CoursesCourses for the English Major

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

Fall 2020

**Please note that additional courses may be added for Fall 2020. Students are encouraged to check for updates periodically.**

 

Lower Division Courses in English (Freshman, Sophomore)

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

Introduction to Creative Writing: READ DESCRIPTION CAREFULLY

English 20W / TBD

Designed to introduce fundamentals of creative writing and writing workshop experience. Emphasis on poetry, fiction, drama, or creative nonfiction depending on wishes of instructor(s) during any given term. Readings from assigned texts, weekly writing assignments (multiple drafts and revisions), and final portfolio required. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

 

Enrollment by instructor consent and NOT by enrollment pass time: Interested students should apply by 8 PM on September 10. Applications received after this date will be considered only if additional space should become available and may not receive a full review or response. Enrollment preference for English 20W will be given to first and second-year students. Approved applicants will receive a PTE directly from the instructor.

To apply, please prepare a brief (no more than 250 words) note explaining why you wish to take this course, and what previous experience you have with creative writing courses (if any—none required!).

Applications may be submitted through our approved web form, which you can access here. Students applying to English 20W should enroll in an alternate course during their Fall enrollment passes, and should not assume that they will be admitted.

Please note that due to the volume of submissions, only students selected for the class will receive notification. Please do not email the instructors requesting status updates, as this will only delay the selection process. Questions should be directed to the English Undergraduate Advising Offices via MyUCLA MessageCenter.

American Novel

English 85 / Prof. Mott

Not open for credit to English majors or students with credit for any courses in 170 series. Development, with emphasis on form, of American novel from its beginning to present day. Includes works of such novelists as Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison.

 

Please note: 20 students who have enrolled in English 85 will also have the opportunity to enroll in English 89. This adjunct, honors seminar will be comprised of two major projects. One will be a research project through which you will develop some skills with basic research tools, and learn how to incorporate your findings to enrich the argument of one of your essays for English 85. The other will be a creative project that will allow you to indulge your talents in media and genres other than print and critical analysis. In the creative project, I encourage you to express your interpretations of the novel(s) by way of music (including original compositions or performances), visual arts (including photos, films, sketches, paintings, etc.), or plastic arts (sculpture, knitting, sewing, quilting, etc.), or another medium of your choice.

Race, Ethnicity, and Performance

Topics in American Culture
English 87 / Prof. S.K. Lee

This course will consider how categories of race and ethnicity have been historically deployed and constructed through performance. Students will explore a range of issues and methodological questions raised when writing about race and ethnicity through an engagement with a range of performance practices that include performance art, political activism, theater, visual art or art installations, film, music, and literature. Questions we will explore in this course include: What constitutes a performance? How do we document and write about performance as spectators, witnesses, scholars, and/or practitioners? How does the study of performance give us the means to understand racial and ethnic identities in relation to gender and sexuality? How can performance enact and perpetuate oppression, violence, and harm, but how can it also be a form of resistance? We will analyze different performances through discussion and close reading of key performance studies texts, theories, and concepts.

 

This course will feature a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching.

 

This is a required preparatory course for the American Literature and Culture major.

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.

 

Not open for credit to English majors or students with credit for course 150A or 150B.

Introduction to Drama

English 91B / Prof. Dickey

Examination of representative plays; readings may range from Greek to modern drama. Emphasis on critical approaches to dramatic text; study of issues such as plot construction, characterization, special uses of language in drama, methods of evaluation.

Fiat Lux Seminar–Screenplay Writing: Scene Study

English 19.3 / Prof. Stefans

Short weekly assignments on how to write dramatic scene, dramatic monologue, comedy sketch, montage sequence, and first five pages of a feature. Final project consists of students collaborating on episodic web series after exercise in presenting show pitches. Students start by looking at basic but specific rules for formatting screenplay page and are expected to become proficient in using screenwriting software of their choice. Discussion of standard feature-film act structure and concepts derived from texts important to screenplay writers such as Aristotle’s Poetics and Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces. Students read screenplay and view film Chinatown before class meets. Emphasis on learning some general rules of writing for film and television, but also on creativity and having fun writing and performing scenes.

 

Fiat Lux seminars carry 1-unit of Pass/No Pass credit. Enrollment is limited to new students until September 22; continuing students may enroll on or after this date.

Fiat Lux Seminar–COVID 19: Ethic of Care

English 19.4 / Prof. Cheung

Exploration of how ethic of care can be fostered in virtual and actual communities to combat COVID-19 and its fallout, vis-à-vis international and interpersonal tensions. This ethic–which encompasses neighbor love, compassion, and empathy–has been inculcated in multiple religions and philosophies including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, classics (Marcus Aurelius), and existentialism (Arendt, Camus, Frankl). Conducive to what United Nations calls kindness contagion, it is more critical now than ever as mandate for animal kingdom that transcends species, gender, race, class, and age.

 

Fiat Lux seminars carry 1-unit of Pass/No Pass credit. Enrollment is limited to new students until September 22; continuing students may enroll on or after this date.

Fiat Lux Seminar–COVID 19: The Black Death in Literature

English 19.5 / Prof. Fisher

The Black Death swept into England in 1348, and killed 40 to 60 percent of population. Such devastation is unimaginable; yet amidst COVID-19, it has become a little more legible. Students read selections of medieval poetry and prose written in aftermath of plague, and consider some ways literature and other art forms did (and did not) respond to the Black Death.

 

Fiat Lux seminars carry 1-unit of Pass/No Pass credit. Enrollment is limited to new students until September 22; continuing students may enroll on or after this date.

Upper Division Courses in English

Practicum Courses

Please note that these are 2-unit courses. English majors may satisfy 1 English Elective if they take multiple 2-unit upper division English courses (courses must add up to a total of at least 4 units and must be taken for a letter grade). 

Westwind Journal

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

This course is for the staff of Westwind, UCLA’s Journal for the Arts. If you are interested in joining the Westwind staff, please familiarize yourself with the journal at www.westwind.ucla.edu, and plan to attend the first Fall meeting on Tuesday, October 6, 2020!

UCLAPoem

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

This course is for students in UCLAPoem, which creates and sponsors poetry readings, events, and activities throughout the year, as well as plans and directs an annual UCLAPoetry Festival every spring quarter. If you’re interested in poetry (or just curious about it), plan to attend the first Fall meeting on Thursday, October 8, 2020!

Elective Courses

Please note that these courses satisfy English major requirements as Electives, and may not be applied to Historical, Breadth, or Seminar requirements.

Writing in the English Major: Analytical Writing

English 110A / Prof. Stephan

In this course, designed specifically for English majors but now open to students from all majors, you will learn to build on your skills and abilities as a writer of literary and cultural analyses. You’ll find ways to ask richer literary questions, develop more nuanced analyses of complex texts, and shape your own voice as a writer. We’ll focus on literary arguments and begin with this basic question: what constitutes a good, rich, complex question in literary analysis? What makes a substantial topic that might lead to a top-notch persuasive argument? Because good writing (and thus good argumentation) is also a process, we will practice creation, revision, contemplation, and editing, as well as seeking and giving feedback. Throughout the course, we will workshop writing exercises with the goal of making ourselves and others more comfortable and more successful as writers of good academic prose.

 

This course counts as an elective for the Professional Writing Minor. 

Public Readers, Public Writers: Writing About Books for a 21st-Century Audience

English 110C / Prof. Kareem

What does it mean to engage in “public writing” or to be a “public intellectual? This course broadens students’ concept of what it means to write about literature by exploring the history and practice of writing literary criticism for a general (rather than for a specifically academic) audience. We’ll pay particular attention to the range of venues that have emerged for writers to publish their work for non-specialist readers. The course will include extensive opportunities for critical writing in a variety of forms and for a variety of audiences, as well as building research skills for a variety of applications, including a culminating portfolio project.

 

This course counts as an elective for the Professional Writing Minor. 

Writing in the English Major: Academic Writing About Early Modern English Literature (Adjunct Course)

English 110B / Prof. Bonnici

THIS COURSE IS OPEN ONLY TO STUDENTS WHO ARE CONCURRENTLY ENROLLED IN ENGLISH 150A, 150B, 151, and 152.

Designed to help English majors improve and refine their academic writing about early modern English literature, particularly the works of Shakespeare and Milton. Brings together students enrolled in designated base early modern English literature courses in a workshop setting to advance their discipline-specific writing skills, especially the art of developing literary critical analysis and argument.

 

English majors may combine two different sections of English 110B over time to fulfill one English major Elective requirement.

Literatures in English Before 1500*

*Senior English majors: Please note that due to instructor availability, most pre-1500 courses will be available in Fall for the 2020-2021 academic year. We recommend that seniors who need to fulfill this requirements do so in Fall 2020 if possible.

