Courses

LIT 1510. Independent Study. 1-5 Unit.

LIT 2510. Independent Study. 1-5 Unit.

LIT 3040. Transforming Literature Into Film: Women Novelists and the Male Cinematic Gaze. 3-4 Unit.

This course offers an exploration of novels written by women and investigates how they translate into films directed by men. Viewing the films and reading the novels on which they are based, students examine the content, ideas, and meaning of each work of literature and how the film version embellishes or diminishes this meaning.

LIT 3100. Modern European Fiction. 3-4 Unit.

The early twentieth century marks a time of crisis in Western culture. It was the advent of an era that historian Eric Hobsbawm has labeled the age of extremes. World war laid waste to the empires and social order of the past along with previously unshakeable faith in reason and progress. And it was a time when fixed notions of the self and its place in the world, notions of reality itself, and long-established forms of art collapsed in a radical break with tradition that gave way to an utterly new form language in all of the arts. This course focuses on modernist innovations in the art of fiction by examining four pioneering texts - all of which can be read and reread without exhausting their depths - as seen in this rich and tumultuous historical context: Death in Venice (1911) by Thomas Mann, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914) by James Joyce, Swann's Way (1913) by Marcel Proust, and To the Lighthouse (1927) by Virginia Woolf.

LIT 3130. Literary Communities of Los Angeles. 4 Units.

In this class, students will dive into the literary world of Los Angeles, exploring literary and cultural centers throughout the city, reading classic and contemporary L.A. poets and writers, and engaging with the L.A. literary community in person and through their own writing. As an experiential class, students will be introduced to literary centers and events throughout west and east L.A., write reviews, engage in classroom discussions, and read a creative piece in a public reading at Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center. In doing so, students will explore the relationship between community and creative work in Los Angeles while considering the validity of commonly held conceptions of the city as an alienated, sprawling, and superficial metropolis. This is a 4 unit class. The extra unit will be comprised of the individual visits to literary sites of the student's own choice, reviews written in response to these visits, online postings of these reviews and responding to other student's reviews on Sakai, and the reading, preparation and reflection required before site visits. See assignments for more information.

LIT 3160. Charles Dickens. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 3210. Critical Perspectives on Literature. 3-4 Unit.

This course familiarizes students with traditional and contemporary critical approaches to reading and writing about literature, including the historical-biographical and moral-philosophical, Freudian and Jungian, feminist, sociological, genre, and cultural approaches. Students use literary terminolgy to analyze, discuss, and write about poetry, plays, short stories, and novels.

LIT 3210A. Literary Theory and Critique. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 3220. Themes in African-American Literature. 3-4 Unit.

In this course students critically examine various styles and genres found in contemporary African-American literature within an historical, social-political and cultural context. Specific course topics include the historical influences of the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and artistic freedom and the African-American literary tradition.

LIT 3260. Contemporary Literature From The Global Community. 3 Units.

This course explores various dimensions of the works of two critically acclaimed literary icons of Middle Eastern fiction - the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz and Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk - both recipients of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1988 and 2006 respectively. Each has explored the historical, colonial, and post-colonial dimensions of his culture. Mahfouz delves into pre-Islamic stories that rest within the Egyptian psyche today as well as into the existential tales rooted in the soil of the 1960's. Pamuk's fiction is exemplary of the major inner conflicts of religion, love, identity, and politics in his native country Turkey with a focus on Islamic extremism and secularism. We will explore these two authors' writings in several ways - first by exploring the historical context in which their works are situated while also examining the literary forerunners that inspired their writing. We will also look at social themes that emerge in the works, while also developing our cultural understanding of Egypt, Turkey, and Islam. The goal in this class will be to make a comparative analysis of themes in our society and the Middle East, which will encourage the reading of global literature as a tool for understanding diverse cultures. Through fiction and memoir we will live with these two authors in their respective traditions and travel from what was once the cradle of civilization to the borders of Europe and the Middle East.

LIT 3360. Lyric and Narrative, History and Imagination in Contemporary Literature. 3-4 Unit.

This course explores the way many contemporary writers have begun to combine, juxtapose, or weave, historical events, memoir, personal experience, various kinds and degrees of poetic language (lyric), and imaginative turns, into new, inviting, sometimes puzzling genres of literature. Students observe how poems combine lyric and narrative (i.e. telling a story) to varying degrees, and then move to the use of lyric, poetic language and stylistics by novel writers in their works of fiction. The course also tackles metafiction, the historiographic novel, and the uses of history, to see how and why writers have developed this relatively new form.

LIT 3370. Harlem Renaissance in the Jazz Age: 1920-1938. 3-4 Unit.

