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

Summer 2021

Lower Division Courses in English (Freshman, Sophomore)

Please note that only English 4W fulfills the requisite for English 10A or English 11 (English majors, minors, and American Literature and Culture majors).

Critical Reading and Writing

English 4W / Instructor TBD

Introduction to literary analysis, with close reading and carefully written exposition of selections from principal modes of literature: poetry, prose fiction, and drama. Minimum of 15 to 20 pages of revised writing.

 

Fulfills Writing II requirement.

Introduction to Creative Writing

English 20W / Instructor TBD

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

 

 

Fulfills Writing II requirement. Not open to students with credit for English 20.

Upper Division Courses in English

Literatures in English Before 1500

Tales in Painted Glass: Medieval Literature and Medievalism in Context

English 149 / Prof. Shaub
Medievalisms

This course will examine the relationship between literary works produced during the medieval period and works produced from the 18th-21st centuries that take inspiration from that period. The course design will be divided into two halves, each half representing one of the two primary centers of medieval culture, namely, the church and the court. Within these two broader categories, each week will explore an individual topic or theme. For example, one week will consider the subject of gothic architecture, where we will investigate works by early patrons of the gothic style, such as Abbot Suger, followed by a consideration of the gothic revival styles promoted in the writings of 19th-century aestheticians and architects like Ruskin and Pugin. Another will examine the relationship between troubadour poetry affiliated with the courts of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the writings of Ezra Pound, while yet another will investigate how the mystical Christian writings of Hildegard von Bingen have impacted 21st-century filmmaking. By providing historical context for each work, students will not only achieve an understanding of the similarities between medieval and revival styles, but also a clear sense of the unique contribution each work made to the intellectual life of its time and place.

 

Literatures in English 1500-1700

Rome in Shakespeare

English 150C / Prof. Bonnici
Topics in Shakespeare

In this course, we will examine how Shakespeare’s works construct and negotiate ancient Rome. Through attention to The Rape of LucreceTitus AndronicusJulius CaesarAntony and CleopatraCoriolanus, and Cymbeline, we will explore questions of empire, art, myth, violence, sexuality, race, and power.

 

Literatures in English 1700-1850

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, the professions, and voting rights, to their articles on art, aesthetics, and literature. 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 reflections from British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman, Mary Seacole, on Empire and race, and selections from Mary Prince’s autobiography: the first substantial account of slavery written by a woman. 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.”

 

Literatures in English 1850 – Present

 

Environmental Justice: Theory, Practice, Culture

Literature and the Environment
English 118E / Prof. Tanaka

This course dives into the theories, practices, and cultures of environmental justice in the postwar period to see how today’s most pressing environmental issues—climate change, energy extraction, extinction, food, toxicity, pollution—are fundamentally indivisible from the contexts of justice and power. We’ll read a wide range of literature and media to examine how environmentalism intersects with the politics of racism, capitalism, imperialism, and settler colonialism. In doing so, we’ll analyze the myriad values and forms that comprise environmental justice, and the political coalitions and conflicts that emerge when multiple justice frameworks converge. Course will examine the transformative role of environmental justice in the contemporary age of climate crisis and revolution.

 

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

 

 

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, the professions, and voting rights, to their articles on art, aesthetics, and literature. 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 reflections from British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman, Mary Seacole, on Empire and race, and selections from Mary Prince’s autobiography: the first substantial account of slavery written by a woman. 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.”

Great Escapisms: The American Novel since 1990

Contemporary American Fiction
English 174C / Prof. Schmidt

How do novelists respond to “binge-watching” and “ambient TV”? More broadly, do we as readers turn to stories in order to escape or in order to confront difficult realities in new and unexpected ways? To visit alternate, imagined worlds or to find the world we know represented afresh? This course will offer an overview of major trends in contemporary American fiction by way of exploring such questions. We will examine fundamental issues of point-of-view, prose style, novelistic form, and literary history by reading, discussing, and writing about a set of novels and short stories published since 1990 that address the political complexities of narrative absorption in particular and “escapism” more generally. Our readings will come from a handful of the following authors: Nicholson Baker, Ted Chiang, Teju Cole, Renee Gladman, Valeria Luiselli, Ottessa Moshfegh, Salvador Plascencia, George Saunders, David Foster Wallace, and Colson Whitehead.

 

Major American Rappers

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

Nearly a decade after its emergence, hip-hop experienced a golden age during which the art of rap reached new heights of lyrical sophistication and cultural critique. In this course, we’ll chart traditional and innovative aspects of canonical rap albums in relation to developments in twentieth-century American poetry. While the bulk of the rap we’ll attend to was created in the New York metropolitan area from the late 80s to the mid 90s, we’ll also address the ways in which rap from this era influenced rap that came after it. Close attention will be paid to the poetics of hip-hop, including rhythm, wordplay, and narrative, in addition to cultural contexts, especially issues of race, class, and sexuality. Students will respond to weekly posts, present on a rapper of their choice, and submit a final argumentative essay. Lively participation and an enthusiastic interest in collaborative learning are expected.

