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

Spring 2020

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

English 20W

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 12 noon on February 23. 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 by clicking here

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.

Environmental Literature and Culture

English M30 / Prof. Carruth

Introduction to core themes, questions, and methods within interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities. Examination of how different culture forms (e.g., fiction, journalism, poetry, visual art) represent environmental issues. Topics may include biodiversity, wilderness, food, urban ecologies, postcolonial ecologies, environmental justice, and climate change.

This course is a required preparatory course for the minor in Literature and the Environment.

American Sex

Topics in American Cultures
English 87 / Prof. Looby

In American Sex we will learn literary, cultural, and historical research methods via an interdisciplinary exploration of episodes in the long history of American sex. From the scandalous “bad book affair” in Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards’s congregation (1744) to Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s sex scandal (1790s) and on through the nineteenth century, what counted as “sex” constantly changed. We will study novels and stories by Charles Brockden Brown, Bret Harte, Julia Ward Howe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Herman Melville, Margaret Sweat, and Theodore Winthrop. We will study notorious marble sculptures by Hiram Powers (The Greek Slave, 1843) and Harriet Hosmer (Zenobia in Chains, 1859) as well as a scandalous painting by Thomas Eakins (Swimming, 1885). In each case, we will ask: What are the best archival resources for this inquiry? What are the best theoretical approaches? What historical information do we need? A gateway course for the ALC major, American Sex will combine rich primary materials with active reflection on interdisciplinary research methods.

This course is a required preparatory course for the major in American Literature and Culture. Enrollment will be restricted during first pass to American Literature and Culture majors. If you plan to major in American Literature and Culture and are not yet declared, contact the English undergraduate advising offices for assistance during your enrollment pass.

Quixotic Customers: Reading the Historical Romance

Special Topics in English
English 88M / Prof. Hall

Romance publishing brings in over $1 billion annually. Yet romance novels are derided far beyond other genre fiction, in large part because of their association with female readers. Over the course of the quarter, we will explore this most stigmatized of genres. We will begin by reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in order to consider the eighteenth-century creation of the female Quixote, whose rise mirrors the increase in female literacy, and whose legacy can be seen in present-day stereotypes of romance readers. Austen also remains an important influence on the sub-genre of historical romance. We will spend the rest of the quarter exploring the history of the historical romance, beginning with a classic of the genre: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. Then, we will read more recent novels – by authors including Beverly Jenkins, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, and Cat Sebastian – committed to expanding the historical romance canon beyond stories centering the experience of white, heterosexual protagonists. Throughout the course, we will engage with academic writing on popular culture, fandom, race, and gender and sexuality. Students will also have the opportunity to work on an archival research project about a romance novel of their choice.

Shakespeare

English 90 / Prof. Watson

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

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 Spring Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2020! (Contact Steph Bundy at stephanie@english.ucla.edu for the Zoom link.)

UCLAPoem

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

This course is for for students in UCLAPoem, which creates and sponsors poetry readings, events, and activities throughout the year, as well as plans and directs an annual UCLAPoetry Festival every spring quarter.  If you’re interested in poetry (or just curious about it), plan to attend the first Spring Zoom meeting on Thursday, April 9, 2020! (Contact Steph Bundy at stephanie@english.ucla.edu for the Zoom link.)

Elective Courses

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

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

English 110C / Prof. Stephan

In this course, students will learn the art and craft of the book review with a focus on the what, why, and how of literary criticism for a general (rather than for a specifically academic) 21st-century audience. We will look at reviews of literary texts from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including a case study of a 20th-century novel (Nella Larsen’s Passing) and its contemporary critical reception. We will examine the recent developments in literary and cultural criticism that have led to the emergence of internet publications dedicated to those forms, including sites like Public Books and the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as the ways in which national and global periodicals have successfully adapted their book review sections to reach a wider internet-based audience. Finally, we will examine the ways in which contemporary book reviews encompass other forms of culture, especially visual and digital culture. Students will compile a portfolio of criticism and other writing culminating in a final pair of reviews of recent works.

 

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

Writing in the English Major: The Pre-Professional Portfolio

COURSE CANCELLED

 

Literatures in English Before 1500

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales

English 140A / Prof. Jager

We will read selections from Chaucer’s world-famous collection of romances, comic stories, saints’ lives and cautionary tales as told by “sondry folk” — diverse pilgrims on the road to Canterbury in quest of both shared and personal goals during the tumultuous 1380s amid threats of war, corrupt institutions, popular revolt, and plague. We will read the tales in Middle English, with regular quizzes and exams, a 2000-word research paper, and a required recitation of Chaucer’s 18-line proem to the General Prologue.

The Cultures of the Middle Ages: Romancing Islam

Cultures of Middle Ages
English 148 / Prof. Chism

Current anti-Muslim racisms try to erase a long and complex history of mutual rapprochement, influence, and aversion. This class reads premodern texts concerning Islam from both Muslim and Latin Christian writers to explore premodern Islamic imaginaries from many perspectives.  Muslim writers meditated upon the relations of humans, God, and the natural world, and many of these writings were translated and transmitted into European languages. Meanwhile in Latin Christendom, romance proved to be a genre well suited to speculation, nightmare, thought experiment, and reverence.  We will use theories of literary world-making to put past and present into conversation and illuminate the complex discourses – beyond orientalism — that circulated before European hegemony.  Texts examined may include: 1001 Nights, The Conference of Birds, Hayy ibn Yaqhan, Aucassin and Nicolette, the story of Tawaddud/La Doncella Teodor, Arabic and Old French versions of the life of Buddha, historical accounts of Salah al-Din, stories from Boccaccio’s Decameron, and travel narratives by Muslim and non-Muslim travelers in the Mediterranean and Asia.

 

Requirements: 2 short papers (50%), an optional creative project or presentation (to replace one of the papers; weekly response papers (30%), and active class participation (20%).

Literatures in English 1500-1700

Shakespeare: Later Plays

English 150B / Prof. McEachern

This course considers plays from the second “half” of Shakespeare’s career, those performed between his acting company’s licensing as the King’s Men in 1603 and his death in 1617, including one of the “problem comedies”, three of the “Big 4” tragedies, and two of the ‘late’ plays (“romances”).   Our concerns will include generic experiment (particularly forms of tragedy); linguistic technologies; cultural pressures (esp. politics, religion, gender formations); and theatrical possibilities.  Midterm, paper, final, and weekly quizzes.

Shakespeare: Major Plays

English 150C / Prof. Little; Instructor Andrew Wagner

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

Milton

English 151 / Prof. McEachern

A quarter-long study of Milton’s poetic career, from the poems of 1645 to Paradise Lost, with some excursions into the prose tracts (divorce, free speech, the origins of rule).   We will pay special attention what to the notion of a “poetic career” meant to a humanist like Milton, to the cultural freight of genre, gender, and writing as a political and ethical act in the seventeenth century.  Midterm, paper, final.

Theatrical Renaissance: Early Modern Texts and Performances

COURSE CANCELLED

Epic Heroes

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

The epic hero is dominant, self-reliant, and competitive. These traits also happen to define toxic masculinity, which seems like a modern concern but also defines a Renaissance preoccupation of writers attempting to appropriate classical pagan heroes for Christian audiences. Christianity’s emphasis on Christ-like values (such as suffering, selflessness, and acceptance) made it an unlikely target culture for classical epic heroes, yet Renaissance Christians were keen to elevate their own literary culture by appropriating them. As a result, Renaissance heroes often seem misplaced, such as Milton’s epic enhancement of the Book of Genesis that features Satan as its central hero. Such misplaced heroics both challenged the historical form that Renaissance writers supposedly revived while also promoting its survival even up to modern blockbusters, which repeatedly bandy about the word for dramatic marketing effects. This course will recreate the journey of the classical epic hero into Renaissance England, stopping along the way to consider Italian and Spanish intermediaries and a couple modern instantiations. Along this path, we will analyze how the epic genre shaped conflicting notions of masculinity while also normalizing socio-cultural hierarchies that valorize their heroes. The journey of this course is an epic feat in itself, approaching classical revivals from a trans-historical and trans-regional perspective. By crossing this terrain, we will seek to answer questions such as: What is an epic hero? What are its modern forms? If Christianity killed the epic hero, how did it survive? And, ultimately, what can epics teach us about our own vexed notions of heroism and national identity?

