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

Winter 2021

**Are you graduating in Spring or Summer 2021? Please be advised that, due to faculty availability, pre-1500 course offerings will be limited in Spring and Summer. Students planning to graduate during the next two terms would be well-served by completing their pre-1500 requirement THIS QUARTER.

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 American Cultures

English 11 / Prof. Decker

This course utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to examine U.S. culture writ large, specifically “America” itself, as an imagined and often-contested national idea, a trenchant source of belonging and exclusion, and a fecund site of aesthetic and cultural production. We will explore the manifestation of these ideals across a panoply of artistic sources in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In doing so, we will continually probe how various American identities and, in particular, experiences of the “American dream,” are rendered in art and popular culture across a variety of mediums, electronic as well as print. Poetry and novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, James M. Cain, Adrienne Rich, Sandra Cisneros. Autobiography and essays by Frederick Jackson Turner, W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X, Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Richard Rodriguez. Movies and TV include Citizen KaneThe GodfatherThe Last Black Man In San FranciscoFather Knows BestThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowUgly BettyBlack-ish, and Fresh Off the Boat. Music from jazz and Motown to Broadway and rap.

 

This course is a required preparation course for the American Literature and Culture major. Students in other majors may enroll for Foundations or Diversity credit.

Introduction to Creative Writing

English 20W / Happe; Solis; Whittell

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

Enrollment by instructor consent and NOT by enrollment pass time: Interested students should apply by 8 pm on November 29. 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, available here (NOW CLOSED FOR WINTER 2021).

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.

Indigenous Speculative Literatures

Topics in American Cultures
English 87 / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

Reading contemporary Indigenous genre fiction, including horror, fantasy, and sci-fi, this seminar considers how Native writers use speculation to craft alternative possibilities for Indigenous life while also challenging settler imperialism. We will ask, how do speculative forms of storytelling allow Indigenous authors to represent and imagine beyond colonial apocalypses in North America? How do speculative narratives project Indigenous lives forward in time? How do feminist and queer modes of speculation work to dismantle heteropatriarchy? And, in what ways does speculative storytelling draw on Indigenous cosmologies and traditional ecological knowledges?

 

This course is a required preparation course for the American Literature and Culture major. Students in other majors may enroll during second passl, space permitting, for Foundations or Diversity credit.

Introduction to Shakespeare

English 90 / Prof. Watson

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

Introduction to Fiction

English 91C / Prof. Torres

Introduction to prose narrative, its techniques and forms. Analysis of short and long narratives and of critical issues such as plot, characterization, setting, narrative voice, realistic and nonrealistic forms.

 

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 (www.westwind.ucla.edu). If you are interested in joining the Westwind staff, please familiarize yourself with the journal and plan to attend the first Winter quarter meeting.

UCLAPoem

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

This course is for students in UCLAPoem ((www.instagram.com/uclapoem/). Weekly discussion of poetry; planning and organizing of poetry events and activities. If you’re interested in poetry (or just curious about it), plan to attend the first Winter quarter meeting.

Academic Conference Workshop

Undergraduate Practicum in English
English M192.3 / Prof. Weaver

What makes a presentation effective? And what does it mean to attend an academic conference in literary studies? Answering these questions, this course will guide you through the process of turning a literary-critical essay into an engaging talk. From revision strategies to delivery tips, you will be prepared to present at UCLA’s 9th Annual Academic Conference for English Students (ACES), the Honors Research Showcase, and similar events. Note: Students must have an essay with a thesis statement to adapt, likely from a previous English course.

Elective-Only Courses

English major Electives may be selected from 5-unit upper-division English courses numbered 100 to M191E. Please note that the courses listed as “Elective-Only” may not be applied to Historical, Breadth, or Seminar requirements.

Writing in the English Major: Transfer Students

English 110T / Prof. Stephan

Open only to American Lit and English major transfer students who entered in Fall 2020. Improvement and refinement of writing about literature and culture. Focus on writing as process, rewriting, and nuanced argument; minimum 15 to 20 pages of writing required. Not open for credit to students who have completed English 110A.

 

TO ENROLL, PLEASE CONTACT THE ENGLISH UNDERGRADUATE ADVISING OFFICE VIA MYUCLA MESSAGECENTER.

 

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

 

Literatures in English Before 1500

**Are you graduating in Spring or Summer 2021? Please be advised that, due to faculty availability, pre-1500 course offerings will be limited in Spring and Summer. Students planning to graduate during the next two terms would be well-served by completing their pre-1500 requirement THIS QUARTER.

**Sophomores and Juniors: Please note that for Winter 2021, all pre-1500 courses will be restricted to SENIOR English majors on first pass. Enrollment will open up to other class standings on second pass.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: Constructing Medieval Worlds

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
English 140A / Prof. Chism

Chaucer is a writer not only of England, but of the Mediterranean and Eurasian worlds, in a time of unprecedented social mobility, pandemic, and exploration.  Only a few of his tales are situated in England, and most draw from sources that circulated in broader Eurasia and Africa.  Chaucer’s Clerk gestures at the tyrants of Lombardy, Chaucer’s Physician traces his knowledge back to Galenic and Avicennan medicine, while his Squire does a romance fly-over of Mongol Asia. Marion Turner recently argued that Chaucer’s migratory career and literary omnivorousness allow him to experiment in the literary consequences of open-world frames and interfacial spaces, where meaning is at issue amid a contest of partial and mutable perspectives

 

This class will focus on tales from Chaucer’s last great work, The Canterbury Tales, exploring the ways it thinks both through and beyond “every shires end/ of Engelond” and reimagines the premodern world.  We will explore the CT in the light of other frame tale collections from the Mediterranean and Western Asia, such as Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Arabic Alf Layla wa Layla (1001 Nights).  We will also explore the recent transdisciplinary scholarship of Karla Mallette, Alexander Beecroft, Geraldine Heng, Barbara Rosenwein, and others. Featured will be recent and contemporary global Chaucers,  including the Refugee Tales project, the poetic adaptations of Patience Agbabi, the plays of Ufuoma Overo-Tarimo, and other texts drawn from the Global Chaucer project: https://globalchaucers.wordpress.com/

 

Requirements:

  1.  Either one longer paper ((10-12 pages) with a substantial first draft or a creative or analytic project with a presubmitted proposal, and a presentation (synchronous or asynchronous): (50%)
  2. Weekly forum posts and responses to peer posts (30%)
  3. Participation (20%): synchronous or asynchronous.

 

Restricted to SENIOR English majors on first pass. Open to Sophomore and Junior English majors on second pass.

Inventing History in Medieval Britain: Foundational Stories

Medieval Histories, Chronicles, and Records
English 147 / Prof. Fisher

It can be argued that to write history is to write about the inaccessible past, in the midst of an unknowable present, in order to shape an unknown future. This course will consider the stories told about the past in medieval Britain, from the many different legendary founders of the island to strange two-headed creatures in Wales and Ireland. We will look at how the tradition of insular medieval history writing claimed privileged access to the beginnings of things, whether geographies, texts, or identities, and how that privilege was deployed to write bodies of faith and color (Jewish, Muslim, black)  into and out of insular history.

 

Restricted to SENIOR English majors on first pass. Open to Sophomore and Junior English majors on second pass.

Literatures in English 1500-1700

Shakespeare: Major Plays

Topics in Shakespeare
English 150C / Prof. Little

This course provides an upper-division introduction to Shakespeare’s plays by surveying a few of the plays we recognize as Shakespeare’s most significant plays both historically and contemporarily. Drawing on works from the entirety of Shakespeare’s career, this course emphasizes the formal and historical properties of Shakespeare’s plays (and stage) and the ways Shakespeare’s plays historically and contemporarily engage questions of race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as questions of religion, philosophy, and politics. The way all these questions are embodied, put into bodies, signals for our course the way Shakespeare’s dynamic poetry (and language) has become essential hallmarks for the modern and the global. Some of the possible texts for our course are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and The Tempest. Requirements for the course include class participation, a term paper, and a midterm and final exam.

Milton

English 151 / Prof. Shuger

Milton is the last Renaissance poet; his poetry, the culmination of the rebirth of Antiquity, both Classical and Christian, that began in Italy some three centuries earlier. Yet, if heir to the ancient traditions, Milton is also harbinger of what the dollar bill (look in your wallet) calls Novus Ordo Seculorum, the New Order of the Ages. Of the perhaps sixty paintings that encircle the walls of the New York Public Library’s reference room, hung in chronological order to compose a visual narrative of American history, two (the second and third) are of Milton. . . . The course will focus on the major poetry, especially Paradise Lost, but since Milton was a political thinker and a fairly important figure in the English Revolution, we will also read some of the key prose tracts, including his seminal defense of a free press. There will be two papers and ten quizzes, but neither midterm nor final.

