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Literary Permutations of
Subjectivity in the Televisual
Age of Sex and Race

aka English 525, LIT OF THE US 1960-PRESNT

Professor William Nericcio

ENGL-525   01 21371 LIT OF THE US 1960-PRESNT 3.0 Lecture 1230-1345 TTH EBA-254  

Issues of simulation (and stimulation, of a sort) will be our primary concern in our Fall 2017 rambling tour of American literature, graphic narrative, art, and cinema after 1960. For some reason, and on more than one occasion, literary/artistic titans with an American background, or an "American" lineage, have authored dynamic and provocative works focused on issues of simulation and dissimulation, miming, aping, copying, mirroring, etc. These narratives of mimesis are also at once mimetic narratives, echoing /shadowing / mirroring prior narratives. For instance, you don't have to be Jorge Luis Borges (see "The Circular Ruins" and "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius") to understand that literary history is a grand symphony of eternal mimicry and mocking--that Melville's Moby Dick, is, in some ways, a rewriting of the Old Testament (the Old Testament, itself, being but a treasure trove of revised Assyrian mythologies--and god knows who they lifted their tales from).

In this review of largely 20th and 21st century American literary classics and curiosities, we will focus on all sorts of mimetic acts. From the satire of American corporate culture that fuels Kurt Vonnegut's mirrored/mirroring nightmares in BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS; to Chuck Palahniuk's twisted visions of sexuality and self in CHOKE; to James Baldwin's prescient existential musings in GIOVANNI'S ROOM; to Oliver Mayer's Latinx oedipal nightmares in THE HURT BUSINESS; to Ira Levin's prescient sci-fi musings in STEPFORD WIVES, to name a few, our tour of the United States of Simulation will always already be intriguing and provocative.  Always already, with or without knowing it, we will lurk in, at, on, and with the uncanny valley.

Is our seminar a literature class focused on mass culture? Or is it a mass cultural studies class dabbling in literature. In the end, that will be up to you and your own parallel researches as your contributions to the class are essential to our success.
Because of the particular training of your professor/ringleader, our readings during the course of the semester will foreground  popular debates presently roiling the corridors of academe--so that race, gender, sexuality, and politics (identity and otherwise) will drive many of our discussions. That said, the floor will be open to other approaches/other “texts,” and students in our class should feel empowered to share books, films, essays, and the like that embody the best of cultural and interdisciplinary studies.



ira levin

dan clowes

carlos fuentes

james baldwin

oliver mayer

kurt vonnegut

myriam gurba

susan daitch

chuck palhniuk

william nericcio

andrea kettenmann


orson welles

raoul peck


issa rae



Tuesday, August 29

Day One! It's my first time back teaching an upper-division 500-level English and Comparative Literature major (and graduate student) course since the summer of 2013--yikes! The reason for that is that I usually teach lower-division English 220s and run a Cultural Studies MA program for SDSU called MALAS (do please consider applying seniors!). I am very excited to be working again with English majors and we will spend the bulk of our time exploring the premise of the class: Simulated/ing Americans.  In preparation for our discussion, taste a tiny piece of Frenchie Jean Baudrillard's meditations on simulations, the simulacra, and more, here! Totally optional (but you are crazy to avoid it) is this memorable parable by Argentina's finest, Jorge Luis Borges, "The Circular Ruins."

NOTE: Today only, I will be bringing in bargain copies of Tex[t]-Mex, $20, (UTPRESS) and The Hurt Business, $16, (SDSU PRESS) in case you are looking to save some cash!

Opposite? The haunting photography of American original Francesca Woodman

Thursday, August 31

It is already the second day of class and already your cruel English Professor is dreaming up ways to make you suffer--you enter our classroom EBA 254 having read Oliver Mayer's JOY OF THE DESOLATE, collected in THE HURT BUSINESS. Also read any and all of the support materials (interviews, pictures, etc) located in and around JOY OF THE DESOLATE that you care to stomach/imbibe. Our class is focused on simulation and JOY OF THE DESOLATE is a moving, erotic, musical meditation on what it means to subject yourself to personal and geographic metamorphosis. On the surface this is a play about a Native American in the Ivy Leagues but in its heart rests another story, another vision, about the consequences of existential (and ethnic) transmogrification.

