Reading & Composition

The postwar psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott said: “Home is where we start from.” If home is where we start from, where are we going? Somewhere else? Somewhere better? What constitutes a home anyway? Is home a feeling? A place? A mother? A memory? And if we are leaving home, who stays home? And what do we carry with us from home as we go out into the world? Working comparatively across a range of media and texts from different genres, time periods, and national traditions, this course explores this question of home and why there is no place like it.

Reading & Composition

A plague-ridden Thebes, an Indian reservation, a Rio slum, a U.S.-Mexico border town, the LA hood, a California women’s prison. These are the settings for our examination of characters who run up against obstacles—from within themselves, their families and tribes, the economic and legal systems they live in—that lead them to make criminal choices. These choices, and the risks they provoke, taint the characters even as they dare us to care for them. How do fiction writers, dramatists, journalists and filmmakers get us to invest our feelings in morally compromised characters?

Forms of the Cinema

Since at least the Second World War, Hollywood cinema—with its recognizable stars and formulaic plot lines—has dominated the global film industry. Moviegoers across six continents now arrive at theatres with expectations shaped by big-budget American studios. Yet during the same years that saw “Hollywood” increasingly become a synonym for “film,” another approach to cinema quietly extended its reach across the globe.

Reading & Composition

Reading speculative fiction has long been stereotyped as a fundamentally unserious, childish, or even irresponsible pursuit: an effort to escape existing realities instead of engaging critically with them. Yet in the age of The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale, it seems obvious that stories of distant futures, alternative histories, and faraway planets do not always appeal to readers on the basis of pure escapism: they offer

Creative Writing

This course offers an introduction to a broad range of historical and practical approaches to poetry, and gives students access to theater, dance and multimedia performances hosted by Cal Performances. By attending these events together, discussing and writing about them, we interpret poetry beyond "word-craft," in its dialogue with the other arts. Thus, as we discover, and experiment with, poetry’s elements, from “expression” to “image,” we also examine their articulation across artistic forms.

375 - Methods of Teaching Literature and English Composition

Philosophy and Literature

Enlightenment notions of reason and critique have been at the center of contemporary theoretical debate about secularization, aesthetics, and democratic politics. In this course, we will trace these debates to some of the canonical texts of the European Enlightenment, focusing on the dialectic between Enlightenment reason and its others: madness, materialism, and religious enthusiasm. In addition, we will consider the relationship between Enlightenment and cosmopolitanism, as well as Enlightenment debates about gender, colonialism, and race.

Studies in Symbolist and Modern Literatures

Why NOT put those two schools together: Frankfurt, New York?

Approaches to Comparative Literature

Introduction to literary criticism and theory with an emphasis on comparative, translingual approaches. We begin with questions of mimesis  and early definitions of “world literature,” and move on to consider critical/political thought in times of crisis, technology and virtuality, approaches to temporality, “high” theory and New Criticism, the interventions of psychoanalysis, queer theory, and postcolonial criticism, ending with  more recent works on affect theory and contemporary interventions.

Senior Seminar

From “fake news” to “semi-fictional” memoirs and the resurgence of “true crime” narratives, the stylistic presentation of facts has renewed its relevance across politics and culture in the 21st century.