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 2021

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.

Introduction to American Cultures

English 11 / Prof. Silva

This course is a gateway to the American Literature and Culture major. In a time when ideas of American exceptionalism, supremacy, and justice are as contested as they have ever been, our goal will be to examine what “America” and what the “United States” mean in national, hemispheric, and global contexts. Using interdisciplinary approaches, we will consider the literary and cultural currents that shaped how those terms were used over five centuries of colonial history and how they continue to shape literary and cultural studies. The key terms that will shape our discussions are origins (the making of a colony; the making of a nation; the making of culture), identities (the relation between individual, community, and culture), and media (how we access the past and how we narrate for the future).

 

This course fulfills a preparatory requirement for the American Literature and Culture major.

Introduction to Visual Culture

English M50 / Prof. Hornby

Study of how visual media, including advertising, still and moving images, and narrative films, influence contemporary aesthetics, politics, and knowledge

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.

Topics in American Culture: Fever!

English 87 / Prof. Looby

In light of our COVID-19 pandemic we will focus on a famous earlier public health emergency, the Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. Over the summer and fall of that year, roughly a tenth of the population of the city—then the nation’s capital—perished from what we now know to be a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, but which was then thought to be caused either by putrid vapors or physical contact. The epidemic produced journalism, medical treatises, poems, novels (Charles Brockden Brown’s Arthur Mervyn notably), and one of the most important early Black political publications, a defense of the African American community after it had been publicly slandered. The epidemic has recently been revisited by contemporary writers including John Edgar Wideman (The Cattle Killing) and Laurie Halse Anderson (the young adult novel Fever 1793). We will examine this event and its textual archive from the perspectives of literary study and cultural history, and also using methods from the medical humanities, urban humanities, and critical race theory.

 

This course will be reserved for American Literature and Culture majors on first pass and during summer orientation. Non-majors hoping to take the course for GE or Diversity credit may enroll after September 14.

Shakespeare

ONLINE COURSE
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.

 

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.

UCLAPoem

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

This course is for students in UCLAPoem (https://www.instagram.com/uclapoem/).  If you’re interested in reading and discussing published poetry, and in helping to plan and organize public poetry events and activities throughout the year, come to the first Fall meeting!

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.1 / Prof. Stephan

In this course, designed specifically for English majors but now open to students from all majors for the first time, 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.

 

Not open for credit to students with credit for English 110T.

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

Writing in the English Major: Analytical Writing

English 110A.2 / Prof. Bistline

In this writing-intensive course, you will build on and hone your skills as a writer of sophisticated literary and cultural analyses. This class will focus on demystifying the process of creating compelling, complex arguments about literary texts. You will learn how to ask richer literary questions, make more nuanced arguments, and develop your voice as an academic writer. We will investigate what constitutes a good, rich literary analysis by exploring questions central to the writing process: What topics lead to top-notch, persuasive arguments? How do successful essays creatively attend to and expand on the conventions of the traditional literary analysis? What strategies do effective writers use as they draft and revise their essays? This class emphasizes that writing well and arguing persuasively depend on a process of creative thinking, drafting, and revising, as well as seeking and giving feedback. This class will foster a supportive classroom community in which we regularly discuss and workshop writing exercises. We will aim to make you more comfortable with the conventions of advanced literary analysis, more skillful and effective in your writing process, and more empowered to use your voice to make successful arguments.

 

Not open for credit to students with credit for English 110T.

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

Careers in Humanities

English M191P / Prof. Macfadyen

Challenges misassumptions regarding humanities majors and their practical applications to life after graduation. Exploration of wide range of careers, with hands-on practice in crafting professional narrative. Guest lectures from UCLA professionals and alumni—all experts in career planning and local industry. Students engage with workplace leaders, and simultaneously build professional dossier—on paper or online—in preparation for life after UCLA with a humanities degree.

 

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

Literatures in English Before 1500*

*SENIOR ENGLISH MAJORS: Please note that due to instructor availability, most pre-1500 courses will be available in Fall/Winter for the 2021-2022 academic year. We recommend that seniors who need to fulfill this requirement DO NOT wait until Spring quarter to do so.

Filthy Lucre: The Fraudster, Trader, and Usurer in the Age of Robin Hood and Beyond

Later Medieval Literature
English 142 / Prof. Thomas

In this course, we will examine the intersection of commerce and literature in a number of pre-modern texts ranging from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, excerpts from Piers Plowman and Robin Hood narratives to a few post-medieval texts such as Gerard Malynes’s Saint George for England. 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 fictional texts through the lens of “filthy lucre,” we will also understand how theories and practices of medieval commerce shaped them as well as other post-medieval writings.

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?

Framing Premodern Women

Medieval Story Cycles and Collections
English 146 / Prof. Chism

Framed story-collection put narrators in the same rooms as their imagined audiences, making them visible and vulnerable, and thus highlighting tactics and self-interests of storytelling itself.  Through multi-story narrative architectures, they can meditate on the social and aesthetic power of under-represented voices, while inviting reader to envision social change, or hold the line against it.  Drawing on narrative theory, feminism, and cultural studies, this class explores four premodern story collections that put gender at issue: Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies, The Thousand and One Nights, Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina Clericalis, and the Doncella Teodor.  We will also consider South Asian, Persian, and Mediterranean story-collections that fed these works, including Vikram aur Betaal, The Book of Sindbad, and Boccaccio’s Decameron.

 

Requirements:

  • Weekly response papers/forum posts (30%); two short papers or one longer paper (or one project with class presentation (40%); active class participation (30%).

Literatures in English 1500-1700

Shakespeare: Poems and Early Plays

English 150A / Prof. McEachern

Study of Shakespeare’s works up to 1600, with a focus on comedies, English history plays, and Hamlet.  Attention to cultural backgrounds, including gender, genre, and religion, with a focus on how Shakespeare defines the human and humanity.

