attendance and participation in seminar, one oral report, and a 10-15 page research paper due on the last day of class.

London Theater and the New King

Capstone Seminar
English 184.2 / Prof. Braunmuller

Enrollment restricted to senior English majors during First Pass. This restriction will be removed during Second Pass.

 

We study plays by Shakespeare and his principal rival Thomas Middleton, all first written and performed in years immediately after Queen Elizabeth’s death and the accession of James I. Some familiarity with Shakespeare is advantage, as is familiarity with early modern British history and politics and drama as genre.

Shakespeare and Gender

Capstone Seminar
English 184.3 / Prof. Cunningham

Enrollment restricted to senior English majors during First Pass. This restriction will be removed during Second Pass.

 

Wherever we look in Shakespeare, men are pondering how to deal with each other and with women, women are pondering what it means to be female, and characters who differ from these binary norms struggle (sometimes comically, sometimes tragically) to find their space in the dramatic worlds.  Put differently, throughout his works Shakespeare stages complex notions of masculinity, femininity, and difference.  This seminar looks at several plays and poems to understand the playwright’s investment in constructing gender according to particular aesthetic, dramatic, social, and ideological goals. What does the association of domesticity, business, or violence with femininity or masculinity in The Taming of The Shrew tell us about the author’s notions of selfhood and sexuality?  What are we to make of the implications of the fluidity of desire in Twelfth Night?  How do the anonymous pamphlets “Hic Mulier; or the Man-woman” and “Haec Vir; or the Womanish man” contribute to our understanding?  You’ll be expected to attend and to participate regularly in seminar discussions, deliver a brief oral presentation, and produce a final paper/project.

Contemporary Poets

Topics in African American Literature
English M191A / Prof. Mullen

Enrollment restricted to senior American Literature & Culture majors during First Pass. This restriction will be removed during Second Pass.

 

Instead of sampling poems in an anthology, we will read ten books by ten acclaimed poets working in the twenty-first century: Robin Coste Lewis, Tonya Foster, Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, A. Van Jordan, Douglas Kearney, Carl Philips, Evie Shockley, Patricia Smith, and Natasha Trethewey. This will allow a deeper immersion in the work of each poet. Although most of the books are slender, this course requires constant reading, writing, and active participation in class discussion. Each student should keep a reader’s journal. Instead of lecture, the class format is student-centered discussion, based on your journal entries, in-class writing assignments, and oral presentations, which will include close readings of poems, critical questions for discussion, aesthetic and cultural perspectives on the poets’ work. Poets and works were chosen for accomplishment, diversity, and influence on American poetry.

Melville

American Literature to 1900
English 254.2 / Prof. Colacurcio

Eligible undergraduate English and American Literature & Culture students may enroll in this graduate course and receive seminar credit. For more information, or permission to enroll, please visit Prof. Colacurcio during his office hours:

Prof. Colacurcio
Humanities 299
Tuesdays/Thursdays from 1:00-2:15pm
An elite author if there ever was one, Melville clearly began as a “popular” writer of travel and captivity narratives: what happened?  Or, to put the question another way, what can we say about the “long foreground” of  Moby-Dick?   Before the mysteriously tattooed Queequeg, the strangely well-spoken Marnoo, taboo kannaker and sacred wanderer of Typee; before the metaphysical whiteness of the whale, the more explicitly racial whiteness of Yillah, the disappearing maiden of Mardi; before the at-first insistent but then fading personality of Ishmael, a whole range of curiously unstable experiments in first-person adventure narration. And if a foreground, an aftermath or “wake” as well: with the “romance” property of light and dark ladies left over from Mardi, Pierre more furiously pursues the growing skepticism of Moby-Dick, asking if our belief in virtue is any better founded than that in objective knowledge.  The critics were not amused.

So, then, in a sudden, brilliant reduction of mode, from tragedy and romance to irony, there appear the ordinary narrators of the magazine tales who seem, like a landlocked Ishmael, to be trying to make familiar sense out of an exceptional person in an extreme circumstance.  With the added (ethical) problem of whether a well-motivated intervention could possibly help.  Think before you answer, for haunting characters like Bartleby, Merrymusk, Marianna, Benito Cereno (not to mention Babo), the pale maids of “Tartarus,” and the somber family doomed to eat the “poor man’s pudding.”

Finally, when Melville’s stunning accomplishment has long outrun our grubby interest in precedent—and epistemology and politics have just about stultified one another—two alternate endings: as if to show that the Postmodern is not far off from the Victorian, a chance to ask why we have been, all along, so very exercised over the random fantasies of that notorious Confidence Man, the novelist; but then, lest you think it’s all been just so much free-play, the stark (un-)patriotic gore of the Battle Pieces.

What?  You insist on adding  Billy Budd?  OK, but only if you’re prepared to demand Clarel, Timoleon, and John Marr as well.