Filthy Lucre: The Fraudster, Trader, and Usurer in The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
English 140A / Prof. Thomas

In this course, we will examine the intersection of commerce and literature in a number of the Canterbury Tales. We will close-read tales such as “The General Prologue,” “The Shipman’s Tale,” “The Merchant’s Tale,” “The Pardoner’s Tale,” and “The Summoner’s Tale,” in light of thinking about “filthy lucre” (“turpe lucrum”) found in treatises on avarice, usury, and simony as well as on money and financial speculation. In approaching these tales contextually, we will explore the extent to which the fraudster, trader and usurer frequently merge and become indistinguishable from each other. By reading Chaucer through the lens of “filthy lucre,” we will also understand how theories and practices of medieval commerce shaped him as well as other contemporary “literary” writers.

Early Medieval Literature in the North Atlantic

Early Medieval Literature: Research Component
English 141R / Prof. Weaver

What was the earliest British literature like? Who created it? And what did it mean to read and write at a time when Irish, English, Welsh, and Norse were only just beginning to be written down? To answer these questions, we will solve riddles, snoop through thousand-year-old medical texts and “catalogues of vice,” and retrace Icelandic voyages to the Americas and imaginary letters from India. Along the way, we’ll also meet some of the time travelers, transgender saints, and African philosophers, who shaped early English thought and writing, as we work towards a final research project.

The Virgin, the Wife, and the Widow: Dissent and Dominance in the Lives of Holy Women

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

The category of the holy life offers a space for thinking through the relationship between the Church and holy women, between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, between rebellion and conformity. Ranging from the lives of virgin-martyrs to those of runaway brides, chaste wives, and widows, we will focus on the ways in which the holy woman as virgin, wife, or widow engaged the norms of the medieval Church by rebelling against and at same time conforming to them. We will close read the lives (Vitae) of such women (and a few holy men) alongside legal documents, itineraries, property records, statutes, and other ecclesiastical documents on issues from virginity to marriage, from travel to enclosure. Questions for discussion include: Why did holy women come to play increasingly dominant roles in the Middle Ages? What were ways in which they used their virginity or chastity to find agency within ecclesiastical structures designed to control their lives?

Literatures in English 1500-1700

Shakespeare: Works from the First Half of His Career

Shakespeare: Poems and Early Plays
English 150A / Prof. Watson

An intensive study of Shakespeare’s works up through 1603 , including sonnets, Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo and JulietMerchant of VeniceHenry IV Part 1Henry VHamlet, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. 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.

 

Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take English 110B for additional writing support. English 110B earns two additional units of upper-division credit.

Shakespeare: Later Plays

English 150B / Prof. Dickey

An exploration of selected plays from the latter half of Shakespeare’s professional career, including Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.

 

Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take English 110B for additional writing support. English 110B earns two additional units of upper-division credit.

Milton

English 151 / Prof. McEachern

Study of major works of Milton, with emphasis on Paradise Lost.

 

Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take English 110B for additional writing support. English 110B earns two additional units of upper-division credit.

Elizabethan Literature: Poetry, Politics, and Print

English 152 / Prof. McEachern

Intensive study of explosion of non-dramatic English literature composed during reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Concerns include how literary production was impacted by political, religious, and gender concerns; and how authors experimented with variety of literary forms as they undertook to create “a kingdom of our own language” (in Edmund Spenser’s words) in new marketplace of print.
Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take English 110B for additional writing support. English 110B earns two additional units of upper-division credit.

Literatures in English 1700-1850

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

Literary London
English 119 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

 

Not open to students who took English 119 with Prof. Makdisi in Fall 2019.

The Novel Becomes Standard

19th-Century Novel
English 164C / Prof. Grossman

In the nineteenth century, the novel emerged as the dominant art form, mass produced and mass consumed. In this class, we will first look at the work of fiction that dramatically inaugurated this new age: Charles Dickens’s comic tour-de-force The Pickwick Papers. Then we will read a brilliant response to Dickens’s novel, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford. Topics we will investigate include the transformation of publication by serialization; our novels’ shaping by industrial capitalism, especially in its configurations of gender and class; and the form of fiction in an age of standardized mechanical reproduction. Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Literature, Labor, and Empire, 1700 to 1850

Imperial Culture, 1700 to 1850
English 165A / Prof. Shaub

This course will examine the development of British imperial culture as it emerged in the writing and art of the 18th- and 19th-centuries. We will engage critically with the myriad ways in which political and economic thought underpinned the discourse of empire, especially as it entered into debates concerning conquest, slavery, abolition, and the establishment of new systems of education in Britain and its colonies. What role did imaginative literature play in the advancement of, and resistance to, imperial expansion? What can this dual role for imaginative literature tell us about the emergence and value of modern literary study? The readings have been selected to give a sense of the wide variety of perspectives on these intersecting issues, particularly with regard to views on race, gender, and class, from the vantage of both colonizer and colonized. We will also make use of classic and recent critical studies of imperial culture in Britain, to provide contemporary perspective and useful tools for further investigation.

American Literature, 1776 to 1832**

English 166B / Prof. Colacurcio

After a brief look at the famous political texts associated with the American Revolution, this course will focus on the many-stranded attempt to create and define a new-fledged American literature as such–not just British literature written in America.  The writers begin, tentatively, trying to make the familiar British genres express American experience, but soon discover the time-and-place limitations of these.  New forms will be needed.  Of course it will go through some clumsy stages, but sooner or later there will be Poe. Hawthorne, and (almost) Emerson.

 

**Qualifies as a pre-1848 course for American Literature and Culture majors

Major American Writers

English 168 / Prof. Calder

In this course, we will focus on well-known American authors who seek to change how “America” and American literature are understood. We will attend carefully to histories of settler colonialism and slavery by interrogating the logics that bolster them, then consider how these historical processes have shaped the present. Readings include works by Gloria Anzaldúa, Wanda Coleman, Gil Cuadros, Angela Davis, Rebecca Harding Davis, Audre Lorde, Subcomandante Marcos, Simon Ortiz, Assata Shakur, and Leslie Marmon Silko.

Neoclassicism and the Goths–Literature and Culture, 1700 to 1850

English 169 / Prof. Shaub

As the revival of classical styles in the art and literature of Europe (known today as neoclassicism) lost steam around the middle of the 18th century, a few antiquarians, writers, and artists began to wonder what had been left behind in turning away from the forms of thought and feeling that had defined the so-called “dark” ages, sparking the re-evaluation of the medieval period known as the gothic revival. Where adherents found in the gothic a fertile soil for creative expression, neoclassicists often found evidence of decline, a return to the “darkness” and “barbarism” of the past. Focusing on the case of Britain, we will explore this complex tension between neoclassical and gothic as it emerges across various media during the 18th- and 19th-centuries, to understand not only how it figured in the genesis of new genres, such as the gothic novel, but also its persistence into the present, as in the Trump administration’s effort to mandate neoclassical design in all new federal architecture.

Literatures in English 1850-Present

The Intimacy of Queer Life in Early Queer Literature

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

From the elegiac and tragic to the comic, this course begins with Walt Whitman and ends (most likely) with lesbian pulp fiction. The course surveys not only some of the most groundbreaking queer texts—novels, poems, plays (sometimes in the form of film)—written between 1860 and the late 1960s but also the intriguing personalities/authors behind so many of them. Our course attends to how this literature and these personages resisted systemic efforts to disappear, silence, and erase queer bodies, voices, and subjectivities. Without resorting to autobiography (at least in any straightforward sense), the queer literature produced during this period makes emphatically evident the intimate relationship between life and narrative: importantly, literature in this era was far less a way of reporting on one’s life than a way of laying claim to one. Queer literature was indeed a way to demonstrate and perform the fact that queer folk, like non-queer folk, had intimate 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 epistemologies and sensibilities.

 

Not open to students who took English M101B, LGBTS M101B, or Gender Studies M105B in Fall 2018 or Fall 2019.

Historical Survey of Asian American Literature

English M102A / Prof. Ling

This course examines a body of Asian American literary works—autobiography, the novel, short fiction, critical essay, and drama, among others—which thematizes Asians’ experiences in the U.S. from the early twentieth century to the 1990s, with a majority of the assigned reading material focused on what happened in the pre-1980 period. Issues to look at include trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic Asian migration and diaspora; racialization; the lasting effects of imperil wars; interethnic and generational dynamics; cultural politics social activism; and gender and class formations. Lectures will focus on making sense of texts in contexts, with an emphasis on how the narrative voices, thematic orientations, and formal properties of the works examined are shaped by the interplay between authorial aspirations, circumstantial constraints, and the commercially driven literary markets. Students enrolled in the class will be updated on the course requirements and grading policies during Summer. Lauren Higa, a graduate student from the Department of Asian American Studies, will be the Reader for this course.

Early African American Literature

English M104A / Prof. Yarborough

Survey of African American literature from the 18th century to World War I, including oral and written forms (folktales, spirituals, sermons; fiction, autobiography, poetry). Authors covered include Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, and W. E. B. Du Bois. The class will focus on the historical and cultural contexts of the literary works as well as on diverse strategies for engaging formal aspects of the assigned materials. Requirements include attendance and participation in section, a midterm exam, a term paper, and a final exam.

