2018-19 General Catalog

303 Humanities 1
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Faculty | Course Descriptions

Program Description

The study of literature at UCSC is organized as an interdisciplinary field coordinated through a single Department of Literature, rather than through separate departments of English, modern languages, and classics. This structure fosters innovative and comparative approaches to literature among both faculty and students. Courses in the major encompass traditional literary history and interpretation, cross-cultural inquiry and current theoretical debates, and new media.

Literature majors at UCSC are trained in critical reading, writing, and thinking, as well as in literary interpretation. These skills have wide applicability, and offer avenues into related disciplines such as history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, politics, and the history of art and visual culture. Literature majors enter a wide variety of careers ranging from law and journalism to management, government, international studies, publishing, technical writing, and teaching at all levels. The literature major may also lead to careers in fields such as digital storytelling and electronic media; film, television, and video; theater, performance, and the visual arts.

The Literature Department faculty requires that all literature majors have basic proficiency in a second language. Proficiency in more than one language enhances understanding of any literature and culture. Graduate programs in literature and other humanities disciplines generally require competence in at least one language other than English.

Program Learning Outcomes

Following is a summary of the program learning outcomes for the Literature B.A.:

Students who complete the literature major should emerge with the following knowledge and skills:

1. A capacity for critical analysis of texts that is attentive to:

  • the formal structures, genres, and rhetorical strategies of different kinds of writing, public discourse, and media;

  • the historical and social contexts of such texts;

  • the role cultural and linguistic difference play in the interpretation of texts read in translation and in a language not one's own.

2. Effective written communication that demonstrates the following abilities:

  • to evaluate multiple interpretations of texts;

  • to write effective argumentative prose;

  • to situate texts in relation to a critical/theoretical tradition;

  • to design and initiate a substantive independent project of research or creative activity.

3. Experience reading a variety of texts:

  • from a breadth of world cultures and traditions;

  • from different historical periods, including the pre-modern;

  • originally written in languages other than English.

Letter Grade Requirement

Letter grades are required for 75 percent of courses applied toward the literature major, including the senior seminar or thesis, which must be taken for a letter grade.

Declaration of the Major or Minor

Students must complete Literature 1 or its equivalent prior to declaring the major or minor. Students declare a major or minor in literature by completing and submitting a Proposed Study Plan and Declaration of Major/Minor petition. All students considering a literature major or minor should consult with staff and/or faculty advisers as early as possible and declare the major or minor before the end of their sophomore year. Transfer students are urged to declare their major or minor in their first quarter at UCSC.

Literature Major Options

The Literature Department offers three concentrations, each providing exposure to a variety of literary traditions and focusing on the mastery of six critical approaches that provide a set of tools for lifelong thinking:

  • General Literature: broad exposure to a variety of world literary traditions;

  • Language Literature: study of literature within the framework of particular languages or national and regional traditions, studied in the original language;

  • Creative Writing: exposure to a variety of world literary traditions, along with upper-division creative writing workshops.

Students also have the option to complete an intensive major in a Literature concentration. The intensive literature major is recommended particularly for students who plan to continue their studies in graduate school. The requirements for the intensive major include the study of literature in two languages; advanced proficiency in a second language is therefore required.

Requirements for the General Literature Concentration

The literature major requires: (1) basic proficiency in a second language; and (2) 12 courses in literature.

  • Basic language proficiency: One year (three quarters or equivalent) of college level study of a non-English language or demonstrated reading ability at this level.

  • The 12 required courses must include two lower-division and 10 upper-division courses.

Lower-Division Courses

Lower-division courses are introductions to critical reading and writing. Students should complete their lower-division coursework before beginning upper-division work.

Two lower-division courses are required:

  • Literature 1, Literary Interpretation: close reading and analysis of literary texts. This is a writing-intensive course.

  • One Literature 61-series course: categories, methodologies, and problems of literary study, or one Literature 80-series course: topical, thematic, and comparative studies of literary and filmic texts. Literature 61 and Literature 80 courses are recommended for both majors and non-majors.

Upper-Division Courses

Ten upper-division courses are required:

  • Literature 101, Theory and Interpretation: approaches to literary and cultural theories;

  • Literature 102, Translation Theory: approaches to literary and cultural translation, or one upper-division non-English literature course studied in the original language;

  • Eight upper-division courses as described for each concentration.

