LTEN 022 - INTRODUCTION TO THE LITERATURE OF THE BRITISH ISLES: 1660–1832
Instructor: Kathryn Shevelow
This survey course covers approximately 170 years of literature written in the British Isles from the Restoration period that began in 1660 through the Romantic period in the early 19th century. This was a time of profound and exciting change on all levels: political, economic, social, and aesthetic. Changes included the increasing power of Parliament; the growth of industrialization and imperial expansion; the growing power of the middle classes; changes in thinking about gender; revolution (the American, the French, and the Haitian); radicalism and political backlash; the growth of evangelicalism; and the rise of reform movements such as abolition, Catholic emancipation, women’s rights, and animal protection. For the literary world, this was a time of the growth of the publishing industry; battles between "high" and "low" culture; the development of a new genre that came to be called the novel; the emergence of professional women writers, the influence of classical traditions, and the rise of Romanticism. This course will examine representative literary texts in the context of these and other historical developments. Our primary course textbooks will be The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, Volumes C and D. We will also be reading one novel, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, using the Norton critical edition. Books for this class may be purchased at the University Bookstore.
LTEN 026 - INTRODUCTION TO THE LITERATURE OF THE UNITED STATES, 1865 TO THE PRESENT
This course is designed as a survey of American Literature since the Civil War. Our theme is "Modernism and National Identity" and concerns the role of literature in defining and challenging U.S. national culture in the modern period. We will pay particular attention to the tension between modernism, as a self-conscious aesthetic tendency, and social modernity, as an ideology of progress defined by the rise of industrialization, urbanization, technology, migration, nativism and reform. It may be that these very features of modernity have made the idea of a unified national identity untenable, challenging many of the foundational terms ("exceptionalism," "American Adam," "the frontier") by which earlier periods of U.S. literature and culture were defined. Our increasing economic and political globalization, expanding cultural diversity, and diminishing natural resources are salient features of the contemporary period, but their origins, as we will see, emerge in the period that this course will study. Hence one of the primary themes that we will cover will be the role of literature in developing imagined communities, both national and local, to provide the illusion of unity and consensus during a period of increasing alienation and diffusion.
LTEN 028 - INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE
This introductory course focuses on the study of literature by Asian immigrants and Asian Americans as expressions of histories across geographies of groups immigrating from origins ranging from China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, to South and Southeast Asia. Novels, short fictions, and films would be considered as forms of knowledge production that mediate our critical engagement with questions of war, immigration, colonialism, and U.S. modernity. We will examine how the genre of “immigrant narrative” revises, complicates, and disrupts the dominant narratives of “internment,” “exile,” “model minority,” “diaspora,” or “refugee.” The scope of our investigation encompasses the period between the late 19th century to post-1965 immigrations, displacements by U.S. wars in Asia, the loss of “culture” and invention of “tradition,” the racialized spaces of ethnic enclaves and suburbia, and gender roles and relations in immigrant communities. In this class, we will employ transnational approaches to analyzing the transnational connections of Asian/American literature, cultures, and histories.
LTEN 087 - FRESHMAN SEMINAR
This is a fun--if challenging--course aimed to get you from thinking about performing comedy to actually doing it. You'll study and discuss the comics you love and explore why you love them, then work on your own material. By the end of the quarter you’ll 1) have created a "chunk" of material that amounts to three minutes of performance time and 2) performed it in a lineup that includes your classmates.
► Visit the Freshman Seminar Program website for seminar description and meeting dates.
LTEN 120 - TOPICS: THE 18TH CENTURY
Eighteenth-century British authors and readers were captivated by crime. Both feared and celebrated, criminal figures populate the major genres of eighteenth-century writing, from drama to poetry to the new and enormously popular form of the novel. At the same time, the eighteenth century saw major changes in legal responses to crime, most notably the emergence of the penitentiary and the modern police force. This course investigates how eighteenth-century authors imagine, debate, condemn, or defend the "criminal." From Defoe's Moll Flanders to Gay's The Beggar's Opera (and its lesser-known sequel, Polly, which connects London's criminal underworld to piracy in the Caribbean); from Henry Fielding's intertwined careers in literature and law enforcement to Mary Robinson's radical critiques of the law, we will examine how literary texts staged debates about the meanings of crime and justice. We will read key eighteenth-century laws and legal theorists alongside literary texts, as we track how literary texts borrow ideas and methods from the law, while legal texts draw on literary techniques, forms, and genres. Throughout the course, we will pay close attention to the role of literary form and genre in shaping the historical construction of crime, punishment, and justice.
