Literary Arts Foundations: Texts and Contexts

Winter 2020
Spring 2020
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 15
12 16 Credits per quarter
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This intensive, introductory program is designed for students who want to discover, develop, and deepen their understanding of literature through critical, creative, and interdisciplinary modes of inquiry. This will entail developing habits of thought that continually integrate reading and writing. No writer can avoid reading; no reader should deprive themselves of the opportunity to write.  

Our study of existing literary texts will range from canonical European writers to as-yet-uncategorized contemporary writers. For instance, we will read and respond to texts by Shakespeare and his peers, as well as to texts by Sor Juana, Claude McKay, Aimé Césaire, Samuel Beckett, M. NourbeSe Philip, and others writing within and against the grain of inherited traditions.

As we read, we will consider how these writers take up, invent, and transform specific literary forms and genres, as well as how these choices relate to historical context. We will sharpen our analysis of these texts by familiarizing ourselves with key movements in literary criticism and literary theory (including formalism, historicism, post-colonialism, and gender theory). 

Frequent writing assignments will give students the chance to exercise their writing skills in relation to our reading. Midterm exams will allow students and faculty alike to gauge the learning underway. And in both quarters, each student in the program will design and complete substantive research projects in consultation with faculty and peers. These projects will include critical and creative components and will be anchored in and informed by our study of other writers.

Our time in class will be organized around lectures, text-based seminars, exams, writing and reading workshops, research workshops, and peer review. Students will develop skills in close-reading, critical inquiry, argumentation, and independent and collaborative research. You will become familiar with a variety of modes of writing as well as with a variety of literary traditions, and you will learn how to approach literary texts through both historical and theoretical frameworks. Perhaps most important, you will come to see your own texts in the context of texts composed by others.

This is an annually repeating program designed to prepare students for capstone and other upper division programs in creative writing and literary study. Students who successfully complete both quarters will leave the program in a good position to pursue advanced projects in the literary arts and beyond. 


Winter 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20215
So - Sr (12): 20218
Spring 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 30061
So - Sr (12): 30062

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

writing, literature, editing, publishing, and the arts. 


Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


In Person or Remote
In Person (W)
Remote (S)
Time Offered
Advertised Schedule


Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 A3105 - Workshop


Date Revision
2020-02-04 This program is not accepting new students in spring quarter