Upper-division courses provide detailed treatment of literary and theoretical problems, themes, and periods. Students are strongly encouraged to take courses across chronological periods and national boundaries, and to balance small seminars with lecture courses. Students must successfully complete the language proficiency requirement before enrolling in Literature 102.

Critical Approaches to the Study of Literature

Students must take at least one upper-division course in each of six Critical Approaches to the study of literature. Each upper-division course in literature (aside from the core courses Literature 101 and 102) has two Critical Approach designations; however, students may use each course to satisfy only one approach requirement.

Canons: The study of influential authors or works, and their critical afterlives: what books get read, which are forgotten, and how is that decided?

Genres: The study of fiction, poetry, drama, epic, testimonio, etc. across time and space: what happens when we classify together works of similar form?

Geographies: The study of local, regional, national, transnational, or global contexts: how do we use notions of place to group texts together?

Histories: The study of texts through socially or aesthetically defined periods or movements: how do historical pressures affect literature’s possibilities?

Media: The study of the written word as one medium among others: what can we learn from the analysis of visual, performative, sonic, filmic, and other media?

Power and Subjectivities: The study of human and other subjects as individuals and in collective groups: who has the power to speak, write, and read under different social conditions?

Distribution requirements. Among the 10 upper-division courses, at least two must focus on literature written prior to the year 1750; one course must focus on non-Western literature or literature in a global perspective; and one course must focus on the study of poetry. One of the upper-division courses may be a senior seminar, which can be used to satisfy the campus comprehensive (exit) requirement. Some courses fulfill more than one distribution requirement. A list of annual course offerings indicating distribution codes for each course is available in the department office and on the Literature Department website.

Requirements for the Language Literature Concentration

The language literature concentration examines literature within the frameworks of particular languages or national and regional traditions, and requires that texts be read in the original language. Enrollment in upper-division language literature courses normally requires language proficiency at the third-year college level.

In addition to the critical approaches requirements and the distribution requirements described in the general literature concentration, students in the language literature concentration must complete five of their eight upper-division literature electives in a single language literature.

Language Literature

French Literature (courses in the 182 series)

The study of French and Francophone literatures, languages, and cultural practices of France, Africa, and the Caribbean.

German Literature (courses in the 183 series)

The study of the literature, language, and cultural practices of the German-speaking areas of central Europe including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Greek and/or Latin Literature (courses in the 184 and 186 series)

The study of the literature, languages, and cultural practices of ancient Greece and Rome. Students may choose to concentrate in Greek or Latin or both.

Italian Literature (courses in the 185 series)

The study of Italian literature, language, and cultural practices from the Middle Ages to the present.

Spanish/Latin American/Latino Literatures (courses in the 188-189 series, LIT 190X)

The study of literatures, language, and cultural practices of Spain, Latin America, and Latino populations in the United States.

Requirements for the Creative Writing Concentration

The Literature Department offers a sequence of creative writing workshops from introductory through advanced levels. Admission to the creative writing concentration is selective. Interested students are required to take one lower-division creative writing workshop at UCSC before applying to the concentration; however, students are strongly encouraged to complete two lower-division workshops (at least one at UCSC) before applying. To apply for admission to the creative writing concentration, students should submit a completed application form (available at the Literature Department office and online). Once accepted into the concentration, students are required to declare (or redeclare) the major in literature.

In addition to the Critical Approaches requirements and the distribution requirements described above in the general literature concentration, students in the creative writing concentration must complete four of their eight upper-division literature courses in creative writing, including a senior project seminar.

Requirements for the Intensive Literature Major

In addition to the requirements for the general literature concentration (including the critical approaches and distribution requirements), students must complete at least two additional upper-division courses in a second-language literature studied in the original language, for a total of 14 courses (12 upper-division courses and two lower-division courses).

In many languages, two years of college-level study (or comparable ability) are needed before a student is prepared to enter an upper-division course. This is greater than the one year (three quarters or equivalent) of college-level study of a non-English language, or demonstrated reading ability at this level, that is required for the general literature concentration. In select languages (Greek, Latin, Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Sanskrit), less time is needed for this purpose.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major’s upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. Literature majors must satisfy the disciplinary communication requirement by passing Literature 101.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students must successfully complete Literature 101 before taking any comprehensive requirement.

