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Literature Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Summer Session I 2024 (S124)

LTAM 110 - Latin American Lit/Translation
Violence in Contemporary Latin American Literature

Instructor: Yingjie Fei

During the second half of the 20th century, the Cold War era was characterized by ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union and proxy war in regions where the US and USSR exerted influence. In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, Latin America witnessed the rise of Marxist and revolutionary leftist ideologies and movements. In response to such political tendency under the influence of the “Red Scare”, the United States and Latin America’s conservative political sector carried out oppressive “national reorganization” projects targeting their leftist dissidents through means of forced disappearance, torture, etc. How did Cold War politics permeate Latin American societies? How did ideological conflicts of the Cold War evolve into political violence against civilians in Latin America? How did such violence impact some Latin American societies’ collective social memory? In this course, we will explore these questions by examining cultural representations of violence and terror in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. We will discuss novels by Ricardo Piglia, Isabel Allende, García Márquez and films and documentaries, including the dark comedy El Conde (2023) by the Chilean director Pablo Larraín in which the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is a vampire seeking death after living for 250 years.

  • LTAM 110 will count towards the Region (The Americas) concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.

LTCS 119 - Asian American Film and Media
Transpacific Cinema and Media Culture
Instructor: Wentao Ma

In this course, we embark on an exploration of the significance embedded within what is often termed “Asian American Cinemas and media”. However, our journey extends beyond mere investigation; we endeavor to redefine it amidst the currents of transpacific movement throughout history. Delving into the intricate tapestry of emotions, desires, and traumas, we scrutinize how individuals of AAPI descent have forged their unique narratives.

Through a discerning analysis of carefully selected works spanning diverse genres—from gripping action films to poignant documentaries, from heart-wrenching melodramas to thought-provoking stand-up comedy—we unravel the complexities that underlie the transpacific experience. Yet, our scope transcends the confines of AAPI narratives; we seek to uncover solidarity in media that defies conventional categorization, such as the burgeoning realm of Asian-Latin American cinemas, the tantalizing allure of culinary programs often considered as “food porn”, and the global phenomenon of K-dramas now widely accessible through streaming services. By analyzing these cultural artifacts, we strive to grasp the resilience, the endurance, and the societal resistance that characterize the Asian diaspora’s response to the pervasive forces of white supremacy, sexism, xenophobia, and internal hierarchies.

Throughout our sessions, we will collectively immerse ourselves in cinematic experiences, unraveling the nuanced messages encoded within each narrative. Our journey includes seminal works such as The Fall of the I-Hotel (1983), Forgetting Vietnam (2015), Havana Divas (2018), The Farewell (2019), Vai (2019), Pachinko (2022), Shogun (2024). With a spotlight on prominent voices including Margaret Cho, Lisa Ling, Wilfredo Lam, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Wayne Wang, we aim to illuminate the rich tapestry of perspectives within the transpacific landscape of artistry.

This course fulfills the DEI requirement

  • LTCS 119 will count towards the Media concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.
  • LTCS 119 will count towards the Region (Asia) concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.

LTCS 130 - Gender,Race/Ethn,Class&Culture
Labor of Love: Care and Kinship in Multiethnic U.S. Lit
Instructor: Joanmarie Bañez

Labor of Love: Care and Kinship in Contemporary Multiethnic U.S. Literature considers how race, gender, and sexuality impact notions of care, labor, and social justice in texts by contemporary queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Reading a number of late 20th- and early 21st-century prose, poems, and critical essays, this course will explore the ways in which writers of these communities give, receive, and experience care in relation to family, community, and home.

LTEA 120C - Hong Kong Films
Sensing Sinophone Horror: Transregional Haunting
Instructor: Ziyang Li

Sinophone horror has long been a rich mix of motifs and hybrid genres. From the hopping zombie to the vengeful spirit, the ghost bride, and Nanyang sorcery, etc., Sinophone horror blends elements of comic, action, and psychological terror. This course takes a transregional perspective to examine Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong horror motifs from the 1970s to the 2000s, with a keen focus on body, senses, and emotions. Diving into the gooey, the spooky, the murky, and the touchy-feely, this course aims to uncover the trans-Asian and transpacific entwinement of geopolitics, religions, and cultures that factor into tropes of flesh. Rather than being confined to Mainland China and Hong Kong, this course explores how cross-regional elements shape Sinophone horror, mapping a trans-geopolitical network across East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the West. 

