English 149-1 - Fall, 2018

Topics in Literature

    Topic: Riot, Revolution, Reading

Class Information

Instructor: Bernes, Jasper
CRN: 21903
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 192 Young


    The title says it all: we'll read stories, novels, poems, and essays in English about riots, revolutions, and everything in between: the rebellion, the uprising, the insurrection. These activities pose basic problems for literature (how do you represent a collective action? how can one grasp such intensities without counterfeiting or romanticizing? what kind of writing goes with such politics?) But they also pose basic questions about the nature of social struggle. about the limits and possibilities of social movements, and about how we win. As we live through our own age of dramatic and dramatized politics, we turn to some examples mostly from the recent past that confront this set of puzzles. Keywords: race, class, gender, capitalism, colonization, urbanism, crisis, immigration, Detroit, Newark, Los Angeles, Oakland, Tottenham.


    Two essays, final exam, four sets of reading notes, attendance & participation.


    The Riot Inside Me, Wanda Coleman
    Letters Against the Firmament, Sean Bonney
    That Winter the Wolf Came, Juliana Spahr
    The Spook Who Sat By the Door, Sam Greenlee
    October, China Mieville