Seniors must select one of the following options to satisfy the campus exit requirement:

  • Senior seminar. The senior seminar may be counted as one of the required upper-division courses. Several senior seminars are offered each quarter; extensive writing is required in all seminars.

  • Senior thesis. A student who wishes to propose a senior thesis (30–40 pages) must apply to a Literature Department faculty sponsor at least two quarters before the projected date of graduation. The application must include a proposed subject, a brief outline, a bibliography, and a sample of previous written work. Only those students who have received written permission from a faculty supervisor may complete a thesis to satisfy the senior exit requirement. A student whose application has been approved may receive course credit toward the major for one independent study (course 195).

For students in the creative writing concentration, a creative writing project under the supervision of a faculty member (Literature 190V, 190W, or 195C) is required.

The Literature Minor

The minor in literature requires seven courses.

Two lower-division courses are required:

  • Literature 1, Literary Interpretation: close reading and analysis of literary texts. This is a writing-intensive course.

  • One Literature 61-series course: categories, methodologies, and problems of literary study, or one Literature 80-series course: topical, thematic, and comparative studies of literary and filmic texts. Literature 61 and Literature 80 courses are recommended for both Literature minors and non-majors.

Five upper-division courses are required:

  • Literature 101, Theory and Interpretation

  • Four other upper-division literature courses (except Creative Writing)

The Literature minor does not require second-language proficiency or a senior seminar.

General Information

Transfer Credit

A student may petition to receive credit toward the lower-division requirements of the major or minor for up to two courses taken at other institutions. An introduction to literature course may be used to satisfy the Literature 1 course requirement. Any other literature course may be applied toward the Literature 61 or the Literature 80 course requirement.

Transfer students planning to major in literature are urged to complete the equivalent of one year of college-level study of a language other than English before entering UCSC.

Creative Writing Courses

Any qualified student may take creative writing courses for credit toward graduation. Only students accepted into the creative writing concentration, however, may use Literature/Creative Writing 179A, 179B, 190V, 190W, and 195C to satisfy major requirements.

Credit for Repeated Courses

Courses that vary significantly in material or methodology from one presentation to the next may be repeated for credit and are so designated in the course description in the UCSC General Catalog.


Faculty advisers are available in the Literature Department office throughout each academic term; students may make appointments in advance to meet with them. Staff advisers are available by appointment and on a drop-in basis. Students are encouraged to consult with a faculty adviser once per quarter.

Senior Checklist

Three quarters before anticipated graduation, all literature majors must complete a checklist in collaboration with a department adviser. The purpose of the checklist is to confirm progress toward graduation and the satisfaction of all major requirements. Completion and approval of a senior checklist are required for graduation.


Honors in the literature major are awarded to graduating seniors who have earned a 3.70 to 3.89 grade-point average in their upper-division literature courses. Highest honors in the literature major are awarded to graduating seniors who have earned a 3.90 or higher grade-point average in their upper-division literature courses. Honors are not awarded in the minor.

Opportunities for Study Abroad

The University of California’s Education Abroad Program (EAP) operates study centers in countries throughout the world, all associated with host institutions of high academic standing. EAP serves over 1500 upper-division students from the nine UC campuses every year. Students who participate in a UC Education Abroad Program may petition to apply up to three upper-division courses from EAP toward the literature major, or two upper-division courses toward the literature minor.

The Graduate Programs

The Doctoral Program

The UCSC doctoral program in Literature offers an innovative multilingual and multidisciplinary approach to literary studies. The program is relatively small, and students work closely with faculty throughout their graduate careers. They are encouraged to take advantage of the rich array of intellectual and cultural events, research clusters, and lectures offered on campus.

The doctoral program combines critical and independent thought with multilingual and global perspectives. Working across linguistic, national, and period boundaries, students blend critical approaches, literary traditions, and/or cultural archives in comparative, multilingual, and interdisciplinary projects. A  creative/critical writing concentration within the Ph.D. program is available for which students apply during the admissions process. Admitted students may apply for a designated emphasis on the literature doctoral diploma in programs and departments such as Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Education, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, Latin American and Latino Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, and the History of Art and Visual Culture. Applications and requirements are available at the respective department offices.

The program requires significant literary work in two languages. All students are required to complete a minimum of two graduate courses in a second-language literature in which 50 percent or more of the reading is done in the original language. The second literature must serve as a component of the qualifying examination.

