Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1B.001: Questions of Character

Tu/W/Th/10:00-12:30 104 Dwinelle Instructor: Laura Wagner

Fiction is full of characters who exert a pull on their readers: those in whom we see versions of ourselves, those for whom we sense an immediate bond of friendship or feel an intense enmity, those we hate to love or love to hate, and those who remain forever inscrutable no matter how hard we try to get inside their thoughts and feelings. While one of our first instincts as readers may be to respond to such characters in terms of attraction and aversion, as friend or as foe, we’re also told repeatedly that one of the cardinal sins of serious literary engagement is to “identify” with the figures who populate the worlds we read about, who are, after all, mere words on the page. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 20102

R1B.002: Bestiary: A Menagerie of Literary Animals

TU/W/TH 10-12:30 211 Dwinelle Instructor: Bristin Jones

What would you do if you fell madly and deeply in love with an iguana? How about if you started vomiting bunnies? How would you react if you turned into an axolotl after staring at it too much at the zoo? And if everyone around you started turning into rhinoceroses, would you yearn to do the same? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 20104


N 60AC: American Horror Stories

TU/W/TH 3-5:30 109 Dwinelle Instructor: Jordan Greenwald

This course will trace the legacy of an American genre, the horror story, from the nineteenth century to the present.

We begin with famous writers of the American Renaissance (Hawthorne, Irving, Poe) and inquire about why the horrors of Dark Romanticism are at the very roots of American literary culture. What is it about the cultural and physical landscape of nineteenth-century United States that makes it so fertile for the writing of horror? In what ways are the horrors of nineteenth-century American history (slavery, settler colonialism, empire) registered and represented in Gothic and supernatural stories, and in what ways do they remain merely “specters”? What can the horror story of the nineteenth century teach us about racial dynamics then and in the present? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 20106

N 60AC: The American Myth of Los Angeles

Tu/W/Th 01:00-03:30 101 Wurster Instructor: Marianne Kaletzky

If Los Angeles, at the center of the culture industry, is charged with representing America to the world, it is also obsessed with representing itself. According to its own mythology, there is no better place than L.A. to realize the quintessentially American dream of leaving the past behind and making one’s own destiny. And if L.A. considers itself the ideal setting for American self-fashioning, it also bills itself as the product of such a process: a city of big dreams and endless possibilities, built against the blank canvas of the desert. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 20108

N 60AC: American Mythologies: Superheroes, Anti-Heroes, and Ordinary Folk

TU/W/TH 10-12:30 223 Dwinelle Instructor: Keith Budner

Who are America’s heroes? Are they caped crusaders and cowboys, or are they of a more ordinary sort – oddball schoolmasters like Ichabod Crane and country lawyers like Atticus Finch? In this class, we’ll explore the question of American (both Northern and Southern) heroism by asking whether, how, and why America looked (or perhaps needed?) to create heroes that were different from the chivalric knights and epic warriors – including the Vikings that reached America – of the Old World(s). » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 20110