Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1A.005: Picking up the Pieces: A Partial History of Fragments

Tu/Th 2-3:30 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Louisa Kirk

Many of the literary texts we study today come to us incomplete. Perhaps the author passed away before the work was finished, or perhaps we know the text only through scraps of parchment used in the binding of a different manuscript. Still other texts consciously position themselves as fragments, even if this move is but an artifice on the part of the author. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30858

R1A.007: Water, Rocks, Dew, Mangroves: Elements of Island Literatures

MWF 10-11 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Pedro Rolon

The island is a territory of the imagination that cuts across linguistic and cultural boundaries: at once a fantasy land of conquest, domination, and punishment, and the site of new beginnings outside all that we know. In this course we will think together about what makes the island such a rich territory and a site of multiple (and often times contradictory!) imaginations. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30861

R1B.001: Double Takes

MWF 12-1 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Mary Vitali

“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

» read more »

Course Catalog Number: 21032

R1B.007: “Queer” Signs; “Signs” of Queering

MWF 3-4 263 Dwinelle Instructor: Alex Brostoff

A queer word, the word queer is. From a dubious adjective to a pejorative slur to a sexual signifier to an index so expansive and slippery that it claims these very contradictions, “queer” has a lot to say. And putting “queer” in quotation marks says even more! What do quotation marks recall, contest, or unhinge? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 21038

R1B.008: Textual Enigmas / Enigmatic Texts

Tu/Th 03:30-5 51 Evans Instructor: Jocelyn Saidenberg

Why do oracles deliver their truths in riddles? Why do stories often leave us with more questions than answers? What can we learn from confusion, obscurity, even psychotic derangement? This writing intensive course will proceed from the proposition that literary bewilderment can be a guide, a mentor, and even a means to arrive at different forms of knowledge. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 21039

R1B.011: Female Frenzy

Tu/Th 5-6:30 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Mary Mussman

“Putting a door on the female mouth has been an important project of patriarchal culture from antiquity to the present day.”

—Anne Carson, “The Gender of Sound”

This course is about literary representations of women who are “out of control”—women cast as melodramatic, hysterical, perverse, polluted, violent, and excessive. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 21018


20C: Episodes in Literary Cultures

Mystical Divine Experience in Literature

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 223 Dwinelle Instructor: Niklaus Largier

The notion of ‘mystical’ experience of the Divine, of Nature, or of Beauty plays an important role in the history of many cultures. In this course we will discuss the basic ideas of mystical theology from the so-called Western traditions. We will read and discuss key texts, analyze the ways in which they talk about about the Divine and about the possibilities to “see” or “experience” it. Based on this, we will look into traditions of art and literature where these notions of “seeing” or “experiencing” the Divine are reflected. Questions will focus on the ways how these experiences are narrated, constructed and framed, and how this plays a role in the aesthetic experience of the self from medieval art to modern abstract painting and music. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30818

41D: Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Drama

Women Artists and Collective Art Labor: Producing/Performing Diversity

Tu/Th 0330-05:00 245 Hearst Gym Instructor: Katherine Mezur

Women Artists and Collective Art Labor: Producing/Performing Diversity
This course focuses on the collective and collaborative practices of production/performance and how women artists propel these dynamic and cooperative aesthetics of art labor. Through observation (stage load-in, tech rehearsals, performances, interviews), participation (workshops, postshow roundtables), and critical thinking and writing, students will examine the roles and methods of women artists in this arena of collective art labor by carefully considering the minor, shadowed, and subtle acts of collective creativity and their powerful meaning-making agency.

Course Catalog Number: 32704

60AC: Topics in the Literatures of American Cultures

Sounding American: Literature, Music, Technology, and Race

MWF 10-11 106 Stanley Instructor: Tom McEnaney

What is meant when we say someone or something “sounds American”? Can a person sound like a certain gender, social class, sexuality, or race? How would we possibly define that sound? And what might it mean to think of a culture by the ways it sounds and listens, instead of how it looks or sees? This course will explore these questions and others by studying podcasts, poems, songs, novels, and the changing forms of sonic technologies like microphones, radios, mp3s, turntables, and more. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 24308

100.001: Introduction to Comparative Literature

American Poetry's Ethical-Political Dilemmas Since 1950: Some Comparatist Perspectives

Tu/Th 02:00-03:30 205 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Kaufman

This seminar serves as an introduction to upper-division coursework in Comparative Literature, and it takes up an important question as a way to begin exploring what comparative literary study is.  How do American poets, from about 1950 to the present, attempt formally and thematically to engage ethics and politics? While there would be many perspectives from which to embark on this inquiry, we’ll focus on the ways that later-modernist and contemporary American poetry (mostly U.S., but with some attention to Latin American, Caribbean, and Canadian texts) have frequently sought to broach ethics and politics through a very specific dialogue: a dialogue with post-World War II German poetry and poetics. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 24126

112A: Modern Greek Language

MWF 12-1 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

This is a course in beginning Modern Greek, involving speaking, reading and writing.