Reading the Witch in Early Modern England

Devotion and Dissent
English 156 / Prof. Bonnici

In this course, we will explore depictions of witchcraft, witch beliefs, and witch trials in 16th- and 17th-century England and Scotland. Our readings will include “true crime” pamphlets on particular cases; treatises on witchcraft, magic, and ritual (including the alleged blood-pact between the witch and the devil); and literary representations of witches in contemporary drama and poetry. Through our study of the witch figure, we will consider concerns such as gender, sexuality, age, disability, class, race, religion, and political power.

Colonial Beginnings of American Literature*

English 166A / Prof. Silva

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

 

*This course fulfills the pre-1848 requirement for the American Literature & Culture major. Enrollment will be limited to American Literature and Culture majors during first pass; English majors may enroll during second pass.

Literatures in English 1700-1850

 

Frenemies: Pope, Swift, Montagu and Eighteenth-Century Satire

Literature of Restoration and Earlier Eighteenth-Century
English 160A / Prof. Deutsch

The eighteenth century was the first great age of print, the age that invented the professional author, and above all the age of satire. This course focuses on the work of three satirists who were bound by both friendship and enmity: Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. We will pay particular attention to the way that the first two of these authors defined themselves and their authorial personae through their careful manipulation of print, while the third, bound by social convention and liberated by aristocratic privilege, worked largely anonymously to equally fascinating effect; each of these authors worked across a wide range of prose and poetic genres. We will also consider the vast archive of pamphlet attacks and visual portrayals (both serious portraits and irreverent caricatures) of these authors that responded to and provoked some of the most witty, vicious, and visceral literature in English. Supplementary course readings will situate these writers in the larger context of the period (e.g. possibly John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, John Gay, Anne Finch).

The Rise of the Novel

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

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

Early Romantic Literature

English 162A / Prof. Nersessian

The early Romantic age saw revolutions in America, France, and Haiti; it saw the rise of imperialism, the emergence of industrial technologies and of the working class, the development of social movements including feminism and abolitionism, the invention of modern science and of the modern prison system, environmental devastation, and the birth of what we now refer to as the avant-garde. The writers featured in this course used uniquely experimental practices to engage, and often to oppose, the world around them. We will emphasize this experimental dimension in readings from Blake, Cowper, Equiano, selected poets of the Haitian Revolution, C. Smith, T. Spence, Wheatley, the Wordsworths, plus visual artists and political cartoonists.

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. Authors include Austen, Byron, Clare, Derozio, Keats, and Shelley, among others.

Beauty, Justice, and Social Change in Victorian Britain

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

This course looks at a range of radical, liberal, and conservative contributions to debates about single and married women’s rights, democracy and social class, the emancipation of enslaved people, the emergence of environmentalism, queer aesthetics, and the transatlantic reach of African-American culture. Readings are drawn from many different sources, including newspaper journalism, periodical articles, essays, poetry, memoir, and narrative fiction. Key writers include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Oliphant, Walter Pater, Mary Prince, and John Ruskin.

American Literature, 1832 to 1865

English 166C / Prof. Colacurcio

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

Literatures in English 1850 – Present

 

Asian American Literature: 50 Years of Contrapuntal Voices (1970 to 2020)

Contemporary Asian American Literary Issues and Criticism
English M102B / Prof. Cheung

This course offers a capsule of Asian American literary history (through selected readings) from its emergence in the 1970s to the present, capturing the changing phases of claiming America, claiming diaspora, claiming the hyphen, and claiming vagrancy. It examines the growing ethnic diversity and formal complexity in Asian American writing.  Attempts to recover ethnic history are accompanied by ambivalence about static notions of race or ethnicity, especially in light of the transnational affiliations of many new immigrants.  Complicating the earlier impulse among Asian American writers to “claim America” or reclaim an Asian heritage is a sense of hybridity or diaspora. Issues explored include what constitutes family and whether home is a haven or a repressive environment; whether one should hold on to ethnic heritage, fully “assimilate,” or forge a global citizenship; obstacles that emerge on account of gender, class, sexual orientation, or religion; tactical uses of points of view such as unreliable narrators or narrators whose gender or ethnic backgrounds differ from the authors’; interracial dynamics and the formation of interethnic or transnational communities.

African American Literature from Harlem Renaissance to 1960s

English M104B / Prof. Yarborough

Survey of African American literature from World War I through the 1950s, including poetry, fiction, and essays by such authors as Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Nella Larsen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer. The class will focus first on the unprecedented outpouring of artistic production during the Harlem (or New Negro) Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s. Next it will examine the diverse literary voices that emerged in the 1940s and 50s, many of whom were influenced by the radical left politics of the time. The class will consider the historical and cultural contexts of the works as well as strategies for engaging formal aspects of the assigned materials. Requirements include a term paper and a final exam.

Folk Traditions in African American Literature and Culture

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

In this course, we will study folklore and literature, considering the influence of folk traditions on literature and culture of African Americans. Folklore includes traditional beliefs, customs, stories, songs, jokes, and other expressions transmitted orally within a community. Folklore influences the literary writing of authors including Charles Chesnutt, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Etheridge Knight, Ishmael Reed, Ntozake Shange, Kevin Young, Janice Harrington, Douglas Kearney, and Camille Dungy, among others.

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

English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

Survey of Chicana/Chicano literature since 1970s, with particular emphasis on how queer and feminist activism as well as Central and South American migration have shaped 21st-century chicanidad. Oral, written, and graphic fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including John Rechy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Los Bros Hernández, Ana Castillo, and Dagoberto Gilb guide exploration of queer and feminist studies, Reagan generation, immigration debates, and emerging Latina/Latino majority.

Representations of Social Justice in US Literature and Culture

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

We’ll examine a range of culturally significant 20th-21st century novels, dramatic plays, and films that reveal the strategies and techniques artists employed to challenge or promote social justice in the U.S.   In our discussions, we will attend to the new possibilities for artistic expression that emerge as a result of developments in the arts (e.g. social realism, modernism, post-modernism), as a result of activist movements (e.g. feminism, the civil rights movement), and in reaction to “world-historical events” (e.g. WWII, the assassination of Robert Kennedy).  Ultimately, the focus of our inquiry will circle back to our own involvement and investment in the important questions raised in the texts examined, as we challenge ourselves to recognize the historical and cultural influences upon our understanding of social justice in the US today.

Urban Narratives: Environmental Literature and Culture (COURSE CANCELLED)

Literature and Environment
English 118E / Prof. J.E. Lee

COURSE CANCELLED

What is a city? How does the city engage with nature and vice versa? How do literature, film, photography, documentary, and other forms of narrative shape our understanding of the environment? In this course, we will explore multiple environmental issues rendered in diverse narrative forms to discuss the interconnection between humans and nonhuman physical surroundings happening in the city. To that end, we will extend the concept of the environment from pastoral/wild nature to the built environment in the city and discuss urban ecology, species, toxicity, environmental justice, climate change and the Anthropocene. Readings will include a variety of narrative genres and media as well as critical theories in environmental humanities. Students are welcome to reflect on their experience of the recent pandemic as well as the readings to shape creative perspectives on contemporary environmental problems and think about the narrative of the urban environment in a new light.

 

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

Walking in Literature and Art

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.1 / Prof. Hornby

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

Graphic Novels and Comics Poetics

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.2 / Prof. Snelson

This course explores expanded forms of comics—from traditional graphic novels to the most recent experiments in text and image. Alongside a study of foundational works in comics and graphic novels, we’ll also survey recent publications in manga, memes, webcomics, light novels, and other experiments in graphic forms. What distinguishes comics from a range of emerging formats and genres online? How do the “sequential arts” continue to develop in dynamic digital environments? In each instance, this course attends to issues of representation in comics, including questions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability in new modes of graphic storytelling. Students will also experiment with making their own critical comics and visual poetry. The course will explore alternative social platforms, including Discord, Mozilla Hubs, and a range of online tools fo collaboration. Throughout, we will read many comics and related forms, including the work of Seosamh & Anka, Alison Bechdel, Tamryn Bennet, Jamal Campbell, Eleanor Davis, Blue Delliquanti, Brandon Graham, Kenneth Koch, Marjorie Liu, Scott McCloud, Annie Mok, Porpentine, Dan Salvato, Marjane Satrapi, Hito Steyerl, Egypt Urnash, and Brian K. Vaughan, among others—up to and including those we discover together in the course of our study.