Tuesday, September 5

It is a fine sunny Tuesday, I think!, in San Diego, and we enter our suave, newly-redecorated classroom having read BLADE TO THE HEAT--the play Madonna bought off Oliver Mayer for over $100,000 with the intention of it being her directorial debut with Daddy-of-Lourdes starring as Pedro Quinn.  That never happened but the play was still a hit in LA at the Mark Taper Forum; the Public Theater, NYC; and in Mexico City as well. BLADE TO THE HEAT features Pedro Quinn, a half-Irish, half-Mexican boxer coming into his own sexually in the hot lights of the ring. A unique play with a heart of gold (and blood and soul), BLADE TO THE HEAT rewrote the history of Latina/o theatre when it debuted and promises, like Luis Valdez's ZOOT SUIT, to have a lasting impact on US West Coast theater.

Thursday, September 7

You walk into our classroom having read YOUNG VALIANT, as oedipal a piece of playwriting that has issued from an author's pen since Sophocles was trodding the boards with his actors in ancient Greece. As you read the play, make careful notes concerning the major themes of the play-- additionally, consider (for those of your with advanced studies in theatre) the difference between East Coast and West Coast American theatre.

Simulation. Emulation. Coming-of Age: In YOUNG VALIANT, our chief protagonist, BOY, is coming to consciousness sexually--how does he echo / contrast with Pedro Quinn and DC from JOY OF THE DESOLATE?

Tuesday, September 12

We have thrilled to the twisted, insightful world view of BLADE TO THE HEAT, YOUNG VALIANT, & JOY OF THE DESOLATE. Now we turn to more contemporary American fiction, filled with reflections, simulations, and more! Read to page 62 in Clowes GHOST WORLD, a moving existential meditation on love, memory, nostalgia, friendship, and America--as you read, take the time to be as attentive to the words as you are with the images.  You may want to do the reading twice--the first time reading word and image together, the 2nd time "reading/scanning" the pictures only.
Thursday, September 14

Finish GHOST WORLD for today's discussion. Can ghosts be a form of a simulation? Conceptually, can you establish a relationship between the two? Think about this as you ponder the sad, groovy movements of Clowes contemporary drama.

Tuesday, September 19

It is the fourth week of classes and thoroughly inundated with ideas and images of virtual Americans we turn to a fantasy novella from the early 70s that took the American fascination with the ersatz human, with the fabricated subject to new heights--Ira Levin's THE STEPFORD WIVES. Enter our groovy refabricated chamber having read to the top of page 91. As you read, enjoy this brief work--Levin is a master of suspense narrative and 'Stepford is, perhaps, his masterwork.  But also attend to all the side-references and allusions--to the American military industrial complex, to corporate America, to Disney, etc. This is a deceptively simple novel: on the surface, a meditation on misogyny, anti-feminist 70s blowback, and more.  But it is also a sensitive and dialectically sophisticated meditation on issues of replication, reproduction, and the simulacra.

Thursday, September 21

Walk into class having finished your reading of THE STEPFORD WIVES by Ira Levin (opposite)--in class, we will continue our discussion, but it is also likely that we will have our first in-class writing challenge (an opportunity for me to get a taste of your writing mind and for you to get a sense of how I grade!). What does Levin add to our understanding of American Literature since 1960--are there elements of 20th century narrative that anticipate pieces of our 21st century puzzle? Lastly, let us consider genre: is this a piece of science fiction? Does it matter? How do discussions of genre add to our contemplation of American Literature? Or do they at all?

Tuesday, September 26

Zoooooooom. We are moving so fast, barreling through so many American texts, that we hardly have the time to pause and reflect on it all.  And it continues, this week is our Kurt Vonnegut Week as we imbibe the literary cocktail that spews from arguably our most talented American diagnostician, the 20th century's contribution to a global literary dream team that includes William Hogarth, Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, and others. Read to page 204 in BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS for today--and, of course, pay as much attention to the words as you do the (deceptively) simple images.  As you read consider the interplay between word and image--the conventional view is that words "caption" images, but is it possible that the logic that obtains in BREAKFAST is different? That the childish doodlings of Vonnegut (our narrator?) camouflage something deeper? Something more complex?

