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

Summer 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.

Shakespeare

English 90 / Prof. Allen
Online course

Survey of Shakespeare’s plays, including comedies, tragedies, and histories, selected to represent Shakespeare’s breadth, artistic progress, and total dramatic achievement. Not open for credit to English majors or students with credit for course 150A or 150B.

Introduction to Graphic Fiction

English 91D / Prof. Mott

We’ll read some truly old school comics, as in the founder of “Graphic Fiction,” Will Eisner. We’ll also look into Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics to help us understand some classic superhero comics as well as more serious literary comics such as Maus and Fun Home.

 

Upper Division Courses in English

 

Literatures in English Before 1500

 

Apocalypse Then: (Post) Medieval Apocalyptic Literatures

Medievalisms
English 149 / Prof. Ishikawa

Merlin! Zombies! Plague! This course will explore the place of the apocalypse in the medieval literary imagination. How did the apocalypse fit into larger medieval worldviews? What is the relationship between apocalyptic writings and events like the rise of the Mongol empire and the spread of plague? Beginning with the Book of Revelation, we will read texts that range from prophecies to natural philosophy to poetry, like Dante’s Inferno. Alongside these medieval texts we will also be reading contemporary post-apocalyptic fiction set in the Middle Ages (both past and future). These works will include comic books and science fiction. Together we will examine how visions of the apocalypse narrativize time, negotiate our understandings of the past, and contribute to a schema of knowledge that is used to make sense of the world.

 

Literatures in English 1500-1700

 

Shakespeare’s Major Plays

Topics in Shakespeare
English 150C / Prof. Little
Online course

This online upper-division course concentrates on some of Shakespeare’s major plays, taking us on a journey from the beginning to the end of Shakespeare’s illustrious playwriting career while also asking us to think not just about individual plays but what “Shakespeare” means to us popularly, historically, intellectually, politically, etc. The object of this course is for you not to just take in some short lectures but give back to the course by bringing to it a wealth of other sources—from YouTube to the Bible to videogames, from networked editions and online encyclopedias to databases and video streaming (whatever you can find)—in order to have a lively and learning exchange about Shakespeare.  In other words, while we will focus on individual plays (five of them), we will also be asked to think about Shakespeare in the context of broader and, perhaps for us, more urgent topics, such as how Shakespeare fits (or doesn’t) into conversations about women, feminism, race, religion, pop culture, etc.

 

Literatures in English 1700-1850

 

Transatlantic Romanticism

English 163B / Prof. Sanchez

Transatlantic studies have been central in generating new conceptual frameworks for thinking through complex issues related to interconnectedness of Atlantic rim cultures. With focus on ways in which cultures, ideologies, and political identities are reworked and reinscribed by transatlantic movement of peoples, ideas, and cultural artifacts, expansion of notions of Romanticism to include transoceanic perspectives that understand early 19th-century Romantic literature as transatlantic phenomenon.

Jane Austen and Her Peers

English 163C / Prof. Mellor
Online course

Coverage of six novels of Jane Austen, as well as literary works that most influenced her: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of Rights of Woman, Gothic novel, and Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda.

American Literature, 1832 to 1865

English 166C / Prof. Salway

Historical survey of American literatures from Jacksonian era to end of Civil War, including emergent tradition of American Romanticism, augmented and challenged by genres of popular protest urging application of democratic ideals to questions of race, gender, and social equality.

 

Literatures in English 1850-Present

 

Chicana/Chicano Literature from Mexican Revolution to el Movimiento, 1920 to 1970s

English M105B / Prof. López

Chicana/Chicano literature from 1920s through Great Depression and World War II, ending with Chicana/Chicano civil rights movement. Oral and written narratives by writers including Conrado Espinoza, Jovita González, Cleofas Jaramillo, Angelico Chávez, Mario Suárez, Oscar Acosta, and Evangelina Vigil.