Film topics will include Lam Ching-ying’s (Lin Zhengying) iconic hopping vampire series; the “tame head” (Southeast Asian sorcery) motif in films like Black Magic (1975), Cannibal Curse (1987), and Gong Tau (2007); the “psychic eyes” theme in The Eye (2002) and Double Vision (2002), among others. Visuals will be complemented by cultural theories and texts on body/flesh, gender and sexuality, race, affect, and area studies.

  • LTEA 120C will count towards the Media concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.
  • LTEA 120C will count towards the Region (Asia) concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.

LTEN 148 - Genres/English&American Lit
Cultural Appropriation and Ancient Myth
Instructor: Makenzie Read

This course will compare literatures between Greece and the Americas from writers of diverse backgrounds and positionalities. The course will consider literary writing and criticism that mobilizes classical reception to respond to Western legacies and ideological perspectives of race, gender, and sexuality through the works of contemporary Asian American, Indigenous, Chicana/o, Latinx, African American, and European American writers.

LTEN 159 - Contemporary American Lit (D)
Multiethnic U.S. Literature in a Time of Climate Change
Instructor: Maya Richards

Racial Ecologies, Environmental Justice, and the Climate Crisis
In this course, we'll explore how fictional works can inspire fresh perspectives on climate change and spark the imagination toward creating fairer and more resilient futures. We'll delve into the significance of literary fiction in the climate change discourse, examining its formal elements and situating texts within broader scientific, historical, and political discussions. In particular, we will examine how climate change disproportionately affects those who bear the least responsibility. Through analysis of short stories, poetry, and novels, we'll dissect techniques such as point of view and characterization to understand their impact on readers. Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the critical thinking and communication skills needed to engage thoughtfully with both literature and climate change.

  • LTEN 159 will count towards the "D" (U.S. Lit Post-1860) requirement for the Literatures in English major.
  • LTEN 159 will count towards the Region (The Americas) concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.

LTEN 180 - Chicano Literature in English (D)
Latine and Chicano/a Film Representation
Instructor: Marisol Cuong

This course focuses on understanding the Chicana/o experience through cultural works primarily created and highlighting Chicana/o authors. Situating the history of the Chicana/o Movement from various perspectives, the course will draw parallels between past and present issues impacting the Chicana/o Latina/o communities. This approach will enable us to observe and analyze the evolving portrayal of these communities over time.

  • LTEN 180 will count towards the "D" (U.S. Lit Post-1860) requirement for the Literatures in English major.
  • LTEN 180 will count towards the Region (The Americas) concentration for the World Literature and Culture major.

LTWR 102 - Poetry Workshop
(Breaking) Poetic Form
Instructor: Alexis Aceves Garcia

If traditional poetic form is a container that holds a certain set of feelings, ideals, and beloveds, what can “breaking” it teach us about the potentiality of poetic form? How can we understand form as Robert Hass describes in A Little Book on Form as, “The way the poem embodies the energy of the gesture of its making”? In this class, we will consider these questions by closely reading traditional and contemporary sonnets, writing our own poems in response, and discussing in workshop how your sonnets are in conversation with and/or depart from poetic form. Students will also have space to consider a more expansive definition of form by contributing ideas from some discipline or craft outside of poetry.

LTWR 106 - Sci Fiction,Fantasy,Irrealism
Speculative Short Fiction 
Instructor: Emily Yang

How can the unreal and surreal open up portals that help us see the real more clearly? Who gets to decide what is real, and how can speculative short fiction stage an intervention against those decisions? These questions will animate our engagement with speculative short fiction—a capacious mode (the speculative) paired with a capacious form (the short story). From fantasy and magical realism to science fiction and fabulism, speculative fiction helps us tap into rich lineages of storytelling and resistance in global Latinx, Black, Indigenous, Arab, and Asian literatures. And the short story, in its brevity, permits us to take imaginative risks without the sustained worldbuilding that characterizes the novel. In this course, students will engage deeply with short stories written by authors such as Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Carmen Maria Machado, Cleo Qian, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Haruki Murakami, and Ted Chiang. They will write their own stories in response to generative prompts and workshop each other's speculative short fiction, and participate in a collective inquiry into the responsibility of nonrealist literature vis-à-vis representing reality.