Thursday, September 28

Exhausted, exhilirated, and aroused (intellectually), you trundle into our gorgeous seminar room having finished Vonnegut's opus. Is this the great American novel? A memoir by a brain-addled artist? A confession? All of the above?! Certainly no other author (save Levin?) skewers the multifarious foibles of the United States of America better than Vonnegut. But amidst all the laughs, we ask ourselves some basic questions: Is BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS a comedy? a tragedy? an autobiography? Is it an experiment that ends in the looking glass or a burnished, well-crafted farce meant to open our eyes to the inanities of a nation with self-esteem problems?

Tuesday, October 3

We leave the schizo-cultural skewing of Vietnam-era America and move south to the Americas and the visual musings of Mexico's Frida Kahlo. Read the first 50 or so pages of Andrea Kettenmann's FRIDA KAHLO book. Also take the time to read Gilbert Hernandez's comic biography of FRIDA--the most curious biography of Frida to exist as it represents one artist rendering the art of another. While many biographers (Hayden Herrera, for example, who provided some of the backstory for Hernandez's graphic novel portrait) focus on the tragedy and pain associated with Frida's life, we will move in an alternative direction, focusing on Frida's paintings as a kind of ciphered auto-biography, a sort of coded memoir (and confession, and possibly? a rejoinder to the automatons we encountered in Levin's novel). If you want to and have the time and interest, also read the Frida Kahlo/Gilbert Hernandez chapter from TEX[T]-MEX which we will be moving to on Thursday.

Thursday, October 5

It's Thursday and you enter class having finished Kettenmann's survey of Kahlo's art and life AND having read the chapter on Kahlo and Gilbert Hernandez in TEX[T]-MEX as well as the introduction to the book. In class, we will continue to do close readings of Kahlo's portraits, but we will also begin to ask questions about how Kahlo's works add to our conception of Simulated Americans. Are Kahlo's works a simulacra of sorts. Can a painter's canvas be a kind of proxied existential snapshot? As you read TEX[T]-MEX, look for places to engage with the critical commentary. What exactly is the goal of the chapter? How does it link to but also advance the ideas planted in the book's introduction?

Tuesday, October 10

From the wilds of the Frida-Kahloian psyche, a rambunctious, sensual simulacra filled with images and ideas of nation, women, body, politics, and more, we move this week to the visionary prose of American original James Baldwin.  For today's class, read this essay, "Notes of a Native Son" by Baldwin. The piece is a new genre for us, really, that goes by the name of an "essay." An essay, of course, is not a story, not a novel, and not a poem (you can sample Baldwin's poetry here but it is not REQUIRED); rather, an essay is a cogent, non-fiction piece of prose that tries to make an argument or reveal something new to its readers.  They can be persuasive, seductive, or combative--and no two essays are really alike.

James Baldwin is recognized as one of our greatest 20th century American essayists--and yet, as you will see with this piece, storytelling is very much still part of the "game" or "cipher" or "puzzle" that goes by the name of ESSAY. As you read, note how Baldwin moves in the essay--are there signature Baldwinian tactics that we can add to our own essays, that we can incorporate into our rhetorical strategies? What he means, is, of course, important, but I am more interested in you getting a feel for how he writes: are there things he achieves as a writer that you admire? that you might like to emulate in your own writing?  In class we will screen the first half of I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, a documentary film and hit cultural studies artifact by director Raoul Peck.

Thursday, October 12

Re-read the introduction to TEXTMEX for today's class. In seminar, we will complete our screening of Raoul Peck's I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO. Our discussion item for today will be the most common and aggressively distributed "simulacra" or "reflections" on the planet: STEREOTYPES. What does Baldwin teach us about the logic of stereotypes? What are the psychological consequences for individuals who end up being the target of stereotypes? In TEXTMEX, I write that stereotypes are the "bloodstains of cultures in conflict." Consider the deeper meaning of that metaphor.  What does blood, skin, and culture have to do with the description of stereotypes as motivated reflections, run amok, as manipulative simulacra, scattered like zombies across the Americas.