Black-Asian Relationship: Affinities and Cleavages

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

The course covers through fiction and memoirs areas in which Asians and Blacks have come into conflict and collaboration, with particular focus on the 1992 Los Angeles uprising and the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. We will examine the stereotype of the “Asian American model minority” (imposed by the dominant culture but to which many Americans of Asian descent have also subscribed) and its insidious roles in fueling both social upheavals. An investigation into the causes and consequences of inter-minority conflict disrupts the Black/White binary of American race relations. Additionally, we look at the burden of representation incumbent upon peoples of color and the polar positions in which “Asian Americans” find themselves—as guilty perpetrators abetting police violence and as victims of racial violence.

 

Required Texts:

Paul Beatty, White Boy Shuffle

Marilyn Chin, The Portrait of the Self as Nation

Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker

Russell Leong, “No Bruce Lee”

Ty Pak, “The Court Interpreter”

Nina Revoyr, Southland

John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire

Hisaye Yamamoto, Seventeen Syllables

Forms of Gothic in British Popular Literature

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 A Sicilian Romance, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as shorter works by authors including (but not limited to) Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, M. R. James, and Angela Carter.

Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature: Fiction and Metrology

English 118A / Prof. Grossman

What does a meter or a yard have to do with nineteenth-century fiction? This class will investigate literature’s relation to the rise of precision engineering, machine industrialization, and especially the scientific establishment of measurement systems (or, “metrology”). The core text we will explore will be a story obsessively preoccupied with imagining exactitude in space and time: Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. On our journey, historians of science will help us to understand the globalizing, standardizing infrastructure of hours and time zones, pounds and kilograms, thermometers and voltage meters, that not only enable the construction of infrastructure but also, as we will consider, shape the imagining of fictional worlds. No science background is required. Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

Literary Cities
English 119 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

Not open to students who completed English 119 with Professor Makdisi in Winter 2017, 2018, 2019 or Fall 2019.

Keywords: Culture

Keywords in Theory
English 122 / Prof. Dimuro

Using a wide variety of written and visual texts, this course explores the meaning of “culture,” a word which has a complex history and that continues to have a wide currency in literary, political, and critical discourse. We will trace the term’s anthropological, sociological, and ideological meanings as they developed over the last two centuries. Topics include cultural capital, popular culture, the culture wars, kitsch, conspicuous consumption, and culture as a regulatory system. We read Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, the literary criticism of T.S. Eliot, Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction, the essays of Clifford Geertz, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ German Ideology, and other theorists. We will read literary works by Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather. The goal is to use the idea of culture as a critical framework to interpret literary texts in ways that amplify the skills of close reading. Requirements: short essays, quizzes, a longer paper, and a comprehensive final examination.

Walking in Literature and Art

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129 / Prof. Hornby

How does walking make its way into works of literature and art? What does it mean to put one foot in front of the other, again and again? This course will consider a corpus of works that explore the significance of walking, from peripatetic philosophers, poets, and novelists, to visual practices of walking. We will discuss a number of walkers, including flaneurs, streetwalkers, mountaineers, city dwellers, fugitives, and refugees. We will consider works by Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Nan Shepherd, W.G. Sebald, Walter Benjamin, Teju Cole, Charlie Chaplin, Werner Herzog, Bruce Nauman, and Janet Cardiff, among others.

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures: From the Nation to the Environment

English 130 / Prof. J.E. Lee

What is postcolonial? Kazuo Ishiguro, the author of Never Let Me Go (2005), expresses his skepticism about the word in an interview: “I’ve never understood the categorization of postcolonial writing. . . . Does ‘postcolonial’ mean writing that came out in the postcolonial era? . . . Or does it mean writing by people who don’t have white skins?” In this class, we will examine the ways in which postcolonial literatures have evolved through time from their initial stage involving nationalist struggles, orientalism, and writing back to the empire to environmental concepts questioning the concept of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene. We will look into diverse narrative forms and theories emerging in alignment with this decentralization of human agency in space. Topics for discussion may include “the empire writes back,” writing the self and the nation, bildungsroman, the country and the city, land and the novel, postcolonial environments.

 

This course is eligible for credit on the Literature & the Environment minor.

Single Author: Ntozake Shange

Individual Authors
English 139 / Prof. Mullen

We will immerse ourselves in the work of Ntozake Shange (1948-2018), the celebrated creator of innovative theater pieces, dramatic works that she called “choreopoems.” Although best known as a playwright, Shange’s works draw on her life as a multimedia or intermedia artist in multiple genres, often composing and performing her poetry in collaboration with musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Throughout her dazzling life as artist and performer, Ntozake Shange worked intently to produce critical and poetic synergies of words and action, music and dance, image and gesture. Probably more than any other writer, she has sketched engaging portraits of artists compelled to create new worlds where they can be free. In Shange’s prolific works we find extravagant characters at home in lavishly bohemian settings, many of them performers, dancers, musicians, and artists of color, all striving to live their most vivid dreams. Our reading will include her best-known play, For Colored Girls, as well as two novels, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo and Lillianne, a poetry collection, Wild Beauty, and a memoir/essay collection, Lost in Language and Sound.

The Novel Becomes Standard

19th-Century Novel
English 164C / Prof. Grossman

In the nineteenth century, the novel emerged as the dominant art form, mass produced and mass consumed. In this class, we will first look at the work of fiction that dramatically inaugurated this new age: Charles Dickens’s comic tour-de-force The Pickwick Papers. Then we will read a brilliant response to Dickens’s novel, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford. Topics we will investigate include the transformation of publication by serialization; our novels’ shaping by industrial capitalism, especially in its configurations of gender and class; and the form of fiction in an age of standardized mechanical reproduction. Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Major American Writers

English 168 / Prof. Calder

In this course, we will focus on well-known American authors who seek to change how “America” and American literature are understood. We will attend carefully to histories of settler colonialism and slavery by interrogating the logics that bolster them, then consider how these historical processes have shaped the present. Readings include works by Gloria Anzaldúa, Wanda Coleman, Gil Cuadros, Angela Davis, Rebecca Harding Davis, Audre Lorde, Subcomandante Marcos, Simon Ortiz, Assata Shakur, and Leslie Marmon Silko.

American Literature, 1865 to 1900

English 170A / Prof. Looby

After the Civil War American literature entered a period of ferment. In this course we will study American literary expression after the war and up to the beginning of the twentieth century, tracing lines of development as it underwent radical changes. We’ll begin by reading De Forest’s Civil War novel, Miss Ravenel’s Conversion. At the center of the course will be a sustained reading of a cluster of writers who, in the mid-1880s, participated in a collective literary undertaking sponsored by the popular Century Magazine, an effort to review the war itself and unify the nation in its aftermath. James serialized The Bostonians there; Howells’s The Rise of Silas Lapham too; excerpts from Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as well. African American writer Charles Chesnutt tried to contribute to the Century at this time but was rebuffed: we will read him, too. Women writers of various stripes—sentimental and conventional, caustic and rebellious—came to the fore in this period: we will read Chopin’s The Awakening and Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs.

American Literature, 1900 to 1945

English 170B / Prof. Huehls

This class examines modernism in its many forms and permutations. We will focus in particular on the interaction between aesthetics and politics, closely examining the relationship between innovative literary forms and pressing political concerns of the first half of the twentieth century.

20th-Century British Poetry

English 171B / Prof. Jaurretche

In this class we will read major British poets from 1900 to the present.  We’ll begin with study of Thomas Hardy and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and incorporate the poets of World War I. The greater part of the course will be given over to detailed study of the writings of William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Our term will conclude with introduction to contemporary British poets such as Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, and others. The class will have a mid-term and final examination, and require one paper.

20th-Century British Fiction

English 171C / Prof. Jin

In this course we will read major British novels from over the course of the twentieth century, with a double focus on how these novels explore constructions of “Englishness” and how they do so through various narrative forms.  It is impossible to do this without situating British literary production in the historical context of empire in the first half of the twentieth century, and in the effects and processes of decolonization after World War II.  We will also pay close attention to the functions and operations of literary criticism itself, considering what kinds of knowledge about social, historical, and political structures are made visible by reading fiction.  Authors may include Virginia Woolf, Evelyn Waugh, Sam Selvon, and Arundhati Roy.

American Poetry, 1900 to 1945

English 173A / Prof. Schmidt

This course will consider American poetry from the turn of the century through the end of World War II. We will read selections from authors such as T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Marianne Moore, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and others. Throughout the quarter, we will pay particular attention to how different writers define and put pressure on the ideas conveyed by the three words “Modern American Poetry.” To do so, we will examine the ways in which individual poems engage with notions of history, nation, and literary form while exploring a range of approaches to reading and writing about poetry.