Students may not enroll in this class in tandem with English 182B.

Literatures in English 1700-1850

Later Romantic Literature

English 162B / Prof. Nersessian

This course attends to the poetry and prose of the second half of the so-called Age of Revolutions (1789-1849). We will focus on literature that attends closely to the crises of industrial capitalism, global warfare, and imperialism, with an eye toward how literary forms shift to accommodate–and in some cases to contest–these particular historical developments. Readings will include writing by Barbauld, Blake, Byron, Derozio, Hazlitt, Keats, and Shelley, among others.

Women’s Writing about Politics, Society, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Britain

19th-Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Rainwater

The nineteenth century saw significant political and social advancements in women’s lives, and there were an increasing number of women writing about pressing contemporary debates. In this class, we will explore women’s contributions to this exciting transitional period, from their essays on marriage, education, and voting rights, to their articles on topics such as art, literature, and religious practice. From Anna Brownell Jameson’s fascinating feminist analysis of the Madonna in art, to the suffragist Millicent Garrett Fawcett’s treatise on emancipation, we will analyze some of the century’s most important critical texts. Readings will include selections from authors whose fiction is often taught, but whose non-fiction is seldom examined, including Christina Rossetti’s essays about religion, and George Eliot’s article about “Lady Novelists.” We will also read opposing opinions on women’s rights, from Eliza Lynn Linton’s vehement denunciation of women who sought political equality as “Wild Women,” to Mona Caird’s spirited defense of the “So-called Wild Women.”

American Literature, 1776 to 1832**

English 166B / Prof. Salway

This course is a survey of American literatures and cultures from the period generally known as the early republic—that is, the age of revolutions to the British abolition of slavery (ca. 1776–1838). Most of the texts on the syllabus were written in the early United States, but the course itself is not meant to be a nationalist literary history of the US. Instead, we will consider how our readings reflect the complicated interactions between the colonies, nations, and peoples that made up the Atlantic world, and how they began to frame the language of nation and community that is familiar to us today. Topics include republican citizenship, enlightenment and rationalism, slavery and emancipation, gender and representation, as well as fiction and narrative form. By the end of the semester, students will be reading across a broad range of genres, and will be able to identify the various literary strategies that writers used to support or criticize the dominant cultures and ideologies of their day.

 

** = fulfills pre-1848 requirement for the American Literature and Culture major

American Literature, 1832 to 1865

English 166C / Prof. Salway

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

American Poetry to 1900

English 167A / Prof. Cohen

This course will survey the history of American poetry from the Puritan era to the end of the nineteenth century. We will read the poetry of authors like Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others, and we will study the poetry of major events and movements, like the poetry of antislavery and the poetry of the Civil War. Class meetings will focus on close reading and interpretation, the study of genres, meter, and formal devices, as well as the formats and methods through which poets wrote and published their poetry. We will devote time to learning different ways to read poems and write about them, including formal essays but also including other forms of engagement with the material. Students will have the opportunity to create final projects based on original library research, as well as creative writing.

Literatures in English 1850 – Present

Aesthetics, Performance, and Black Social Life

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

This interdisciplinary course will examine post-1990s black diasporic artistic production. It seeks to ask, what themes and aesthetic techniques unite contemporary works by black writers, artists, and performers? By examining contemporary concerns in disparate poetry, essays, film, performance art, and contemporary art produced from the mid-1990s to the present moment, this course seek to unearth different rubrics for examining black artistic praxis and the textures of everyday life. Topics include: black feminist epistemologies, intercultural performance, the Los Angeles Riots, black art & white museums, and black queer life. Possible writers include Danez Smith, Saidiya Hartman, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt, Christina Sharpe, and Damon Young while possible artists and performers examined include Kara Walker, Anna Deavere Smith, EJ Hill, Solange, and Coco Fusco.

Natural Narratives: Environmental Literature and Culture

Literature and the Environment
English 118E / Prof. Hall

What is nature? What does it mean to be natural or unnatural? How do literary and cultural works shape how we think about nature, and how have our ideas about nature and its value changed over the last two centuries? To answer these questions, we will read, watch, and discuss a wide array of primary materials – including novels, a play, poetry, animated and documentary films, and life writing – and study foundational environmental humanities scholarship, as well as recent public writing related to some of our primary texts. Although we will read works now considered canonical in the study of literature and the environment, we will also engage with texts that fall outside this canon, and discuss the process of canon formation and exclusion. Throughout the course, we will explore the many different environmental discourses that emerge in the texts we study, and consider the role literature and culture play in shaping how we think – and tell stories – about environmental issues, both old and new.

 

Fulfills and upper-division requirement for the Literature and the Environment minor.

 

Not open to students who took English 118E with Professor Hall in Fall 2019.

“In the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis”: Literary Dublin

Literary Cities
English 119 / Prof. Jaurretche

Using the city of Dublin as our locus, students in this course will read a variety of major works written by Dublin writers. A grounding in Dublin geography, urban study, and history will prepare students to consider various dimensions of Irish experience in the twentieth-century, from its status as a country under British rule, fight for independence, and ultimate autonomy. The course is blended, and will present historical and cultural materials digitally. Literature is taught in 3-hour face-to-face traditional classroom lecture  A feature of this class is team research and annotation of digitized archival and historical items for publication as a Field Guide.  This work will prepare students to write a long paper on literature from a historically informed base of knowledge, and in turn serve as foundation for the future minor in Urban Literature and Cultures.

Click here for a short video of Prof. Jaurretche talking about her vision for this brand new course!

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures

COURSE CANCELLED

Globalization and Postcolonial Literatures: Imagining the Environment

English 131 / Prof. DeLoughrey

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

 

This course is an eligible upper-division English course for the Literature and the Environment minor.

Henry James

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Dimuro

The career of Henry James is unique in its scope, experimentation, technical brilliance, and psychological depth. Along with Mark Twain and William Dean Howells, James was among the most important American novelists to emerge during the so-called “age of realism,” and the one whose influential works still fascinate and challenge readers. Although he also wrote many book reviews, plays, travel literature, literary criticism, prefaces for his collected works, and several volumes of autobiography, this course focuses on James’s prose fiction. Henry James launched his career with the international popularity of Daisy Miller and his first full-length masterpiece, The Portrait of a Lady.  We will also read his satire of the feminist movement called The Bostonians, his examination of greed in The Spoils of Poynton, and a number of stories including “The Pupil” and “The Beast in the Jungle.” As we make our way through James’s later phase, we will read a number of his “Prefaces,” as well as The Ambassadors, which was James’s own favorite novel among his works. Two papers, exercises, and a final examination.

Eugene O’Neill

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stefans

Eugene O’Neill is the first great figure of American theater and still one of the most influential. Inspired by European developments in theater, notably Realism, he was among the first to use American vernacular in plays, many of which focused on characters on the fringes of society. Early plays include the controversial “Emperor Jones” and the absurdist tragedy “The Hairy Ape.” Later plays such as “Long Day’s Journey into Night” exemplify O’Neill’s great ability to uncover the dark turmoils, generations deep, underlying family dynamics. Several of his plays were made into successful films, including “Anna Christie,” “Desire Under the Elms” and “The Iceman Cometh.” He won four Pulitzer Prizes (one posthumously in 1957) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936. In this course, we will study a selection of O’Neill’s plays, plays by writers who influenced or were influenced by him, and some films based on his plays or which clearly demonstrate his influence such as Paul Thomas Anderon’s Magnolia which co-starred Jason Robards, an actor who first became famous for his work in O’Neill’s plays. We will also do some scene work — that is, approach the plays like actors and directors — to gain a better understanding of how the language of the plays translates into a theater experience.