Shakespeare: Later Plays

English 150B / Prof. Watson

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

Resourceful Shakespeare: Origins, Analogues, and Offshoots

Topics in Shakespeare
English 150C / Prof. Dickey

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

Milton

English 151 / Prof. McEachern

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

Staging Race in Early Modern England

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

In this course, we will explore how early modern dramatists staged race. Readings will include masques and plays by Richard Brome, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, George Peele, William Shakespeare, and John Webster. We will also read excerpts from early modern ethnographies, mythologies, and travel narratives in order to understand the theater’s central role in constructing racial hierarchies in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Our examinations of race in the early modern period will pay close attention to representations of gender, disability, class, and empire.

The Ancient Foundations of Modernity: Renaissance Translations from the Classics

Translation and Innovation in English Renaissance and Early Modern Period
English 157 / Prof. Shuger

Into the 20th Century, Greco-Roman texts written between 750 BC and ca 200 AD dominated the curriculum from grade school through college in both England and America. These are works of extraordinary importance (e.g., the checks-and-balances structure of the American constitution comes from the 1st century BC Greek historian, Polybius), and also of extraordinary beauty, variety, and intelligence. The course focuses on English Renaissance translations of the classics because the Renaissance was the rebirth (the re-naissance) of classical learning and literature, and one of the foci will be the Tudor-Stuart contexts of these translations; but the class also provides a general introduction to the classical foundations on which virtually all English and American literature rest. Readings include selections from Homer, Ovid, Cicero, Pliny, Plutarch, Xenophon on topics as far-flung as love, duty, sex, science, and empire. Weekly short paper and a final project. No late enrollments.

Colonial Beginnings of American Literature**

English 166A / Prof. Silva

This course is a survey of colonial American literatures and cultures. Although most of the texts on the syllabus were written in colonies that would eventually become part of the United States, the course itself is not meant to be a literary history of the US. Instead, we will consider these materials in the full diversity of local, regional, and Atlantic contexts that framed the colonial experiences they describe for a range of peoples and nations. It is a fundamental precept of the course that this diversity defined the New World, and that scholars cannot hope to understand the literary history of the Americas in any meaningful way without learning to look for, to recognize, and to read beyond the narrow band of voices that have previously defined the national canon. Our investigations will test the conceptual limits of categories like indigeneity, exploration, captivity, enlightenment, and slavery as we trace their roles in shaping the modern vocabulary and grammar of community and nation in the Americas.

 

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

Literatures in English 1700-1850

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

ONLINE COURSE
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 or 2020.

Charlotte Bronte

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stephan

If you know Jane Eyre, you may think you know Charlotte Brontë, and this course will indeed give you the chance to read (or re-read) her most famous novel and consider it through a variety of historical contexts and critical lenses. In our pursuit of Brontë expertise, we will also immerse ourselves in at least two of her three other published novels, The ProfessorShirley, and Villette, exploring her broad and eclectic range of themes and subjects, including the oppression of women and their need for greater personal, educational, and professional freedom; the problematic notion of Englishness confronted by industrial and social upheaval at home and abroad; the developing role of the woman artist; the reimagining of the fictional heroine beyond conventional ideals; and more. Looking at her juvenilia and letters, biographical material including excerpts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s groundbreaking, mythmaking Life of Charlotte Brontë, and critical responses from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, we will piece together a portrait of an enduring author who defies easy categorization.

 

Not open to students who took English 139 with Prof. Stephan in Fall 2019.

The Rise of the Novel

Novel in English to 1850
English 161C / Prof. Kareem

What defines the novel as a form, and how does it relate to literary categories such as realism, fiction, and romance? In pursuing this question, students will become familiar with various forms of the novel including the Quixotic novel, the gothic novel, and the novel in verse. We will also investigate the history of the novel’s development, specifically, its rise to prominence in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Special attention will be paid to debates in the period over the pleasures and dangers of novel reading. Topics for discussion will include the novel’s experimentation with different methods for point of view, the relationship between realism and the marvelous, and the nature of readers’ identification with novelistic characters.

Women’s Writing about Politics and Society in 19th Century Britain

19th Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Vignola

Britain took its first major step toward democracy in 1867 with the institution of manhood suffrage (more or less) in the boroughs. Despite impassioned pleas for women’s suffrage during the 1867 debates, women did not win the right to vote for another half-century. In the meantime, the issue of women’s suffrage represented the radical edge of democratic reform, both feared and celebrated for its potential to remake private as well as public life. In this class, we will examine discourses of women’s suffrage in the Victorian period. In addition to questions of gender and sexuality, we will explore how the debate around women’s suffrage intersected with issues of empire, race, and class.

 

Not open to students who took English 164B in Summer 2021.

American Literature, 1832 to 1865

English 166C / Prof. Colacurcio

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

Major American Writers

English 168 / Prof. M. Gallagher

This course will consider the works of some of the major writers of the United States, from its colonial beginnings through the nineteenth century. Among the topics of discussion will be how American literature reflects and accounts for what it means to be “American,” with particular emphasis on constructions of identity, across a number of genres—poetry, autobiography, narratives, and novels. Readings will include works by Anne Bradstreet, Hannah Webster Foster, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Louisa May Alcott, Henry James, and Emily Dickinson.

 

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, 2019, or 2020.

Historical Survey of Asian American Literature

English M102A / Prof. Toy

Survey of Asian American literature either produced from or thematically reflecting pre-1980 period. Issues include immigration, diaspora, generational conflict, appropriation of cultural traditions, ethnic/gender formation, interethnic dynamics, and social movement.

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.

Poetics of Soul Food

ONLINE COURSE
Topics in African American Literature
English M104E.1 / Prof. Mullen

The format of this class is student-centered discussion, based on assigned reading and writing—not lecture. If you prefer to take this course as a lecture, please feel free to choose a different instructor. In fall 2021, this class will meet synchronously on Zoom.

