CoursesCourses for the American Literature & Culture Major

The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses at the general and advanced levels. Courses are divided into the following sections:

0-99 Lower Division Courses (Freshman, Sophomore)
100-199
Upper Division Courses (Junior, Senior)
200 & above
Graduate Courses

Summer 2021

Lower Division Courses in English (Freshman, Sophomore)

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

Critical Reading and Writing

English 4W / Instructor TBD

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

 

Fulfills Writing II requirement.

Upper Division Courses in English

ORIGINS

NONE OFFERED

 

IDENTITIES

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

Studies in Disability Literatures
English M103 / Prof. Delchamps

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

 

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

Environmental Justice: Theory, Practice, Culture

Literature and Environment
English 118E / Prof. Tanaka

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

 

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

From Dictators to Dictatorships

Literature of Americas
English 135 / Prof. Encinas

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

Great Escapisms: The American Novel since 1990

Contemporary American Fiction
English 174C / Prof. Schmidt

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

 

MEDIA

Great Escapisms: The American Novel since 1990

Contemporary American Fiction
English 174C / Prof. Schmidt

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

Major American Rappers

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

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