World War Medieval

Medievalisms
English 149 / Prof. Chism

J.R.R. Tolkien writes how his passion for fantasy was “wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.” In the aftermaths of 20th-century global war, Tolkien was not alone. This class explores the strange relationship between modern global warfare and medievalist fantasy. Weaving between medieval epics and 20th-century fantasy, novels, and history, the class will explore the role of fantasy both as a means of escape from the traumas of war, and a way of coming to better grips with them. Drawing on critical theories of trauma and fantasy world-making, we will read historical novels about WWI such as Pat Barker’s Regeneration next to Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring (with excerpts from the Two Towers and the Return of the King), T. H. White’s The Book of Merlin, and Susan Cooper’s Dawn of Fear and The Dark is Rising along with medieval texts such as Malory’s Mort d’Arthur, the Alliterative Morte Arthure, and Hervor’s Saga. 

Requirements: 2 short papers (50%); an optional presentation or creative project (to replace one of the papers); weekly response papers (30%), and active class discussion (20%).

Women’s Writing about Politics, Society, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Britain

19th-Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Rainwater

The nineteenth century saw significant political and social advancements in women’s lives, and there were an increasing number of women writing about pressing contemporary debates. In this class, we will explore women’s contributions to this exciting transitional period, from their essays on marriage, education, and voting rights, to their articles on topics such as art, literature, and religious practice. From Anna Brownell Jameson’s fascinating feminist analysis of the Madonna in art, to the suffragist Millicent Garrett Fawcett’s treatise on emancipation, we will analyze some of the century’s most important critical texts. Readings will include selections from authors whose fiction is often taught, but whose non-fiction is seldom examined, including Christina Rossetti’s essays about religion, and George Eliot’s article about “Lady Novelists.” We will also read opposing opinions on women’s rights, from Eliza Lynn Linton’s vehement denunciation of women who sought political equality as “Wild Women,” to Mona Caird’s spirited defense of the “So-called Wild Women.”

American Literature, 1832 to 1865

English 166C / Prof. Salway

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

American Poetry to 1900

English 167A / Prof. Cohen

This course will survey the history of American poetry from the Puritan era to the end of the nineteenth century. We will read the poetry of authors like Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others, and we will study the poetry of major events and movements, like the poetry of antislavery and the poetry of the Civil War. Class meetings will focus on close reading and interpretation, the study of genres, meter, and formal devices, as well as the formats and methods through which poets wrote and published their poetry. We will devote time to learning different ways to read poems and write about them, including formal essays but also including other forms of engagement with the material. Students will have the opportunity to create final projects based on original library research, as well as creative writing

American Literature, 1865 to 1900

English 170A / Prof. Dimuro

The course focuses primarily upon narrative fiction of various kinds, including the short story, novella, and the novel written in the volatile years between the Era of Reconstruction and the onset of modern urban civilization at the turn of the twentieth century. Authors to be considered may include Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Stephen Crane, Henry James, Charles W. Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, and Theodore Dreiser among others. Topics of discussion include narrative techniques, the question of race and gender, the relationship between historical and fictional narrative, the economic dimension of human value, and the continuities and disruptions of literary traditions. Requirements include two or three papers and a comprehensive final examination.

American Poetry since 1945

English 173B / Prof. Yenser

This survey of American poetry since World War II will feature work by Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, Sylvia Plath, and contemporary poets including Ishion Hutchinson and Vijay Seshadri.  The last two will read at the Hammer Museum during the spring term.  Requirements will include attendance at those two readings, a midterm examination, and two papers.  Class sessions will incorporate lecture and discussion.

Africa in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1945 to Present

American Fiction Since 1945
English 174B / Prof. Solomon

In this course, we’ll examine the significance of Africa in U.S. literature and culture, from 1945 to the present. Lectures and classroom discussions will focus on the imaginative role that African settings have played for American audiences, reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 20th and 21st century, and filtered through a range of artistic movements. Reading will include Paul Bowles’ post-WWII modernist novel The Sheltering Sky, Nnedi Okafor’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel Who Fears Death, and Yaa Gyasi’s historical epic Homegoing; we’ll supplement our reading with some examination of images from television and film (including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Alex Haley’s Roots, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther).

Writing the Resistance: Aesthetics, Politics, and Political Aesthetics in U.S. Film and Fiction, 1970s – Present

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. Solomon

This course will explore expressions of resistance in U.S. texts produced in the wake of the counter-culture movements of the 1960s. We will examine contemporary works of literature, film, music, and visual art that challenge prevailing notions of American Empire in the post-Cold War period, and which seek to (re)focus attention upon the persistent structural imbalances that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, the Antiwar Movements, the Environmental Movement, the Women’s Movement, and the LGBTQ Rights Movement.

L.A. Noir

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.3 / Prof. Zirulnik

This course will introduce students to the genre of film noir through fiction and films set in and around the city of Los Angeles, focusing on how these works of literature and visual culture represent and re-imagine the city from one generation to another. We will begin by watching classic noirs alongside the hard-boiled detective novels on which they were based (e.g. The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity). We will then see the genre’s classic period come to an apocalyptic end in Kiss Me Deadly before exploring some of its more contemporary iterations, e.g. neo-noir (Chinatown, Devil in a Blue Dress, Mullholland Dr.) and tech-noir (Bladerunner). We will examine both the formal history of the genre—its distinct stylistic features as these develop throughout the latter half of the 20th century—and its broader social contexts.

Note that this course has a film-screening component, scheduled as a discussion after lecture on Tuesdays. Attendance at screenings is required during weeks in which films are assigned, and these will last for the run-time of each film. Expect around 7 screenings, lasting from 1.5 – 2.5 hours.

 

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

Aesthetics, Performance, and Black Social Life

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

This interdisciplinary course will examine post-1990s black diasporic artistic production. It seeks to ask, what themes and aesthetic techniques unite contemporary works by black writers, artists, and performers? By examining contemporary concerns in disparate poetry, essays, film, performance art, and contemporary art produced from the mid-1990s to the present moment, this course seek to unearth different rubrics for examining black artistic praxis and the textures of everyday life. Topics include: black feminist epistemologies, intercultural performance, the Los Angeles Riots, black art & white museums, and black queer life. Possible writers include Danez Smith, Saidiya Hartman, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt, Christina Sharpe, and Damon Young while possible artists and performers examined include Kara Walker, Anna Deavere Smith, EJ Hill, Solange, and Coco Fusco.

Narrating Female Subjectivity in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century

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

At the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century in Britain, an enclave of women writers produced daring narratives that represented new forms of liberated female subjectivity. These exciting fictions, although extremely influential at the turn of the century, are often overlooked, in part because they do not fit traditional literary paradigms. In this course we will read some of these fascinating short stories and novels, which explore alternatives to the marriage plot, study female sexual awakening, and experiment with new narrative techniques. Our readings will include the short stories of George Egerton (pen name of Mary Chavelita Dunne), whose first book in 1893 shocked readers with its frank depiction of female eroticism. We will read a novel by Dorothy Richardson, whose experimental prose occasioned the first application of the term “stream of consciousness” to fiction. Readings will also draw from the sensuous short stories of Katherine Mansfield, the rich aestheticism of Lucas Malet, and the keenly insightful prose of Netta Syrett.

Natural Narratives: Environmental Literature and Culture

Literature and the Environment
English 118E / Prof. Hall

What is nature? What does it mean to be natural or unnatural? How do literary and cultural works shape how we think about nature, and how have our ideas about nature and its value changed over the last two centuries? To answer these questions, we will read, watch, and discuss a wide array of primary materials – including novels, a play, poetry, animated and documentary films, and life writing – and study foundational environmental humanities scholarship, as well as recent public writing related to some of our primary texts. Although we will read works now considered canonical in the study of literature and the environment, we will also engage with texts that fall outside this canon, and discuss the process of canon formation and exclusion. Throughout the course, we will explore the many different environmental discourses that emerge in the texts we study, and consider the role literature and culture play in shaping how we think – and tell stories – about environmental issues, both old and new.

 

Fulfills and upper-division requirement for the Literature and the Environment minor.

 

Not open to students who took English 118E with Professor Hall in Fall 2019.