Modern Greek is unique among languages in that it is the only modern language directly descended from Ancient Greek. In this course, the student studies reading, writing, pronunciation and use of contemporary spoken idiom, all within the historical and cultural context of the language. By the end of the course, the student should have a grammatical and linguistic foundation in Greek as it is spoken today.  In this course, there is also an emphasis and practice of oral language skills.

(No Prerequisite)

Course Catalog Number: 21010

155.001: The Modern Period

The European Avant-garde: from Futurism to Surrealism

Tu/Th 12:30-2 259 Dwinelle Instructor: Harsha Ram

Also listed as Slavic 131:1

The literary and artistic avant-garde of the early twentieth century was the most radical expression of European modernism in literature and art. We will be focusing on the four most forceful and creative of the literary movements to have swept through Europe between the 1910’s and the 1930’s: Italian and Russian futurism, dada in Zurich and Paris, Soviet constructivism, and French surrealism. We will be reading (and sometimes performing!) avant-garde poetry, literary manifestoes, short performance texts, experimental fiction and memoirs. We will also be paying some attention to parallel developments in the visual arts and cinema. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30866

190: Senior Seminar

Postwar Literature and Film: Inheriting Cultural Disaster

Tu/Th 9:30-11 283 Dwinelle Instructor: Miryam Sas

What does it mean to be born into the legacy of a cultural disaster that one did not experience oneself, but came to know only through the lives of others? How do major historical upheavals impact the generations that follow? What is a “second generation” survivor?  This course will focus on theories of violence, ethics, and memorial practices, with particular emphasis on World War II in Europe and Japan but with reflections on events from other regions and from more recent times. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 21000


202B: Approaches to Genre: Lyric Poetry

Poetry and the Fate of the Senses

Th 2-5 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Anne-Lise Francois

This comparative seminar in lyric poetry borrows its title from Susan Stewart’s Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (University of Chicago Press, 2002), to ask about the relation between poetry and sensory deprivation (and/or plenitude) and prosthesis.  It’s been said that poetry is what is untranslatable, yet one poem often translates another, and many of us only read one another’s languages in translation. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30821

212: Studies in Medieval Literature

Carmina Burana

Tu 2-5 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Frank Bezner

The “Carmina Burana” are the most important collection of Medieval Latin (non-religious) lyrical poetry from the High Middle Ages. The carefully redacted anthology contains moral-satirical poems attacking greed, corruption and hypocrisy; erotic love poems revolving around the fraught issue of sexual desire; and a third group with poems (apparently) written by a rebellious group of poets, the “Vagantes” who adopt the personae of hypocrites, false beggars, and outlaws.  » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30820

215: Studies in Renaissance Literature

Literature and Letters in the Renaissance

M 3-6 4125A Dwinelle Instructor: Victoria Kahn

Did the Renaissance have a conception of “literature”?  In this seminar we will study the genesis of modern secular literary culture during the fifteenth,  sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Our focus will be on the changing relationship between imaginative or “fictional” writing and the discourses that border the “literary” and help shape its emerging position center of the public sphere. Beginning with debates about the status of “poetry” at the end of the Middle Ages, » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30865

C 221: Aesthetics as Critique

Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory (Combined with Rhetoric 221 and Critical Theory 205)

W 2-5 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Kaufman

This seminar (which is cross-listed as Rhetoric 221 and Critical Theory 205) is not an introduction to Theodor W. Adorno’s work; rather, it will involve sustained reading and discussion of Adorno’s last major text, which he was still finishing at the time of his 1969 death: Aesthetic Theory (1970). » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30819

240/Law 214.4: Studies in the Relations between Literature and the Other Arts

Poetic Justice: Dostoevsky, Nabokov and Literature in the Shadow of the Law

TU 3:30-6 107 Boalt Hall Instructor: Eric Naiman

In this seminar, offered jointly under the auspices of the Law School and Comparative Literature, we will examine some of the conceptual and thematic places where literature and law cross over into each other’s domain. The focus will be on novel reading – Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, Pnin and perhaps Lolita – and on texts where crime, judgment and punishment assume particular procedural, narrative, moral or metafictive importance. We will pay particular attention to the themes of transgression, healing and vengeance and how they play out in legal and metafictive contexts. We will discuss cases where ethics and aesthetics pull in opposite directions – where bad or even good writing can be a crime. Dostoevsky’s legal commentaries – the Kornilova and Kairova cases – will also be addressed. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 30823

375: Methods of Teaching Literature and English Composition

W 12-2 4125A Dwinelle Instructor: Karina Palau

This seminar offers practical support for Graduate Student Instructors beginning to design and teach Reading and Composition (R&C) courses on the UC Berkeley campus. Together and in dialogue with other instructors, we will explore a spectrum of theories and practices related to teaching literature and college composition, » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 21017