Mark Twain – CANCELLED

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Maniquis

This course combines lectures and discussions about the two principal novels of Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These novels are amongst the most amusing and the most important of all English-language novels. Hemingway said of Huckleberry Finn that it marked the real beginning of American literature. It indeed can be argued that not knowing these novels means not really knowing either the history of American literature or its essential genius. In both novels, along with the rich satire of American Calvinism, Twain offers up a hard-edged analysis of American race consciousness. Some politically correct or simply ignorant individuals and committees continually try to suppress the reading of Twain’s greatest works. This course flies in the face of such stupidity and approaches all important religious, racial and sexual issues in these novels, while also savoring their rich and sometimes side-splitting comedy.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Solomon

“Africa in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1945 – Present”

In this course, we’ll examine the significance of Africa in U.S. literature and culture, from 1945 to the present. Lectures and classroom discussions will focus on the imaginative role that African settings have played for American audiences, reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 20th and 21st century, and

filtered through a range of artistic movements. Reading will include Paul Bowles’ post-WWII modernist novel The Sheltering Sky, Nnedi Okafor’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel Who Fears Death, and Yaa Gyasi’s historical epic Homegoing; we’ll supplement our reading with some examination of images from television and film (including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Alex Haley’s Roots, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther).

Major American Rappers

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.2 / Prof. Lang

Nearly a decade after its emergence, hip hop experienced a golden age during which the art of rap reached new heights of lyrical sophistication and cultural critique. In this course, we’ll chart traditional and innovative aspects of canonical albums from this period in relation to a number of poems presented in Rita Dove’s Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. While the bulk of the rap that we’ll listen to was created in the New York metropolitan area from the late eighties to the mid-nineties, we’ll also attend to the ways in which rap from this era influenced rap that came after. Attention will be paid to lyrical technique, narrative, and socio-cultural context, especially issues of race, class, and sexuality. Additionally, we’ll examine curatorial and commercialization trends generated by the culture industry.

Liminal Form(s): Ethnic American Short Fiction – CANCELLED

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.3 / Prof. Warren

This course will examine Ethnic American short fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its structure and content uphold and contest literary, corporeal, and national form(s). While the short story has been a celebrated component of the American literary tradition, it has also been understudied in comparison to other forms such as the novel and poem. This course asks what may be gained by reading the short story as a form specifically attuned to the liminal social and political positions of Ethnic American writers and communities.  We will trace this theory of the liminal as it plays out in relation to citizenship, indigeneity, migration, religion, education, incarceration, and mixed race identities, among other concepts. We will also examine liminal genres, such as science fiction, magic realism, and Afro- and Indigenous futurisms. Authors include Octavia Butler, Victoria Kneubuhl, Sandra Cisneros, Ken Liu, Bernard Malamud, Danzy Senna, George Scuhyler, Beth Piatote, and Rachel Khong, among others.

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

 

 

Chicana/Chicano Literature from Mexican Revolution to el Movimiento, 1920 to 1970s

English M105B / Prof. López

Chicana/Chicano literature from 1920s through Great Depression and World War II, ending with Chicana/Chicano civil rights movement. Oral and written narratives by writers including Conrado Espinoza, Jovita González, Cleofas Jaramillo, Angelico Chávez, Mario Suárez, Oscar Acosta, and Evangelina Vigil.

Women Writers and the Fairy Tale Tradition

Studies in Women’s Writing
English M107A / Prof. Lorhan

Beginning with a selection of literary fairy tales composed by French female storytellers (conteuses), such as Madame d’Aulnoy and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, we will examine how these tales address questions of agency, voice, representation, and creativity. Often overshadowed by collections of fairy tales compiled by Charles Perrault, the Grimm brothers, and Joseph Jacobs, these seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women writers created a vibrant tradition upon which later female artists would build. Focusing on poetry, short fiction, and criticism written by twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglo-American authors, we will examine the ways in which these descendants of the conteuses incorporate fairy tale motifs, themes, and plotlines into their writings; destabilize the messages inculcated by classic fairy tales through subversive retellings; argue the merits of the fairy-tale genre as a vehicle for achieving women’s liberation; and pay homage to literary foremothers. Authors examined include Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Jane Yolen, Julia Alvarez, bell hooks, Olga Broumas, Angela de Hoyos, Tanith Lee, Emma Donoghue, Carol Ann Duffy, and Helen Oyeyemi.

Jane Austen and Her Peers

English 163C / Prof. Mellor
Online course

Coverage of six novels of Jane Austen, as well as literary works that most influenced her: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of Rights of Woman, Gothic novel, and Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda.