Thinking the Global

Nationalism and Transnationalism
English 134 / Prof. Goyal

This course focuses on contemporary postcolonial literature, with a special emphasis on twenty-first century fiction that is global in orientation. What is the global novel and why is it so popular? Examining novels, short stories, new media, and visual culture, we will study the relationship between nationalism, migration, and literary form, tracking the changing meanings of local and global in our world today. How do contemporary writers from the postcolony offer resistance to global consumer culture, or generate new theories of time and space? In a rapidly globalizing world, what place do national and racial identities have, if any? How do we define ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ in a time of fluid identities?  How are these ideas of tradition gendered and why? Do cultural texts from around the world circulate in the West as exotic commodities or as sites of resistance? We will focus on novels and films that garnered a lot of attention in the West in the form of prizes and awards, and explore how writers from the Global South negotiate the burden of speaking for the non-West. What are the keywords that define the relationship between “us” and “them” in the twenty-first century? Authors include Salman Rushdie, Marjane Satrapi, Aravind Adiga, Chris Abani, Valeria Luiselli, Mohsin Hamid, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and NoViolet Bulawayo.

The Cultures of the Middle Ages: Romancing Islam

Cultures of Middle Ages
English 148 / Prof. Chism

Current anti-Muslim racisms try to erase a long and complex history of mutual rapprochement, influence, and aversion. This class reads premodern texts concerning Islam from both Muslim and Latin Christian writers to explore premodern Islamic imaginaries from many perspectives.  Muslim writers meditated upon the relations of humans, God, and the natural world, and many of these writings were translated and transmitted into European languages. Meanwhile in Latin Christendom, romance proved to be a genre well suited to speculation, nightmare, thought experiment, and reverence.  We will use theories of literary world-making to put past and present into conversation and illuminate the complex discourses – beyond orientalism — that circulated before European hegemony.  Texts examined may include: 1001 Nights, The Conference of Birds, Hayy ibn Yaqhan, Aucassin and Nicolette, the story of Tawaddud/La Doncella Teodor, Arabic and Old French versions of the life of Buddha, historical accounts of Salah al-Din, stories from Boccaccio’s Decameron, and travel narratives by Muslim and non-Muslim travelers in the Mediterranean and Asia.

 

Requirements: 2 short papers (50%), an optional creative project or presentation (to replace one of the papers; weekly response papers (30%), and active class participation (20%).

Women’s Writing about Politics, Society, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Britain

19th-Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Rainwater

The nineteenth century saw significant political and social advancements in women’s lives, and there were an increasing number of women writing about pressing contemporary debates. In this class, we will explore women’s contributions to this exciting transitional period, from their essays on marriage, education, and voting rights, to their articles on topics such as art, literature, and religious practice. From Anna Brownell Jameson’s fascinating feminist analysis of the Madonna in art, to the suffragist Millicent Garrett Fawcett’s treatise on emancipation, we will analyze some of the century’s most important critical texts. Readings will include selections from authors whose fiction is often taught, but whose non-fiction is seldom examined, including Christina Rossetti’s essays about religion, and George Eliot’s article about “Lady Novelists.” We will also read opposing opinions on women’s rights, from Eliza Lynn Linton’s vehement denunciation of women who sought political equality as “Wild Women,” to Mona Caird’s spirited defense of the “So-called Wild Women.”

Africa in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1945 to Present

American Fiction Since 1945
English 174B / Prof. Solomon

In this course, we’ll examine the significance of Africa in U.S. literature and culture, from 1945 to the present. Lectures and classroom discussions will focus on the imaginative role that African settings have played for American audiences, reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 20th and 21st century, and filtered through a range of artistic movements. Reading will include Paul Bowles’ post-WWII modernist novel The Sheltering Sky, Nnedi Okafor’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel Who Fears Death, and Yaa Gyasi’s historical epic Homegoing; we’ll supplement our reading with some examination of images from television and film (including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Alex Haley’s Roots, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther).

Writing the Resistance: Aesthetics, Politics, and Political Aesthetics in U.S. Film and Fiction, 1970s – Present

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. Solomon

This course will explore expressions of resistance in U.S. texts produced in the wake of the counter-culture movements of the 1960s. We will examine contemporary works of literature, film, music, and visual art that challenge prevailing notions of American Empire in the post-Cold War period, and which seek to (re)focus attention upon the persistent structural imbalances that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, the Antiwar Movements, the Environmental Movement, the Women’s Movement, and the LGBTQ Rights Movement.

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures

COURSE CANCELLED

Globalization and Postcolonial Literatures: Imagining the Environment

English 131 / Prof. DeLoughrey

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

Thinking the Global

Nationalism and Transnationalism
English 134 / Prof. Goyal

This course focuses on contemporary postcolonial literature, with a special emphasis on twenty-first century fiction that is global in orientation. What is the global novel and why is it so popular? Examining novels, short stories, new media, and visual culture, we will study the relationship between nationalism, migration, and literary form, tracking the changing meanings of local and global in our world today. How do contemporary writers from the postcolony offer resistance to global consumer culture, or generate new theories of time and space? In a rapidly globalizing world, what place do national and racial identities have, if any? How do we define ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ in a time of fluid identities?  How are these ideas of tradition gendered and why? Do cultural texts from around the world circulate in the West as exotic commodities or as sites of resistance? We will focus on novels and films that garnered a lot of attention in the West in the form of prizes and awards, and explore how writers from the Global South negotiate the burden of speaking for the non-West. What are the keywords that define the relationship between “us” and “them” in the twenty-first century? Authors include Salman Rushdie, Marjane Satrapi, Aravind Adiga, Chris Abani, Valeria Luiselli, Mohsin Hamid, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and NoViolet Bulawayo.

Epic Heroes

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

The epic hero is dominant, self-reliant, and competitive. These traits also happen to define toxic masculinity, which seems like a modern concern but also defines a Renaissance preoccupation of writers attempting to appropriate classical pagan heroes for Christian audiences. Christianity’s emphasis on Christ-like values (such as suffering, selflessness, and acceptance) made it an unlikely target culture for classical epic heroes, yet Renaissance Christians were keen to elevate their own literary culture by appropriating them. As a result, Renaissance heroes often seem misplaced, such as Milton’s epic enhancement of the Book of Genesis that features Satan as its central hero. Such misplaced heroics both challenged the historical form that Renaissance writers supposedly revived while also promoting its survival even up to modern blockbusters, which repeatedly bandy about the word for dramatic marketing effects. This course will recreate the journey of the classical epic hero into Renaissance England, stopping along the way to consider Italian and Spanish intermediaries and a couple modern instantiations. Along this path, we will analyze how the epic genre shaped conflicting notions of masculinity while also normalizing socio-cultural hierarchies that valorize their heroes. The journey of this course is an epic feat in itself, approaching classical revivals from a trans-historical and trans-regional perspective. By crossing this terrain, we will seek to answer questions such as: What is an epic hero? What are its modern forms? If Christianity killed the epic hero, how did it survive? And, ultimately, what can epics teach us about our own vexed notions of heroism and national identity?

Students may not enroll in this class in tandem with English 182B.

American Literature, 1776 to 1832**

English 166B / Prof. Salway

This course is a survey of American literatures and cultures from the period generally known as the early republic—that is, the age of revolutions to the British abolition of slavery (ca. 1776–1838). Most of the texts on the syllabus were written in the early United States, but the course itself is not meant to be a nationalist literary history of the US. Instead, we will consider how our readings reflect the complicated interactions between the colonies, nations, and peoples that made up the Atlantic world, and how they began to frame the language of nation and community that is familiar to us today. Topics include republican citizenship, enlightenment and rationalism, slavery and emancipation, gender and representation, as well as fiction and narrative form. By the end of the semester, students will be reading across a broad range of genres, and will be able to identify the various literary strategies that writers used to support or criticize the dominant cultures and ideologies of their day.

 

** = fulfills pre-1848 requirement for the American Literature and Culture major

Africa in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1945 to Present

American Fiction Since 1945
English 174B / Prof. Solomon

In this course, we’ll examine the significance of Africa in U.S. literature and culture, from 1945 to the present. Lectures and classroom discussions will focus on the imaginative role that African settings have played for American audiences, reflecting the geopolitical realities of the 20th and 21st century, and filtered through a range of artistic movements. Reading will include Paul Bowles’ post-WWII modernist novel The Sheltering Sky, Nnedi Okafor’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel Who Fears Death, and Yaa Gyasi’s historical epic Homegoing; we’ll supplement our reading with some examination of images from television and film (including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Alex Haley’s Roots, and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther).

