English 178 - Fall, 2018

Topics in Nations, Regions, and Other Cultural Geographies

Class Information

Instructor: Clearwater, Michael
CRN: 43337
Time: TR 10:30-11:50
Location: 118 Olson


    Literature of California courses often consider representations of California as a place of utopian promise and, simultaneously, as a place of ecological disaster and political dysfunction. In this course, we will focus specifically on how contemporary writers have grappled with California and what it represents politically, demographically, and environmentally. We will examine literary representations of California after 1970 in order to track how California often serves as the bleeding edge of political and ecological movements in the United States. Over the course of the quarter, we will read representations of California across a number of genres, including literary fiction, drama, magical realism, and speculative fiction in order to get a sense of what California means in contemporary American literature.


    Two essays, two short research assignments, a final exam, and course participation.


    Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion
    Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Anna Deavere Smith
    Less than Zero, Brett Easton Ellis
    Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler
    Tropic of Orange, Karen Tei Yamashita
    Madonnas of Echo Park, Brando Skyhorse