Exiles, Migrants, and Refugees

Studies in Postcolonial Literatures
English 131 / Prof. Goyal

The refugee is the iconic figure of the contemporary era, posing questions about human rights, the meaning of citizenship, and the role of borders and walls today. This course focuses on twenty-first century cultural representations of the refugee in a range of media (including short stories, novels, poetry, documentary film, music videos, and journalism) to understand the cultural, aesthetic, and affective dimensions of displaced subjectivity. Reading work by such writers as Amitav Ghosh, Valeria Luiselli, Teju Cole, Octavia Butler, and Mohsin Hamid, we will explore the concept of the refugee ‘crisis,’ the potential of comparison across distinct geographies, and artistic visions of justice and redress. Does forced migration generate new forms of cultural memory? How does focusing on art and culture rethink the language of conflict and war? How might we reframe contemporary discussions of a migration crisis through longer histories of asylum and sanctuary?

Inheriting Virginia Woolf

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Hornby

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf writes about the importance of inheritance, both financial and literary, as a means to secure a place for women writers. In this course, we will study a number of Woolf’s major works, as well as consider who her influences and contemporary inheritors might be. We will pay particular attention to her experiments with genre, looking closely at the ways in which she charts the territory between fiction and biography in her work. In addition to her novels and short fiction, we will supplement with readings from her critical essays, diary entries, letters, and autobiographical writings.

Zora Neale Hurston: Storyteller, Folklorist, Anthropologist

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stefans

This course examines all of the major works by Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), a staple of African American literature courses since Alice Walker revived Hurston’s reputation in 1975. Hurston was also a groundbreaking anthropologist and folklorist influenced by linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner at Howard University and, later, under the tutelage of Franz Boas at Columbia University. She researched folklore in her native Florida and culture and religion in Jamaica and Haiti, notably concerning voodoo, resulting in two major works, Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938). During the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Hurston was friends with many of the major figures, including Langston Hughes, Alain Locke and Wallace Thurman, and she wasn’t shy of her criticism of the most established, notably W.E.B. DuBois. Later novels, such as Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939) — an Afrocentric retelling of the Moses story — and Seraph on the Suwanee (1948) were epic in scope. Raucously funny, keenly attuned to the stories and sounds of the South, spiritually and philosophically uncompromising, and the product of a restless traveler, Hurston’s writing leaps off the page and never leaves a reader indifferent to her art and thought. This course requires short but well-written weekly assignments and a final paper that can be a development from one of the weekly writings. 

Beauty, Justice, and Social Change in Victorian Britain

19th-Century Critical Prose
English M164B / Prof. Bristow

This course looks at a range of radical, liberal, and conservative contributions to debates about single and married women’s rights, democracy and social class, the emancipation of enslaved people, the emergence of environmentalism, queer aesthetics, and the transatlantic reach of African-American culture. Readings are drawn from many different sources, including newspaper journalism, periodical articles, essays, poetry, memoir, and narrative fiction. Key writers include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Oliphant, Walter Pater, Mary Prince, and John Ruskin.

American Literature 1865 to 1900

English 170A / Prof. Dimuro

This 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.

Contemporary American Poetry: Useful Poetry

English 173C / Prof. Wilson

Reading and discussion of diverse established and emerging American poets, including United Sates Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, former Poet Laureates Juan Felipe Herrera and Louise Glück (2020 Nobel Prize recipient), and UCLA alumni Nathan McClain and Diana Khoi Nguyen. Emphasis on how poems by living American poets help us go on, even (and especially) in dark and trying times.

Critical Approaches to Race and Visuality in American Culture

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. McMillan

This course utilizes an trans-disciplinary approach to examine U.S. culture writ large, especially “America” itself, as an imagined and often-contested idea, a trenchant source of belonging and exclusion, through the lens of visuality and race. We will examine the manifestation of these ideals across a variety of contemporary textual, media-based, and embodied forms—including visual culture, but also other sources such as film, performance art, photography, sports, music videos, fashion blogs, dance, and everyday life.  This class will center on introducing students to canonical and contemporary writings considering the intersection of visuality and race. We will explore how to apply literary methods of “close reading”–as well as frameworks from queer theory, Black studies, and feminist theory, etc.–to the study of culture itself.

The American Political Novel

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.2 / Prof. Yarborough

This course will focus on the diverse ways in which fiction writers in the United States have engaged pressing political issues in their work. Our readings will range from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the 1970s and we will treat such topics as slavery and its aftermath, the status of women, the rise of domestic fascism, the post-World War II Red Scare, and the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 60s. We will pay particular attention not just to the historical contexts of the novels but also to the rhetorical strategies employed by the writers in their attempts to shape reader attitudes even as they themselves often remain conflicted and wary of simple answers to complex political questions. Authors to be covered include Charles W. Chesnutt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sinclair Lewis, Alice Walker, and E. L. Doctorow.

Requirements: term paper, final examination

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

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.3 / Prof. Grossman

This course will explore in depth Mark Twain’s extraordinary 1889 satirical historical novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. As the novel’s title announces, we will be reading a tale about the transmigration of a nineteenth-century Yankee industrial leader back to mythic medieval times. Twain’s novel mixes up a host of genres of interest to us: romances, including queer ones; slave narratives; knightly adventure stories; political and economic satire; dystopian science-fiction; and the historical novel, including that genre’s relation to indigenous people. Meanwhile, as we will also investigate, through it all Twain is laughing: how can readers possibly grasp the era before the printing press? Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Narratives of Predation

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to present
English 179.1/ Prof. Simpson

In this course, we’ll consider the uncomfortable matter of how we are to read narratives of predation. We’ll consider Mary Gaitskill’s novella This is Pleasure, Nabokov’s Lolita, the documentary film Capturing the Friedmans, Plato’s “Phaedrus” and the podcast “Believed.”

Recent Black and Asian Fiction, Poetry, and Drama in Britain

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.2 / Prof. D’Aguiar

In Recent Black and Asian Fiction, Poetry and Drama in Britain we examine the emergence of a Black aesthetic in Britain among writers born or brought up there. The various forms of expression appear to work together to showcase an aesthetic that emerges out of a preoccupation with the politics of belonging in the UK. Each novel, play, film or poetry collection (including Spoken Word) brings a concern with elsewhere in coalition with an idea of Britishness. Race, place, sexuality, gender, identity, and aesthetics are among the enduring subjects of these arts of the imagination.

Not open to students who took English 179 with Prof. D’Aguiar in Fall 2018 or Winter 2020.

Novels & Networks

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

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

 

Not open to students who took English 179 with Prof. Seltzer in Winter 2019 or Winter 2020.

 

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies

Asian American Literature: 50 Years of Contrapuntal Voices (1970 to 2020)

Contemporary Asian American Literary Issues and Criticism
English M102B / Prof. Cheung

This course focuses on the depiction of national and transnational interracial encounters: coalition and antagonism, gay and straight liaison, loyalty and espionage. Besides seeing literature as mirroring society, we will think critically about how literature can depict racial relations in a much more nuanced way than in history and social sciences, how it can offer a unique access to sociological questions and unsettle chauvinism, binary notions of race, and heteronormativity.

African American Literature from Harlem Renaissance to 1960s

English M104B / Prof. Yarborough

Survey of African American literature from World War I through the 1950s, including poetry, fiction, and essays by such authors as Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Nella Larsen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer. The class will focus first on the unprecedented outpouring of artistic production during the Harlem (or New Negro) Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s. Next it will examine the diverse literary voices that emerged in the 1940s and 50s, many of whom were influenced by the radical left politics of the time. The class will consider the historical and cultural contexts of the works as well as strategies for engaging formal aspects of the assigned materials. Requirements include a term paper and a final exam.

Folk Traditions in African American Literature and Culture

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

In this course, we will study folklore and literature, considering the influence of folk traditions on literature and culture of African Americans. Folklore includes traditional beliefs, customs, stories, songs, jokes, and other expressions transmitted orally within a community. Folklore influences the literary writing of authors including Charles Chesnutt, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Etheridge Knight, Ishmael Reed, Ntozake Shange, Kevin Young, Janice Harrington, Douglas Kearney, and Camille Dungy, among others.

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

English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

Survey of Chicana/Chicano literature since 1970s, with particular emphasis on how queer and feminist activism as well as Central and South American migration have shaped 21st-century chicanidad. Oral, written, and graphic fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including John Rechy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Los Bros Hernández, Ana Castillo, and Dagoberto Gilb guide exploration of queer and feminist studies, Reagan generation, immigration debates, and emerging Latina/Latino majority.