 

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

Extraordinary Bodyminds: Race, Gender, and Disability in American Literature

Studies in Disability Literatures
English M103 / Prof. Delchamps

In this class, we will explore the ways in which literature encounters disability. We’ll perform examinations of literary production of embodied difference with particular attention to race, gender, and disability. 

 

As we investigate the human body’s relationship to the forms and structures of works of literature, we’ll ask how texts represent the body, how the body might or might not be a problem in those texts, and how that problem might be resolved. Why do these texts concern themselves with the physical, and how do they represent their concern? How do the texts depict pleasure/pain/illness/disability? Our readings, analysis, and discussion will center on the bioethics of health and disability to consider how medical and scientific technology and practices determine what kinds of people we bring into and support in our communities.

Environmental Justice: Theory, Practice, Culture

Literature and the Environment
English 118E / Prof. Tanaka

This course dives into the theories, practices, and cultures of environmental justice in the postwar period to see how today’s most pressing environmental issues—climate change, energy extraction, extinction, food, toxicity, pollution—are fundamentally indivisible from the contexts of justice and power. We’ll read a wide range of literature and media to examine how environmentalism intersects with the politics of racism, capitalism, imperialism, and settler colonialism. In doing so, we’ll analyze the myriad values and forms that comprise environmental justice, and the political coalitions and conflicts that emerge when multiple justice frameworks converge. Course will examine the transformative role of environmental justice in the contemporary age of climate crisis and revolution.

 

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

 

From Dictators to Dictatorships

Literature of Americas
English 135 / Prof. Encinas

This Literature of the Americas course will explore representations of the colonial, revolutionary, post-independence, and migratory periods in the Americas by looking at a particular genre of literature—the dictator novel. We will begin with texts that focus on the figure of the dictator and ask questions about the desires that animate such figures. Beginning with Hernan Cortés as prototype of the dictator, we will read Facundo (the first dictator novel), Pedro Páramo, and Autumn of the Patriarch. The class will then shift to two novels written in the U.S., The People of Paper and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. These novels think of dictatorships as institutional forms that dictate destructive ideologies, while also reflecting on the dictatorial power of the author. By bringing together texts from Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and the U.S., these texts construct the Americas as a larger geographic unit through which we can think about the long historical problem of dictatorial power overtaking projects of liberation.

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, the professions, and voting rights, to their articles on art, aesthetics, and literature. 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 reflections from British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman, Mary Seacole, on Empire and race, and selections from Mary Prince’s autobiography: the first substantial account of slavery written by a woman. 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.”

Major American Rappers

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

Nearly a decade after its emergence, hip-hop experienced a golden age during which the art of rap reached new heights of lyrical sophistication and cultural critique. In this course, we’ll chart traditional and innovative aspects of canonical rap albums in relation to developments in twentieth-century American poetry. While the bulk of the rap we’ll attend to was created in the New York metropolitan area from the late 80s to the mid 90s, we’ll also address the ways in which rap from this era influenced rap that came after it. Close attention will be paid to the poetics of hip-hop, including rhythm, wordplay, and narrative, in addition to cultural contexts, especially issues of race, class, and sexuality. Students will respond to weekly posts, present on a rapper of their choice, and submit a final argumentative essay. Lively participation and an enthusiastic interest in collaborative learning are expected.

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

Environmental Justice: Theory, Practice, Culture

Literature and the Environment
English 118E / Prof. Tanaka

This course dives into the theories, practices, and cultures of environmental justice in the postwar period to see how today’s most pressing environmental issues—climate change, energy extraction, extinction, food, toxicity, pollution—are fundamentally indivisible from the contexts of justice and power. We’ll read a wide range of literature and media to examine how environmentalism intersects with the politics of racism, capitalism, imperialism, and settler colonialism. In doing so, we’ll analyze the myriad values and forms that comprise environmental justice, and the political coalitions and conflicts that emerge when multiple justice frameworks converge. Course will examine the transformative role of environmental justice in the contemporary age of climate crisis and revolution.

 

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

From Dictators to Dictatorships

Literature of Americas
English 135 / Prof. Encinas

This Literature of the Americas course will explore representations of the colonial, revolutionary, post-independence, and migratory periods in the Americas by looking at a particular genre of literature—the dictator novel. We will begin with texts that focus on the figure of the dictator and ask questions about the desires that animate such figures. Beginning with Hernan Cortés as prototype of the dictator, we will read Facundo (the first dictator novel), Pedro Páramo, and Autumn of the Patriarch. The class will then shift to two novels written in the U.S., The People of Paper and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. These novels think of dictatorships as institutional forms that dictate destructive ideologies, while also reflecting on the dictatorial power of the author. By bringing together texts from Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and the U.S., these texts construct the Americas as a larger geographic unit through which we can think about the long historical problem of dictatorial power overtaking projects of liberation.

