Graduate Expanded Course Descriptions
Note: For additional graduate courses taught by English faculty, please see the Fall 2011 schedule.
200: Introduction to Graduate Studies in English
Hsuan Hsu firstname.lastname@example.org
T 3:10-6:00, 120 Voorhies, CRN 62613
This seminar introduces Ph.D. students to graduate study in English by focusing on methods and methodological debates in literary study. The aim of this course is to prepare new students for advanced work in the field and to orient them in the profession. We will do this by considering how to integrate the close analysis of literary texts with different research methods and theoretical debates. You will complete weekly research assignments on a primary text of your choice. In order to provide perspective on your research, we will read and discuss works that exemplify and/or question some important research methods and debates in literary studies. Occasional faculty visitors will supplement our readings by sharing their own thinking about these developments. Topics and weekly research assignments will include manuscript study, book history, reception, genre, historical context, intertextuality, and theoretical perspectives. In addition to completing short weekly research papers on these topics in relation to your primary text, you will also develop an 8-page research paper that integrates this research and crystallizes your ideas about the primary text.
ASSIGNMENTS: in-class presentations (30%); eight 2-page papers based on weekly research assignments (30%); 7-page research paper due at end of term (40%).
233: Problems in American Literature
Mark Jerng email@example.com
M 3:10-6:00, 120 Voorhies, CRN 62614
Breadth: Later American
Focus: Genre, Method, Theory
Topic: What is Ethnic Literature?
Throughout its history as an object of study, the category of ethnic literature has evoked a broad array of questions: what the relationship is between symbolic capital and political capital; how to negotiate competing values of social, aesthetic, and political value in the construction of an identity-based literary canon; what are the methodologies appropriate to ethnic literary criticism, and what are its theoretical presuppositions. Most foundationally, perhaps: what is the relationship between the sociohistorical significance of race and the reading of racial significance in literature? This seminar will focus specifically on the canon-formation and debates within African American and Asian American literary studies, because their respective vexed relationships to the significance of race reveal important similarities and marked differences. We will start off by reading foundational debates in the formation of African American and Asian American literary studies and the theories of racial formation and signification that underlie the institution of ethnic literatures. We then examine the types of reading strategies and debates that the study of these two literary traditions has historically naturalized. Finally, we will take up theorizations of genre, aesthetics, race, and readerly cognition in order both to consider what might have been missed by earlier undertheorized presuppositions of ethnic literary studies and to forge possible new agendas for the future. Within this re-examination of the protocols of race that underlie the reading and formation of African American and Asian American literature, we will read novels, novellas, and poems that were often marginal within the construction of these canons, paying specific attention to their reception histories and readers’ critical frameworks. Primary works will be supplemented by readings drawn from Henry Louis Gates, Claudia Tate, Kenneth Warren, Elizabeth Abel, Toni Morrison, W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Colleen Lye, Sui Sin Far, John Guillory, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Mark Chiang, Kandice Chuh, Sau-Ling Cynthia Wong, Pierre Bourdieu, Richard Moran, Hans Robert Jauss, and Samuel Delany.
15-20 page article-length paper
TextsA Japanese Nightingale (1903), Onoto Watanna (Winifred Eaton)
Dark Princess: A Romance (1928), W.E.B. DuBois
"Talma Gordon" (1900), Pauline Hopkins
The Silent Traveller Series (excerpts), Chiang Yee
Imitation of Life (1933), Fannie Hurst
"Limitations of Life" (1938), Langston Hughes
East Goes West (1937), Younghill Kang
The Foxes of Yarrow (1946), Frank Yerby
Kingsblood Royal (1947), Sinclair Lewis
"Recitatif", Toni Morrison
A Savage Holiday (1954), Richard Wright
The Country Place (1947), Ann Petry
242: 16th Century Literature
Richard Levin firstname.lastname@example.org
CANCELLED, CANCELLED, CRN 84046
248: 18th Century Literature
Christopher Loar email@example.com
W 12:10-3:00, 120 Voorhies, CRN 83751
Breadth: Later British
Life, Literature, and Machines in the Long Eighteenth Century
This seminar will explore the relationship between living things and machinery in, roughly, the century after Hobbes’s Leviathan. Hobbes famously presents an elaborately mechanical analysis of the human mind and the state-machine that must govern it. Equally famously, the 1660s see the emergence of a form of natural inquiry that can be properly called materialist—an inquiry that depends from the outset on elaborate mechanical manipulations of the natural world. This doubled presence of mechanism—of an epistemological dependence on machines as well a modeling of life and cognition on the movements of machinery—importantly shaped developments in other fields of knowledge, including, of course, what we now call “literature,” itself made increasingly available through the machinery of the printing press. However, both technological development and mechanistic discussions of life met continual resistance from critics who frequently had recourse to categories of “life,” spirit, or the vital as antidotes or supplements to the mechanical. Beginning with Restoration-era explorations of machinery and materialism, this seminar will trace enthusiasm for the machine and living mechanisms alongside skeptical and satiric treatments of the same, including a detailed study of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, the century’s most elaborate inquiry into the unstable relationship between life and mechanism.
Based on class discussion, presentations, and a seminar paper.
, Course reader containing additional materials
A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, Burke
Selected poetry, Rochester
The Dunciad, Pope
Love in Excess, Haywood
Tristram Shandy, Sterne
Tale of a Tub, Swift
Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke
252: Victorian Literature
Elizabeth Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
R 12:10-3:00, 248 Voorhies, CRN 83754
This class, part of a three-class sequence on "periodizations," will focus broadly on the problem of periodization and 19-century British literature. Our goal is to understand the customary structures of literary periodization in this field and how these structures encourage some critical approaches while inhibiting others. We will consider aesthetic and critical challenges to the traditional division of 19th-c. British literature into Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist aesthetic categories, as well as aesthetic and critical challenges to the idea that Romanticism and Modernism marked epochal breaks from the past. We will also consider the utility of such divisions. Several class meetings will focus on the 19th-century Medieval revival, examining the multifarious political and aesthetic uses to which 19th-century writers put the invented category of the "Medieval." Other class meetings will focus on the literature of time travel, in the form of both historical novels and dystopian fantasy fiction.