Indigenous Literatures of North America

Studies in Native American and Indigenous Literatures
English 106 / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

In this course, we will be introduced to the Indigenous literatures of North America by reading fiction, poetry, and critical theory. We will consider how authors imagine Indigenous lifeworlds, affective and embodied experiences, and genders and sexualities in ways that index and transcend settler-imperial violence. We will examine how Indigenous literatures craft decolonial forms of memory, public history, intergenerational connection, and spatiality. We will ask, how do Indigenous literatures represent vital sites of ecological, feminist, queer, and political theorizing with the power to enact a decolonial present and future?

Interracial Encounters in Asian American Fiction

Interracial Encounters
English 108 / Prof. Cheung

This course offers a capsule of Asian American literary history (through selected readings) from its emergence in the 1970s to the present, capturing the changing phases of claiming America, claiming diaspora, claiming the hyphen, and claiming vagrancy. It examines the growing ethnic diversity and formal complexity in Asian American writing.  Attempts to recover ethnic history are accompanied by ambivalence about static notions of race or ethnicity, especially in light of the transnational affiliations of many new immigrants.  Complicating the earlier impulse among Asian American writers to “claim America” or reclaim an Asian heritage is a sense of hybridity or diaspora. Issues explored include what constitutes family and whether home is a haven or a repressive environment; whether one should hold on to ethnic heritage, fully “assimilate,” or forge a global citizenship; obstacles that emerge on account of gender, class, sexual orientation, or religion; tactical uses of points of view such as unreliable narrators or narrators whose gender or ethnic backgrounds differ from the authors’; interracial dynamics and the formation of interethnic or transnational communities.

 

Not open to students who took English 108 with Prof. Cheung in Fall 2018.

Representations of Social Justice in US Literature and Culture

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

We’ll examine a range of culturally significant 20th-21st century novels, dramatic plays, and films that reveal the strategies and techniques artists employed to challenge or promote social justice in the U.S.   In our discussions, we will attend to the new possibilities for artistic expression that emerge as a result of developments in the arts (e.g. social realism, modernism, post-modernism), as a result of activist movements (e.g. feminism, the civil rights movement), and in reaction to “world-historical events” (e.g. WWII, the assassination of Robert Kennedy).  Ultimately, the focus of our inquiry will circle back to our own involvement and investment in the important questions raised in the texts examined, as we challenge ourselves to recognize the historical and cultural influences upon our understanding of social justice in the US today.

Orientalism and Occidentalism

Culture and Imperialism
English 132 / Prof. Makdisi

This class will explore the racial dynamics of empire as well as the relationships between race and national identity both inside and outside Britain, and their implications for 19th and 20th century British literature.  We will pay particular attention to the ways in which initially unstable concepts of race and national identity gradually came to be consolidated as notions of whiteness and Englishness were gradually stabilized through this period. Readings will draw on the work of writers such as Mary Prince, Charlotte Dacre, Charles Dickens, Thomas Macaulay, Beryl Gilroy, Sam Selvon and others.

Inheriting Virginia Woolf

Individual Authors
English 139.1 / Prof. Hornby

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf writes about the importance of inheritance, both financial and literary, as a means to secure a place for women writers. In this course, we will study a number of Woolf’s major works, as well as consider who her influences and contemporary inheritors might be. We will pay particular attention to her experiments with genre, looking closely at the ways in which she charts the territory between fiction and biography in her work. In addition to her novels and short fiction, we will supplement with readings from her critical essays, diary entries, letters, and autobiographical writings.

Zora Neale Hurston: Storyteller, Folklorist, Anthropologist

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stefans

This course examines all of the major works by Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), a staple of African American literature courses since Alice Walker revived Hurston’s reputation in 1975. Hurston was also a groundbreaking anthropologist and folklorist influenced by linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner at Howard University and, later, under the tutelage of Franz Boas at Columbia University. She researched folklore in her native Florida and culture and religion in Jamaica and Haiti, notably concerning voodoo, resulting in two major works, Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938). During the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Hurston was friends with many of the major figures, including Langston Hughes, Alain Locke and Wallace Thurman, and she wasn’t shy of her criticism of the most established, notably W.E.B. DuBois. Later novels, such as Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939) — an Afrocentric retelling of the Moses story — and Seraph on the Suwanee (1948) were epic in scope. Raucously funny, keenly attuned to the stories and sounds of the South, spiritually and philosophically uncompromising, and the product of a restless traveler, Hurston’s writing leaps off the page and never leaves a reader indifferent to her art and thought. This course requires short but well-written weekly assignments and a final paper that can be a development from one of the weekly writings. 

Reading the Witch in Early Modern England

Devotion and Dissent
English 156 / Prof. Bonnici

In this course, we will explore depictions of witchcraft, witch beliefs, and witch trials in 16th- and 17th-century England and Scotland. Our readings will include “true crime” pamphlets on particular cases; treatises on witchcraft, magic, and ritual (including the alleged blood-pact between the witch and the devil); and literary representations of witches in contemporary drama and poetry. Through our study of the witch figure, we will consider concerns such as gender, sexuality, age, disability, class, race, religion, and political power.

Frenemies: Pope, Swift, Montagu, and Eighteenth-Century Satire

Literature of Restoration and Earlier 18th-Century
English 160A / Prof. Deutsch

The eighteenth century was the first great age of print, the age that invented the professional author, and above all the age of satire. This course focuses on the work of three satirists who were bound by both friendship and enmity: Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. We will pay particular attention to the way that the first two of these authors defined themselves and their authorial personae through their careful manipulation of print, while the third, bound by social convention and liberated by aristocratic privilege, worked largely anonymously to equally fascinating effect; each of these authors worked across a wide range of prose and poetic genres. We will also consider the vast archive of pamphlet attacks and visual portrayals (both serious portraits and irreverent caricatures) of these authors that responded to and provoked some of the most witty, vicious, and visceral literature in English. Supplementary course readings will situate these writers in the larger context of the period (e.g. possibly John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, John Gay, Anne Finch).

American Literature, 1865 to 1900

English 170A / Prof. Dimuro

This 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.

Critical Approaches to Race and Visuality in American Culture

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. McMillan

This course utilizes an trans-disciplinary approach to examine U.S. culture writ large, especially “America” itself, as an imagined and often-contested idea, a trenchant source of belonging and exclusion, through the lens of visuality and race. We will examine the manifestation of these ideals across a variety of contemporary textual, media-based, and embodied forms—including visual culture, but also other sources such as film, performance art, photography, sports, music videos, fashion blogs, dance, and everyday life.  This class will center on introducing students to canonical and contemporary writings considering the intersection of visuality and race. We will explore how to apply literary methods of “close reading”–as well as frameworks from queer theory, Black studies, and feminist theory, etc.–to the study of culture itself.

The American Political Novel

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.2 / Prof. Yarborough

This course will focus on the diverse ways in which fiction writers in the United States have engaged pressing political issues in their work. Our readings will range from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the 1970s and we will treat such topics as slavery and its aftermath, the status of women, the rise of domestic fascism, the post-World War II Red Scare, and the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 60s. We will pay particular attention not just to the historical contexts of the novels but also to the rhetorical strategies employed by the writers in their attempts to shape reader attitudes even as they themselves often remain conflicted and wary of simple answers to complex political questions. Authors to be covered include Charles W. Chesnutt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sinclair Lewis, Alice Walker, and E. L. Doctorow.

Requirements: term paper, final examination

Recent Black and Asian Fiction, Poetry, and Drama in Britain

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.2 / Prof. D’Aguiar

In Recent Black and Asian Fiction, Poetry and Drama in Britain we examine the emergence of a Black aesthetic in Britain among writers born or brought up there. The various forms of expression appear to work together to showcase an aesthetic that emerges out of a preoccupation with the politics of belonging in the UK. Each novel, play, film or poetry collection (including Spoken Word) brings a concern with elsewhere in coalition with an idea of Britishness. Race, place, sexuality, gender, identity, and aesthetics are among the enduring subjects of these arts of the imagination.

Not open to students who took English 179 with Prof. D’Aguiar in Fall 2018 or Winter 2020.

Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies

 

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

English M105C / Prof. Perez-Torres

Survey of Chicana/Chicano literature since 1970s, with particular emphasis on how queer and feminist activism as well as Central and South American migration have shaped 21st-century chicanidad. Oral, written, and graphic fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including John Rechy, Gloria Anzaldúa, Los Bros Hernández, Ana Castillo, and Dagoberto Gilb guide exploration of queer and feminist studies, Reagan generation, immigration debates, and emerging Latina/Latino majority.