Contemporary American Poetry: Ten American Poets

English 173C / Prof. Mullen

Instead of sampling poems in an anthology, we will read ten books by ten poets: Jericho Brown, Natalie Díaz, Terrance Hayes, Martín Espada, Dorothea Lasky, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Arthur Sze, Ellen Bryant Voigt, W.S. Merwin, and Dean Young. This will allow deeper immersion in the work of each poet. Most of the books are slender, yet poems require multiple readings, so you will need to devote sufficient time to the works in order to experience the pleasures of poetry. 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 reading and interpretation 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.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Perez-Torres

This course will consider novels, narrative poetry, and short stories whose fictional worlds help reveal the contradictions, problems, and potential of a nation at change following the convulsive crisis that was World War II. We will trace two reactions evident in U.S. society. One sought comfort: structuring differences and definitions, marking national, racial, sexual, and class boundaries. A deep need to distinguish between “us” and “other” generates anxiety about infiltration and contamination. The other reaction was to embrace change that addresses profound historical injustices. These opposite reactions form dynamic poles that shape the literature we will read for this class. In the process, we will focus on precise textual and literary analyses. The goals of the class will be: 1) to express oneself in a clear and organized way; 2) to analyze literary material critically; 3) to generate original ideas from a synthesis of different critical thoughts and analyses and, 4) to consider how post-war socio-political dynamics establish the patterns for modern life today.

The Evolution of Anti-racism in Nonfiction Prose and Documentary Film

English 175 / Prof. Solomon

This course will highlight the significant contribution made by writers, visual artists, and filmmakers to the on-going project of anti-racism in U.S. culture. We will trace the development of anti-racist arguments from the late 19th century to the present, examining important essays, speeches, manifestos, exposés, graphic novels, and documentary films that were produced with the explicit intent of challenging the status quo, redefinining notions of community, and – ultimately – bringing about a more perfect union.

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

Ways of Reading Race

English 100 / Prof. Perez-Torres

This course provides an overview of the main intellectual PARADIGMS that have structured the academic study of race and ethnicity in the United States since World War II. It also introduces you to the METHODS used by key disciplines to address the topic of race. in which we see the insights of critical race and ethnic studies enacted. We will pay special attention to literature and the arts in this class, but there are many “Ways of Reading Race” and we will discuss the different disciplinary ways that race is made legible in particular ways based on disciplinary biases. The goal is to gain proficiency in recognizing the significance of race across a range of academic fields to be able to see, think, and talk about race and ethnicity mindfully, critically, and productively.

The Intimacy of Queer Life in Early Queer Literature

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

From the elegiac and tragic to the comic, this course begins with Walt Whitman and ends (most likely) with lesbian pulp fiction. The course surveys not only some of the most groundbreaking queer texts—novels, poems, plays (sometimes in the form of film)—written between 1860 and the late 1960s but also the intriguing personalities/authors behind so many of them. Our course attends to how this literature and these personages resisted systemic efforts to disappear, silence, and erase queer bodies, voices, and subjectivities. Without resorting to autobiography (at least in any straightforward sense), the queer literature produced during this period makes emphatically evident the intimate relationship between life and narrative: importantly, literature in this era was far less a way of reporting on one’s life than a way of laying claim to one. Queer literature was indeed a way to demonstrate and perform the fact that queer folk, like non-queer folk, had intimate 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 epistemologies and sensibilities.

 

Not open to students who took English M101B, LGBTS M101B, or Gender Studies M105B in Fall 2018 or 2019.

Historical Survey of Asian American Literature

English M102A / Prof. Ling

This course examines a body of Asian American literary works—autobiography, the novel, short fiction, critical essay, and drama, among others—which thematizes Asians’ experiences in the U.S. from the early twentieth century to the 1990s, with a majority of the assigned reading material focused on what happened in the pre-1980 period. Issues to look at include trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic Asian migration and diaspora; racialization; the lasting effects of imperil wars; interethnic and generational dynamics; cultural politics social activism; and gender and class formations. Lectures will focus on making sense of texts in contexts, with an emphasis on how the narrative voices, thematic orientations, and formal properties of the works examined are shaped by the interplay between authorial aspirations, circumstantial constraints, and the commercially driven literary markets. Students enrolled in the class will be updated on the course requirements and grading policies during Summer. Lauren Higa, a graduate student from the Department of Asian American Studies, will be the Reader for this course.

Early African American Literature

English M104A / Prof. Yarborough

Survey of African American literature from the 18th century to World War I, including oral and written forms (folktales, spirituals, sermons; fiction, autobiography, poetry). Authors covered include Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, and W. E. B. Du Bois. The class will focus on the historical and cultural contexts of the literary works as well as on diverse strategies for engaging formal aspects of the assigned materials. Requirements include attendance and participation in section, a midterm exam, a term paper, and a final exam.

Early Chicana/o/x Literature, 1400 to 1920

English M105A / Prof. Lopez

What is early Chicana/o/x literature?  Does it look like later Chicana/o/x literature?  What does “Chicana/o/x” mean anyway?  We will tackle these questions and more this quarter, beginning with how we might think about Pre-Columbian and colonial Mexican literature as Chicana/o/x.  We will explore how Mexican and U.S. history inform each other during the 19th century, asking why their conflicts form the basis of contemporary Chicana/o/x identity.  We end with the Mexican Revolution, which brings increased migration north, as well as the full-scale proletarianization and racialization of Mexicans in the United States.  By the end of the quarter you will have a basic understanding of the historical forces shaping Chicana/o/x culture, the literary ways in which Chicanas/os/xs have responded to these forces, and a solid grounding for further courses in Chicana/o/x Studies.

 

**Satisfies pre-1848 requirement for American Literature and Culture majors.

Indigenous Literatures of North America

English 106 / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

In this course, we will be introduced to the Indigenous literatures of North America by reading fiction and poetry as well as literary history and critical theory. We will consider how authors/artists imagine Indigenous lifeworlds, affective and embodied experiences, and genders and sexualities in ways that challenge and transcend historic and on-going settler-imperial violence in the Americas. We will focus on writers who are Indigenous to the geographies currently occupied by the United States and Canadian North-American, settler-imperial colonies. We will examine how authors/artists draw on Indigenous cosmologies and relationships with other-than-human life in crafting anti-colonial forms of memory, intergenerational connection, and spatiality. We will also ask, how do Indigenous literatures represent vital anti-colonial sites of cultural, ecological, feminist, queer, and political theorizing with the power to enact a decolonial present and future?

Race, Sex, and Sensation

Studies in Gender and Sexuality
English M107B / Prof. S.K. Lee

This course will engage with theories of race, sex, and sensation in critical race and ethnic studies, black and women of color feminism, queer studies, and postcolonial studies. How does the violence enacted on racialized, sexed, gendered subjects exclude such subjects from the category of the individual, rights-bearing human cemented in Western philosophy? How is this exclusion enacted on the very surface of the skin and distinctly felt on one’s body? Who gets to claim humanity and subjecthood, and who has never been able to make such a claim? The readings in this course give an account of how racialized, sexed, gendered subjects are made to bear histories of enslavement, dispossession, genocide, and colonialism in ways that are sensed, felt, and embodied. We will work with literature, performance, and art that elucidates the political, social, and aesthetic possibilities found in the nonhuman, animality, objecthood, flesh, viscera, and touch.

 

This course will feature a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching.

Black-Asian Relationship: Affinities and Cleavages

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

The course covers through fiction and memoirs areas in which Asians and Blacks have come into conflict and collaboration, with particular focus on the 1992 Los Angeles uprising and the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. We will examine the stereotype of the “Asian American model minority” (imposed by the dominant culture but to which many Americans of Asian descent have also subscribed) and its insidious roles in fueling both social upheavals. An investigation into the causes and consequences of inter-minority conflict disrupts the Black/White binary of American race relations. Additionally, we look at the burden of representation incumbent upon peoples of color and the polar positions in which “Asian Americans” find themselves—as guilty perpetrators abetting police violence and as victims of racial violence.

 

Required Texts:

Paul Beatty, White Boy Shuffle

Marilyn Chin, The Portrait of the Self as Nation

Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker

Russell Leong, “No Bruce Lee”

Ty Pak, “The Court Interpreter”

Nina Revoyr, Southland

John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire

Hisaye Yamamoto, Seventeen Syllables

Re/writing Mexican LA

Literature of California and the American West
English 117 / Prof. Lopez

This class explores the role literature played in California’s 19th century shift from a Mexican territory to a US state.  That transformation relies on erasing the state’s Mexican past and replacing it with a Spanish fantasy, a process we’ll explore using LA as a case study. Through an intersectional analysis of the 19th c Latinx, indigenous, and Anglo literature of the southland, students will examine the precise ways in which a dominant majority can mobilize narrative – and the study of literature – to silence and disempower.  We will also investigate resistance strategies. Students will be expected to engage in rigorous textual analysis, work with archival material, and produce – in addition to a traditional paper – creative, publicly engaged writing across multiple platforms including the Instagram project @picturingmexicanamerica.  Readings will be in English and multigeneric, encompassing oral histories, plays, poetry, and prose fiction.

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

Literary London
English 119 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

Not open to students who completed English 119 with Professor Makdisi in Winter 2017, 2018, 2019 or Fall 2019.

