Category: Read Along with Berkeley English

Shakespeare’s Tragedies

Professor: Kent Puckett Go here to see the course-description page on our website. We’ll read and discuss three of Shakespeare’s tragedies—Hamlet, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra—with an eye to how they work as aesthetic objects and how they shed light on the nature of tragedy. In addition to exploring Shakespeare’s sense of the tragic as a response to his own...

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Form and Invention in Native American Literature

Professor: Beth Piatote Go here to see the course-description page on our website. This course explores literary production by Native American/Indigenous writers from the nineteenth century to present, drawing out the various linguistic and literary influences present in the works. We’ll emphasize the foundations of Indigenous languages, literacies, and form, while also analyzing how Native American writers have consistently appropriated...

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Read Along with Berkeley English

If you are like many graduates, your seminars count among your most vivid college memories. We’d like to share that experience with you again by inviting you to read along with the two current courses highlighted below. For each seminar, we provide selected readings and discussion questions, along with an invitation to join an ongoing online discussion and monthly Open...

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Bad Seed: Monstrosity, Horror, and the Inhuman in Children’s Literature

Prof: Poulomi Saha Course Description: From cannibalistic witches to sadistic parents to dystopian hellscapes, children’s literature is rife with terrifying figures and dark themes. This class will look at forms of monstrosity, deviance, and horror within a variety of texts that are so often figured as cute, sweet, or safe, and explore why it is that there is such pleasure...

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Harlem Renaissance

Professors: Bryan Wagner and Christine Palmer This course will explore the social, cultural, political, and personal awakenings in the culture of the Harlem Renaissance. Roughly between 1918-1930, in the midst of racial segregation and increasing anti-Black violence, Black American writers reclaimed the right to represent themselves in a wide range of artistic forms and activist movements. We’ll consider how artists...

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Writing Race: Faulkner and His Progeny

Welcome: The English Department welcomes you to “Writing Race:  Faulkner and his Progeny,” and I look forward to meeting you via Zoom on the first Wednesday of the month. —Mark Danner “The past is never dead,” Faulkner famously said. “It is not even past.” In our time of racial turmoil, few High Modernist writers feel more contemporary. Faulkner managed to...

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Modernity and the Films of the Coen Brothers

Welcome to the black comedy of the Coen brothers. We’ll concentrate on three films, starting with their first, Blood Simple (1984), a neo-noir, influenced by film noirs of the 40’s and 50’s. But it is also a post-modern text about uncertainty, misunderstanding, and other films. See you on October 4th, Best, Julia Bader Through films ranging from Miller’s Crossing and...

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The Other Melville (Professor Samuel Otter, English 190)

Welcome: The English Department welcomes you to “The Other Melville,” and I look forward to meeting you via Zoom and to talking about Melville’s fiction. —Samuel Otter Most readers know the works of Herman Melville through his now-famous Moby-Dick. But Melville wrote a range of compelling fiction and poetry before and after Moby-Dick. The “Read Along with Berkley English” component...

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The Graphic Memoir (Professor Hertha D. Sweet Wong, English 166)

Welcome to “Reading Along with Berkeley English.” As you can see, we are an eclectic bunch. I am a scholar of Native American Studies and American Studies. I never, never thought I would be reading (much less teaching) comics. But, although I resisted for quite some time, I finally listened to my brilliant students who insisted (repeatedly over several years) that I...

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Utopias and Anti-Utopias (Professor Steven Lee, English 190)

Welcome: Amid our enforced separation, it seems like an apt time to reconnect through the idealized spaces of utopia. By semester’s end, hopefully it will seem as though both utopia and anti-utopia are all around us. I’m looking forward to hearing voices from beyond our empty, utopian campus. —Steven Lee “A map of the world that does not include Utopia...

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James / Baldwin (Professor Stephen Best, English 190)

Welcome: Thank you for joining this seminar. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to think more deeply about the American canon–about how race informs our sense of “American” literature, and why some works of literature are classified as “political” while others are not. –Stephen Best James Baldwin made little secret of the importance of Henry James to his creative...

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The Prehistory of Black Lives Matter (Professor Abdul JanMohamed, English 133B)

Welcome: I am looking forward to working with members of the Reading Along group.  Traditionally, this course focuses on about 8 canonical modern African-American novels and autobiographies.  However, under the current situation, I have turned the course more toward the prehistory of the BLM movement. –Abdul R. JanMohamed This course will explore the foundation of systemic racism in US society by focusing on...

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