Indigenous Literatures of North America

Studies in Native American and Indigenous Literatures
English 106 / Prof. Mo’e’hahne

In this course, we will be introduced to the Indigenous literatures of North America by reading fiction, poetry, and critical theory. We will consider how authors imagine Indigenous lifeworlds, affective and embodied experiences, and genders and sexualities in ways that index and transcend settler-imperial violence. We will examine how Indigenous literatures craft decolonial forms of memory, public history, intergenerational connection, and spatiality. We will ask, how do Indigenous literatures represent vital sites of ecological, feminist, queer, and political theorizing with the power to enact a decolonial present and future?

Anthropocene

Keywords in Theory
English 122 / Prof. DeLoughrey

In an effort to call attention to planetary climate change, some geologists have named the ‘Anthropocene’ as a radical new geological epoch of environmental change akin to a meteor strike. They attribute the origins to the global rise of agriculture, nuclear radiation, and plastics. Yet scholars in the social sciences and humanities have pressed against this universal narrative to ask which humans are really making the impact? They point to histories of empire, militarism, and globalization as fundamental causes, and raise questions as to how to tell the Anthropocene story (or stories) with attention to both local context and planetary scale. This interdisciplinary course explores the Anthropocene debate from the perspective of writers, artists, and filmmakers, particularly from islands in the global south. It turns to key concepts in the emergent field of Anthropocene studies such as climate, weather, scale, and species. Using the key metaphor of the “island as a world,” the course will be particularly concerned with Postcolonial, Indigenous, Caribbean, and Pacific Island perspectives, especially the relationship between land and (rising) sea. Requirements include active class participation, weekly posts on our CCLE site, a short presentation, a final research paper/project, and a (virtual) visit to an environmental art exhibit.

 

This course is eligible for credit for the Literature & the Environment minor.
This course qualifies as a critical theory course for departmental honors candidates.

Exiles, Migrants, and Refugees

Studies in Postcolonial Literatures
English 131 / Prof. Goyal

The refugee is the iconic figure of the contemporary era, posing questions about human rights, the meaning of citizenship, and the role of borders and walls today. This course focuses on twenty-first century cultural representations of the refugee in a range of media (including short stories, novels, poetry, documentary film, music videos, and journalism) to understand the cultural, aesthetic, and affective dimensions of displaced subjectivity. Reading work by such writers as Amitav Ghosh, Valeria Luiselli, Teju Cole, Octavia Butler, and Mohsin Hamid, we will explore the concept of the refugee ‘crisis,’ the potential of comparison across distinct geographies, and artistic visions of justice and redress. Does forced migration generate new forms of cultural memory? How does focusing on art and culture rethink the language of conflict and war? How might we reframe contemporary discussions of a migration crisis through longer histories of asylum and sanctuary?

Orientalism and Occidentalism

Culture & Imperialism
English 132 / Prof. Makdisi

This class will explore the racial dynamics of empire as well as the relationships between race and national identity both inside and outside Britain, and their implications for 19th and 20th century British literature.  We will pay particular attention to the ways in which initially unstable concepts of race and national identity gradually came to be consolidated as notions of whiteness and Englishness were gradually stabilized through this period. Readings will draw on the work of writers such as Mary Prince, Charlotte Dacre, Charles Dickens, Thomas Macaulay, Beryl Gilroy, Sam Selvon and others.

Technology and Racial Difference in the Age of Colonialism

English 133 / Prof. Mazzaferro

This course uses a series of colonial contact scenes centered on technology to investigate early ideas about racial difference. We’ll survey the many early American reenactments of Francis Bacon’s 1620 claim that the invention of printing, gunpowder, and the compass gave Europeans the right to rule the world like “Gods.” Reading works by Thomas Hariot, Jan Van der Straet, Richard Ligon, Mary Rowlandson, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Banneker, Phillis Wheatley, and Olaudah Equiano, we’ll explore how Europeans used their apparently superior technology—“talking” books, otherworldly bullets, and mystifying scientific instruments—to subjugate Native Americans and enslaved Africans. How could an acquired, cultural trait like technological proficiency authorize claims about innate racial superiority? How was the political hierarchy built atop these technological disparities informed by religious ideas about which groups God had cursed or blessed? And how did indigenous and African knowledges undermine the colonizer fantasy of scientific, spiritual, and political dominance?

Colonial Beginnings of American Literature*

English 166A / Prof. Silva

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

 

*This course fulfills the pre-1848 requirement for the American Literature & Culture major. Enrollment will be limited to American Literature and Culture majors during first pass; English majors may enroll during second pass.

Recent Black and Asian Fiction, Poetry, and Drama in Britain

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to Present
English 179.2 / Prof. D’Aguiar

In Recent Black and Asian Fiction, Poetry and Drama in Britain we examine the emergence of a Black aesthetic in Britain among writers born or brought up there. The various forms of expression appear to work together to showcase an aesthetic that emerges out of a preoccupation with the politics of belonging in the UK. Each novel, play, film or poetry collection (including Spoken Word) brings a concern with elsewhere in coalition with an idea of Britishness. Race, place, sexuality, gender, identity, and aesthetics are among the enduring subjects of these arts of the imagination.

Not open to students who took English 179 with Prof. D’Aguiar in Fall 2018 or Winter 2020.

Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Theory

 

California Literature

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

California has always been a land of contestation, ruled by different nations and colonial empires; populated by various races, cultures, religious institutions, and commercial enterprises, each with their own conflicting claims to the region. The literature about California falls into one of two categories. Some works feature a utopian narrative, presenting California as a region with an ideal climate and valuable natural resources, as well as the site of the entertainment industry—a place where dreams come true. According to dystopian narratives, California has been occupied by a succession of foreign oppressors, and remains a state divided by race wars and debates over immigration. It is associated in the cultural imaginary with overpriced real estate and superficial celebrities; afflicted by droughts, earthquakes, and other forms of apocalyptic weather. The authors and filmmakers in this course cover major chapters in the history of California, including the Mission era, the Gold Rush, the rise of the urban West, the Depression and World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and the new millennium. The class will be taught ONLINE LA (Live). There will be several short writing assignments and no in-class exams. Regular attendance and participation in discussion are mandatory.

Urban Narratives: Environmental Literature and Culture (COURSE CANCELLED)

Literature and Environment
English 118E / Prof. J.E. Lee

COURSE CANCELLED

What is a city? How does the city engage with nature and vice versa? How do literature, film, photography, documentary, and other forms of narrative shape our understanding of the environment? In this course, we will explore multiple environmental issues rendered in diverse narrative forms to discuss the interconnection between humans and nonhuman physical surroundings happening in the city. To that end, we will extend the concept of the environment from pastoral/wild nature to the built environment in the city and discuss urban ecology, species, toxicity, environmental justice, climate change and the Anthropocene. Readings will include a variety of narrative genres and media as well as critical theories in environmental humanities. Students are welcome to reflect on their experience of the recent pandemic as well as the readings to shape creative perspectives on contemporary environmental problems and think about the narrative of the urban environment in a new light.

 

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

Anthropocene

Keywords in Theory
English 122 / Prof. DeLoughrey

In an effort to call attention to planetary climate change, some geologists have named the ‘Anthropocene’ as a radical new geological epoch of environmental change akin to a meteor strike. They attribute the origins to the global rise of agriculture, nuclear radiation, and plastics. Yet scholars in the social sciences and humanities have pressed against this universal narrative to ask which humans are really making the impact? They point to histories of empire, militarism, and globalization as fundamental causes, and raise questions as to how to tell the Anthropocene story (or stories) with attention to both local context and planetary scale. This interdisciplinary course explores the Anthropocene debate from the perspective of writers, artists, and filmmakers, particularly from islands in the global south. It turns to key concepts in the emergent field of Anthropocene studies such as climate, weather, scale, and species. Using the key metaphor of the “island as a world,” the course will be particularly concerned with Postcolonial, Indigenous, Caribbean, and Pacific Island perspectives, especially the relationship between land and (rising) sea. Requirements include active class participation, weekly posts on our CCLE site, a short presentation, a final research paper/project, and a (virtual) visit to an environmental art exhibit.

 

This course is eligible for credit for the Literature & the Environment minor.
This course qualifies as a critical theory course for departmental honors candidates.

Novel Observers

Performance, Media, and Cultural Theory
English 127 / Prof. Jin

The literary critic Kenneth Burke once described literature as “equipment for living,” which is to say, as providing strategies for navigating the multitudinous and varied social situations encountered in modern life.  This course will focus on exploring one such strategy through a systems-theoretical framework: namely, the observation of observation.  As the sociologist Niklas Luhmann put it, second-order observation is uniquely both less and more than first-order observation.  Less, because it observes only observers and nothing else, but more because it sees not only what its subject sees, but how it sees and potentially what it does not see.  In novels by Dorothy West, Colson Whitehead, Lisa Halliday, Raymond Chandler, Hilary Leichter, and others, we will consider how the reflexive logics of second-order observation inform, enact, and dovetail with the performative logics of cultural and social identity.  Other theorists we will engage with will include Judith Butler, J.L. Austin, Erving Goffman, Sarah Ahmed, Jennifer C. Nash, and Dorinne Kondo.  Assignments may include weekly questions, a shorter 4-5 page “close reading” paper, and a longer 10-12 page research paper.