Nota bene:
Today, October 15, 2017, you will receive your

Tuesday, October 17

While Raoul Peck (and Samuel Jackson) introduced us to a concept of James Baldwin, nothing will make his soul come to life in our imagination like his own writing. We turn today to GIOVANNI'S ROOM--walk into our chamber of simulacra having read the first 100 pages or so of the novel. Certainly the revelations Peck treated us to will influence our reading of the novel but so too will our ongoing/evolving discussions in seminar. Come into class having typed out two passages from different sections of the book that moved you, caught your eye, etc. Bring out these two typed out passages to class for an in-class exercise.

Thursday, October 19

Walk into our classroom having finished GIOVANNI'S ROOM by James Baldwin. We have arrived at a point in the semester that we can begin to draw some preliminary conclusions concerning the characteristics of literature from the Americas after 1960--while Baldwin augments our consideration of race, he also, and simultaneously, immerses us into an American (by way of Paris) cauldron of sexuality and yearning. On the surface, in GIOVANNI'S ROOM we enter the crisis of an intelligent African American ex-pat, but much more is at stake in this novel, this act of art by one of the 20th century's most gifted seers.

Tuesday, October 24

No reading this week as you are working hard on your essays that are due Monday, November 6, 2017! So for today, we will be screening one or two episodes of Issa Rae's INSECURE. Depending on the way our discussion goes, we will enter a world that is decidedly Black, but also, and curiously, post-Baldwinian.  Our radical jumpcut in time from the 1950s to 2016-17 finds an America in metamorphosis and de-evolution. Rae's genius is to transform heady race and class issues into comedy. Comedy is a key genre, a key disruptive element, and something our class has left to the margins.  That, too, may figure into our discussion today.
Thursday, October 26

No class today as your intrepid Professor is off to the wilds of Maryland for one of his Mextasy pop-up exhibitions.

As you suffer, sweat, curse me, and crave precious sleep, I will attempt to treat the bewildered students and citizens of Maryland Textmextian tales and Mextasy balderdash.  Curious? Check out the info
here or hit the poster just below:

Tuesday, October 31

Carlos Fuentes's AURA is on tap for us as we celebrate Halloween--all students who come to class in full costume will get extra-credit worth up to 25 points added to your lowest quiz grade!  More to follow... Keep reading ...

It is Halloween day and all of us come to class dressed up to immerse ourselves in Carlos Fuentes's seductive (and outrageous) novella, AURA--as with THE STEPFORD WIVES from Ira Levin and I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO by Raoul Peck, we find ourselves in the hands of a meticulous narrative craftsperson: every detail counts, every description is filled with salient, compelling meaning contributing to the project as a whole.  On the surface (and in its opening passages) AURA is a trifle--the story of an overtrained historian on the lookout for some extra cash in Mexico city, but it quickly evolves. One part Stephen King (think THE SHINING) , one part Franz Kafka (METAMORPHOSIS), one part Joseph Conrad (THE HEART OF DARKNESS), and one part Charlotte Perkins Gilman (THE YELLOW WALLPAPER), AURA turns out to be on simulation in the Americas, with deep subterranean chasms and primal caves of human consciousness--a ghost story and nightmare that forces us to rethink the meanings of the American dream and dreaming in the Americas.

Thursday, November 2

The main course, today? Finish reading AURA! You walk into class and it is the day of days in Mexico (and for Mexicans in the United States!), Dia de los Muertos, which is not Halloween. Actually in the clash (and mesh) of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos we find an intriguing part of our meditation on simulation (and conflict) in the Americas, the contiguous bodies of the United States and Mexico sit side by side--in the words of former Mexican president Porfirio Diaz, "Poor Mexico, so far from god, so close to the United States." As you prepare for today's class, enjoy your reading, AURA is like a good episode of NIGHT GALLERY or BLACK MIRROR--it has a wickedly intriguing premise and killer conclusion.  But it also has depth and heft, the ontological and philosophical question of ruins, the past (France's adventure IN Mexico), historiography (not the same as history), and legacy, being some of its most profound achievements.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Imagination Challenge Due Today--under the door of my office AL 273

Tuesday, November 7

We will spend this week, for the most part, screening Orson Welles's amazing meditation on the US/MEXICO borderlands, TOUCH OF EVIL. Where with AURA we were deeply positioned in the heart of Mexico, (ancient Mexico, "French" Mexico, and Modern-day Mexico), with TOUCH OF EVIL we are both within the United States and within Mexico--the movie evolves as a deep and outrageous (and unpredictable) meditation on
la frontera, la mestizaje, y mucho mas more.