Course description: Poetics of Soul Food

What is soul food, and what, if anything, does it have to do with Africa? What kind of hunger is soul food meant to satisfy? How does soul food relate to a history of slavery, discrimination, and poverty experienced by generations of black Americans? How have certain foods, regardless of their origin, become identified with the culture of African Americans? How has association with particular foods served as a means for others to ridicule and stereotype black people and African American culture? How do writers express hungers, desires, passions, and cultural traditions through ongoing relationship to foods that sustain individuals, families, and communities daily, or celebrate special occasions? How do specific foods function as culturally significant tropes in the work of African American writers?
These questions and many others are raised in a number of texts concerned with the poetics of soul food and the articulation of black hunger. From novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, and scholars to memoirists and cookbook authors, writers have addressed the topic in an impressive variety of genres and texts.

Our class discussions will be based on reading a selection of poems and other brief texts, in addition to eight required books, available through the UCLA bookstore. We will sample works by African American poets and writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Julia Fields, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove, and Elizabeth Alexander. Also included are a few poems by writers from cultural traditions other than African American, such as Ana Castillo, Frances Chung, Li Young Lee, and Martín Espada, if only to observe that the culture of survival and family tradition implied in the celebration of soul food is reflected in the collective experience of others.

Required texts:

Maya Angelou, Hallelujah, The Welcome Table (2004) [personal essays with recipes]
Norma Jean and Carole Darden, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine (1994) [family history with recipes]
Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog (2012) [culinary history with recipes]
Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo (1982) [novel with recipes]
Ntozake Shange, If I Can Cook, You Know God Can (1998) [travel writing and personal essays with recipes]
Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, Vibration Cooking (1970,1992) [travel writing and personal essays with recipes]
Doris Witt, Black Hunger: Soul Food and America (2004) [cultural studies]
Kevin Young, Dear Darkness (2012) Knopf [poetry collection]

Chicana/o/x Literature since el Movimiento, 1970s to Present

ONLINE COURSE
English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

This class surveys Chicanx literature from the 1960’s onward to examine the various meanings (social, sexual, racial, ethnic, cultural, political, economic) evoked by the term Chicanx. We’ll use this term because it complicates a simple binary gender identification. The class analyzes literary texts as cultural expressions of lived Chicanx experiences. These experiences are one legacy of global European expansion beginning in the 15th century. Our focus will be the thematic and formal ways that Chicanx literature engages this legacy: social inequalities, collective political action, oppositional consciousness, gender and sexual identification, class consciousness, aesthetic production, and racial stratification. 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 by synthesizing different critical thoughts and analyses; 4) to learn about Chicanx life and culture.

COURSE CANCELLED Science Fiction

English 115E / Prof. Kern

Course cancelled.

Literary London: Tales of Two Cities

ONLINE COURSE
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 took English 119 with Prof. Makdisi in Fall 2019 or 2020.

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. Readings may include Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, essays of T.S. Eliot, Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction, 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 129.1 / 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 artists. We will discuss a number of walkers, including flaneurs, streetwalkers, mountaineers, city dwellers, fugitives, and refugees.

Novels and Networks

ONLINE COURSE
Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.2 / Prof. Seltzer

We live in a world of systems and networks, mass communications and social media.  But what that means, and what it looks like, and feels like, may be another story—or range of stories.  This course will look at some modern and contemporary novels, and visual culture, that stage those stories, and consider how we live in and with systems and media today.  Readings will include novels by, for example, Natsuo Kirino, Tom McCarthy, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sayaka Murata, Rachel Cusk, and China Miéville. The course will require frequent writing assignments, close analysis of the materials, and active participation in class discussion.  Attendance, contributions to discussion, and on-time papers are required:  no exceptions.

 

Not open to students who took English 181A with Prof. Seltzer in Spring 2020.

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures

English 130 / Prof. D’Aguiar

Introduction to major themes and issues in postcolonial literature, with focus on contemporary literature and writings produced after decolonization, often engaging history of British or other empires with emphasis on Anglophone writers from Africa, Caribbean, South Asia, and indigenous Pacific. In this iteration of the course, we will read and view books and digital media from the UK by a sample of the descendants from a selection of the former British colonies.

James Joyce

ONLINE COURSE
Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Jaurretche

February 2, 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, one of the touchstones of world literature, and the game-changing novel of the twentieth century. In this class we will read Ulysses, as well as his preceding works, Dubliners, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Major American Writers

English 168 / Prof. M. Gallagher

This course will consider the works of some of the major writers of the United States, from its colonial beginnings through the nineteenth century. Among the topics of discussion will be how American literature reflects and accounts for what it means to be “American,” with particular emphasis on constructions of identity, across a number of genres—poetry, autobiography, narratives, and novels. Readings will include works by Anne Bradstreet, Hannah Webster Foster, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Louisa May Alcott, Henry James, and Emily Dickinson.

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. Authors include James, Stein, Cather, Toomer, Eliot, and Larsen.

Contemporary American Poetry: Useful Poetry

English 173C / Prof. Wilson

Reading and discussion of diverse established and emerging American poets, including the most recent United States Poets Laureate: Joy Harjo, Tracy K. Smith, and Juan Felipe Herrera.  Emphasis on how poems by living American poets help us go on, even (and especially) in difficult times.