The common requirements are:

  • Literature 200, Proseminar, to be taken in fall quarter of the first year;

  • Literature 201, Pedagogy of Teaching/Teaching Assistant Training, to be taken prior to or in conjunction with the first teaching assistant appointment;

  • Twelve additional courses leading to the definition of an area of concentration. At least two of these must be in a second-language literature; at least one must focus on pre-1750 literature and culture. Up to four courses may be taken in other departments; up to three may be independent studies;

  • Literature 291F, a two-credit advising course, each quarter;

  • Three quarters of supervised teaching experience;

  • The Literature Department’s intensive three-week Graduate Summer Language Program or equivalent;

  • A qualifying examination consisting of three components: 1. a portfolio with a field statement and comprehensive bibliography, a topic statement, a paper of publishable quality, and a dissertation sketch; 2. translation examination; and 3. oral examination. The qualifying examination must be taken by the first quarter of the fourth year.

  • A prospectus outlining and defining the dissertation project. The prospectus identifies the research problem, methodologies, and case studies, with chapter outlines, footnotes, and bibliography, and must be submitted within a quarter following the qualifying examination, but no later than the end of the fourth year.

  • A dissertation (written in conjunction with Literature 299, Thesis Research).

For the creative/critical concentration, applicants submit additional creative writing samples of poetry, prose fiction, creative non-fiction or hybrid/cross genre. Entering students in the creative/critical concentration complete all the requirements for the literature Ph.D. with the addition of a creative/critical degree component in the form of coursework, original creative work with a critical introduction and, if desired, work in poetics, translation, form and/or critical writing focused on creative practices.

A master of arts (M.A.) degree is conferred upon request to doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) candidates who have successfully completed the literature Ph.D. qualifying examination or who have completed the coursework required for the doctorate (teaching assistant training and supervised teaching experience exempted) and elect to write a master’s thesis under the supervision of a faculty adviser.

More detailed information for prospective graduate students, including procedures for application and admission to graduate studies, examinations, and requirements for the doctor of philosophy degree, is available from the Division of Graduate Studies  and on the department website.

The Master’s Program

A separate master of arts degree program is intended for students whose aim is to deepen and expand their literary/critical training and to prepare for entry into a Ph.D. program, usually at another institution. Priority for admission is given to students interested in underrepresented areas of study within the Literature Department’s offerings, such as the non-English language literatures and, more broadly, critical theory.

The M.A. program requirements may not be completed in less than one year; the maximum time to obtain a degree is two years.

The common requirements are as follows:

  • Literature 200, Proseminar, to be taken in fall quarter of the first year;

  • Seven additional courses leading to the definition of an area of concentration. Up to two of these may be taken in other departments. One may be an independent study course;

  • Literature 291F, a two-credit advising course, each quarter;

  • A thesis (written in conjunction with Literature 299, Thesis Research). Typically, a thesis will range in length from 35–50 pages, plus a bibliography.

The Literature Department does not provide financial support to students pursuing the M.A. degree. Admission to the M.A. program does not constitute admission to the Ph.D. program. Students may not automatically transfer from the M.A. program into the Ph.D. program, but must reapply. Further information and application materials are available from the Division of Graduate Studies and on the department website.

Literature Designated Emphasis

Graduate students in other programs may obtain a designated emphasis in literature on the Ph.D. degree by completing the following requirements:

  1. The student must have a faculty graduate adviser from Literature, who serves both on the qualifying examination committee and the dissertation reading committee.

  2. The student must prepare a significant piece of writing in the area of literature, such as a substantial seminar paper or a chapter of the doctoral dissertation. The adviser from Literature, in consultation with the student, determines whether a particular piece of writing meets this requirement.

  3. The student must take four graduate courses in literature. With the approval of the literature adviser, one of the four required graduate courses may be an independent study.

  4. When the above requirements have been fulfilled, the formal steps to obtain the Designated Emphasis in Literature are:
    • The student should complete the Designated Emphasis Application form, obtain the literature adviser's signature and submit the application with supporting documentation (copies of the Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Committee Nomination forms) to the Literature Department graduate program coordinator.
    • The Literature Department will notify the student and the home department of approval for the designated emphasis.

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Revised: 07/15/18