This course critically examines the Harlem Renaissance as a by-product of the first Great Migration of African Americans from the south to the north at the turn of the century. The Harlem Renaissance, like the Great Migration, came to symbolize a people reborn as they moved from plantation to urban settings. This course focuses on artists, social activists, intellectuals and political operatives of the Harlem Renaissance that include such luminaries as W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neal Hurston, Duke Ellington, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Billie Holiday, and Alain Locke. This course introduces students to the history of the United States from the age of exploration to the end of the Civil War. The course explores several questions: What is American history? From whose vantage point is it typically told? What does it mean to write a people's history? Can history be radical? Although much of history consists of names, dates, places, and people we were once told to memorize by our elementary- and high-school teachers, this course focuses instead on how we make sense of that past and why history is written in the way that is. Among the major themes this course addresses is the question of America and American as identities, places, ideologies and social positions. Though we use these terms often what exactly do we mean by them? What does it mean, for example, to call oneself an American? How does that concept change according to positions of class, race, gender, or sexuality? Can someone from Bolivia call herself an American? Does it mean the same thing to North Americans? If someone tells you while you are travelling abroad that he or she appreciates American culture, is he or she referring to a Jackson Pollack painting, Yosemite National Park, Donald Trump, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or a hamburger? In this course we will grapple with some of these issues. We will draw upon our own personal experiences to each come up with our own unique definition of American culture. For some this may be as simple as identifying with the neighborhood one grew up in. For others, however, the idea of being American or of American culture may not be bounded by space or time.

LIT 3390. Queer Literature-A Brief Survey Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Memoir and Film. 3-4 Unit.

This is a multi-genre literature course focusing on work by queer writers from Radclyff Hall to Tony Kushner. How does being in the life inform the works of these authors? Are there consistent themes, concerns, symbols, metaphors inherent in gay and lesbian work? What impact does homophobia have, and how has the literature changed over the 20th century? Is there a marked difference between literature pre-Stonewall, and post-Stonewall? Students examine the role of humor in gay and lesbian writing, as well as issues such as AIDS, class, race, trans-gendered identity, bisexuality.

LIT 3420. History of the American Novel. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 3430. Contemporary American Theater. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 3500. Prior Learning: Literature. 0 Units.

LIT 3510. Independent Study. 1-5 Unit.

Our sense of cultural identity is in flux and under construction, subject to the play of history and difference. Through documentaries, videos and readings of American Indian myths, stories from the Latin American Boom, and vernacular African- American tales, students uncover layered histories of American destinies and their possible role in defining a more inclusive sense of American culture. Students analyze how stories and counter-stories teach and delight; how gender is constructed through cautionary or celebratory tales and how diverse spiritual and erotic values are encoded. Students locate, in stories, the struggle against inhuman violence motivated by greed and fear. Students explore the American Indian presence in Los Angeles, in a powwow, museum visit and guest interview.

LIT 3530. Internship. 1-5 Unit.

LIT 3550. Trauma Memoir. 3-4 Unit.

In this course, students read contemporary memoirs (and portions of memoirs) that capture early childhood experience, particularly childhood trauma, often at the hands of family and society. Each work depicts a self defined in the context of trauma, and fortified by the turning of a traumatic experience into literature. The course also includes readings in literary criticism and psychological theory that illuminate the workings of memoir, and illustrate how memoirs may serve both artistic and psychological missions. The course considers how these missions correspond, and conflict, and how various works reconcile them. Students have the option to explore their own memories, and write their own pieces of memoir.

LIT 3630.LA. Visions of Human Purpose in Literature: Love, Power and Resistance. 3-4 Unit.

Using the novel as our catalyst students critically consider the question of a purposeful life. The novel's unique relation to modernity offers an opportunity to investigate provocative examples of the individual's relation to structures of power, the possibilities of resistance, and the potential for love.

LIT 3640. Varieties of Short Fiction. 3-4 Unit.

The aim of this course is for students to analyze a variety of classical and contemporary short fiction. The course engages all the elements that give a fiction a chance at success - obsession, seduction, evoking of the senses, the removal of filters, scene and summary, theatre of the mind, et cetera. This course examines the elements of fiction - plot, character, setting, point of view, theme, effective dialogue, meaningful description and telling detail, narrative voice, pacing, symbol, etc. - in an effort to determine the part each element plays in creating the overall effect of the short story. Students learn to recognize and use the terminology of fiction and, by reading, discussing, and analyzing several dozen stories by a diverse selection of writers, achieve a thorough understanding of the process and value of writing short fiction, as well as develop skills with which to analyze the form.

LIT 3650. Writing As Resistance. 3-4 Unit.