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

American Nonfictional Prose
English 175 / Prof. Solomon

COURSE CANCELLED for Fall 2021

Culture and Social Change from Joe McCarthy to Ronald Reagan

Interdisciplinary Studies in American Culture
English 177 / Prof. Perez-Torres

This course studies different aspects of U.S. culture from the 1950’s to the 1980’s through the lens of literature produced during a period of significant turmoil and crisis. Historically, this period is framed by two figures sometimes considered emblematic of a certain repressive American character: Senator Joseph McCarthy and President Ronald Reagan. We will look at the relationship between literature, culture, and the social conditions that shape and are shaped by particular cultural objects and forces. While the focus will be on literature, we will approach the literary as one manifestation of cultural expression. We will us analytical tools to “read” a variety of cultural texts (literary, musical, artistic, performative) to consider their various meanings and significances. A large part of the class will involve participation — presentations, discussions, group work — and so attendance in the class is mandatory. The learning experience will depend on everyone’s participation, so be prepared to engage in class. The goals of the class will be: 1) to express oneself in a clear and organized way; 2) to analyze cultural material critically; 3) to generate original ideas by synthesizing different critical thoughts and analyses; 4) to learn about US life and culture.

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

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, 2019, or 2020.

Historical Survey of Asian American Literature

English M102A / Prof. Toy

Survey of Asian American literature either produced from or thematically reflecting pre-1980 period. Issues include immigration, diaspora, generational conflict, appropriation of cultural traditions, ethnic/gender formation, interethnic dynamics, and social movement.

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.

Poetics of Soul Food

ONLINE COURSE
Topics in African American Literature
English M104E.1 / Prof. Mullen

The format of this class is student-centered discussion, based on assigned reading and writing—not lecture. If you prefer to take this course as a lecture, please feel free to choose a different instructor. In fall 2021, this class will meet synchronously on Zoom.

Course description: Poetics of Soul Food

What is soul food, and what, if anything, does it have to do with Africa? What kind of hunger is soul food meant to satisfy? How does soul food relate to a history of slavery, discrimination, and poverty experienced by generations of black Americans? How have certain foods, regardless of their origin, become identified with the culture of African Americans? How has association with particular foods served as a means for others to ridicule and stereotype black people and African American culture? How do writers express hungers, desires, passions, and cultural traditions through ongoing relationship to foods that sustain individuals, families, and communities daily, or celebrate special occasions? How do specific foods function as culturally significant tropes in the work of African American writers?
These questions and many others are raised in a number of texts concerned with the poetics of soul food and the articulation of black hunger. From novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, and scholars to memoirists and cookbook authors, writers have addressed the topic in an impressive variety of genres and texts.

Our class discussions will be based on reading a selection of poems and other brief texts, in addition to eight required books, available through the UCLA bookstore. We will sample works by African American poets and writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Julia Fields, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove, and Elizabeth Alexander. Also included are a few poems by writers from cultural traditions other than African American, such as Ana Castillo, Frances Chung, Li Young Lee, and Martín Espada, if only to observe that the culture of survival and family tradition implied in the celebration of soul food is reflected in the collective experience of others.

Required texts:

Maya Angelou, Hallelujah, The Welcome Table (2004) [personal essays with recipes]
Norma Jean and Carole Darden, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine (1994) [family history with recipes]
Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog (2012) [culinary history with recipes]
Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo (1982) [novel with recipes]
Ntozake Shange, If I Can Cook, You Know God Can (1998) [travel writing and personal essays with recipes]
Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, Vibration Cooking (1970,1992) [travel writing and personal essays with recipes]
Doris Witt, Black Hunger: Soul Food and America (2004) [cultural studies]
Kevin Young, Dear Darkness (2012) Knopf [poetry collection]

Chicana/o/x Literature since el Movimiento, 1970s to Present

ONLINE COURSE
English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

This class surveys Chicanx literature from the 1960’s onward to examine the various meanings (social, sexual, racial, ethnic, cultural, political, economic) evoked by the term Chicanx. We’ll use this term because it complicates a simple binary gender identification. The class analyzes literary texts as cultural expressions of lived Chicanx experiences. These experiences are one legacy of global European expansion beginning in the 15th century. Our focus will be the thematic and formal ways that Chicanx literature engages this legacy: social inequalities, collective political action, oppositional consciousness, gender and sexual identification, class consciousness, aesthetic production, and racial stratification. 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 by synthesizing different critical thoughts and analyses; 4) to learn about Chicanx life and culture.

Interiors: Women of Color Writing the Self

Studies in Women’s Writing
English M107A / Prof. S.K. Lee

Feminist writers and scholars have been attuned to psychic and domestic interiors as fraught, feminized sites of the home, family, tradition, privacy, intimacy, and property. This course examines how the interior and all that it implies as a gendered and racialized space, metaphor, and theme, is inhabited by women of color writers confronted with the imperatives to make oneself and one’s identity public, knowable, transparent, and accessible. Questions that will ground our discussion are: How do women of color experiment with the conventions of memoir and autobiography to narrate and imagine their interior life? How does an attunement to interiority – to one’s inner worlds – become the means of representing and giving an account of oneself? What forms of consolation, protection, and creativity can interiority provide? The course engages with literary works as well as queer and feminist theory to examine the ways that women of color have written the self by turning toward interiority, as the inscrutable, partially hidden, quiet, and opaque.

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

ONLINE COURSE
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 or 2020.

 

Charlotte Bronte

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stephan

If you know Jane Eyre, you may think you know Charlotte Brontë, and this course will indeed give you the chance to read (or re-read) her most famous novel and consider it through a variety of historical contexts and critical lenses. In our pursuit of Brontë expertise, we will also immerse ourselves in at least two of her three other published novels, The ProfessorShirley, and Villette, exploring her broad and eclectic range of themes and subjects, including the oppression of women and their need for greater personal, educational, and professional freedom; the problematic notion of Englishness confronted by industrial and social upheaval at home and abroad; the developing role of the woman artist; the reimagining of the fictional heroine beyond conventional ideals; and more. Looking at her juvenilia and letters, biographical material including excerpts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s groundbreaking, mythmaking Life of Charlotte Brontë, and critical responses from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, we will piece together a portrait of an enduring author who defies easy categorization.

