Course Descriptions

Term:  

Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
LIT JRN (F19)20  INTR LIT JOURNALISMDEPAUL, A.
Reading of selected texts to explore the ways in which literary journalism and related nonfiction modes formulate experience. Students write several short papers and one final project. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 20 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F19)20  INTR LIT JOURNALISMSTAFF; SIEGEL, B.; PIERSON, P.
Reading of selected texts to explore the ways in which literary journalism and related nonfiction modes formulate experience. Students write several short papers and one final project. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 20 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F19)21  REPORTING LIT JOURNDEPAUL, A.
To write convincingly and tell powerful stories that resonate, writers need to be meticulous, thorough reporters. LJ21 teaches students how to report their literary journalism articles accurately and thoroughly, focusing on the three basic means of gathering information for a story: interviewing, observing and reading. Early in the quarter, students will select a topic, or beat, as it is known in news parlance, from which they will develop contacts and story leads. Students will cover an event, conduct an interview and generate articles related to their beats, also learning ways to use Internet resources and databases to find facts and information and examining investigative and legal documents. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 21 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F19)21  REPORTING LIT JOURNDEPAUL, A.
To write convincingly and tell powerful stories that resonate, writers need to be meticulous, thorough reporters. LJ21 teaches students how to report their literary journalism articles accurately and thoroughly, focusing on the three basic means of gathering information for a story: interviewing, observing and reading. Early in the quarter, students will select a topic, or beat, as it is known in news parlance, from which they will develop contacts and story leads. Students will cover an event, conduct an interview and generate articles related to their beats, also learning ways to use Internet resources and databases to find facts and information and examining investigative and legal documents. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 21 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F19)101BW  ART OF RECONSTRUCTNSIEGEL, B.
In some quarters, the practice of "reconstructing" a story is seen as suspect if not impossible. How can you write about events if you weren't present when they happened? How can you know what other people think or feel? Doesn't reconstruction border on fiction? In this workshop, students will explore such questions­ and learn just how literary journalists manage to practice the art of reconstruction in entirely ethical, accurate ways. Students will read exemplary models of reconstructed narrative by writers such as Jon Krakauer, Laura Hillenbrand and Michael Paterniti. They will see why reconstruction plays such a crucial, honorable role in the field of literary journalism. They will also do a good deal of their own reconstruction (learning, along the way, what Tom Wolfe meant when he said that "entering people's minds" was just "one more doorbell a reporter had to push.") This course is an advanced writing workshop: students will regularly share their work with classmates in a constructive process of peer-review, then revise based on that feedback. By the end of the quarter, students will have produced a major example of reconstructed narrative writing.
LIT JRN (F19)101BW  CULTURAL NARRATIVESWILENTZ, A.
This workshop will require all your strengths as a reporter and writer. In it, we'll try to explore what constitutes a "culture," and how cultures are described. By "culture," we don't mean a nation-state's entire nexus of history, art, politics and social structure, but rather a localized and micro-ized version of that complex. So we won't be writing broadly about subjects like Southern California or Orange County. In fact, the biggest cultural nexus we might look at would be, say, Rancho Santa Margarita. But the best subjects for us will be micro-communities: small, organized groups of people, not on the internet but in real time and real life, who share a common goal, interest, or concern. For example: a fraternity, a political group, a radio station, an orchestra, a yoga center, a team, a social group, a prayer group, a theatrical group, a chorale, a police unit, an airport, a restaurant, a fashion blog office, a local politician’s office, toy factory, a food truck, a bank branch, a dance group, a funeral home, a mani-pedi shop, a scientific laboratory, a museum, a horse-riding stable, a Costco store, a gas station, a car repair shop, a carwash.... In the workshop, writers will choose their subject and then try to explain its culture and how it works by finding characters and a narrative, discussing hierarchy, lingo, shared goals and structure. This workshop will be part anthropology, part immersion, and part cultural criticism. Among those we will be reading are Jeanne Marie Laskas, Joan Didion, Vanessa Grigoriadis, Andre Leon Talley, Susan Orlean, Andrew Pham, and Gustavo Arellano.
LIT JRN (F19)101BW  DIGITAL NARRATIVESHAYASAKI, E.
The world of literary journalism is evolving and adapting for the Web and e-readers, but the core of the craft remains the same: Literary journalism is about true stories told in captivating ways. In this class students will discuss how these stories are changing with the rising popularity of blogs, websites, iPads, iPhones, Kindles and more. They will be expected to find and report stories that they are passionate about, whether their pieces explore the environment, politics, sports, art, subcultures, crime or interesting places. Stories can be narrative reconstructions, immersion pieces, profiles, longform essays, or first-person reported narratives. Students can choose to learn to build digital narratives from the stories they pitch and write, incorporating photos, video, audio, maps, timelines, music and more. Along the way, this class will read digital narratives produced by The New York Times, The Atavist, and by respected journalists, and students will be expected to polish their literary journalism skills and interviewing techniques, while adapting those skills for the digital age.
LIT JRN (F19)103  WRITING RACE IN USTOBAR, H.
This course aims to be a survey of nonfiction writing about race in the United States of America, from the 19th century to the present. We will examine how writers have tackled issues of racial inequality and discrimination, and constructed narratives centered on the lives of people of color in various nonfiction genres: journalism, investigative reporting, essays, criticism and memoirs. Readings will include works by W.E.B Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Octavio Paz, Carey McWilliams, Luis Alberto Urrea, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others. As a final requirement, students will produce their own work of cultural criticism or reportage.
LIT JRN (F19)103  TRAVEL LITERARY JRNWILENTZ, A.
In this class we will begin by looking at the origins of travel literature, and the idea of penetrating the geography of the “other.” We’ll start with the travels, some 750 years ago, of the Venetian merchant Marco Polo in China. We’ll continue by talking about the Dutch East India Company and the opening of both Asia and the Americas to European exploration, trade, and travel. We’ll talk about the British upper class’ “grand tours” of the Middle East and Europe, and what the wide world offered to a people living on the small emerald isle. Looking to this country, we’ll talk about Mark Twain’s adventures in the Wild West, as it was then called. We will discuss aspects of the travel-writing tradition, including its imperial roots, its exotification of indigenous populations, and its relation to ethnography, anthropology, tourism and economic exploitation. We’ll ask the big question that Granta magazine, the British literary journal, asked in its Winter 2017 issue: given the new and harsh assessments of the reach and destructive power of white and Western privilege, “Is Travel Writing Dead?” As literary journalism students, we will be particularly interested in narrative strategies that allow a long piece of narrative prose to be generated and sustained. We’ll talk about insiders and outsiders, naïfs and sophisticates, and innocence and experience, as those categories relate to travel writing. Books we will read to raise our confidence that travel writing is still beautiful and possible will include Every Day is for the Thief, by Teju Cole, Catfish & Mandala, by Andrew Pham, Orange County, by Gustavo Arellano, The Places In Between, by Rory Stewart, The Lady and the Monk, by Pico Iyer, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit, as well as shorter handouts and excerpts. This will be an intensive and pleasurable reading course, with a lot of conversation and give and take. There will be a midterm and a final exam, as well as several quizzes. A short paper may be required.