This course considers writing as a radical, subversive act of culutural resistance against authority and oppression in its innumerable forms of guises. Through reading, lecture, dialogue and creative writing investigations, students become familiar with both literary and conceptual models of resistance offered by a diverse selection of writers and thinkers, including Kathy Acker, Reinaldo Arenas, Helene Cixous and Nawal El Saadawi. Particular attention is given to the connection between radical politics and radical aesthetics, the literature of sexual and social transgression, and not just the writer's text, but the writer's body as the tool of rebellion. Using Gloria Anzaldua's concept of auto-teoria-historia, students reflect on their own lives to create their own models and stories of resistance.

LIT 3650A. Writing & Social Resistance. 3 Units.

LIT 3690. Reading the Novel. 3-4 Unit.

This course provides students with an introduction to the novel as a literary form, through reading, discussing and writing about several modern/postmodern novels. Topics may include: what distinguishes the novel as a distinct literary form, the history of the novel, particular historic or stylistic movements in the novel, comparative studies of the novel, the development of the novel, experimental forms of the novel, realism vs. non-realism in the novel, narrative strategies employed within the novel, etc.

LIT 3710. From Book to Screen: Strategies for Moving from Written to Visual Texts. 3-4 Unit.

This course examines the ways in which short stories, novels, novellas, and autobiography are adapted into films, with special attention to the treatment of the various elements of theme, characters, plot, and setting. Diversity will be built into the class with analysis of gender, class, and race/ethnicity in literature and films as well as looking at such diverse film genres as horror, detective, and Western.

LIT 3720. Journeys in Creative Nonfiction. 3-4 Unit.

This course focuses on exploring the genre of creative non-fiction and examining many of its forms including literary reportage, memoir, biography, travel writing, magazine writing, and the essay. Students read short and longer works by varied authors including Truman Capote (his classic, In Cold Blood, is considered to be a pioneering work of creative non-fiction), Joan Didion, David Sedaris, James Ellroy, Greil Marcus, Norman Mailer, and Art Spiegelman. The class explores patterns and trends in the development of the form as a literary genre, and the vanishing distinction between fiction and non-fiction. The class also examines how the elements of fiction - narrative, character development, scene setting, dialogue, poetic language, point of view, structure, etc. - are utilized in creative nonfiction.

LIT 3760. Representations of Adolecence in Literature. 3-4 Unit.

This class will engage students in a focused study of literary representations of adolescence. Though we may think of adolescence as a set developmental phase, delineating it is also a relatively modern luxury. Members of past generations and people of less privileged societies often go directly from childhood into the responsibilities of adult life. Adolescence, as we know it, is a socially constructed idea. Notions of its purpose and meaning shift with the times. Through reading, lecture, discussion, and close analysis of four novels (and some poems), we will reflect on how adult writers strive to capture the challenges, conflicts, and unique experiences of American adolescents. We will also consider how these works reflect ideas about adolescence as a social construction. In the four major works considered, we?ll look at American adolescence from the post-war period through the 1970s and 1980s up to the present.

LIT 3790. European Poetry & Translation. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 3820. Politics in Literature: The Artist As Activist. 3 Units.

This course explores literary styles of authors who have explicit political points of view. Activism as an implicit or explicit theme in the works of Gloria Anzuldua, Adrienne Rich, J.M. Coetzee and Bharati, Mukherjee is explored.

LIT 3830. Psychology of Women Through Literature and Film. 3-4 Unit.

This course explores, through literature and film, a variety of the emotional and psychological experiences of women. Insights from works on the psychology of women by Jean Baker Miller and Phylis Chesler are brought to discussion of short novels, short stories, and films. Through literature and films students examine the relationship between patriarchal culture and differing psychological definitions of women and men's emotional life.

LIT 3850. Explorations in Literature: Reading Poetry. 3-4 Unit.

This course is an examination of reading poetry, with emphasis on how poets use the imagination to renovate the world, lessen its violence, and make it habitable. Students explore the evolving roles of poetry and the poet in the United States. Discussions focus on the transformative power of poetry as students consider poems about war, urban violence, madness, race and ethnicity, gender, the AIDS epidemic, the body, and the soul.

LIT 3850A. Reading Poetry: the American Experience From the Puritans to the Present. 3-4 Unit.

How did Robert Frost model even some of his simplest poems after Greek and Roman Poetry? Why did William Carlos Williams think that literally and figuratively, so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow? What makes The Red Wheelbarrow a poem in the first place? Why are some twentieth century and contemporary poems so hard to understand? This course offers an historical overview of American poetry and poets from the Puritans, Anne Bradstreet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson through the moderns, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Wallace Stevens; the late moderns, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, and Sylvia Plath, in addition to the rich mixture of genres and voices that make up the last forty years or so of our history. Students will also learn interpretative strategies, vocabulary, terminology and history to equip them for making sense of American poetry. The course also traces the thematic cross currents that typically run through American poetry: the world of work; Mysticism, Neo-Paganism, Buddhism and Christianity; Gay and Lesbian voices; immigration and cultural identity, feminist concerns; the uses of art, philosophy and theory; how American poets have responded to war, etc.