Single Author: Ntozake Shange

Individual Authors
English 139 / Prof. Mullen

We will immerse ourselves in the work of Ntozake Shange (1948-2018), the celebrated creator of innovative theater pieces, dramatic works that she called “choreopoems.” Although best known as a playwright, Shange’s works draw on her life as a multimedia or intermedia artist in multiple genres, often composing and performing her poetry in collaboration with musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Throughout her dazzling life as artist and performer, Ntozake Shange worked intently to produce critical and poetic synergies of words and action, music and dance, image and gesture. Probably more than any other writer, she has sketched engaging portraits of artists compelled to create new worlds where they can be free. In Shange’s prolific works we find extravagant characters at home in lavishly bohemian settings, many of them performers, dancers, musicians, and artists of color, all striving to live their most vivid dreams. Our reading will include her best-known play, For Colored Girls, as well as two novels, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo and Lillianne, a poetry collection, Wild Beauty, and a memoir/essay collection, Lost in Language and Sound.

Literature, Labor, and Empire, 1700 to 1850

Imperial Culture, 1700 to 1850
English 165A / Prof. Shaub

This course will examine the development of British imperial culture as it emerged in the writing and art of the 18th- and 19th-centuries. We will engage critically with the myriad ways in which political and economic thought underpinned the discourse of empire, especially as it entered into debates concerning conquest, slavery, abolition, and the establishment of new systems of education in Britain and its colonies. What role did imaginative literature play in the advancement of, and resistance to, imperial expansion? What can this dual role for imaginative literature tell us about the emergence and value of modern literary study? The readings have been selected to give a sense of the wide variety of perspectives on these intersecting issues, particularly with regard to views on race, gender, and class, from the vantage of both colonizer and colonized. We will also make use of classic and recent critical studies of imperial culture in Britain, to provide contemporary perspective and useful tools for further investigation.

American Literature, 1865 to 1900

English 170A / Prof. Looby

After the Civil War American literature entered a period of ferment. In this course we will study American literary expression after the war and up to the beginning of the twentieth century, tracing lines of development as it underwent radical changes. We’ll begin by reading De Forest’s Civil War novel, Miss Ravenel’s Conversion. At the center of the course will be a sustained reading of a cluster of writers who, in the mid-1880s, participated in a collective literary undertaking sponsored by the popular Century Magazine, an effort to review the war itself and unify the nation in its aftermath. James serialized The Bostonians there; Howells’s The Rise of Silas Lapham too; excerpts from Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as well. African American writer Charles Chesnutt tried to contribute to the Century at this time but was rebuffed: we will read him, too. Women writers of various stripes—sentimental and conventional, caustic and rebellious—came to the fore in this period: we will read Chopin’s The Awakening and Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs.

The Evolution of Anti-racism in Nonfiction Prose and Documentary Film

English 175 / Prof. Solomon

This course will highlight the significant contribution made by writers, visual artists, and filmmakers to the on-going project of anti-racism in U.S. culture. We will trace the development of anti-racist arguments from the late 19th century to the present, examining important essays, speeches, manifestos, exposés, graphic novels, and documentary films that were produced with the explicit intent of challenging the status quo, redefinining notions of community, and – ultimately – bringing about a more perfect union.

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

Early Chicana/o/x Literature, 1400 to 1920**

English M105A / Prof. Lopez

What is early Chicana/o/x literature?  Does it look like later Chicana/o/x literature?  What does “Chicana/o/x” mean anyway?  We will tackle these questions and more this quarter, beginning with how we might think about Pre-Columbian and colonial Mexican literature as Chicana/o/x.  We will explore how Mexican and U.S. history inform each other during the 19th century, asking why their conflicts form the basis of contemporary Chicana/o/x identity.  We end with the Mexican Revolution, which brings increased migration north, as well as the full-scale proletarianization and racialization of Mexicans in the United States.  By the end of the quarter you will have a basic understanding of the historical forces shaping Chicana/o/x culture, the literary ways in which Chicanas/os/xs have responded to these forces, and a solid grounding for further courses in Chicana/o/x Studies.

 

**Satisfies pre-1848 requirement for American Literature and Culture majors.

Studies in Native American and Indigenous Literatures

English 106 / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

In this course, we will be introduced to the Indigenous literatures of North America by reading fiction, poetry, and nonfiction as well as analyzing music, cinema, and visual art. We will examine how Indigenous authors/artists imagine Native lifeworlds, affective and embodied experiences, and genders and sexualities in ways that index, challenge, and transcend historic and on-going settler-colonial and imperial violence in the Americas. For instance, reading Layli Long Soldier’s poetry, we will consider how authors/artists draw on Indigenous cosmologies and relationships with other-than-human life in narrating anti-colonial forms of memory, intergenerational connection, and spatiality that also critique genocidal, settler-state policies and structures. Reading across Indigeneities and geographies, we will also ask, how do Indigenous literatures represent vital anti-colonial sites of cultural, ecological, feminist, and political theorizing with the power to enact a decolonial present and future?

Re/writing Mexican LA

Literature of California and the American West
English 117 / Prof. Lopez

This class explores the role literature played in California’s 19th century shift from a Mexican territory to a US state.  That transformation relies on erasing the state’s Mexican past and replacing it with a Spanish fantasy, a process we’ll explore using LA as a case study. Through an intersectional analysis of the 19th c Latinx, indigenous, and Anglo literature of the southland, students will examine the precise ways in which a dominant majority can mobilize narrative – and the study of literature – to silence and disempower.  We will also investigate resistance strategies. Students will be expected to engage in rigorous textual analysis, work with archival material, and produce – in addition to a traditional paper – creative, publicly engaged writing across multiple platforms including the Instagram project @picturingmexicanamerica.  Readings will be in English and multigeneric, encompassing oral histories, plays, poetry, and prose fiction.

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

Literary London
English 119.2 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

Not open to students who completed English 119 with Professor Makdisi in Winter 2017, 2018, 2019.

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures: From the Nation to the Environment

English 130 / Prof. J.E. Lee

What is postcolonial? Kazuo Ishiguro, the author of Never Let Me Go (2005), expresses his skepticism about the word in an interview: “I’ve never understood the categorization of postcolonial writing. . . . Does ‘postcolonial’ mean writing that came out in the postcolonial era? . . . Or does it mean writing by people who don’t have white skins?” In this class, we will examine the ways in which postcolonial literatures have evolved through time from their initial stage involving nationalist struggles, orientalism, and writing back to the empire to environmental concepts questioning the concept of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene. We will look into diverse narrative forms and theories emerging in alignment with this decentralization of human agency in space. Topics for discussion may include “the empire writes back,” writing the self and the nation, bildungsroman, the country and the city, land and the novel, postcolonial environments.

 

This course is eligible for credit on the Literature & the Environment minor.

Literature, Labor, and Empire, 1700 to 1850

Imperial Culture, 1700 to 1850
English 165A / Prof. Shaub

This course will examine the development of British imperial culture as it emerged in the writing and art of the 18th- and 19th-centuries. We will engage critically with the myriad ways in which political and economic thought underpinned the discourse of empire, especially as it entered into debates concerning conquest, slavery, abolition, and the establishment of new systems of education in Britain and its colonies. What role did imaginative literature play in the advancement of, and resistance to, imperial expansion? What can this dual role for imaginative literature tell us about the emergence and value of modern literary study? The readings have been selected to give a sense of the wide variety of perspectives on these intersecting issues, particularly with regard to views on race, gender, and class, from the vantage of both colonizer and colonized. We will also make use of classic and recent critical studies of imperial culture in Britain, to provide contemporary perspective and useful tools for further investigation.

American Literature, 1776 to 1832**

English 166B / Prof. Colacurcio

After a brief look at the famous political texts associated with the American Revolution, this course will focus on the many-stranded attempt to create and define a new-fledged American literature as such–not just British literature written in America.  The writers begin, tentatively, trying to make the familiar British genres express American experience, but soon discover the time-and-place limitations of these.  New forms will be needed.  Of course it will go through some clumsy stages, but sooner or later there will be Poe. Hawthorne, and (almost) Emerson.

 

**Qualifies as a pre-1848 course for American Literature and Culture majors

 

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

Forms of Gothic in British Popular Literature

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 A Sicilian Romance, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as shorter works by authors including (but not limited to) Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, M. R. James, and Angela Carter.

The Mystery Genre

Detective Fiction
English 115D / Prof. Allmendinger

In this course we will study one of the most popular genres in literature, beginning with the British murder mystery, continuing with the American detective novel, and concluding with the related sub-genres of suspense and horror. We will also be visited by a local mystery writer, who will talk about the process of writing and how to break into the publishing industry. Authors to be studied include: Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Patricia Highsmith, Truman Capote, and Thomas Harris. Requirements normally include a midterm, paper, and final. If we continue to remain online in the fall, I may modify these requirements to make things easier and more convenient for students

Re/writing Mexican LA

Literature of California and the American West
English 117 / Prof. Lopez

This class explores the role literature played in California’s 19th century shift from a Mexican territory to a US state.  That transformation relies on erasing the state’s Mexican past and replacing it with a Spanish fantasy, a process we’ll explore using LA as a case study. Through an intersectional analysis of the 19th c Latinx, indigenous, and Anglo literature of the southland, students will examine the precise ways in which a dominant majority can mobilize narrative – and the study of literature – to silence and disempower.  We will also investigate resistance strategies. Students will be expected to engage in rigorous textual analysis, work with archival material, and produce – in addition to a traditional paper – creative, publicly engaged writing across multiple platforms including the Instagram project @picturingmexicanamerica.  Readings will be in English and multigeneric, encompassing oral histories, plays, poetry, and prose fiction.

Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature: Fiction and Metrology

English 118A / Prof. Grossman

What does a meter or a yard have to do with nineteenth-century fiction? This class will investigate literature’s relation to the rise of precision engineering, machine industrialization, and especially the scientific establishment of measurement systems (or, “metrology”). The core text we will explore will be a story obsessively preoccupied with imagining exactitude in space and time: Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. On our journey, historians of science will help us to understand the globalizing, standardizing infrastructure of hours and time zones, pounds and kilograms, thermometers and voltage meters, that not only enable the construction of infrastructure but also, as we will consider, shape the imagining of fictional worlds. No science background is required. Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

Literary Cities
English 119 / Prof. Makdisi

For most of the 19th century, London had a split identity: glittering districts alongside teeming slums; fashionable gentlemen and ladies living in close proximity to an underworld of rogues, vagabonds, prostitutes, conspirators, ballad singers and thieves. This course will explore literary accounts of London’s dual identity in this period and on into the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the gradual attempt to bring to order and settle the turbulent urban space: to tame the many resorts of vagabonds, thieves, and outcasts, to “civilize” those regarded as racial others—a process that would continue following the absorption of a wave of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and later, and as today’s fast-paced global metropolis continues to deal with stark disparities in wealth and income and bitter racial divisions.  Readings will include fiction, poetry and the visual arts from the 18th century through the Victorian and on to more recent work such as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners, Alan Moore’s From Hell and Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah.

Not open to students who completed English 119 with Professor Makdisi in Winter 2017, 2018, 2019 or Fall 2019.

History of Aesthetics and Critical Theory

English 120 / Prof. Huehls

A historical survey of literary theory and aesthetic philosophy stretching from antiquity to the nineteenth century. This course covers influential theorizations of literary and aesthetic value. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Sidney, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.

Keywords: Culture

Keywords in Theory
English 122 / Prof. Dimuro

Using a wide variety of written and visual texts, this course explores the meaning of “culture,” a word which has a complex history and that continues to have a wide currency in literary, political, and critical discourse. We will trace the term’s anthropological, sociological, and ideological meanings as they developed over the last two centuries. Topics include cultural capital, popular culture, the culture wars, kitsch, conspicuous consumption, and culture as a regulatory system. We read Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, the literary criticism of T.S. Eliot, Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction, the essays of Clifford Geertz, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ German Ideology, and other theorists. We will read literary works by Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather. The goal is to use the idea of culture as a critical framework to interpret literary texts in ways that amplify the skills of close reading. Requirements: short essays, quizzes, a longer paper, and a comprehensive final examination.

Walking in Literature and Art

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129 / Prof. Hornby

How does walking make its way into works of literature and art? What does it mean to put one foot in front of the other, again and again? This course will consider a corpus of works that explore the significance of walking, from peripatetic philosophers, poets, and novelists, to visual practices of walking. We will discuss a number of walkers, including flaneurs, streetwalkers, mountaineers, city dwellers, fugitives, and refugees. We will consider works by Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Nan Shepherd, W.G. Sebald, Walter Benjamin, Teju Cole, Charlie Chaplin, Werner Herzog, Bruce Nauman, and Janet Cardiff, among others.

Single Author: Ntozake Shange

Individual Authors
English 139 / Prof. Mullen

We will immerse ourselves in the work of Ntozake Shange (1948-2018), the celebrated creator of innovative theater pieces, dramatic works that she called “choreopoems.” Although best known as a playwright, Shange’s works draw on her life as a multimedia or intermedia artist in multiple genres, often composing and performing her poetry in collaboration with musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Throughout her dazzling life as artist and performer, Ntozake Shange worked intently to produce critical and poetic synergies of words and action, music and dance, image and gesture. Probably more than any other writer, she has sketched engaging portraits of artists compelled to create new worlds where they can be free. In Shange’s prolific works we find extravagant characters at home in lavishly bohemian settings, many of them performers, dancers, musicians, and artists of color, all striving to live their most vivid dreams. Our reading will include her best-known play, For Colored Girls, as well as two novels, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo and Lillianne, a poetry collection, Wild Beauty, and a memoir/essay collection, Lost in Language and Sound.

The Novel Becomes Standard

19th-Century Novel
English 164C / Prof. Grossman

In the nineteenth century, the novel emerged as the dominant art form, mass produced and mass consumed. In this class, we will first look at the work of fiction that dramatically inaugurated this new age: Charles Dickens’s comic tour-de-force The Pickwick Papers. Then we will read a brilliant response to Dickens’s novel, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford. Topics we will investigate include the transformation of publication by serialization; our novels’ shaping by industrial capitalism, especially in its configurations of gender and class; and the form of fiction in an age of standardized mechanical reproduction. Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Neoclassicism and the Goths–Literature and Culture, 1700 to 1850

English 169 / Prof. Shaub

As the revival of classical styles in the art and literature of Europe (known today as neoclassicism) lost steam around the middle of the 18th century, a few antiquarians, writers, and artists began to wonder what had been left behind in turning away from the forms of thought and feeling that had defined the so-called “dark” ages, sparking the re-evaluation of the medieval period known as the gothic revival. Where adherents found in the gothic a fertile soil for creative expression, neoclassicists often found evidence of decline, a return to the “darkness” and “barbarism” of the past. Focusing on the case of Britain, we will explore this complex tension between neoclassical and gothic as it emerges across various media during the 18th- and 19th-centuries, to understand not only how it figured in the genesis of new genres, such as the gothic novel, but also its persistence into the present, as in the Trump administration’s effort to mandate neoclassical design in all new federal architecture.

20th-Century British Poetry

English 171B / Prof. Jaurretche

In this class we will read major British poets from 1900 to the present.  We’ll begin with study of Thomas Hardy and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and incorporate the poets of World War I. The greater part of the course will be given over to detailed study of the writings of William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Our term will conclude with introduction to contemporary British poets such as Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, and others. The class will have a mid-term and final examination, and require one paper.

20th-Century British Fiction

English 171C / Prof. Jin

In this course we will read major British novels from over the course of the twentieth century, with a double focus on how these novels explore constructions of “Englishness” and how they do so through various narrative forms.  It is impossible to do this without situating British literary production in the historical context of empire in the first half of the twentieth century, and in the effects and processes of decolonization after World War II.  We will also pay close attention to the functions and operations of literary criticism itself, considering what kinds of knowledge about social, historical, and political structures are made visible by reading fiction.  Authors may include Virginia Woolf, Evelyn Waugh, Sam Selvon, and Arundhati Roy.

American Poetry, 1900 to 1945

English 173A / Prof. Schmidt

This course will consider American poetry from the turn of the century through the end of World War II. We will read selections from authors such as T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Marianne Moore, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and others. Throughout the quarter, we will pay particular attention to how different writers define and put pressure on the ideas conveyed by the three words “Modern American Poetry.” To do so, we will examine the ways in which individual poems engage with notions of history, nation, and literary form while exploring a range of approaches to reading and writing about poetry.

Contemporary American Poetry: Ten American Poets

English 173C / Prof. Mullen

Instead of sampling poems in an anthology, we will read ten books by ten poets: Jericho Brown, Natalie Díaz, Terrance Hayes, Martín Espada, Dorothea Lasky, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Arthur Sze, Ellen Bryant Voigt, W.S. Merwin, and Dean Young. This will allow deeper immersion in the work of each poet. Most of the books are slender, yet poems require multiple readings, so you will need to devote sufficient time to the works in order to experience the pleasures of poetry. 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 reading and interpretation 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.

American Fiction since 1945

English 174B / Prof. Perez-Torres

This course will consider novels, narrative poetry, and short stories whose fictional worlds help reveal the contradictions, problems, and potential of a nation at change following the convulsive crisis that was World War II. We will trace two reactions evident in U.S. society. One sought comfort: structuring differences and definitions, marking national, racial, sexual, and class boundaries. A deep need to distinguish between “us” and “other” generates anxiety about infiltration and contamination. The other reaction was to embrace change that addresses profound historical injustices. These opposite reactions form dynamic poles that shape the literature we will read for this class. In the process, we will focus on precise textual and literary analyses. The goals of the class will be: 1) to express oneself in a clear and organized way; 2) to analyze literary material critically; 3) to generate original ideas from a synthesis of different critical thoughts and analyses and, 4) to consider how post-war socio-political dynamics establish the patterns for modern life today.