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

Forms of Knowledge, Knowledge of Forms

Literature for Children and Adolescents
English 115C / Prof. Lu

Most literature for young people feature young protagonists who are seemingly naïve or sheltered and discover the world from a tabula rasa positionality. This course subverts this telos by re-examining children’s and YA literature for the epistemologies that the characters have already at their disposal: Does an ingénue really know nothing? How does an ingénue know what she knows? With what tools do young characters discover the systems of power that seek to trap them? With what tools are they able to survive and thrive? Texts will range from Perrault’s and Grimms’ fairytales to contemporary YA literature such as Holes and The Hate U Give.

Experimental Fiction

The New, the Absurd, and the Mundane
English 116A / Prof. Youn

A fiction that reflects on its own fictionality? A story in which nothing happens? A text that tells its story through images? A short story written and distributed in the form of tweets? In this course, we will explore a variety of experimental narratives from the 20th to the 21st century. The genre of the novel, as a modern form of prose fiction, has gone through a constant renovation with new attempts in its language, genre, narrative structure, and other material aspects of its medium, which were deemed unconventional and often absurd at that time. For the first half of the course, we will investigate the formal experiments that have inspired some of the major literary movements in the past, while the second half will be devoted to more contemporary texts remodeling narrative fiction through renewed literary techniques and implementing the changes from new digital technologies. As a way to have a shared vocabulary for our discussion, we may also read some relevant texts on narratology and media theory.

Environmental Justice: Theory, Practice, Culture

Literature and the Environment
English 118E / Prof. Tanaka

This course dives into the theories, practices, and cultures of environmental justice in the postwar period to see how today’s most pressing environmental issues—climate change, energy extraction, extinction, food, toxicity, pollution—are fundamentally indivisible from the contexts of justice and power. We’ll read a wide range of literature and media to examine how environmentalism intersects with the politics of racism, capitalism, imperialism, and settler colonialism. In doing so, we’ll analyze the myriad values and forms that comprise environmental justice, and the political coalitions and conflicts that emerge when multiple justice frameworks converge. Course will examine the transformative role of environmental justice in the contemporary age of climate crisis and revolution.

 

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

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, the professions, and voting rights, to their articles on art, aesthetics, and literature. 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 reflections from British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman, Mary Seacole, on Empire and race, and selections from Mary Prince’s autobiography: the first substantial account of slavery written by a woman. 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.”

Great Escapisms: The American Novel since 1990

Contemporary American Fiction
English 174C / Prof. Schmidt

How do novelists respond to “binge-watching” and “ambient TV”? More broadly, do we as readers turn to stories in order to escape or in order to confront difficult realities in new and unexpected ways? To visit alternate, imagined worlds or to find the world we know represented afresh? This course will offer an overview of major trends in contemporary American fiction by way of exploring such questions. We will examine fundamental issues of point-of-view, prose style, novelistic form, and literary history by reading, discussing, and writing about a set of novels and short stories published since 1990 that address the political complexities of narrative absorption in particular and “escapism” more generally. Our readings will come from a handful of the following authors: Nicholson Baker, Ted Chiang, Teju Cole, Renee Gladman, Valeria Luiselli, Ottessa Moshfegh, Salvador Plascencia, George Saunders, David Foster Wallace, and Colson Whitehead.

 

Creative Writing Workshops

Unlike during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, Summer creative writing workshops operate based on OPEN enrollment.  No application needed!

Experimental Life Writing

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

In this workshop, we will read and produce texts that re-conceive life writing in collective and more-than-human terms through the use of formal and theoretical experimentation. Texts under consideration will include works by ASCO, Billy Ray-Belcourt, Maurice Blanchot, CAConrad, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Hervé Guibert, Bhanu Kapil, and Claudia Rankine. Participants will complete a series of writing experiments and workshop two of the works produced.

This topic is eligible for credit on the Professional Writing minor

Web Writing Workshop: Internet Vernaculars

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

This creative writing course explores new genres and vernacular practices on the internet. We follow emerging trends in poetry and poetics to develop new ways of creating works that are equally likely to appear on Instagram, via Twitch, in a chat story, or even printed on demand in paper format. Studying digital platforms and formats alongside contemporary art and letters, we’ll reimagine experimental writing practices through internet vernaculars. How might emoji facilitate a narrative? What do Snapchat filters demand of poetry? To what literary purposes might we direct webcomics, memes, or Twine games? Using a collective workshop format, we’ll engage in a series of writing experiments that attempt to find some of our own poetic responses to living online today. No previous training in creative writing or new media is required.