English 182 - Fall, 2021

Literature of California

Class Information

Instructor: Martín, Desirée
CRN: 53322
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 118 Olson
GE Areas: American Cultures, Governance, and History Domestic Diversity Writing Experience


ENL 182, "Literatures of California"
This course offers a survey of the diverse range of writings on the histories, populations,
natures, and cultures of California from its pre-colonial 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, Smith
Parable of the Sower, Butler
Pacific Edge, Robinson
Under the Feet of Jesus, Viramontes
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Didion
The Literature of California, Vol. 1, Young & Hicks