 

Not open to students who took English 139 with Prof. Stephan in Fall 2019.

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?

Framing Premodern Women

Medieval Story Cycles and Collections
English 146 / Prof. Chism

Framed story-collection put narrators in the same rooms as their imagined audiences, making them visible and vulnerable, and thus highlighting tactics and self-interests of storytelling itself.  Through multi-story narrative architectures, they can meditate on the social and aesthetic power of under-represented voices, while inviting reader to envision social change, or hold the line against it.  Drawing on narrative theory, feminism, and cultural studies, this class explores four premodern story collections that put gender at issue: Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies, The Thousand and One Nights, Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina Clericalis, and the Doncella Teodor.  We will also consider South Asian, Persian, and Mediterranean story-collections that fed these works, including Vikram aur Betaal, The Book of Sindbad, and Boccaccio’s Decameron.

 

Requirements:

  • Weekly response papers/forum posts (30%); two short papers or one longer paper (or one project with class presentation (40%); active class participation (30%).

Staging Race in Early Modern England

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

In this course, we will explore how early modern dramatists staged race. Readings will include masques and plays by Richard Brome, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, George Peele, William Shakespeare, and John Webster. We will also read excerpts from early modern ethnographies, mythologies, and travel narratives in order to understand the theater’s central role in constructing racial hierarchies in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Our examinations of race in the early modern period will pay close attention to representations of gender, disability, class, and empire.

Women’s Writing about Politics and Society in 19th Century Britain

19th Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Vignola

Britain took its first major step toward democracy in 1867 with the institution of manhood suffrage (more or less) in the boroughs. Despite impassioned pleas for women’s suffrage during the 1867 debates, women did not win the right to vote for another half-century. In the meantime, the issue of women’s suffrage represented the radical edge of democratic reform, both feared and celebrated for its potential to remake private as well as public life. In this class, we will examine discourses of women’s suffrage in the Victorian period. In addition to questions of gender and sexuality, we will explore how the debate around women’s suffrage intersected with issues of empire, race, and class.

 

Not open to students who took English 164B in Summer 2021.

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.

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

American Nonfictional Prose
English 175 / Prof. Solomon

COURSE CANCELLED for Fall 2021

Culture and Social Change from Joe McCarthy to Ronald Reagan

Interdisciplinary Studies in American Culture
English 177 / Prof. Perez-Torres

This course studies different aspects of U.S. culture from the 1950’s to the 1980’s through the lens of literature produced during a period of significant turmoil and crisis. Historically, this period is framed by two figures sometimes considered emblematic of a certain repressive American character: Senator Joseph McCarthy and President Ronald Reagan. We will look at the relationship between literature, culture, and the social conditions that shape and are shaped by particular cultural objects and forces. While the focus will be on literature, we will approach the literary as one manifestation of cultural expression. We will us analytical tools to “read” a variety of cultural texts (literary, musical, artistic, performative) to consider their various meanings and significances. A large part of the class will involve participation — presentations, discussions, group work — and so attendance in the class is mandatory. The learning experience will depend on everyone’s participation, so be prepared to engage in class. The goals of the class will be: 1) to express oneself in a clear and organized way; 2) to analyze cultural material critically; 3) to generate original ideas by synthesizing different critical thoughts and analyses; 4) to learn about US life and culture.

 

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

Chicana/o/x Literature since el Movimiento, 1970s to Present

ONLINE COURSE
English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

This class surveys Chicanx literature from the 1960’s onward to examine the various meanings (social, sexual, racial, ethnic, cultural, political, economic) evoked by the term Chicanx. We’ll use this term because it complicates a simple binary gender identification. The class analyzes literary texts as cultural expressions of lived Chicanx experiences. These experiences are one legacy of global European expansion beginning in the 15th century. Our focus will be the thematic and formal ways that Chicanx literature engages this legacy: social inequalities, collective political action, oppositional consciousness, gender and sexual identification, class consciousness, aesthetic production, and racial stratification. 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 by synthesizing different critical thoughts and analyses; 4) to learn about Chicanx life and culture.

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

ONLINE COURSE
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 or 2020.

Writing African Resistance, from Empire to Decolonization

Postcolonial and Transnational Theory
English 128 / Prof. Newman

This course explores postcolonial theory with a focus on the way that the critique of empire and decolonization informs the study of literature. How do imperial discourses shape the perception of place? Which aesthetics do different anticolonial struggles share? What is the role of language in decolonization? What form does nationalism take after independence? How does the memory of empire linger in the literary imagination? And is the term “postcolonial” still relevant in our contemporary globalized world? To address these questions, we will discuss theoretical texts from Africa and the African diaspora written between the middle of the 20th century and the present. We will focus on Africa, but we’ll also consider other cultural and geographic contexts. The course understands “theory” broadly, reading the wide-ranging writing of influential postcolonial intellectuals like Ama Ata Aidoo, Frantz Fanon, V.Y. Mudimbe, Stuart Hall, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and Achille Mbembe alongside a handful of short fiction and films.

 

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students pursuing the departmental honors program.

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures

English 130 / Prof. D’Aguiar

Introduction to major themes and issues in postcolonial literature, with focus on contemporary literature and writings produced after decolonization, often engaging history of British or other empires with emphasis on Anglophone writers from Africa, Caribbean, South Asia, and indigenous Pacific. In this iteration of the course, we will read and view books and digital media from the UK by a sample of the descendants from a selection of the former British colonies.