LTEN 124 - THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: THEMES AND ISSUES
Imagine leaping backwards 150 years to an unfamiliar culture to listen in on their disputes, which might have tackled questions such as: how do we reconcile our religious and philosophical values of individual freedom and responsibility with our enslavement of thousands around the world? Are our beliefs about white, English superiority grounded in reality or on the need to solve the dilemma of our professed belief in universal human dignity and our practice of human degradation? What’s happening to our women? Are they the domestic preservers of our morality and peace, or are they insatiably sexual beings whose moral corruption leads them to prostitution? What’s all this flap about education when women aren’t voters or professionals? Is Industrialism revealing the weakest members of humanity who should be allowed to die in order for the race to progress? Is work the highest expression of our beings, and does art have a role in a world so troubled by poverty and war and disease? This course will raise and attempt to answer many such questions by examining what the Victorians themselves wrote about them. In grappling with these issues, we will also study some linguistic and psychological aspects of their poetry and autobiography, the social implications of their essays, and the aesthetic principles of their fiction. I will provide historical, economic, and literary context to introduce these arenas of Victorian debate, and students will be asked to write one final essay, demonstrate weekly that they are keeping up with the reading, actively participate in discussion, and take a final exam.
► Flyer (PDF)
LTEN 127 - VICTORIAN POETRY
Most readers have probably heard of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Emily Bronte, but they might not know that these poets were surrounded by many others whose names we’re less likely to know, from religious to working-class to Jewish to lesbian poets such as Alice Meynell, Ellen Johnston, Amy Levy, and the couple who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Field. This course will cover a sampling of poems by a handful of Victorian women poets (and a verse novel by Elizabeth Barrett Browning) as it seeks to acquaint students with some of the different registers in which women wrote poetry in the Victorian period. What did these writers think about their vocations as poets? Their roles as women and intellectuals? Their relationships to lovers and daughters and gods? How did they exploit poetic forms and traditions to do new things, and why? Grades will be based on active participation in discussion, weekly evidence of keeping up with the readings, and a final essay. Books will be available at the UCSD Bookstore.
LTEN 149 - THEMES IN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE
This course traces how British literary texts define, envision, champion and critique empire across a period of enormous change. The span of the course begins with England as a marginal European state and ends with Britain as a major imperial world power. Across key historical events such as the establishment of the British East India Company, the rise of the Atlantic slave trade, and the beginnings of industrial capitalism, literature played a key role in imagining Britain's changing role in the world. Through readings of authors including Shakespeare, Spenser, Jonson, Behn, Dryden, and Pope, we will track continuity and change in the cultural meaning of "empire" across time. In addition, we will learn the basic vocabulary of postcolonial literary study and ask how postcolonial method approaches the literary archive of empire. This course fulfills the "a" requirement.
LTEN 153 - THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR AND THE EARLY NATIONAL PERIOD IN U.S. LITERATURE
According to historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." In this course, we will focus on some ill-behaved women in early American literary history. We will consider how these women contravene our usual stereotypes about colonial dames, good wives, and Republican mothers. We will discuss the social, legal, and racial constraints that positioned them as dissenters, and the consequences (real and imagined) of their perceived misbehavior. As the course concludes, we will also examine how history writers (both writers of conventional histories, and writers of literary historical fictions) in the early nineteenth century represented the lives and acts of these foremothers. Our readings will include the conventionally literary (novels, plays, poems, and letters) as well as histories, political tracts, public confessions, and legal documents written by and about women of the period.
Discussion topics may include heretics (Ann Hutchinson, the Salem witches), coquettes and other sexual renegades (women who committed infanticide, cross-dressed women sailors, and prostitutes), and women who were more conventionally associated with Revolutionary ideas (Abigail Adams, Judith Sargent Murray). This course fulfills the C requirement for literature majors.
LTEN 159 - CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LITERATURE
This course will provide a survey of American films made between 1945 and 1955 under the rubric "film noir." Film Noir’s expressive cinematography, much of it based on German Expressionism, and its themes of alienation, sexual violence, paranoia, and racial tension provided a major sub genre of American film, one that has been repeated in many films since the mid-1950s. We will study these films in relation to contemporary historical events involving the effects of World War II, Cold War global tensions, racial conflict, youth culture, and gender trouble. In addition to looking at classic films noirs (Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, Kiss Me Deadly), we will also conclude the course by looking at several neo-noir films made in the more recent period, including Chinatown, Chan is Missing, and Mulholland Drive.
LTEN 188 - CONTEMPORARY CARIBBEAN LITERATURE
Physically, the Caribbean is a region consisting mainly of several stings of islands and waterways. These constitute numerous nations speaking at least four languages and their related dialects. Since the history of diverse peoples of the Caribbean is as fragmented as the islands themselves, cultural production and representations are used to create identities and fill gaps in written and oral histories. Among the experiences and identities considered and constructed are those rooted in race, class, gender, sexual identification and ethnicity. Caribbean writers transform these sources and experiences into literary and cultural works that, seen in an overview and in relation to one another, comprise an often-shifting mosaic of the region’s recent and past history. Working with texts from the English-speaking, or anglophone, Caribbean, we will examine several literary genres--novels, poetry and short stories--as well as forms of contemporary music such as calypso, steel drum, mento, ska and reggae in order to understand the ways in which these artists create and recreate their world. Course evaluation will come from class participation, two 7-page papers and a final exam.
► LTEN 188 will fulfill Literature/World major’s non-European/non-U.S. requirement.