 

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

Narrating Female Subjectivity in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century

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

At the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century in Britain, an enclave of women writers produced daring narratives that represented new forms of liberated female subjectivity. These exciting fictions, although extremely influential at the turn of the century, are often overlooked, in part because they do not fit traditional literary paradigms. In this course we will read some of these fascinating short stories and novels, which explore alternatives to the marriage plot, study female sexual awakening, and experiment with new narrative techniques. Our readings will include the short stories of George Egerton (pen name of Mary Chavelita Dunne), whose first book in 1893 shocked readers with its frank depiction of female eroticism. We will read a novel by Dorothy Richardson, whose experimental prose occasioned the first application of the term “stream of consciousness” to fiction. Readings will also draw from the sensuous short stories of Katherine Mansfield, the rich aestheticism of Lucas Malet, and the keenly insightful prose of Netta Syrett.

Hebrew Bible in Translation

English 111A / Prof. Maniquis

Literary study of Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), with emphasis on literary devices and narrative structures in relation to Judaic historical, political, psychological, philosophical, and theological themes.

 

This course qualifies as foreign literature in translation. English majors may apply this course either to an upper-division major requirement, or to their major foreign language/literature requirement, but not both.

“In the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis”: Literary Dublin

Literary Cities
English 119 / Prof. Jaurretche

Using the city of Dublin as our locus, students in this course will read a variety of major works written by Dublin writers. A grounding in Dublin geography, urban study, and history will prepare students to consider various dimensions of Irish experience in the twentieth-century, from its status as a country under British rule, fight for independence, and ultimate autonomy. The course is blended, and will present historical and cultural materials digitally. Literature is taught in 3-hour face-to-face traditional classroom lecture  A feature of this class is team research and annotation of digitized archival and historical items for publication as a Field Guide.  This work will prepare students to write a long paper on literature from a historically informed base of knowledge, and in turn serve as foundation for the future minor in Urban Literature and Cultures.

Click here for a short video of Prof. Jaurretche talking about her vision for this brand new course!

Modern and Contemporary Aesthetics and Critical Theory

English 121 / Prof. Huehls

Investigation of some dominant trends in 19th- and 20th-century aesthetics, critical theory, and interpretation. Topics may include Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, and postcolonialism.

 

Qualifies as a critical theory course for students planning to pursue departmental honors.

Continuity and Discontinuity in Literature and Film

English 122 / Prof. Zirulnik

It seems reasonable to assert that, of all literary forms, the novel is most suited to the idea of continuity—to a general sense that things go on and on, that one thing leads to another, and that individual perceptions and experiences link up in meaningful ways that cannot be reduced to discrete episodes or momentary impressions. But it also seems just as reasonable to say that, at least since Laurence Sterne published Tristram Shandy in 1759, no other literary form has more thoroughly mastered the art of refusing to continue—the art of dilation and digression, of leaving gaps and ellipses, of pausing, procrastinating, fixating on disconnected sensual details, and otherwise failing to follow a story through.Do these aesthetic impulses contradict each other? What values are ascribed to continuity and discontinuity and why? Does this change in the 20th century, when aesthetic practices come under the pressures of modernity in ways that seem more readily assimilable to the cuts and fragments of cinematic montage than to the narrative commitments of literary realism? This course will approach these questions by way of a range of texts from the late 19th and 20th centuries, including influential works of theory (e.g. James, Bergson, Eisenstein, Benjamin, Bazin) as well as exemplary works of fiction (e.g. Conrad, Woolf, Bowen) and film (e.g. Eisenstein, Vertov, Rossellini, Hitchcock).

 

Qualifies as a critical theory course for students planning to pursue departmental honors.

Henry James

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Dimuro

The career of Henry James is unique in its scope, experimentation, technical brilliance, and psychological depth. Along with Mark Twain and William Dean Howells, James was among the most important American novelists to emerge during the so-called “age of realism,” and the one whose influential works still fascinate and challenge readers. Although he also wrote many book reviews, plays, travel literature, literary criticism, prefaces for his collected works, and several volumes of autobiography, this course focuses on James’s prose fiction. Henry James launched his career with the international popularity of Daisy Miller and his first full-length masterpiece, The Portrait of a Lady.  We will also read his satire of the feminist movement called The Bostonians, his examination of greed in The Spoils of Poynton, and a number of stories including “The Pupil” and “The Beast in the Jungle.” As we make our way through James’s later phase, we will read a number of his “Prefaces,” as well as The Ambassadors, which was James’s own favorite novel among his works. Two papers, exercises, and a final examination.

Eugene O’Neill

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stefans

Eugene O’Neill is the first great figure of American theater and still one of the most influential. Inspired by European developments in theater, notably Realism, he was among the first to use American vernacular in plays, many of which focused on characters on the fringes of society. Early plays include the controversial “Emperor Jones” and the absurdist tragedy “The Hairy Ape.” Later plays such as “Long Day’s Journey into Night” exemplify O’Neill’s great ability to uncover the dark turmoils, generations deep, underlying family dynamics. Several of his plays were made into successful films, including “Anna Christie,” “Desire Under the Elms” and “The Iceman Cometh.” He won four Pulitzer Prizes (one posthumously in 1957) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936. In this course, we will study a selection of O’Neill’s plays, plays by writers who influenced or were influenced by him, and some films based on his plays or which clearly demonstrate his influence such as Paul Thomas Anderon’s Magnolia which co-starred Jason Robards, an actor who first became famous for his work in O’Neill’s plays. We will also do some scene work — that is, approach the plays like actors and directors — to gain a better understanding of how the language of the plays translates into a theater experience.

World War Medieval

Medievalisms
English 149 / Prof. Chism

J.R.R. Tolkien writes how his passion for fantasy was “wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.” In the aftermaths of 20th-century global war, Tolkien was not alone. This class explores the strange relationship between modern global warfare and medievalist fantasy. Weaving between medieval epics and 20th-century fantasy, novels, and history, the class will explore the role of fantasy both as a means of escape from the traumas of war, and a way of coming to better grips with them. Drawing on critical theories of trauma and fantasy world-making, we will read historical novels about WWI such as Pat Barker’s Regeneration next to Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring (with excerpts from the Two Towers and the Return of the King), T. H. White’s The Book of Merlin, and Susan Cooper’s Dawn of Fear and The Dark is Rising along with medieval texts such as Malory’s Mort d’Arthur, the Alliterative Morte Arthure, and Hervor’s Saga. 

Requirements: 2 short papers (50%); an optional presentation or creative project (to replace one of the papers); weekly response papers (30%), and active class discussion (20%).

Epic Heroes

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

The epic hero is dominant, self-reliant, and competitive. These traits also happen to define toxic masculinity, which seems like a modern concern but also defines a Renaissance preoccupation of writers attempting to appropriate classical pagan heroes for Christian audiences. Christianity’s emphasis on Christ-like values (such as suffering, selflessness, and acceptance) made it an unlikely target culture for classical epic heroes, yet Renaissance Christians were keen to elevate their own literary culture by appropriating them. As a result, Renaissance heroes often seem misplaced, such as Milton’s epic enhancement of the Book of Genesis that features Satan as its central hero. Such misplaced heroics both challenged the historical form that Renaissance writers supposedly revived while also promoting its survival even up to modern blockbusters, which repeatedly bandy about the word for dramatic marketing effects. This course will recreate the journey of the classical epic hero into Renaissance England, stopping along the way to consider Italian and Spanish intermediaries and a couple modern instantiations. Along this path, we will analyze how the epic genre shaped conflicting notions of masculinity while also normalizing socio-cultural hierarchies that valorize their heroes. The journey of this course is an epic feat in itself, approaching classical revivals from a trans-historical and trans-regional perspective. By crossing this terrain, we will seek to answer questions such as: What is an epic hero? What are its modern forms? If Christianity killed the epic hero, how did it survive? And, ultimately, what can epics teach us about our own vexed notions of heroism and national identity?