This course qualifies as a critical theory course for departmental honors candidates.

Walking in Literature and Art

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.1 / Prof. Hornby

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

Graphic Novels and Comics Poetics

Topics in Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory
English 129.2 / Prof. Snelson

This course explores expanded forms of comics—from traditional graphic novels to the most recent experiments in text and image. Alongside a study of foundational works in comics and graphic novels, we’ll also survey recent publications in manga, memes, webcomics, light novels, and other experiments in graphic forms. What distinguishes comics from a range of emerging formats and genres online? How do the “sequential arts” continue to develop in dynamic digital environments? In each instance, this course attends to issues of representation in comics, including questions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability in new modes of graphic storytelling. Students will also experiment with making their own critical comics and visual poetry. The course will explore alternative social platforms, including Discord, Mozilla Hubs, and a range of online tools fo collaboration. Throughout, we will read many comics and related forms, including the work of Seosamh & Anka, Alison Bechdel, Tamryn Bennet, Jamal Campbell, Eleanor Davis, Blue Delliquanti, Brandon Graham, Kenneth Koch, Marjorie Liu, Scott McCloud, Annie Mok, Porpentine, Dan Salvato, Marjane Satrapi, Hito Steyerl, Egypt Urnash, and Brian K. Vaughan, among others—up to and including those we discover together in the course of our study.

Zora Neale Hurston: Storyteller, Folklorist, Anthropologist

Individual Authors
English 139.2 / Prof. Stefans

This course examines all of the major works by Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), a staple of African American literature courses since Alice Walker revived Hurston’s reputation in 1975. Hurston was also a groundbreaking anthropologist and folklorist influenced by linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner at Howard University and, later, under the tutelage of Franz Boas at Columbia University. She researched folklore in her native Florida and culture and religion in Jamaica and Haiti, notably concerning voodoo, resulting in two major works, Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938). During the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Hurston was friends with many of the major figures, including Langston Hughes, Alain Locke and Wallace Thurman, and she wasn’t shy of her criticism of the most established, notably W.E.B. DuBois. Later novels, such as Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939) — an Afrocentric retelling of the Moses story — and Seraph on the Suwanee (1948) were epic in scope. Raucously funny, keenly attuned to the stories and sounds of the South, spiritually and philosophically uncompromising, and the product of a restless traveler, Hurston’s writing leaps off the page and never leaves a reader indifferent to her art and thought. This course requires short but well-written weekly assignments and a final paper that can be a development from one of the weekly writings. 

Reading the Witch in Early Modern England

Devotion and Dissent
English 156 / Prof. Bonnici

In this course, we will explore depictions of witchcraft, witch beliefs, and witch trials in 16th- and 17th-century England and Scotland. Our readings will include “true crime” pamphlets on particular cases; treatises on witchcraft, magic, and ritual (including the alleged blood-pact between the witch and the devil); and literary representations of witches in contemporary drama and poetry. Through our study of the witch figure, we will consider concerns such as gender, sexuality, age, disability, class, race, religion, and political power.

The Rise of the Novel

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

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

Beauty, Justice, and Social Change in Victorian Britain

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

This course looks at a range of radical, liberal, and conservative contributions to debates about single and married women’s rights, democracy and social class, the emancipation of enslaved people, the emergence of environmentalism, queer aesthetics, and the transatlantic reach of African-American culture. Readings are drawn from many different sources, including newspaper journalism, periodical articles, essays, poetry, memoir, and narrative fiction. Key writers include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Oliphant, Walter Pater, Mary Prince, and John Ruskin.

American Literature 1865 to 1900

English 170A / Prof. Dimuro

This 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.

Contemporary American Poetry: Useful Poetry

English 173C / Prof. Wilson

Reading and discussion of diverse established and emerging American poets, including United Sates Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, former Poet Laureates Juan Felipe Herrera and Louise Glück (2020 Nobel Prize recipient), and UCLA alumni Nathan McClain and Diana Khoi Nguyen. Emphasis on how poems by living American poets help us go on, even (and especially) in dark and trying times.

Critical Approaches to Race and Visuality in American Culture

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.1 / Prof. McMillan

This course utilizes an trans-disciplinary approach to examine U.S. culture writ large, especially “America” itself, as an imagined and often-contested idea, a trenchant source of belonging and exclusion, through the lens of visuality and race. We will examine the manifestation of these ideals across a variety of contemporary textual, media-based, and embodied forms—including visual culture, but also other sources such as film, performance art, photography, sports, music videos, fashion blogs, dance, and everyday life.  This class will center on introducing students to canonical and contemporary writings considering the intersection of visuality and race. We will explore how to apply literary methods of “close reading”–as well as frameworks from queer theory, Black studies, and feminist theory, etc.–to the study of culture itself.

The American Political Novel

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.2 / Prof. Yarborough

This course will focus on the diverse ways in which fiction writers in the United States have engaged pressing political issues in their work. Our readings will range from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the 1970s and we will treat such topics as slavery and its aftermath, the status of women, the rise of domestic fascism, the post-World War II Red Scare, and the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 60s. We will pay particular attention not just to the historical contexts of the novels but also to the rhetorical strategies employed by the writers in their attempts to shape reader attitudes even as they themselves often remain conflicted and wary of simple answers to complex political questions. Authors to be covered include Charles W. Chesnutt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sinclair Lewis, Alice Walker, and E. L. Doctorow.

Requirements: term paper, final examination

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

Interdisciplinary Studies of American Culture
English 177.3 / Prof. Grossman

This course will explore in depth Mark Twain’s extraordinary 1889 satirical historical novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. As the novel’s title announces, we will be reading a tale about the transmigration of a nineteenth-century Yankee industrial leader back to mythic medieval times. Twain’s novel mixes up a host of genres of interest to us: romances, including queer ones; slave narratives; knightly adventure stories; political and economic satire; dystopian science-fiction; and the historical novel, including that genre’s relation to indigenous people. Meanwhile, as we will also investigate, through it all Twain is laughing: how can readers possibly grasp the era before the printing press? Please understand in advance that there is a heavy reading and writing load in this class. Lively class participation is expected.

Narratives of Predation

Topics in Literature, circa 1850 to present
English 179.1/ Prof. Simpson

In this course, we’ll consider the uncomfortable matter of how we are to read narratives of predation. We’ll consider Mary Gaitskill’s novella This is Pleasure, Nabokov’s Lolita, the documentary film Capturing the Friedmans, Plato’s “Phaedrus” and the podcast “Believed.”

Novels & Networks

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

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

 

Not open to students who took English 179 with Prof. Seltzer in Winter 2019 or Winter 2020.

 

Creative Writing Workshops

Admission to most Creative Writing Workshops is by application only.

 

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.1 / Prof. D’Aguiar

Course Description:

To be a writer you have to be a reader. That is so obvious a foundation for teaching poetry that it almost goes without saying. The big difference in a creative writing course is the focus on reading as a writer in order to write as a reader. I include the scribal, auditory and visual arts in this formation of a writing persona.

Students write one poem each week and read and discuss set texts. Students complete a final portfolio of their poems, revised as a result of the workshop process of discussion and feedback.

 

How to Apply:

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

In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number, English 136.1 (example: “Smith 136.1”).

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

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 2021.

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the first class meeting.

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

Creative Writing: Poetry

English 136.2 / Prof. Stefans

Course description:

In this workshop, students will be expected to draft and redraft their own material as well as to complete a series of short worksheets that will focus on: specific poetic practices, research on a poet of the student’s own choosing, and feedback on a short essay or two that I’ve assigned. You will also be expected to give detailed, thoughtful feedback to your peers in the workshop.

Poets of all levels are encouraged to apply. I also encourage writers interested in spoken word and experimental poetry (including audio works) and translation. However, your application submission should comprise only poems on the page.

Students will be expected to have completed a small portfolio of their own work by the last class. We will also, given student interest, edit and design a short anthology of your poems and have a final public class reading as a “launch” for the issue.

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

 

How to Apply:

Please submit in PDF form to stefans@humnet.ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu up to 5 poems (or 7 pages of poetry) including in the document: 1) your student identification number, 2)  your email address, 3) year of graduation, and 4) a brief statement about other creative writing or literature courses you’ve taken.