Cultural Encounters in the Age of Empire

Culture and Imperialism
English 132 / Prof. Behdad

This course explores the relationship between culture and imperialism through the lens of literary and theoretical texts. Focusing on European imperialism during the second half of nineteenth and twentieth century, we will discuss the shifting patterns and paradigms of imperial rule and the ways in which both metropolitan and peripheral or colonial spaces were transformed. We will study a wide range of theoretical texts—e.g., Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism, Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth—and literary texts—e.g., J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for Barbarians and Michelle Cliff’s Abeng, to address a wide range of issues such as Orientalism, race, gender, language, power, and resistance. In addition to mandatory attendance, a short class presentation, an annotated bibliography, and three short essays are the requirements of the course.

What Was America?

Literature of the Americas
English 135 / Prof. Fosbury

America was not discovered. It was invented. America is as much an idea or an art project as it is a place or a polity. In this course, we will investigate the many meanings of America in literary history. We will start with the first contacts between Indigenous peoples and European colonizers in the early modern era, and we will end when the United States begins to monopolize the term in the nineteenth century. Our studies will take us between North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean as we investigate how empire, colonialism, slavery, transnational dynamics, and cross-cultural transformations among indigenous, European, and African civilizations impacted the history of “America.” Together, we will question how America was invented, and often contested, in literary forms and genres that range from colonial records and natural histories to poems and novels. In these ways of writing about America, what did the place and term mean to different people at different times in the past? What was America then, and how does it help us understand what it is today?

The Ancient Foundations of Modernity: Renaissance Translations from the Classics

Translation and Innovation in English Renaissance and Early Modern Period
English 157 / Prof. Shuger

Into the 20th Century, Greco-Roman texts written between 750 BC and ca 200 AD dominated the curriculum from grade school through college in both England and America. These are works of extraordinary importance (e.g., the checks-and-balances structure of the American constitution comes from the 1st century BC Greek historian, Polybius), and also of extraordinary beauty, variety, and intelligence. The course focuses on English Renaissance translations of the classics because the Renaissance was the rebirth (the re-naissance) of classical learning and literature, and one of the foci will be the Tudor-Stuart contexts of these translations; but the class also provides a general introduction to the classical foundations on which virtually all English and American literature rest. Readings include selections from Homer, Ovid, Cicero, Pliny, Plutarch, Xenophon on topics as far-flung as love, duty, sex, science, and empire. Weekly short paper and a final project. No late enrollments.

Colonial Beginnings of American Literature**

English 166A / Prof. Silva

This course is a survey of colonial American literatures and cultures. Although most of the texts on the syllabus were written in colonies that would eventually become part of the United States, the course itself is not meant to be a literary history of the US. Instead, we will consider these materials in the full diversity of local, regional, and Atlantic contexts that framed the colonial experiences they describe for a range of peoples and nations. It is a fundamental precept of the course that this diversity defined the New World, and that scholars cannot hope to understand the literary history of the Americas in any meaningful way without learning to look for, to recognize, and to read beyond the narrow band of voices that have previously defined the national canon. Our investigations will test the conceptual limits of categories like indigeneity, exploration, captivity, enlightenment, and slavery as we trace their roles in shaping the modern vocabulary and grammar of community and nation in the Americas.

 

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

 

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

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 horror, suspense, and the court-room thriller.  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.  Writers we will study include Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Walter Mosley, Patricia Highsmith, Thomas Harris, and Michael Connelly.  Students will be graded on class participation, a midterm, and a final paper due on the last day of class.

COURSE CANCELLED Science Fiction

English 115E / Prof. Kern

Course cancelled.

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

ONLINE COURSE
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 took English 119 with Prof. Makdisi in Fall 2019 or 2020.

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.

 

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students pursuing the departmental honors program.

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. Readings may include Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, essays of T.S. Eliot, Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction, 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.

 

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students pursuing the departmental honors program.

Writing African Resistance, from Empire to Decolonization

Postcolonial and Transnational Theory
English 128 / Prof. Newman

This course explores postcolonial theory with a focus on the way that the critique of empire and decolonization informs the study of literature. How do imperial discourses shape the perception of place? Which aesthetics do different anticolonial struggles share? What is the role of language in decolonization? What form does nationalism take after independence? How does the memory of empire linger in the literary imagination? And is the term “postcolonial” still relevant in our contemporary globalized world? To address these questions, we will discuss theoretical texts from Africa and the African diaspora written between the middle of the 20th century and the present. We will focus on Africa, but we’ll also consider other cultural and geographic contexts. The course understands “theory” broadly, reading the wide-ranging writing of influential postcolonial intellectuals like Ama Ata Aidoo, Frantz Fanon, V.Y. Mudimbe, Stuart Hall, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and Achille Mbembe alongside a handful of short fiction and films.

 

This course qualifies as a critical theory course for students pursuing the departmental honors program.

Walking in Literature and Art

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.1 / 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 artists. We will discuss a number of walkers, including flaneurs, streetwalkers, mountaineers, city dwellers, fugitives, and refugees.

Novels and Networks

ONLINE COURSE
Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.2 / Prof. Seltzer

We live in a world of systems and networks, mass communications and social media.  But what that means, and what it looks like, and feels like, may be another story—or range of stories.  This course will look at some modern and contemporary novels, and visual culture, that stage those stories, and consider how we live in and with systems and media today.  Readings will include novels by, for example, Natsuo Kirino, Tom McCarthy, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sayaka Murata, Rachel Cusk, and China Miéville. The course will require frequent writing assignments, close analysis of the materials, and active participation in class discussion.  Attendance, contributions to discussion, and on-time papers are required:  no exceptions.

 

Not open to students who took English 181A with Prof. Seltzer in Spring 2020.

Milton

English 151 / Prof. McEachern

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

The Rise of the Novel

Novel in English to 1850
English 161C / Prof. Kareem

What defines the novel as a form, and how does it relate to literary categories such as realism, fiction, and romance? In pursuing this question, students will become familiar with various forms of the novel including the Quixotic novel, the gothic novel, and the novel in verse. We will also investigate the history of the novel’s development, specifically, its rise to prominence in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Special attention will be paid to debates in the period over the pleasures and dangers of novel reading. Topics for discussion will include the novel’s experimentation with different methods for point of view, the relationship between realism and the marvelous, and the nature of readers’ identification with novelistic characters.