For your reading today, work your way through the first 20 pages or so of the TOUCH OF EVIL chapter in TEXTMEX, pages 39 to the middle of page 57. But also, to get ahead and take advantage of the limited reading this week, go head and begin reading Susan Daitch's PAPER CONSPIRACIES--the longest book we will read this semester. Read pages 7 to 82. In order to make your reading more meaningful and fun, be sure to read up on one of the pioneer of early cinema, Georges Méliès, here, and on the Dreyfus Affair, here.

Even more on Méliès here, via Brian Selznick's THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET page.

An homage to
Méliès filmwork by THE SMASHING PUMPKINS

Thursday, November 9

In class today we will complete our screening of TOUCH OF EVIL, Orson Welles masterpiece comeback film, his greatest cinematic effort since CITIZEN KANE. Certainly TOUCH OF EVIL ponders what we could call the dance between good and evil--the title alone tells us that! But it is also a work that wonders about good and evil AT THE BORDER, ON THE BORDER, and most importantly
IN the border--a ridiculous barrel of stereotypes, it ends up actually forcing us to rethink what it is we imagine "Mexicans" and "Mexico" to be. We will try to capture that in our brief discussion / lecture after the film.

For your reading, come into class having finished my essay on TOUCH OF EVIL, pages 57 to 80 (if you want to skip over the difficult paragraphs dealing with film theorist Stephen Heath, feel free to leap past them!). Additionally, please continue reading Susan Daitch's PAPER CONSPIRACIES pages 82-146.

Tuesday, November 14

Our first main day focused on Susan Daitch's PAPER CONSPIRACIES.  Come into class having read pages 147 to 271--as you read, think about the categories of knowledge, understanding, and storytelling being fused together in this singnificant recent American novel: world cinema, anti-semitism, mob-rule, etc. Is there anything parallel going on in world events today with the material focus of Daitch's novel. Is it, true to the name of our class, a #mirrortext?

Your old Prof was one of the first denizens in the Ivory Tower to write about Daitch's fiction, in particular, her early work LC--the curious and obsessed can see that work here.
Thursday, November 16

It is a terrific day in the Simulating/ed Americans land as author Susan Daitch joins us for our final discussion of PAPER CONSPIRACIES! Walk into class having finished her novel and then prepare to ask amazing questions of Daitch--(come to class with three questions you want to ask the author based on her novel or her writing). Type these questions carefully and print them out with you and bring to class. We will not accept handwritten questions--if you don't read this assignment, you can at least turn in a black page of paper with your name on it to prove attendance!

Have the time? Read this interview with Daitch by my retired colleague and friend Larry McCaffery. It is of particular interest for those of you, like me, curious about the nexus of word and image in Daitch's fictions!

Tuesday, November 21

THANKSGIVING BREAK--Get your air travel tickets now!

Thursday, November 23


Tuesday, November 28

Welcome back to reality--or is it "reality"????

Are you still in a post-Thanksgiving, Turkey-induced coma!? Well reading Myriam Gurba's MEAN will snap you out of your delirium and bring you to attention with some moving, evocative, and challenging ideas and writing! One part memoir, one part reverie, one part snapshot of the unconscious, Gurba's MEAN asks us to dive headlong into a very contemporary intellectual consciousness, one that shares much with Issa Rae (INSECURE)--but also with James Baldwin and Kurt Vonnegut!

Come to class having read to page 130.

Thursday, November 30

Stop the presses and lock the doors, Myriam Gurba is coming to hang out with our class today--details to follow, but be sure to finish the book for today!

Tuesday, December 5

Screening the first half of Ex Machina--no reading! Enjoy the break! In-class writing exercise possible.

Thursday, December 7

Screening the second half of Ex Machina--no reading! Enjoy the break!  Time permitting, we will also have a brief review for the Final Exam that takes place ONE WEEK from today!