American Literature, 1832 to 1865

English 166C / Prof. Salway

Historical survey of American literatures from Jacksonian era to end of Civil War, including emergent tradition of American Romanticism, augmented and challenged by genres of popular protest urging application of democratic ideals to questions of race, gender, and social equality.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Solomon

“Africa in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1945 – Present”

In this course, we’ll examine the significance of Africa in U.S. literature and culture, from 1945 to the present. Lectures and classroom discussions will focus on the imaginative role that African settings have played for American audiences, reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 20th and 21st century, and

filtered through a range of artistic movements. Reading will include Paul Bowles’ post-WWII modernist novel The Sheltering Sky, Nnedi Okafor’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel Who Fears Death, and Yaa Gyasi’s historical epic Homegoing; we’ll supplement our reading with some examination of images from television and film (including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Alex Haley’s Roots, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther).

Major American Rappers

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.2 / Prof. Lang

Nearly a decade after its emergence, hip hop experienced a golden age during which the art of rap reached new heights of lyrical sophistication and cultural critique. In this course, we’ll chart traditional and innovative aspects of canonical albums from this period in relation to a number of poems presented in Rita Dove’s Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. While the bulk of the rap that we’ll listen to was created in the New York metropolitan area from the late eighties to the mid-nineties, we’ll also attend to the ways in which rap from this era influenced rap that came after. Attention will be paid to lyrical technique, narrative, and socio-cultural context, especially issues of race, class, and sexuality. Additionally, we’ll examine curatorial and commercialization trends generated by the culture industry.

Liminal Form(s): Ethnic American Short Fiction – CANCELLED

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.3 / Prof. Warren

This course will examine Ethnic American short fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its structure and content uphold and contest literary, corporeal, and national form(s). While the short story has been a celebrated component of the American literary tradition, it has also been understudied in comparison to other forms such as the novel and poem. This course asks what may be gained by reading the short story as a form specifically attuned to the liminal social and political positions of Ethnic American writers and communities.  We will trace this theory of the liminal as it plays out in relation to citizenship, indigeneity, migration, religion, education, incarceration, and mixed race identities, among other concepts. We will also examine liminal genres, such as science fiction, magic realism, and Afro- and Indigenous futurisms. Authors include Octavia Butler, Victoria Kneubuhl, Sandra Cisneros, Ken Liu, Bernard Malamud, Danzy Senna, George Scuhyler, Beth Piatote, and Rachel Khong, among others.

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

 

Chicana/Chicano Literature from Mexican Revolution to el Movimiento, 1920 to 1970s

English M105B / Prof. López

Chicana/Chicano literature from 1920s through Great Depression and World War II, ending with Chicana/Chicano civil rights movement. Oral and written narratives by writers including Conrado Espinoza, Jovita González, Cleofas Jaramillo, Angelico Chávez, Mario Suárez, Oscar Acosta, and Evangelina Vigil.

Transatlantic Romanticism

English 163B / Prof. Sanchez

Transatlantic studies have been central in generating new conceptual frameworks for thinking through complex issues related to interconnectedness of Atlantic rim cultures. With focus on ways in which cultures, ideologies, and political identities are reworked and reinscribed by transatlantic movement of peoples, ideas, and cultural artifacts, expansion of notions of Romanticism to include transoceanic perspectives that understand early 19th-century Romantic literature as transatlantic phenomenon.

 

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

 

Detective Fiction

English 115D / Prof. Allmendinger

Study of British and American detective fiction and literature of detection.

Speculative Beasts: A Philosophical Approach to Alien and Supra-Human Life in Science Fiction Literature and Film

Literature and Other Arts
English 118B / Prof. Stefans

When do works of horror and science fiction transition from being products of heightened, feverish imaginations — mere fancies — to compelling speculations about the nature of being? In this course, we will examine several short stories, novels and films that feature alien or supra-human — i.e. “human” at the next stage of evolution — beings through the lens of cognitive science, linguistics, biological theory and philosophy. Films include The Thing, Under the Skin, Arrival, Alien and Tetsuo: Iron Man, and others. Fiction writers include H.P. Lovecraft, Nnedi Okorafor, Theodore Sturgeon, Ted Chiang and China Miéville. We will ask questions like “what is it like to be a bat?” and “what, exactly, is a zombie?” through the guise of thinkers like Quentin Meillassoux, David Chalmers, Thomas Nagel, Vilém Flusser and others.