Students may not enroll in this class in tandem with English 182B.

Women’s Writing about Politics, Society, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Britain

19th-Century Critical Prose
English 164B / Prof. Rainwater

The nineteenth century saw significant political and social advancements in women’s lives, and there were an increasing number of women writing about pressing contemporary debates. In this class, we will explore women’s contributions to this exciting transitional period, from their essays on marriage, education, and voting rights, to their articles on topics such as art, literature, and religious practice. From Anna Brownell Jameson’s fascinating feminist analysis of the Madonna in art, to the suffragist Millicent Garrett Fawcett’s treatise on emancipation, we will analyze some of the century’s most important critical texts. Readings will include selections from authors whose fiction is often taught, but whose non-fiction is seldom examined, including Christina Rossetti’s essays about religion, and George Eliot’s article about “Lady Novelists.” We will also read opposing opinions on women’s rights, from Eliza Lynn Linton’s vehement denunciation of women who sought political equality as “Wild Women,” to Mona Caird’s spirited defense of the “So-called Wild Women.”

American Poetry to 1900

English 167A / Prof. Cohen

This course will survey the history of American poetry from the Puritan era to the end of the nineteenth century. We will read the poetry of authors like Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others, and we will study the poetry of major events and movements, like the poetry of antislavery and the poetry of the Civil War. Class meetings will focus on close reading and interpretation, the study of genres, meter, and formal devices, as well as the formats and methods through which poets wrote and published their poetry. We will devote time to learning different ways to read poems and write about them, including formal essays but also including other forms of engagement with the material. Students will have the opportunity to create final projects based on original library research, as well as creative writing.

American Poetry since 1945

English 173B / Prof. Yenser

This survey of American poetry since World War II will feature work by Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, Sylvia Plath, and contemporary poets including Ishion Hutchinson and Vijay Seshadri.  The last two will read at the Hammer Museum during the spring term.  Requirements will include attendance at those two readings, a midterm examination, and two papers.  Class sessions will incorporate lecture and discussion.

Writing the Resistance: Aesthetics, Politics, and Political Aesthetics in U.S. Film and Fiction, 1970s – Present

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. Solomon

This course will explore expressions of resistance in U.S. texts produced in the wake of the counter-culture movements of the 1960s. We will examine contemporary works of literature, film, music, and visual art that challenge prevailing notions of American Empire in the post-Cold War period, and which seek to (re)focus attention upon the persistent structural imbalances that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, the Antiwar Movements, the Environmental Movement, the Women’s Movement, and the LGBTQ Rights Movement.

Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.2 / Prof. Grossman

This course will explore in as much depth as possible Mark Twain’s extraordinary 1889 satirical historical novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. As his novel’s title announces, we will be reading a tale about the transmigration of a nineteenth-century Yankee back to mythic medieval times. Twain mixes up genres as well as the times here. Forms of romance, including queer ones, slave narratives, adventure stories, political and economic satire, dystopian science-fiction, and especially the historical novel: we will discuss all kinds of writing turning topsy-turvy right through to one of the strangest and most horrific endings in all of literature, often seen as foretelling the genocidal horrors of the twentieth century. Especially important for your teacher will be historicizing and theorizing the depiction of industrial, standardized objects in literature. Because Twain’s novel obsessively imagines how nineteenth-century machine-produced industrial goods would re-stage sixth-century human relations and how a nineteenth-century Yankee would experience a pre-industrialized world, we will also rivet our eyes on the duel between the handicraft and machine-made durables. Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

L.A. Noir

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.3 / Prof. Zirulnik

This course will introduce students to the genre of film noir through fiction and films set in and around the city of Los Angeles, focusing on how these works of literature and visual culture represent and re-imagine the city from one generation to another. We will begin by watching classic noirs alongside the hard-boiled detective novels on which they were based (e.g. The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity). We will then see the genre’s classic period come to an apocalyptic end in Kiss Me Deadly before exploring some of its more contemporary iterations, e.g. neo-noir (Chinatown, Devil in a Blue Dress, Mullholland Dr.) and tech-noir (Bladerunner). We will examine both the formal history of the genre—its distinct stylistic features as these develop throughout the latter half of the 20th century—and its broader social contexts.

Note that this course has a film-screening component, scheduled as a discussion after lecture on Tuesdays. Attendance at screenings is required during weeks in which films are assigned, and these will last for the run-time of each film. Expect around 7 screenings, lasting from 1.5 – 2.5 hours.

 

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. Mullen

In this creative writing workshop, students must write original poetry and submit multiple copies of their drafts for class discussion. Each student is also required to contribute constructive feedback to fellow writers, and to make an oral presentation on the work of a published poet. Criteria for grading include regular and punctual attendance and completion of assignments, participation in discussion with respectful critique of fellow writers, as well as a final portfolio of revised poems. Enrollment is by instructor consent.

 

To apply for enrollment, please submit five poems, along with a brief statement about your interest in reading and writing poetry and your previous experience in literature and creative writing courses. Please include your student identification number and e-mail address. Please deliver a print copy to the English Department Office at 149 Kaplan Hall, and also send an electronic version to me at mullen@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu; the subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Johnson 136.1)

 

Application deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020

 

Accepted students will be notified by e-mail, and a list will be posted in the English Dept. Main Office (Kaplan 149) on Monday, March 30.

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.2 / Prof. Wilson

English 136 is an intensive poetry workshop, and you’ll write a new poem each week. In class, we’ll discuss your work, the work of fellow students, and other assigned readings. Expect many of the same experiences you’d have in any other writing course: group work, peer critique, revision, and discussion of published work. You’ll also be expected to read and report on the current issue of a literary magazine, write a review of a recent single-author book of poems, and submit a collection of your revised poems at the end of the quarter.

 

Enrollment is by instructor consent. If admitted, you must attend the first class. To apply for the course, submit by e-mail attachment three to five of your best poems. In the body of the e-mail, provide your name, major, class level, and a brief note (no more than 250 words) about your experiences with poetry, your favorite poets, and any other creative writing courses you may have taken (none required!).  The subject line of your message should be your last name followed by the course number (example: Smith 136) and it should be sent to rwilson@english.ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu. Accepted students will be notified by e-mail, and a list will be posted in the English Dept. Main Office (Kaplan 149) on Monday, March 30.

 

Application Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020

Creative Writing: Short Story

English 137.1 / Prof. Huneven

This class is an intensive workshop on the reading and writing of short literary fiction.

 

We will consider the short story form, studying one or more great short stories weekly, which the students will take turns presenting to the class. All students will be expected to read these stories multiple times and annotate them to identify the mechanics and the magic.

 

Students will write one short story every week for the first five weeks. After that, they will write two slightly longer stories and work on revisions. The goals of the class are 1) to help the students develop a regular practice of writing, 2) to foster and train technical skill, and 3) to develop a sound critical faculty.

 

Emphasis will be on developing the student writer’s individual voice and writing ability

 

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

 

If you are applying to both workshops and have a preference, please indicate that preference so we can try to accommodate it.

 

Submissions must be e-mailed to huneven@me.com 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: Smith 137.1)

 

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

 

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY MARCH 15th.

 

NOTE: A class list will be posted in English Department Office at the beginning of winter quarter, 2020.

 

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

Creative Writing: Short Story

English 137.2 / Prof. Simpson

We will read and study short stories, focusing on particular elements of craft: voice, narrative structure, various verbal limitations and expansions, use of time, characterization, drama, epiphany and endings. Students will be expected to read the stories more than once and to write responses. In addition, students will be expected to write daily and to bring new to work to class every week.

To be considered for the class, please submit 10 pages or less of fiction and a one page description of yourself as a UCLA student, including the particulars of your major, your focus, your class standing and whether or not you’ve taken a workshop here before and with whom. Please mention the last three books you’ve read and the writing you admire and would like to emulate. If you are applying to both workshops and have a preference, please indicate that preference so we can try to accommodate it.

 

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

 

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY SUNDAY, MARCH 15th, to: monasimpson@mac.com and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

 

NOTE: A class list will be posted in English Department Office at the beginning of spring quarter, 2020.