Make the subject line of your email to me: “136.2 Creative Writing Poetry Submission.” Please title your PDF starting with your last name and something generic but informative like “poetry submission.” I.e. stefans_poetry_submission.pdf.

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST STATE “136.2 CREATIVE WRITING POETRY SUBMISSION” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

Deadline for submission:

Deadline for submission is Friday, January 1, 2021,  via email.

 

Acceptance to class:

Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the first class meeting. If admitted, you must attend the first class in order to be allowed to enroll.

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

Creative Writing: Short Story

English 137.1 / Prof. 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

 

How To Apply:

Please submit no more than 5 (double-spaced) pages of your fiction and list any workshops you’ve taken in the past to huneven@me.com AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.  Please list your three favorite short stories and their authors. Also, please tell me your class standing (sophomore, junior, etc.). Include your 9-digit UID number and your e-mail address.

If you are applying to more than one workshop and have a preference, please indicate that preference so we can try to accommodate it.

In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number: English 137.1 (example: “O’Connor 137.1”).

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

 

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18th

 

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the first class meeting.

Due to the volume of submissions, the professor is unable to provide feedback or suggestions regarding the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Short Story

English 137.2 / Simpson

Course Description:

 

This is an intensive course in the close reading and writing of short stories. Students will be asked to write five short stories over the course of the quarter and to revise two of them.

 

How to Apply:

 

To be considered for admission, please send a story to monasimpson@mac.com AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu, along with a letter noting the other fiction workshops you’ve taken, how long you’ve been writing and the last three books you’ve read for pleasure. Include your 9-digit UID number and your e-mail address.

If you are applying to more than one workshop and have a preference, please indicate that preference so we can try to accommodate it.

In the subject line of your email, include your last name and this course section number: English 137.1 (example: “JACKSON 137.2”).

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

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY Friday, DEC 18th.

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified by email before the first class meeting.

Due to the volume of submissions, the professor is unable to provide feedback or suggestions regarding the students’ submitted work.

Creative Writing: Summoning the Sonnet and Other Poetic Forms

English M138.1 / Prof. Bonnici

Course Description:

 

Though the sonnet entered English poetry nearly half a millennia ago, it remains a powerful force. In this course, we will study early sonnets alongside those by contemporary poets such as Jericho Brown, Kiki Petrosino, and Anna Maria Hong. We will also explore other poetic forms, including the abecedarian, sestina, and epistle. Meanwhile, you will write weekly poems to cultivate your powers of formal experimentation, leaving this course with a portfolio of carefully workshopped, thoughtfully revised work and with the knowledge of how formal poetry can radically intervene in our most urgent political, cultural, and social conversations.

 

Looking for inspiration? Here are links to two sonnet sequences we will study during the quarter:

Kiki Petrosino’s “Happiness” on Tin House and Reginald Dwayne Betts’s “House of Unending” on the Poetry Foundation website.

 

How to apply:

 

All are welcome! No experience necessary.

Enrollment is by instructor consent. To apply for the course, please write a brief note (no more than 250 words) about your experiences with poetry 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 M138.1) and it should be sent to kbbonnici@ucla.edu AND creativewriting@english.ucla.edu.

 

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20th

 

Acceptance notifications:

 

Accepted applicants will be notified before the first class meeting.

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

Creative Writing: Experimental Life Writing

English M138.2 / Prof. Calder

Course Description:

In this workshop, we will read and produce texts that re-conceive life writing in collective terms through the use of formal and theoretical experimentation. Texts under consideration will include works by ASCO, Maurice Blanchot, CAConrad, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Herve Guibert, Bhanu Kapil, M. NourbeSe Philip, and Claudia Rankine. Participants will complete a series of writing experiments and workshop two of them.

 

How to Apply:

 

To be considered for admission, please send 5-10 pages of your writing and a few paragraphs about why you would be a good fit for the workshop to kcalder@ucla.edu and creativewriting@english.ucla.edu. Include your name, 9-digit UID number, and email address.

In the subject line of your email please include your last name and the course and section number in the subject line (example: “Mazer M138.2”).

YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL AND MUST CONTAIN YOUR LAST NAME AND “M138.2” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION MAY NOT BE READ IF YOU OMIT THIS TAG IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2020.

 

Acceptance notifications:

Accepted applicants will be notified before the first class meeting.

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

 

This topic is eligible for credit on the Professional Writing minor.

 

Senior/Capstone Seminars

 

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.

Psychoanalysis and Literature: The Case History

Topics in Critical Theory
English 181C / Prof. Kaufman

This class will investigate the genre of the psychoanalytic case history, considering it from a literary angle as well as a psychoanalytic one.  In addition to providing an overview of major psychoanalytic concepts, the class discussions will attend to questions of narrative perspective and reliability, to modes of characterization, including the role of major and minor characters, and to the role of the analyst.  We will read a substantial selection of Sigmund Freud’s case histories, as well as case histories and commentaries by Ella Sharpe, Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicott, Jacques Lacan, and Frantz Fanon.  We will discuss the ways in which gender, age, sexual orientation, war trauma, and a colonial setting impact the telling and rendering of the case history.

Romantic Institutions: Urban Romanticism and its Intellectual Center

Topics in Romantic Literature
English 182D / Prof. Shaub

While we often remember the Romantic period in literature for its exaltation of nature and rural life, you may be surprised to learn that many of the most iconic Romantic-era writers actually spent their careers in London, the rapidly industrializing capital of the British Empire. And just as the idyllic Lake District in the English countryside became associated with Romantic inspiration, this course will focus on what I will be encouraging you to think of as similarly generative metropolitan center of intellectual and poetic productivity, London’s newly established “arts-and-sciences” educational institutions. Forming as a response to the decades of political and cultural change that followed the French Revolution, Britain’s proto-technological arts-and-sciences institutions aimed to unite the disparate audiences and disciplinary perspectives affiliated with earlier associations of either art or science, such as the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and the Royal Society of London. At such fashionable arts-and-sciences venues as the Royal Institution of Great Britain (est. 1799), or the more radically inclined Surrey Institution (est. 1807) in Southwark, figures like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Hazlitt, Thomas Campbell, Humphry Davy, and Charles Babbage delivered lectures on poetry, chemistry, and early engineering to diverse audiences that included William Godwin, Anna Barbauld, the Darwin-Wedgewood family, the Duchess of Devonshire, Thomas Malthus, Jeremy Bentham, Hannah More, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, Lord Byron, Thomas Moore, Mary Shelley, John Keats, and Michael Faraday, among many others, making these spaces key sites of post-revolutionary sociability, Romantic self-construction, and English cultural transmission. Yet, unlike the Lake District, the intellectual productivity associated with these locations is not well understood, which means that our fortunate task in this class will be to develop a more coherent account of why these spaces were so important to the intellectual life of the Romantic period. Particularly obscure is the question of how these arts-and-sciences institutions shaped the discourse of what we now call Romantic poetry and criticism, and as this is a course on British Romanticism, after all, this question will be our guiding theme. Though we will be reading texts from many different disciplines, in many different genres (and I encourage you to write on these texts according to your interest), all of the readings I have selected bear some significant relation to this primary theme of poetry. During the course of our reading, I will ask you to be attentive to ways in which these urban institutional spaces form a dialogue with the more conventional themes and locations of British Romanticism, and whether that dialogue augments or alters our view of what it means to be “Romantic.”

David Copperfield for Fiction Writers

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

In this seminar, we will do a slow, close, writer’s reading of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens to focus on character construction and the use of autobiographical detail in fiction. We will also pay close attention to structure and how serialization determined the novel’s plot and shape; also, how the narrative has been adapted in various film versions. Students will do presentations on different literary techniques, biographical material, and historical context. Midterm exam and final project, which can be creative with instructor consent.

James Joyce Seminar

Topics in 20th and 21st-Century Literature
English 182F.2 / Prof. Jaurretche

In this seminar we will read DublinersA Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManUlysses, and representative sections of Finnnegans Wake. As Ulysses is the pivotal novel of the twentieth-century, the greater portion of the class will be given over to its discussion.   Our conversations will range from Joyce’s vision of the role of the artist in society, to considerations of the ways in which his work advances textual, gender, postcolonial, ecological, historical, and philosophical scholarship.  Discussion will be based upon close reading of the works, as well as materials generated by members of the class. At the end of the quarter we will begin to read Finnegans Wake, with an eye to introducing strategies for interpretation of Joyce’s most obscure text.

