English 182 - Spring, 2020

Literature of California

Class Information

Instructor: Martín, Desirée
CRN: 84078
Time: MWF 10:00-10:50
Location: 146 Olson


    This course offers a survey of the diverse range of writings on the histories, populations,
    natures, and cultures of California from its precolonial beginnings to the present. California has routinely been considered a land of contradiction. It is a land of golden dreams ? a popular tourist destination, a magnet for immigrants, and a place where adventurers seek fame and fortune. But it is also a land of illusion ? a toxic dystopia of environmental injustice, racial tensions and riots, and financial crisis. Taking these contradictions as a given, we will
    explore the ways literary texts reflect on historical legacies of colonialism, Native
    American dispossession, migration, urbanization/gentrification, and ongoing patterns of racial and economic inequality amidst changing modes of economic development. We will consider that California is a space that cannot be understood without thinking about its relation to transnational and national spaces and temporalities even as it is firmly situated in the regional and the local. Our readings will attend to a wide array of everyday perspectives and life-worlds of Californians, past and present, alongside larger cultural conceptions of California as utopian and apocalyptic, as they are portrayed in various literary works.




    Twilight, Los Angeles 1992, Anna Deavere Smith
    The Wild Shore, Kim Stanley Robinson
    Under the Feet of Jesus, Helena Maria Viramontes
    You Must Fight Them, Maceo Montoya
    Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
    The Literature of California, Vol. 1, Al Young, Jack Hicks, etc.