 

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

Creative Writing: Memoir and Autobiography

English M138.1 / Prof. Allmendinger

In this seminar, students will write first-person non-fiction narratives relating to their personal lives and experience.  Each week, they will submit short pieces for us to read and discuss in class.  In addition, we will consider the aesthetics and ethics of first-person writing.  Can a person exercise creative license when writing non-fiction?  How does one write about oneself objectively, or is it necessary to do so?  Do writers have a responsibility to consider other people who appear in their stories?  What if they object to being included in your personal narrative or feel misrepresented?  Requirements include weekly written assignments, attendance and participation in seminar.

 

Enrollment by instructor consent (PTE). Interested students should submit a 250-word personal statement about their writing goals, a list of writing and literature courses taken so far, and a 5-10 page (double spaced) sample of nonfiction writing. Please submit applications to the instructor’s mailbox in 149 Kaplan Hall or via email: allmendi@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu. When e-mailing submissions, please put your last name and MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY in the subject line (example: Roberts-MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY). Submissions are due by Sunday, March 15, 2020.

 

This course is an eligible non-fiction topic for the Professional Writing Minor.

Creative Writing: Narrative Nonfiction

English M138.2 / Prof. Jager

Students will read short samples of successful narrative nonfiction in various forms or genres and write their own pieces to be shared and discussed in the workshop.  Forms include chronology, cause and effect, analysis and argument; genres include memoir, interview and the research article.  Enrollment by instructor consent (PTE). Interested students should submit a 250-word personal statement about their writing goals, a list of writing and literature courses taken so far, and a 5-10 page sample (double spaced) of nonfiction writing.  Please submit applications to the instructor’s mailbox in 149 Kaplan Hall and via email: ejager@humnet.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: Rodriguez 138.2).

 

This course is an eligible non-fiction topic for the Professional Writing Minor.

Creative Writing: Writing Military Experience

English M138.3 / Prof. Wilson

This section of M138 will be restricted to student military veterans.

 

In this workshop course, you will have the opportunity to take ownership of and communicate your service experience through any and all literary forms—creative nonfiction (memoir, fact-based narrative), poetry, prose fiction, and hybrid genres. We will read published examples of such writing, and will work on developing disciplined practice, effective process, and satisfying product.

 

Enrollment is by instructor consent. If admitted, you must attend the first class. To apply for the course, please write a brief (no more than 250 words) e-mail introducing yourself and your service experience, and explaining why you wish to take this course. Include your name, major, and class level; put your last name and the course number in the subject line (example: “Smith M138”); and send to rwilson@english.ucla.edu.

Creative Writing: Dramatic Writing

English M138.5 / Prof. Stefans

For the first five weeks of this course, students will write short exercises that will explore, among other things: how to construct a truly “dramatic” scene; how language is (or can be) used in drama; how to write a dramatic monologue; how to create a truly “round” character; how to write for comedy; how to use props and stagecraft to move a story forward; and so forth.

 

Students will then devote their time to completing with the aim that, by week 8, they will have written a one act that we can then workshop with actors (largely, other students in the class, but also whoever is interested) with the hope that we can have a quarter-end performance night of staged readings.

 

Writers of all levels are encouraged to apply, even if you have never written for theater (or film). To apply, please submit up to five pages of writing of any nature that you think exhibits you at your best. Naturally, students who submit dramatic writing, or writing that engages strongly in dialogue, will be given precedence, but this class is open to anyone who wishes to explore writing for the stage.

 

In addition to your writing submission, please describe in your submission email your background in dramatic writing, favorite authors, what you hope to gain from this class, and anything else that seems charming or relevant.

 

Admission to this class is by instructor permission only. If admitted, you must attend the first class in order to be allowed to enroll.

 

The submission must be in PDF form and should include your ID number. Email it to stefans@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu by Friday, March 20th.

 

IMPORTANT: When e-mailing submissions, please title your PDF with your last name and “DRAMA” in the subject line. For example: williams_drama_submission.pdf.

Senior/Capstone Seminars

Novels & Networks

Topics in Genre Studies
English 181A / Prof. Seltzer

We live in a world of networks and  grids, zones and systems—from the transit networks that move us from place to place, to the educational systems that promise social mobility, to the media networks that provide, among other things, reports on this sort of world:  how it runs and, usually, keeps on running. The genre of the novel has been a guide to, and a sponsor of, the networked world–and its self-shaping way of life–from the start.  This course will focus on recent novels (and, if possible, related film and anime) that can deepen our understanding of the ways of this world and how it depicts itself.  Readings will include, among others, the works of Cormac McCarthy and China Miéville, Natsuo Kirino and Rachel Cusk, Tom McCarthy and Colson Whitehead.

The Idea of Sacrifice

Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies
English 181B / Prof. Maniquis

Sacrifice has been a founding concept of civilization, used for many different purposes; this seminar is devoted to understanding some of them.  Students interested in literature, political and social history, philosophy, anthropology, and religion are welcome in this seminar. We shall consider such questions as: how are Greek, Roman, and Egyptian sacrificial concepts related to the long-dominant Christian idea of sacrifice? What actually is Christian sacrifice and was it meant to cultivate or end eternal sacrifice? What have been the major instrumental uses of sacrifice by states and ideologies? Why have many attempted to eliminate the idea of sacrifice from progressive culture?  How is sacrifice related to general theories of violence?

 

Readings will include classical and modern literature as well as theoretical essays by critics and scholars. Students will do oral presentations and write a seminar paper.

Epic Fail: How the Renaissance Killed the Classic Hero

Topics in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature
English 182B / Prof. Gerber

This course will investigate the Renaissance (or rebirth) of classical epics, which we will broadly define as long narrative poetry describing the heroic deeds of ancient civilizations. The only problem is that Christianity supposedly killed the epic, introducing Christ-like values that undermined classical heroics. The results often misplace forms of heroism, such as Milton’s elaboration of the Book of Genesis with Satan as its central hero. Such misplaced heroics both challenged the historical form that Renaissance writers revived and promoted its survival even up to modern blockbusters, which repeatedly bandy about the word for dramatic marketing effects. This course will recreate the journey of the classical epic into Renaissance England, stopping along the way to consider Italian and Spanish intermediaries and a couple modern media instantiations. Along this path, we will analyze how an epic genre used to valorize the heritage of particular peoples and to construct national identities became a pedestrian meme for labeling failure. The journey of this course is an epic feat in itself, approaching the classical revival from a trans-historical and trans-regional perspective. By crossing this terrain, we will seek to answer questions such as: What is an epic? What are its modern forms? If Christianity killed the epic, how did it survive? And, ultimately, what can epics teach us about our own notions of historical literature and national identity?

Alice Munro and Writing the Short Story

Topics in 20th and 21st Century Literature
English 182F / Prof. Huneven

This is a class designed for creative writers and other serious students of the short story. Alice Munro redefined what could be accomplished in a short story, and in doing so introduced new literary pleasures and techniques into the genre. Her capacity to render life in small town Ontario—especially the lives of girls and women—with nuance, complexity, and universal appeal earned her the Nobel Prize in 2013. We will closely study 2 or 3 Munro stories a week. Class discussions will arise from student presentations on topics as literary style and technique, historical context, and sexual politics.  Midterm, final paper.

Hawthorne and Melville: The Short Fiction

Topics in Colonial American Literature
English 183B / Prof. Colacurcio

Before Hawthorne blitz-wrote his three “American Romances” (1850—52), he published almost 100 tales and sketches, in two separate periods, at Salem (1825-37) and then, after his first political job, at Concord, 1842-45: are there over-riding thematic concerns? What’s the same, what’s different, earlier and later?  Melville, on the other hand, had published no fewer than seven novels before hostile reviews, financial pressures, and (perhaps) the example of Hawthorne turned him to the magazines: from “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853) to “The Piazza” (1856), he wrote eighteen pieces of shorter fiction, which run to about 350 pages in one modern edition.  Are they in any sense “Hawthornean”?  More importantly, are any of them as important as the flawed yet magnificent Moby-Dick?  “Bartleby” and “Benito Cereno” are famous, but what about the rest?  Might they be worth, some day, a seminar in their own right?