TextsPride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
Idylls of the King, Alfred Tennyson
A Dream of John Ball, William Morris
The Nature of Gothic, John Ruskin
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx
Middlemarch, George Eliot
The Secret Agent , Joseph Conrad
The Time Machine, H. G. Wells
The Machine Stops, E. M. Forster
262: American Literature after 1914
Desirée Martín email@example.com
M 12:10-3:00, 120 Voorhies, CRN 62617
Breadth: Later American
Focus: ID, Interdiscipline, Other National
California(s) Cultures: Region, Nation, Borders
This course is inspired by the Davis Humanities Institute’s “California Cultures Intiative,” and aims to study the multiple cultures and convergences of the California(s) as a region which cannot be understood without thinking about its relation to transnational, bordered, and national spaces and temporalities. In particular, we will examine the circuits of migration, circulation, and smuggling of bodies and commodities, both “legal” and illicit, in order to interrogate the intersection of race, technology, citizenship, and geographies.
Will be based on an in-class oral presentation, regular class participation, and a 15-20 pg. research paper.
TextsWomen on the Road (Arrieras somos), Conde, Rosina
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Didion, Joan
Maquilapolis: City of Factories (documentary, 2006), Funari, Vicky and Sergio de la Torre
If He Hollers Let Him Go, Himes, Chester
The Octopus, Norris, Frank
The Squatter and the Don, Ruiz de Burton, Maria Amparo
Their Dogs Came With Them, Viramontes, Helena Maria
Tropic of Orange, Yamashita, Karen Tei
Course Reader or Smartsite Downloads
Sleep Dealer (film, 2008), Rivera, Alex
270: Studies in Contemporary World Literature
John Marx firstname.lastname@example.org
W 3:10-6:00, 120 Voorhies, CRN 83755
Breadth: Later British
Focus: Genre, Other National, Theory
Is “Contemporary Literature” a Period, and How Would We Know If It Were?
Although job ads, academic journals, and even a robust Wikipedia entry recognize Contemporary Literature as a literary historical category beginning in the vicinity of 1945, the myriad subcategories that fall within it, not to mention the geographic scale of the literature studied in its name, tend to suggest that this is not a period with the coherence of, for instance, the Renaissance or Modernism. Study of contemporary American literature breaks down into micro-genres and multiple competing minor literatures while, at the same time, avidly crossing borders and tracking paths of migration. Contemporary British and postcolonial literary study bleed into one another, becoming virtually indistinguishable in some scholarship, even as both devolve into smaller regionalisms and movements. To consider the periodization of contemporary writing, in short, is to consider its peculiar scale, both demonstrably smaller and bigger than the national literatures that organize the periods immediately preceding it. We will limit our purview largely to the novel, supplemented by relevant criticism and one notable work of non-fiction prose. Although our readings will remain resolutely current, focusing on the last 20 years of writing, they will cross that 1945 line conceptually, as we observe how writers and critics find it necessary to turn to the past (sometimes the very distant past) in an effort to understand the period of the present.
Supplemental scholarly reading to include work by the likes of Rey Chow, Mahdu Dubey, Franco Moretti, Amy Hungerford, Simon Gikandi, Fredric Jameson, Neil Lazarus, Mark McGurl, Aamir Mufti, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Chu Yiu-Wai.
TextsDictee (2001), Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Free Enterprise (1993), Michelle Cliff
Open City (2011), Teju Cole
In an Antique Land (1993), Amitav Ghosh
C (2010), Tom McCarthy
Gain (1998), Richard Powers
Butterfly Burning (1998), Yvonne Vera
290F: Seminar in Creative Writing of Fiction
Pam Houston email@example.com
R 12:10-3:00, 120 Voorhies
This course will be an intensive and advanced fiction workshop. My goal as workshop leader is to create an environment where writers become excited about taking both stylistic and emotional risks with their work. We will focus on what I believe to be the real artistry of fiction: the translation of the emotional stakes of the story onto its physical landscape; the way we dip our ladles into the bottomless pot of metaphor soup and pull out what we need, what we can then shape into story. We will focus predominantly on structure, metaphor, image, dialogue, and voice, and will be aiming for stories in which the language is always working in at least two ways at once. We will learn to trust the way the physical world gives us the tools (and, incidentally, the courage) to tell our most problematic and potentially profound stories. We will talk about why writing is so hard, and why it should be, about ways to trick ourselves into getting and staying at the computer, about the moment where no matter how impossible it feels to begin a new story, it feels even more impossible not to. Each student will be expected to turn in three new pieces of fiction during the course of the semester, either stories or novel chapters. There will be some reading and brief weekly exercises at the beginning of the semester that will become optional as we get farther into the real work.
Based on the quality of the work itself, the attention to the manuscripts of the other writers in class, quality of discussion of the assigned texts.
A Visit From The Goon Squad
20 Under 40
290P: Seminar in Creative Writing of Poetry
Alan Williamson firstname.lastname@example.org
T 12:10-3:00, 308 Voorhies
The basic assignment is a poem a week, and a final selection of the student's four best poems from the term. We will also be looking at three of what seem to me the most interesting new books from the last two years; and students will be asked to compile a personal anthology.
TextsVintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry, McClatchy