NOT OPEN FOR CREDIT TO ANYONE WHO HAS PREVIOUSLY TAKEN 118B “A SPECULATIVE TURN IN 20TH/21ST CENTURY LITERATURE AND FILM WITH PROF. STEFANS.

The LA Phase

Literary Cities
English 119.3 / Prof. Reed

Many of the great minds of the twentieth century had an LA phase. They came; they saw; they thought… and left. The pattern fits literary personalities ranging from novelists and culture-critics to essayists and activists. Long-term resident writers also seem, sometimes surreptitiously, to share an interest in the form of “the phase.” It may even be productive to read the work of writers who do not come and go but stay and build, like poet Wanda Coleman and rapper Kendrick Lamar, in cycles, as positively resisting stories with a phase shape. How does the rhythm of loving and then leaving express itself, beautifully and variously, in the literature of Los Angeles? This class will combine formal and historical approaches as we track responses to the question.

Mark Twain – CANCELLED

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Maniquis

This course combines lectures and discussions about the two principal novels of Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These novels are amongst the most amusing and the most important of all English-language novels. Hemingway said of Huckleberry Finn that it marked the real beginning of American literature. It indeed can be argued that not knowing these novels means not really knowing either the history of American literature or its essential genius. In both novels, along with the rich satire of American Calvinism, Twain offers up a hard-edged analysis of American race consciousness. Some politically correct or simply ignorant individuals and committees continually try to suppress the reading of Twain’s greatest works. This course flies in the face of such stupidity and approaches all important religious, racial and sexual issues in these novels, while also savoring their rich and sometimes side-splitting comedy.

Jane Austen and Her Peers

English 163C / Prof. Mellor
Online course

Coverage of six novels of Jane Austen, as well as literary works that most influenced her: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of Rights of Woman, Gothic novel, and Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Solomon

“Africa in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1945 – Present”

In this course, we’ll examine the significance of Africa in U.S. literature and culture, from 1945 to the present. Lectures and classroom discussions will focus on the imaginative role that African settings have played for American audiences, reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 20th and 21st century, and

filtered through a range of artistic movements. Reading will include Paul Bowles’ post-WWII modernist novel The Sheltering Sky, Nnedi Okafor’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel Who Fears Death, and Yaa Gyasi’s historical epic Homegoing; we’ll supplement our reading with some examination of images from television and film (including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Alex Haley’s Roots, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther).

Liminal Form(s): Ethnic American Short Fiction – CANCELLED

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.3 / Prof. Warren

This course will examine Ethnic American short fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its structure and content uphold and contest literary, corporeal, and national form(s). While the short story has been a celebrated component of the American literary tradition, it has also been understudied in comparison to other forms such as the novel and poem. This course asks what may be gained by reading the short story as a form specifically attuned to the liminal social and political positions of Ethnic American writers and communities.  We will trace this theory of the liminal as it plays out in relation to citizenship, indigeneity, migration, religion, education, incarceration, and mixed race identities, among other concepts. We will also examine liminal genres, such as science fiction, magic realism, and Afro- and Indigenous futurisms. Authors include Octavia Butler, Victoria Kneubuhl, Sandra Cisneros, Ken Liu, Bernard Malamud, Danzy Senna, George Scuhyler, Beth Piatote, and Rachel Khong, among others.


Creative Writing Workshops

 

Three Act Screenplay

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

Throughout the course students will learn the art and practice of screenwriting. Students will develop an original feature screenplay, learning how to craft story, plot, character, dialogue, and theme. By the end of the course each student will produce a full Three Act Outline and a polished First Act of their screenplays.

Writing for the Internet

Topics in Creative Writing
English M138.2 / Prof. Snelson

This creative writing course explores new genres of writing on the internet. We follow emerging trends in digital poetics to experiment with works that are equally likely to appear on Instagram, in a PDF, through online videos, on a Twitter feed, or even printed on demand in paper format. Studying digital platforms and formats alongside contemporary art and letters, we’ll reimagine experimental writing practices through today’s emerging genres. How might Twitter facilitate a serial narrative? What does YouTube demand of poetry? How might we think about writing for the MP3 format, before scripting a single word? Using a collective workshop format, we’ll engage in a series of writing experiments that attempt to find some of our own poetic answers to today’s technological environment. No previous training in poetry or new media is required.