LIT 3900K. Transforming the Everyday: a Poetry Workshop. 1 Unit.

Using exercises and examples to stimulate the imagination, this workshop focuses on writing. Students explore how we transform the ordinary elements of what's around us (i.e., our own thoughts and feelings, the external world) into linguistically alive and exciting to read poetry. The day is divided into three sections: reading and discussing examples of contemporary poetry, writing and work-shopping what we've written.

LIT 3900L. Blackness & Identity in Nonfiction. 1 Unit.

This workshop explores how race, specifically negative concepts of blackness engrained in American history and culture, has shaped the work of nonfiction writers who struggle with the fundamental concept of self and establishing the validity of their own stories and experience. Through film, readings, discussion and writing exercises, students will analyze how racial oppression-slavery, Jim Crow,etc.-was at its core a negation of a valid black self and authoritative black voice. Students will also examine the fluidity between social and individual black reality, and how this fluidity has been consistently reflected and addressed in works from Frederick Douglass to Maya Angelou to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

LIT 3900P. An Introduction to Homer and the Iliad. 1 Unit.

The Iliad is one of the most important works of Western Literature. Although this epic poem is timeless, sometimes people find Homer tough going - a remote, distant culture; characters that are hard to penetrate, whose motives and values are very different from our own; a language and writing style that is not always inviting. Students briefly examine Homer's impact on Western art and literature. The course also explores some of the ongoing academic questions regarding Homer: Was there an historical Homer or one writer of the epics? How do the metaphors work? What is the narrative and dramatic structure? No grade equivalents allowed.

LIT 3900R. Fiction of Memory: Memoirs, Novels, and The Writing Life. 1-2 Unit.

This workshop examines the blurry distinction between memoir and fiction. As memoirs have become a deeply popular form of reading culture, the popularity of the novel continues to wane; however, do the two really do differ so very deeply? Many readers seem invested in the honesty of the memoirist, and conversely, the ability of the fiction writer to make it all up. What is the ethical responsibility of the memoirist? By the same token, how much of what we consider to be fiction is actually fiction - in other words, not true? Working to understand the fine distinctions between fiction and non-fiction, students hone analytical and interpretive skills. Texts include Lauren Slater's book, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, in which she set out to write a fictionalized memoir and examples of romans a clef - novels purported to be thoroughly autobiographical. Students learn about the tradition of memoir, attempting to determine what is at stake in the debate over fact versus fiction. In addition, students workshop their own personal essays, whether true-to-life or true-to-imagination. No grade equivalents allowed.

LIT 3900T. A Million Little Lies: Dishonesty & Deception in Creative Nonfiction. 1 Unit.

LIT 3900U. Women Poets & Erotica. 1 Unit.

LIT 4010. Representations of Children in Literature - Through a Child's Eyes. 3-4 Unit.

Through review and analysis of poetry, memoir, and fiction written from a child's point of view, students reflect on the experiences of children, social and environmental justice issues related to children, and some aspects of psychological and social child development from the pre-verbal stage through adolescence. Selected literature illustrates how children perceive the world at different ages, how they make meaning from life experiences, and how they relate to themselves and others in different situations and cultures.

LIT 4020. European Crisis in the Novels of Thomas Mann. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 4030. Franz Kafka & the Kafkaesque. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 4040. Writing About Trauma Literary Art From Adversity. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 4370. Special Topics in Contemporary Literature. 3-4 Unit.

LIT 4510. Independent Study. 1-5 Unit.

LIT X2000. Literature / Humanities Domain. 1-9 Unit.

General Education Transfer Credit Equivalency: Do not make any sections from this course.

LIT X2002. Lit & CRW / Humanities Dom. 1-9 Unit.

General Education Transfer Credit Equivalency: Do not make any sections from this course.

LIT X2003. Lit & Child Stu / Humanities Dom. 1-9 Unit.

General Education Transfer Credit Equivalency: Do not make any sections from this course.

LIT X4000. Literature / Humanities Domain. 1-9 Unit.

General Education Transfer Credit Equivalency: Do not make any sections from this course.

LIT X4002. Lit & CRW / Humanities Dom. 1-9 Unit.

General Education Transfer Credit Equivalency: Do not make any sections from this course.

LIT X4003. Lit & Child Stu / Humanities Dom. 1-9 Unit.

General Education Transfer Credit Equivalency: Do not make any sections from this course.