The Evolution of Anti-racism in Nonfiction Prose and Documentary Film

English 175 / Prof. Solomon

This course will highlight the significant contribution made by writers, visual artists, and filmmakers to the on-going project of anti-racism in U.S. culture. We will trace the development of anti-racist arguments from the late 19th century to the present, examining important essays, speeches, manifestos, exposés, graphic novels, and documentary films that were produced with the explicit intent of challenging the status quo, redefinining notions of community, and – ultimately – bringing about a more perfect union.

Creative Writing Workshops

Admission to all upper-division English Creative Writing workshops is by application ONLY. Please read and follow the posted application instructions carefully.

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.1 / Prof. Kevorkian

Course description:

In this class we consider what is great and wildly various about contemporary poems. In weekly assignments and readings we explore how contemporary poems present, complicate, or undermine any feelings their words imply by using patterns of sound, syntax, word choice, line, and images. The poems you write, read, and discuss each week will experiment with these practices. You also will explore the benefits of reading work aloud. No grades are given during the quarter. Your final assignment—a group of well considered revisions of your poems—largely contribute to the final grade.

How to Apply:  

Send 3-4 poems of your own composition with a brief statement about recent poetry books read and readings attended. Also include information about any poetry workshops or classes in poetry that you’ve taken. Include your 9-digit UID number and your e-mail address. If applying to both poetry workshops, please indicate the one that works best for you.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Friday, September 25, 2020, via email.

Submit to both: kkevorkian@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number, English 136.1

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN YOUR LAST NAME AND “136.1” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE

Acceptance Notifications:

Applicants accepted to the class will be notified by e-mail, and a list of the names of students accepted to the class may be posted at the main English department office, 149 Kaplan Hall, as Fall 2020 physical distancing policies permit. 

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

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.2 / Prof. D’Aguiar

Course description:

To be a writer you have to be a reader. That is so obvious a foundation for teaching poetry that it almost goes without saying. The big difference in a creative writing course is the focus on reading as a writer in order to write as a reader. I include the scribal, auditory and visual arts in this formation of a writing persona. Students write one poem each week and read and discuss set texts. Students complete a final portfolio of their poems, revised as a result of the workshop process of discussion and feedback.

How to Apply:  

Email to freddaguiar@ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu a Word document of up to four of your poems with a brief statement of your recent reading in poetry and past creative writing experience. Include your 9-digit UID number and your e-mail address. If applying to both poetry workshops, please indicate the one that works best for you.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Friday, September 25th, via email. In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number, English 136.2.

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN YOUR LAST NAME AND “136.2” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

 Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified by e-mail, and a class list announcement may be posted by noon on Tuesday September 29th at the Dept. of English main office in time for the start of classes on Thursday, October 1, if Fall 2020 physical distancing policies permit.

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 137.1 / Prof. D’Aguiar

Course Description:

Short fiction compresses a story into a formal relationship with a reader and listener. The art and craft emerges out of the practice of writing and reading and discussion. We read and discuss exemplars of short stories and write three in the quarter. We discuss students’ stories in the workshop format of offering feedback for revision into a final portfolio. The course readings of published short stories are to be announced.
How to Apply:
Email to freddaguiar@ucla.eduAND creativewriting@english.ucla.edua Word document of one of your short stories (no less than 5 pages and not more that 8 pages maximum length) with a brief statement of your recent reading in fiction and past creative writing experience. Include your 9-digit UID number and your e-mail address. If applying to both short story workshops, please indicate the one that works best for you.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Friday, September 25th, via email.In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number, English 137.1.
YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAINYOUR LAST NAME AND“137.1” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.
Acceptance notifications:
Accepted applications will be notified by e-mail, anda class list announcement may be posted by noon on Tuesday September 29th at the Dept. of English main office in time for the start of classes on Thursday, October 1, if Fall 2020 physical distancing policies permit.
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. Torres

Course description:

Short fiction compresses a story into a formal relationship with a reader and listener. The art and craft emerges out of the practice of writing and reading and discussion. We read and discuss exemplars of short stories and write two longer stories in the quarter, in addition to shorter weekly prompts. We discuss students’ stories in the workshop format of offering feedback for revision. The course readings of published short stories are to be announced.

How to Apply:

Email to jtorres7@ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu  a Word document of one of your short stories (no less than 5 pages and not more that 8 pages maximum length) with a brief statement of your recent reading in fiction and past creative writing experience. Include your 9-digit UID number and your e-mail address. If applying to both short story workshops, please indicate the one that works best for you.

 DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Friday, September 25th, via email. In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number, English 137.2.

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

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applications will be notified by e-mail, and a class list announcement may be posted by noon on Tuesday September 29th at the Dept. of English main office in time for the start of classes on Thursday, October 1, if Fall 2020 physical distancing policies permit.

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

Creative Writing: Gaming Experiments and Multimedia Scripting

English M138.1 / Prof. Snelson

Course description:

This creative writing course explores new genres of writing with games. We’ll write games and game writing. And, most importantly, play a variety of games as generator for creative writing. We’ll experiment in a wide array of genres and media, including: procedural writing experiments, interactive hypertexts, dating simulators, tabletop (and online) role playing games, Nordic LARPs, and VR/AR poetics, alongside documentary practices like collecting, journaling, podcasting, machinima, and actual play recording. Studying gaming platforms and histories alongside contemporary art and poetry, we’ll reimagine experimental and multimedia writing practices through a constellation of contemporary approaches to gameplay. Using a collective workshop format, we’ll engage in a series of gaming experiments that attempt to find some of our own creative responses to today’s technological environment. No previous training in games, creative writing, or new media is required.

How To Apply: please submit a cover letter introducing yourself and a sample of your writing or creative work in any format (no more than five pages, links to online work in any genre encouraged). In your cover letter, please include the following: your student identification number, email address, year of graduation, and a brief statement that addresses your interest in the course and any relevant coursework, creative practices, or gaming experiences. 

Please email your submission in PDF format to dsnelson@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu. Please title your PDF starting with your last name, i.e.: lastname_spring-internet_submission.pdf.

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN YOUR LAST NAME AND “M138.1” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Friday, September 25, via e-mail. In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number, English M138.1.

 Acceptance notifications:

Applicants accepted to the class will be notified by e-mail, and a list of the names of students accepted to the class may be posted at the main English department office, 149 Kaplan Hall, as Fall 2020 physical distancing policies permit.

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

This course is eligible for credit on the Professional Writing Minor. 

Senior/Capstone Seminars

Theory of the Novel

Topics in Genre Studies
English 181A / Prof. Dimuro

The theory of the novel falls into two categories: the development of its generic and material form over time, and its affinities with narratology. In the first case, the novel is studied in its relations with social reality, the rise of the middle class, capitalism, print reproduction, consumer markets and distribution practices, rates of literacy, and discursive origins to name a few. In the second case, scholars tend to collapse the novel’s distinctive rhetorical, narrative, and structural features into the broader technical elements it shares with other forms of narrative. These include plot, character, point of view, and other common features of prose fiction. We will study the differences between the novel as a genre and the novel as a sub-category of narrative. Most of the readings are theoretical, but we also read three novels from the nineteenth century that lend themselves to theoretical analysis: Jane Austen’s Emma, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, and Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady.

The Literature of the Law

Topics in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature
English 181B / Prof. Shuger

The seminar will read selections from the classic texts of British law, from Bracton in the thirteenth century to Blackstone in the eighteenth. We will explore a variety of topics: contract, oaths, the jury system, sexual regulation, murder, equity, suicide, censorship, and (my favorite) stellionatus. The readings tend to be long and hard—and therefore wonderful preparation for law school (especially since 90% of modern American law is rooted in the English common law)—although we will also read some utterly electrifying trial narratives. Although the course has obvious relevance for prospective law students, it should also be of great value for those intending to do graduate work in English history or literature. . . . I strongly recommend reading J.H. Baker’s Introduction to English Legal History over summer break. There will be weekly short papers on the readings, but no exams.

 

Not available for credit for students who completed English 182B with Prof. Shuger in 14F.

The Passions and the Novel

Topics in 18th-Century Literature
English 182C / Prof. Kareem

Eighteenth-century moral philosophy held that human nature is governed by the passions; in this course we’ll read novels that dramatize this belief by representing what happens to novelistic characters when passion overtakes them. Readings will include novels by authors including Madame de Lafayette, Eliza Haywood, Choderlos de Laclos, and Jane Austen.

Immigrant Stories: Literary and Cinematic

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

This course examines literary and cinematic representations of the American immigrant experience over the last century. To live between cultures, to experience the confounding processes of racialization and assimilation, to labor to translate one’s deepest interiority into a foreign language––all these aspects of migration make a new imaginative relationship with the world a necessity for the migrant and, as such, are fertile ground for literary exploration and cinematic expression. In this class, we study novels and movies as distinct mediums even as we attend to their affinities, such as an impulse toward narrative storytelling. Among our films, one is from the silent era (Chaplin’s The Immigrant); among our novels, one is a wordless story of sequenced, illustrated panels (Tan’s The Arrival). Other novels include Eugenides’ Middlesex, Ozeki’s A Tale for a Time Being, Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World. Other movies: Coppola’s The Godfather, Nair’s The Namesake, Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre.