Women’s Writing about Politics and Society in 19th Century Britain

19th Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Vignola

Britain took its first major step toward democracy in 1867 with the institution of manhood suffrage (more or less) in the boroughs. Despite impassioned pleas for women’s suffrage during the 1867 debates, women did not win the right to vote for another half-century. In the meantime, the issue of women’s suffrage represented the radical edge of democratic reform, both feared and celebrated for its potential to remake private as well as public life. In this class, we will examine discourses of women’s suffrage in the Victorian period. In addition to questions of gender and sexuality, we will explore how the debate around women’s suffrage intersected with issues of empire, race, and class.

 

Not open to students who took English 164B in Summer 2021.

Contemporary American Poetry: Useful Poetry

English 173C / Prof. Wilson

Reading and discussion of diverse established and emerging American poets, including the most recent United States Poets Laureate: Joy Harjo, Tracy K. Smith, and Juan Felipe Herrera.  Emphasis on how poems by living American poets help us go on, even (and especially) in difficult times.

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

American Nonfictional Prose
English 175 / Prof. Solomon

COURSE CANCELLED for Fall 2021

Culture and Social Change from Joe McCarthy to Ronald Reagan

Interdisciplinary Studies in American Culture
English 177 / Prof. Perez-Torres

This course studies different aspects of U.S. culture from the 1950’s to the 1980’s through the lens of literature produced during a period of significant turmoil and crisis. Historically, this period is framed by two figures sometimes considered emblematic of a certain repressive American character: Senator Joseph McCarthy and President Ronald Reagan. We will look at the relationship between literature, culture, and the social conditions that shape and are shaped by particular cultural objects and forces. While the focus will be on literature, we will approach the literary as one manifestation of cultural expression. We will us analytical tools to “read” a variety of cultural texts (literary, musical, artistic, performative) to consider their various meanings and significances. A large part of the class will involve participation — presentations, discussions, group work — and so attendance in the class is mandatory. The learning experience will depend on everyone’s participation, so be prepared to engage in class. The goals of the class will be: 1) to express oneself in a clear and organized way; 2) to analyze cultural material critically; 3) to generate original ideas by synthesizing different critical thoughts and analyses; 4) to learn about US life and culture.

 

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. 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:  

For this weekly poetry workshop please send four or five of your best poems and a paragraph or two about any previous workshop experience as well as a brief description of recent poetry that you have read, heard and/or seen. Include your 9-digit UID number and email address.

If you are applying to both poetry workshops and have a preference, please indicate that preference. Submissions must be e-mailed to freddaguiar@ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.  When e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: McClain 136.1).

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN “136.1” 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 17, via email.

Acceptance Notifications:

Applicants will be contacted by email soon after the deadline.

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. Kevorkian

Course description:

In this class we consider what is great and various about contemporary poems. Each week we discuss how they present and complicate their subjects by use of sound, syntax, word choice, line shaping, and images. You will explore these practices in the making of the poems you write and read aloud each week.

How to Apply:  

Send 3-4 poems of your own composition with a brief statement about recent poetry books read and any other writing workshops, classes, or readings you’ve attended.

Include your 9-digit UID number. If applying to both poetry workshops, please indicate the one that works best for you.

Send your poems in one file to both of the following addresses: kkevorkian@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu

In the subject line of your email —— put your last name and the course section number.

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

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Friday, September 17, via email.

Acceptance Notifications:

Applicants will be contacted by email soon after the deadline.

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. Rahmani

Course Description:

In this intensive fiction workshop we will work to become better writers, readers, and critics.

Working from the principle that the best writers are the best readers, we will read contemporary short fiction by diverse writers writing in English, including BIPOC and queer writers who live in the United States or other Anglophone contexts (i.e., Nigeria, the Indian subcontinent, etc.).

Each student will write six times: weekly for weeks two and three and biweekly for weeks four through nine, with a revision week ten.

Students will develop skills at criticism through writing one another critique letters and speaking constructively about one another’s work in class. Workshopping one another’s work and revising one’s own will both also help develop skills in self-critique and editing.

How to Apply:

Submit a single document containing the following to mariamrahmani@ucla.edu:

  • A cover page that does the following, in bulleted form: 1, lists any favorite authors or works in any genre (i.e., fiction, poetry, essay); 2, describes your creative writing experience, if any (have you been in a workshop before? Do you write regularly?); 3, states your workshop preference if you are applying to multiple.
  • A writing sample of four to five pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font.

When e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: Rodriguez 137.1).

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

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Monday, September 13, 2021.
Acceptance notifications:
Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the start of classes.
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:

This class is an intensive workshop on the reading and writing of short fiction. We will consider the short story form, reading great short stories weekly, which students will be asked to study and to reread. Students will write both shorter weekly stories and two longer stories. The teacher’s primary goal in the class is to help the students develop a daily practice of writing and to foster and train their ability to recognize what’s best in their work. We’ll also discuss revision and the development of a sound critical faculty.
How to Apply:
To be considered for the class, please submit five pages (double spaced) of your fiction and tell me what workshops you’ve taken in the past. Also, please list your three favorite short stories and their authors. Mention the book you’re reading right now.

If you are applying to multiple workshops and have a preference, please indicate that preference. Submissions must be e-mailed to jtorres7@ucla.eduWhen e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: Rodriguez 137.2).

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

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Monday, September 13, 2021.
Acceptance notifications:
Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the start of classes.
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 137.3 / Prof. Rahmani

Course Description:

In this intensive fiction workshop we will work to become better writers, readers, and critics.