Experiments with Nonfiction

Topics in 20th and 21st-Century Literature
English 182F.4 / Prof. Schmidt

The central goal of this seminar will be to explore the distinction between literature and nonfiction in post-1945 writing from both directions. To do so, we will read texts categorized as poetry and fiction that expressly incorporate documents and other signifiers of journalism, history, or research as well as a handful of essays that incorporate materials and approaches frequently associated with the literary as such. The backbone of the course will be a collective project: an attempt to isolate, name, and analyze specific techniques writers use to blur the literature/journalism or fiction/nonfiction distinction. Students will complete regular short writing assignments as well as a longer final project, which may be either an academic essay examining one of the authors we have read or an experimental essay using techniques we have described.

Over the quarter, we will read a few examples of literary criticism to situate our central questions, but our focus will be “primary” texts by at least a handful the following authors: Joe Brainard, Gwendolyn Brooks, Teju Cole, John D’Agata, Joan Didion, Eve Ewing, Otto Friedrich, Diana Hamilton, Kiese Laymon, Tao Lin, Valeria Luiselli, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Srikanth Reddy, Muriel Rukeyser, Elaine Scarry, Elizabeth Schambelan, Ali Smith, Juliana Spahr, William Carlos Williams.

 

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.

Knowing New World Rebellion

Topics in Colonial American Literature
English 183A.2 / Prof. Mazzaferro

This seminar explores the competing forms of political knowledge that emerged during the colonization of North America and the Caribbean. We’ll track the era’s major transformations—namely, the process of settlement and the rise of slavery—and the violent rebellions and revolutions that followed. Focusing on three key modes of knowing (reasoning, observing, and imagining), we’ll consider how European ideas were adapted to New World circumstances. What literary strategies did elite writers use to represent the outbreaks of mutiny, heresy, native warfare, and slave revolt they faced? And how did these depictions relate to enduring assumptions about politics and later accounts of the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions? We’ll read texts by John Smith, John Winthrop, Aphra Behn, J. Crèvecoeur, Tom Paine, and Leonora Sansay alongside works by Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Edmund Burke. And we’ll conclude with two retrospective attempts to understand New World rebellion: Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno (1855) and a graphic novel about Nat Turner.

 

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.

Philip K. Dick

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

A study of the fiction of Philip K. Dick and a few of the films derived from it. We will try to determine why a writer who was only a middling success in his lifetime became a major cultural force toward the end of the 20th century. Works considered will include The Man in the High Castle, Ubik, VALIS, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” Minority Report, Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.

 

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.

Writing the Digital Archive: Old Books in New Worlds

Capstone Seminar
English 184.1 / Prof. Fisher

What do old books look like now? Originally, this class was designed to work hands-on with manuscripts, printed books, and archived primary materials held in UCLA’s Special Collections. COVID, of course, has changed that. We will focus on the processes of discovery and encounter with items in the archive. We will be working with digital surrogates as we explore the implications of old, rare, unusual, or just weird books in the digital age. We will study how special collections are assembled (and what’s excluded), how digital archives are curated and presented (and what voices are silenced), and how books are bought and sold. We will also do all of these things as a class. There will be an emphasis on a variety of writing practices, from writing tombstones and introductions to curate digital galleries, to critical and bibliographical essays, to grant proposals. The final project will involve writing a grant proposal and pitch to acquire a rare book or archive actually for sale. YRL has provided funding, so the item(s) identified and proposed by the winning grant-writer/team will be acquired for the UCLA library. Class requirements include large amounts of reading, larger amounts of “flipping” through digitized books and archives, a digital gallery assignment, a 7-8 pp critical essay, and a final grant proposal portfolio.

 

Limited spaces in this course may be available to students pursuing the Professional Writing Minor or the Digital Humanities minor.

Complex Genres and Neurodiversity

Capstone Seminar
English 184.2 / Prof. McHugh

This seminar examines various approaches to TV genres.  Beginning with an overview of analytical approaches to media genres and specific approaches to television genres, we will then turn to a number of current T.V. shows that incorporate and exceed the “operational aesthetics” identified as a key component of contemporary television. Operational aesthetics, as defined by Jason Mittell, refer to virtuosic narrative complexity that draws spectators’ attention not so much to “what will happen next?” than to “how did they do that?” An example would be Seinfeld’s deft half-hour manipulation of four distinct storylines. The works we will ultimately focus on, by contrast, solicit spectators’ engagement in extremes – of emotional expression and social behavior – caused by trauma and/or indicative of addiction and other neurodiverse states. Along with the “how” question of operational aesthetics, these shows also provoke exclamatory incredulity for their canny and unexpected alignments of affect, genre, and political/ethical stance — “I can’t believe they just did that!” We will explore how shows like The BridgeOrange is the New BlackNurse JackieHomeland, Crazy Ex-GirlfriendI May Destroy YouFleabagGentleman Jack, and Jessica Jones use conventions of the thriller, detective, musical, melodrama, costume, horror or comedy/drama to explore stigmatized affects (shame, abjection, depression, rage), “bad” behaviors (stalking, bullying, lying and deception, vengeance, violence), and diagnoses (autism, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, depression).  How do they mobilize distinct generic logics, serial textuality, and character complexity to “make sense” of these affects, behaviors, and neurodiverse states and to what purpose? Students should expect to watch 1-3 hours of media weekly in addition to regular reading assignments. Structured assignments, short writing exercises, and regular consultation with instructor will prepare students for their capstone project. Students will give a course presentation and complete a capstone project.  The capstone projects will entail students engaging with a show or shows of their choice on a relevant topic, making use of methods or critical approaches we have covered.

Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge

Capstone Seminar
English 184.3 / Prof. Grossman

Charles Dickens wrote two historical novels. One is very famous, and you may have heard of it: A Tale of Two Cities. That novel also depicts a very famous event: the French Revolution. The other historical novel that Charles Dickens wrote is called Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ’Eighty. In this seminar, we are going to immerse ourselves in this other novel, in Barnaby Rudge—Dickens’s powerful and brilliant forgotten historical novel. Barnaby Rudge contains breakthrough ways of writing about crowds, about urban unrest, and about historical prejudice. It seems concerned with an historical event long forgotten, an explosive week in London in 1780. In fact, it slyly looks back, as we will explore, to another very famous revolution: the industrial revolution. Students will create and follow their own interests through this capacious novel, and they will author an original research essay about it. Lively class participation is expected.

Pornography and the Politics of Sexual Representation

Capstone Seminar
English 184.4 / Prof. Mott

As a capstone seminar, the course proceeds from the assumption that students will pursue an independent research project representing a culmination of their learning at UCLA. We begin with a study of Linda Williams’s Hard Core from the perspective of researchers, reading to discover her process and methods as much as her argument. In the third week, students meet individually with the instructor to plot their research project. For the following five weeks, students post the results of their research to the course website, creating an archive for themselves and their peers. The postings scaffold the final project into “What’s at Stake,” “Critical Approach,” and “Close Reading” entries. At the same time, class functions as a workshop in which students receive suggestions on their works-in-progress. During ninth week, we will conduct a round-robin editing workshop during which students will receive more pointed suggestions on a substantial piece of their project. In the final week, students present their nearly-complete project in a “mini-conference.

 

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.

Narratives of Contagion

Capstone Seminar
English 184.5 / Prof. Silva

The aim of this seminar is to think deeply about the ways that illness and community have shaped the histories and literatures of the United States. Beginning with the early colonial violence that defined European-Indigenous relations for generations to come, we will ask ourselves two sets of questions: first, how have historical epidemics and pandemics set the terms through which writers imagine their communal ideal? Second, what are the strategies of inclusion and exclusion that continue to determine the boundaries of our public health debates? In all cases, we will consider the limits of our knowledge and vocabulary as we inquire into the meaning of health, disease, immunity, susceptibility, and medicine.

 

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.

Graduate Courses Open to Advanced Undergraduates for Seminar Credit

 

Medieval Care of the Mind

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

This course examines writing about cognitive impairment from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, while offering a broader introduction to research in literature and cognition, disability studies, and the medical humanities, on the one hand, and to some key scholarly genres on the other: the book review, the abstract, the conference paper, and the syllabus. Our primary focus will be on how mental illness was understood and treated hundreds of years before the advent of the asylum and the development of psychoanalysis. As we will see, medieval thinking about eccentric minds often reflects a tension between theories about individual cognition and beliefs in divine or diabolical influences from angels, demons, fairies, and ghosts. At the same time, visions, voices, and other devotional experiences trouble the distinction between reason and insanity. Readings will include medieval medical treatises, chronicles, and restorative charms as well as saints’ lives, first-hand accounts, and poems, supplemented by selections from contemporary theorists.

 

Limited spaces are available to advanced undergraduates who need to fulfill the Historical: Pre-1500 or Senior Seminar requirement. Interested students should email Professor Weaver at ericaweaver@humnet.ucla.edu.