  

Enrollment in this seminar will be restricted to American Literature and Culture majors during first pass, and will open up to English majors during second pass.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Longer Poems, and Their Tudor Contexts

COURSE CANCELLED

The Oceanic Humanities: Imagining Underwater Worlds

Capstone Seminar
English 184.2 / Prof. DeLoughrey

This course traces out the recent oceanic turn in the humanities, with an emphasis on postcolonial methods and approaches. While diaspora and transnational studies have emphasized the mobility of people across the oceans, most scholars have treated the ocean as a blank space across which human subjects attain their agency. More recently there has been a rise in what has been called a “critical ocean studies” that examines the ocean as embodied space, fluid material, a place for engagement with nonhuman others, and a place of alternative knowledges and ontologies. We will examine texts that engage with all of these themes and examine representations of the ocean (including the frozen poles) as a space of migration as well as an agent of climate change. We will ask what it means to submerge under the ocean, and engage literature, film, and art that represents underwater living as well as seabed mining. This is an interdisciplinary approach to the “Oceanic Humanities” (or “Blue Humanities”) that will engage feminist, indigenous, and postcolonial perspectives, particularly from the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

This course meets the capstone requirement for the Literature and the Environment minor. L&E minors who plan to enroll should contact Steph (Undergraduate Advising Office) at stephanie@english.ucla.edu.

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

Capstone Seminar
English 184.3 / Prof. Wang

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

Enrollment in this seminar will be restricted to American Literature and Culture majors during first pass, and will open up to English majors during second pass.

The Wilde Archive

Ahmanson Seminar–Application Required!
English 184.4 / Prof. Bristow

The Wilde Archive, the Ahmanson undergraduate seminar for Spring 2020, will be directed by Joseph Bristow, English, UCLA. Sessions will be held at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 13 miles east of campus. Enrollment is limited to ten participants, and those who successfully complete course requirements will receive an award of $1,000.

 

Using the extensive resources of the Oscar Wilde archive held at the Clark Library, this seminar focuses on different ways of researching topics relating to both the writer’s controversial life and his links with other artists and writers of the 1880s and 1890s. The seminar draws on published and unpublished materials to consider such issues as Wilde’s income, his successes on the London stage, the trials of 1895, his prison years, his links with publishers such as John Lane and Elkin Mathews, and his relations with painters and illustrators such as Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Ricketts, and James Whistler. This seminar will be of particular interest to undergraduates who wish to acquire advanced research skills in the humanities. Course requirements include two research papers.

 

To apply:

During the week of February 17, 2020, Joseph Bristow will conduct interviews with students who would like to enroll. Prospective students should submit the following documents to Professor Bristow:

  • a letter explaining their reasons for wanting to enroll in the course
  • a print-out of their DPR
  • a resume containing contact information.

The documents should be submitted to Professor Bristow in the UCLA English Department Main Office (149 Kaplan Hall) by Friday, February 7, 2020.

Middlemarch: a course for writers of fiction and students who read to live

Capstone Seminar
English 184.5 / Prof. Simpson

Virginia Woolf called Middlemarch, a book first published in 1971 by George Eliot, “one of the few English novels written for grown up people.” We will make our way through George Eliot’s masterpiece, discussing the novel in weekly 80 page increments. First, we’ll read the chapters in the old fashioned way, for literary pleasures. We’ll consider the great questions the novel provokes about how to live, how to find meaningful work, how to endure annoying guardians, what makes a good marriage and a terrible one. We’ll analyze the perennially fascinating question of why, “the two best people in the novel don’t end up together.” Characters who would no doubt end up wedding in Jane Austen, never feel any romantic interest in each other at all in Middlemarch.

 

Rebecca Mead lists the foundational questions of Middlemarch as:

What are the satisfactions of personal ambition, and how might they be weight against ties and duties to others?

What do the young owe to the old and vice versa?

What is the proper foundation of Morality?

 

We’ll try to understand how she did it, by way of looking at techniques, tools, her research and writing practice as revealed in biographies and letters. We will discuss the writer’s toolkit and we’ll also study the sources the writer herself may not have been aware of; the spirit of her epoch, its narrative style, the reform acts, the position of women, the changes – both personal and political – in the air. For the professor, and some young writers in the class this will be a driven labor: we’ll be hoping to better understand the structure and patterns of this great novel, so we can write our own. Students who have no intention of ever writing a novel will gain insight into the way a novel can change a reader.

 

REQUIRED READING:

 

Middlemarch by George Eliot (as this book was written in English, any edition is fine.)

 

SUPPLEMENTARY READING

George Eliot, by Jennifer Unglow

George Eliot, The Last Victorian, by Kathryn Hughes

MY LIFE in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead

“Middlemarch and Everybody,” by Zadie Smith, p 29-41 in Changing My Mind.

 

You will be required to read, read, and re-read, speak in class and complete research. We will have surprise quizzes, required creative and critical papers, oral reports, tea and cookies.

Undergraduates of any and all majors are welcome in this class.

Not open to students who completed English 139: Middlemarch in past quarters.

The Woke Nineteenth Century in U.S. Literature

Capstone Seminar
English 184.6 / Prof. Salway

In 2017, the Oxford English Dictionary expanded its definition of woke to include the modern adjective, meaning “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.” The very next year, Sam Sanders, writing for NPR, proclaimed the term “dead,” attributing its untimely demise to a common mishearing of the Erykah Badu song that popularized it. Sanders suggested that when Badu’s refrain, “I’d stay woke,” was widely mistaken for “I stay woke,” the meaning of woke changed, too: a term that, in the African American vernacular, had implied “a constant state of striving, course-correcting growth” was transformed into a fashionable label, a “static and performative” catchword of white activism that trivialized and fetishized black advocacy. As Georgia Anne Muldrow, who wrote the song for Badu, recently observed, “Most people who are woke ain’t calling themselves woke. Most people who are woke are agonizing inside. They’re too busy being depressed to call themselves woke.”

 

In this capstone seminar, we will use the inadvertent rebranding of wokeness as a jumping-off point for exploring the complex, delicate interactions between social justice movements in the United States and the lives of those for whom they advocate. At the heart of this inquiry are important questions about the role of the individual in relation to the collective. For example, how do we know if we are “alert to injustice,” and how might we detect that awareness in others? What “moves” us to speak for others or to act on their behalf, and how do we define ourselves in relation to political movements? What do we as individuals stand to lose or gain by identifying with a cause, and are we responsible for the consequences of our representations? To engage with these questions, we will turn to the long nineteenth century in U.S. literary history (1790-1920), a period characterized by unprecedented conflict, a widespread fascination with the power of enthusiasm, and the rise of social advocacy as an unwritten responsibility of good citizenship. Our aims will be to engage with culturally specific ideas of identity, sincerity, and performance, and to produce independent criticism on the evolving role of the individual in American life.

 

Enrollment in this seminar will be restricted to American Literature and Culture majors during first pass, and will open up to English majors during second pass.

Representing Chicanx Life

Topics in Chicana/o or Latina/o Literature
English M191B / Prof. Perez-Torres

This class examines literary and cultural texts to consider the various ways that Chicanx thought has engaged issues of representation. The problem of political and cultural representation for Chicanx communities has been a long-standing one. Chicanx activism was driven by a lack of representation and the need to articulate a collective identity so as to achieve social and political equity. The Chicanx writers we study in this class wrestle with a central question: how to represent a Chicanx self in literary texts when that sense of self in a social and historical setting seems constantly under threat? We will consider some of the conditions that make Chicanx and Latinx life feel precarious, and study cultural representation as a politically and socially engaged act of self-definition. We will pursue a careful method of rigorous textual analysis and logical argumentation. The goal is to generate clear, effective analytical thought about the literary and critical texts we read. The goals of the class will be: 1) to express oneself in a clear and organized way; 2) to analyze literary material critically; and, 3) to generate original ideas from a synthesis of different critical thoughts and analyses.

Enrollment in this seminar will be restricted to American Literature and Culture majors during first pass, and will open up to English majors during second pass.