Working from the principle that the best writers are the best readers, we will read contemporary short fiction by diverse writers writing in English, including BIPOC and queer writers who live in the United States or other Anglophone contexts (i.e., Nigeria, the Indian subcontinent, etc.).

Each student will write six times: weekly for weeks two and three and biweekly for weeks four through nine, with a revision week ten.

Students will develop skills at criticism through writing one another critique letters and speaking constructively about one another’s work in class. Workshopping one another’s work and revising one’s own will both also help develop skills in self-critique and editing.

How to Apply:

Submit a single document containing the following to mariamrahmani@ucla.edu:

  • A cover page that does the following, in bulleted form: 1, lists any favorite authors or works in any genre (i.e., fiction, poetry, essay); 2, describes your creative writing experience, if any (have you been in a workshop before? Do you write regularly?); 3, states your workshop preference if you are applying to multiple.
  • A writing sample of four to five pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font.

When e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: Rodriguez 137.3).

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN “137.3” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION is Monday, September 13, 2021.
Acceptance notifications:
Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the start of classes.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, the professor will be unable to provide feedback or suggestions on the students’ submitted work.

Senior/Capstone Seminars

Theory of the Novel

Topics in Genre Studies
English 181A.1 / 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.

Crime Stories

ONLINE COURSE
Topics in Genre Studies
English 181A.2 / Prof. Seltzer

This seminar will look at crime fiction—primarily novels, some film—over the past century or so.  Crime stories have a long history but a special place in a modern world. What can such stories tell us about how we experience our personal lives and our public life?  What form do these stories take?   How can they help us understand the ways in which we work, interact, and play today?  Readings may include writers such as Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, James M. Cain, Cormac McCarthy, and Natsuo Kirino.   Focused literary analysis will center the course and the required papers. Consistent attendance, and active participation in seminar discussions, are required.

British Romanticism and the Black Atlantic

ONLINE COURSE
Topics in Romantic Literature
English 182D / Prof. Dembowitz

This course will explore how the Black Atlantic shaped British Romantic literature and culture from approximately 1770 to 1850. Paul Gilroy defines the Black Atlantic as a fluid space “crisscrossed by the movements of black people—not only as commodities but engaged in various struggles towards emancipation, autonomy, and citizenship.” More broadly, the Black Atlantic marks the intersection of race and modernity. Engaging with a wide range of genres—such as poetry, graphic satire, staged drama, and the novel—we will consider how transatlantic slavery and abolition, including the Haitian Revolution and West Indian slave revolts, influenced the period’s debates about radical republicanism, natural rights, commercial empire, class, gender, and especially race. Readings will draw on the work of Black Atlantic authors like Mary Prince, Olaudah Equiano, and Robert Wedderburn, as well as writers like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, Hannah More, Mary Wollstonecraft, and William Earle.

The Reform Aesthetic: Political Reform and the Victorian Novel

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

Perhaps no word captures the Victorian attitude toward social change like ‘reform.’ Nineteenth-century Britain underwent any number of reforms: sanitary, judicial, administrative, and more. But to Victorians, ‘reform’ meant first and foremost suffrage reform: the gradual expansion of the electorate toward full democracy. In this class, we will discuss reform as a topic in novels by Anthony Trollope and George Eliot, but we will also discuss suffrage reform theoretically as a mode of shaping the future.

Transcendentalism

Topics in 19th Century American Literature
English 183B / Prof. M. Gallagher

This course will focus on the literary, religious, social, and political movement that was Transcendentalism, with emphasis on the three major writers—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. Between the 1830s and 1850s, the Transcendentalist movement exerted its influence over New England, toward the western frontier, and across the Atlantic, manifesting itself in utopian experiments, abolitionist activities, and a new school of literature. What began with a “religious demonstration” in Boston and at Harvard quickly expanded to include all manner of “new views”: on religious and spiritual life; on the individual and society; on human rights; and on nature and the natural world. We will consider the many forms that Transcendentalism takes—sermons, speeches, journals, letters, essays, reviews, narratives, and poetry—and will determine what they have to say about nature, spirit, and the self.

 

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

Immigrant Stories: Literary and Cinematic

Topics in 20th and 21st Century American Literature
English 183C.1 / 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 on first pass. Open to English majors on second pass.

Literature of the Beat Generation

Topics in 20th and 21st Century American Literature
English 183C.2 / Prof. Dickey

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

 

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

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

Capstone Seminar
English 184.1 / 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––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, psychedelic drugs, moon walks, Vietnam War, Watergate, women’s liberation––that threatens to outstrip the writer’s imagination? Readings include: The White Album, Radical Chic, Dispatches, Strange Rumblings in Aztlan. Documentary films: Rush to Judgment, Black Panther, Medium Cool, Hearts 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 Feminist Classroom: Gender, Knowledge, and Pedagogy

Capstone Seminar
English 184.2 / Prof. S.K. Lee

Feminist theory is often encountered in the classroom: on the syllabus, in lectures, seminars, and discussions between teachers and students. The classroom, then, is a crucial site for feminist theory, as the space where it is taught and learned, but also as the site of feminist theorizations of teaching and learning. This seminar focuses on feminist theory that critically reflects on not only what is taught and learned in the feminist classroom, but how one teaches and learns, both in the feminist classroom and outside of it. Central questions that will frame our discussion are: How is knowledge produced and transmitted in the feminist classroom? How does the personal and lived experience constitute knowledge and ways of knowing? What are the gendered power dynamics in the classroom and how do they shape feminist pedagogies that move beyond the classroom? This seminar engages with novels and feminist theories centered around the classroom as the site for creating feminist methods, practices, and styles of teaching, learning, communication, and expression.

 

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

Topics in African American Literature

English M191A / Prof. Streeter

Variable specialized studies course in African American literature. Detailed description to be posted soon.

 

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