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

Xiaolong Qiu’s Inspector Chen Detective Fiction Series

Capstone Seminar
English 184.1 / Prof. Cheung

This course explores how world-renowned immigrant writer Xiaolong Qiu uses the popular detective genre as political fiction. Set mostly in Shanghai but often with national and international repercussions, the detective fiction series explores contemporary issues hushed in the mainstream media, circumvents censorship via Anglophone and Francophone mediums, elevates the popular genre to the position of world literature by casting the private eye as a poet manqué and translator of The Wasteland, a bilingual literati who alludes constantly to Chinese and Western poetry. It is available as a BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Crime Series:

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Inspector-Chen-Mysteries-Audiobook/B07DV4PW7Q?source_code=GPAGBSH0508140001&ipRedirectOverride=true&ds_rl=1257028&ds_rl=1260658&ds_rl=1262685&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu6jdvPSa6QIVidlkCh1CmgLnEAYYASABEgKsxvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

Narrating the 1960s: Creative Nonfiction in an Age of Electronic Media

Capstone Seminar
English 184.2 / Prof. Decker

This course examines the 1960’s literary movement called New Journalism and the culture that gave rise to it. We read the most celebrated New Journalists––Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Hunter Thompson––to consider how they use their talents as non-fiction novelists to respond to upheavals in mass media and society at large. We address the following kinds of questions. How can an older (print) form like the novel compete for the attention of consumers within a new mediascape brought about by the proliferation of film and TV? Is the New Journalist’s non-fiction narrative mode up to the task of representing a reality––political assassinations, urban riots, black and Chicano protests, sexual revolution, psychedelic drugs, moon walks, Vietnam War, Watergate––that threatens to outstrip the writer’s imagination? Readings include: In Cold BloodElectric Kool-Aid Acid TestWhite AlbumDispatchesStrange Rumblings in Aztlan. Feature-length documentary films: Rush to JudgmentMedium CoolHearts and Minds. Plus TV news coverage from the era.

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

The World Through Susan Sontag

Capstone Seminar
English 184.3 / Prof. Stefans

Susan Sontag (1933 – 2004) could be described as the first “celebrity” intellectual in the United States — not of the type that appeared on TV regularly, but whose opinions, when expressed, became flashpoints for conversation about culture and politics. Essays from the Sixties such as “Notes on Camp” and “Against Interpretation” and the series collected in On Photography (1977) became required reading for anyone wanting razor-sharp insights into contemporary art and culture, particularly of the relationship between “high” and “low” art. Eschewing the life of an academic in 1964, Sontag — who considered herself primarily a novelist, and whose The Volcano Lover (1992) became a best-seller — granted herself incredible freedom in what she wrote about, penning classic, and very approachable, essays on artists and writers such as Antonin Artaud, Leni Riefenstahl, Jean Luc Godard, Albert Camus, the Marquis de Sade and Walter Benjamin. “Sontag has seemingly read everything, from Sophocles to Sartre, but has the gift of explaining ideas in reader-friendly prose – a gift not shared by all the critics who followed the trail she blazed,” writes a contemporary critic. Sontag eventually became known for her political activism, not to mention for various controversial views on issues such as the origins of 9/11, cancer as a metaphor for “white” civilization (a view she retracted), communism and the contemporary Left. Books such as Illness as Metaphor (1977) and AIDS and Its Metaphors (1988) demonstrate a trajectory toward investigating “pain” in general. This course will focus largely on Sontag’s cultural essays and will include much reading and viewing of the objects of her investigations, such as early films by Godard and writing by Camus. We will also read some of her fiction and, if possible, view some of her films, such as Duet for Cannibals (1969) which was recently restored by the UCLA Library Film & Television Archive. UCLA’s Young Research Library holds the complete Sontag archives which we will utilize should circumstances permit. Final projects can include work on Sontag herself, on one of the concepts she explored, or on one or more of the writers and artists she covered.

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

The “Bad” Kids: A New Generation of Asian American Writing

Capstone Seminar
English 184.4 / Prof. Wang

This seminar delineates and interrogates the idea of a homogeneous “Asian American Experience” by way of texts that challenge, subvert, or simply chuck that model minority myth out the window. Readings will highlight the recent explosion of contemporary Asian American voices, writers who are introducing new perspectives, styles and subject matters to the English language literary canon. We will analyze and discuss notions of “bad” and “bad kids” in the works of Asian American writers who portray themes that include but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, boredom, sexuality, mental health, religious marginalization, and rebellion.We will also look at issues of class, family, love, and friendship as portrayed by second-generation, first-generation, and one-point-five generation immigrant writers. How do their voices differ and what stylistic and thematic similarities are shared?  The course covers work by Cathy Park Hong, Mira Jacobs, Yanyi, Charles Yu, Jia Tolentino, Kevin Nguyen, and others.

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

Asian American Short Fiction

Topics in Asian American Literature
English M191C / Prof. Ling

This course examines selected Asian American short stories (including a novella) published from the pre-WWII period to the present. We will close-read these texts, considering their subject matters, writing styles, social relevance, and historical impact. The reading assignments are determined with an eye to the readability and artistic sophistication of the works chosen, as well as the range and depth of their representation of Asian American experiences. It should be noted that short fiction, by virtue of its rhetorical density and ellipsis, tends to be harder to interpret than longer works, in which plots or characterization are more fully developed. This means that the time taken to digest a 20-page short story may be similar to that spent on reading 100 pages from a novel. So, close engagement with and sustained interpretation of literary text are expected in this class throughout the Fall Quarter. Students will be updated on the requirements and grading policies for the seminar during Summer.

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

Queer Indigenous Literatures

Topics in Gender and Sexuality
English M191E / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

This seminar considers the intersections of queerness and Indigeneity in the Indigenous literatures and arts of North America. By reading fiction, poetry, memoir, and critical theory as well as examining cinema, performance art, and visual art, we will analyze how queer Indigenous authors/artists conceive of Indigeneity through anti-colonial conceptions of gender, sexuality, embodiment, and sociality. With an emphasis on writers/artist who are indigenous to the geographies currently occupied by the United States and Canadian North-American, settler-imperial colonies, we will read for the ways that artists/authors imagine queerness as a site of decolonial, embodied knowledge, memory, and relationality that resists anti-Indigenous gender and sexual violence. Listening to and thinking with these authors/artists, we will consider the centrality of dismantling settler-imperial heteropatriarchy to decolonization. We will also ask, what roles have queer Indigenous literatures played in histories of Indigenous art and critical thought in North America, and how do they represent crucial spaces for practicing anti-colonial politics?

 

Reserved for American Literature & Culture majors only on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

Graduate Seminars Open to Advanced Undergraduate: Please Read Information Below

Narrative Across Media

Graduate Seminar in Literary Theory
English M270 / Prof. Heise

This combined lecture/workshop aims to introduce graduate and advanced undergraduate students to to basic concepts, methods, and practices  in narrative. We will cover a range of theories from sociological, anthropological, and linguistic approaches to recent cognitive-science and digital perspectives in order to explore storytelling situations, narrators, voices, plot structure, character construction, setting, fictionality vs. nonfictionality, modes of reading/hearing narrative, image-text relations, and cross-media translation. Fictional and nonfictional narratives across the media of print, film/video, online narrative, and video games will provide us with practical examples on which to try out different analytical approaches, as well as with models for our own storytelling experiments. We’ll put particular emphasis on environmental, medical, and urban stories, but the assignments will encourage students to apply the theories we discuss to their own areas of interest and creativity, individually and in teams. Graduate students from across different departments are welcome, as well as advanced undergraduates (undergraduates, please contact the instructor at uheise@outlook.com before enrolling).

 

This course is eligible to fulfill the capstone requirement for the Literature & the Environment minor.

This course is eligible to fulfill the senior seminar requirement for the English major.

Global Chaucer: From Canterbury to the World

Graduate Seminar in Old and Medieval English Literatures
English 244 / Prof. Chism

This class will focus on tales from Chaucer’s last great work, The Canterbury Tales, exploring the ways it thinks both through and beyond “every shires end/ of Engelond” and reimagines the premodern world.   Situating Chaucer among premodern networks of cultural production and circulation speaks urgently to our own global milieu, inviting methodological self-reflection about theories of race, postcoloniality, gender and sexuality, migration and diaspora, and world literature from a time before European hegemony. We will explore the CT in the light of other frame tale collections from the Mediterranean and Western Asia, such as Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Arabic Alf Layla wa Layla (1001 Nights).  We will also explore the recent transdisciplinary scholarship of Karla Mallette, Alexander Beecroft, Geraldine Heng, Barbara Rosenwein, and others.  We will also look at recent and contemporary global Chaucers, including the Refugee Tales project, the poetic adaptations of Patience Agbabi, the plays of Ufuoma Overo-Tarimo, and other texts drawn from the Global Chaucer project:https://globalchaucers.wordpress.com/

Limited spaces are available to advanced undergraduate students who need to fulfill the Historical: Pre-1500 or Senior Seminar requirement. Interested students should email Professor Chism at chism@english.ucla.edu.