Tuesday, December 12

No class! Take the extra time to prepare for the final, in-class, on Thursday.

Thursday, December 14

Today is your comprehensive final exam in our regular classroom at the regular time, 12:30pm.  Best of luck--I know you are going to do great! We will meet for a post-class party on the Eureka patio directly following class at 2pm.

Thursday, December 21

Your official final exam date and time is schedule for today, December 21, 2017 from 10:30am to 12:30pm--but lucky for you, you have already taken the exam! I will, however, be available to you in my office, AL 273, if you want to drop by pick up your graded final exam and to learn your final grade for the class.


Fall 2017
ENGL 525: Simulated/ing Americans
A Description of How Your Work Will Be Evaluated

William A. Nericcio | memo@sdsu.edu
Director, MALAS; Professor, English y CompLit

his section of your electric syllabus documents how your work will be evaluated this Fall 2017 Semester. Here you will find all the little gates, cages, all locks, all the meager statutes, ordinances, edicts, and formulas that allow our American Literature-obsessed literary collective to thrive. Let me underscore that you have absolute intellectual freedom in our seminar, BUT to receive these awesome rights, you must also follow the reasonable responsibilities outlined on this page. After all, we want to have a great time, be the best literature/film studies class on the West Coast even (take that USC! Eat my dust Stanford!) But to do that, we need room for intellectual play--a safe asylum within which to forge our literature-filled wanderlust.


BUY THE BOOKS AND READ THEM--DON'T COME TO SEMINAR WITHOUT YOUR BOOK! Though we very much adore living in the 21st century, we will use ANALOG, printed books in this class.  Please do not come up and ask me if you can use a kindle or your laptop or your smartphone--see rules 3 and 4 below.


When you enter this room for class you will have completed the reading that appears on the day-to-day class calendar! Please note the word "finished" (not "started," not "skimmed," not "glanced," and most decidedly NOT "but I read the Cliffs/Sparks Notes!) Coming to a university literature/film/cultural studies class without doing the reading is like a gardener trying to raise roses without getting her/his hands filthy with shit, a surgeon trying to operate without a scalpel, a fireman without an ax, a prostitute without, er, well, I better stop there. 

Do the readings.  Do them twice if you can MAKE the time!

Please think twice about joining us if you have not finished the readings--the quality of our class depends upon your dedicated work and your relentless and independent curiosity. Without your periodic intellectual donations, the class is likely to evolve into a boring, even painful waste of time. 


Your laptop will be asleep IN YOUR BAGS during class--or, better yet, resting in your dorm room or apartment.

Have you noticed how anytime a student uses a laptop in an auditorium there is a "cone of distraction" alongside and behind the student using a computer?

This is usually due to said student surfing the web via wi-fi perusing erotic delights or god knows what. I was recently at a cool (ok, it was slightly boring, I confess) lecture by a noted writer--as I tried to listen to her, in front of me, a diverted student--attending the lecture, no doubt, for extra-credit--was perusing sites like these (nsfw or school). So, laptops are GREAT for entering your notes AFTER class, but they will not be allowed in our lecture hall. If you have an issue with this, schedule a meeting with me during office hours the first week of class.


Your beloved magnificent iPhone, your cherished Galaxy, your fetishized Pixel, or even your primordial pager will be off, off, OFF during class meetings; if for some reason you are expecting an emergency call, set it on VIBRATE (for privacy, pleasure, or both!) and sit in the back near an exit after letting me know in advance before class that you are expecting an emergency phonecall. Cellphones KILL collective spaces of learning with their ill-timed, annoying clattering rings, bongs, squeaks, chirps, and themes.

Yes, the trauma of that delayed text, yes, the horror of that missed hook-up call, yes, the loss of the buzz of that random Tinder swipe will no doubt doom you to years and years on an psychoanalyst's couch, but we, the rest of us, will gain some silence, a kind of sanctuary without which ideas wither on the vine. We are NOT joking about this unthinkable edict! Don't end up like this former student from another Engl 525 I taught back in the day:

click to enlarge

PASSPORT RULE 5 Charlie-Delta_Thief:

PLAGIARISM is for cads, thieves, and idiots who desire an "F" for the class. Plagiarism comes from the Latin word, "plagiarius" which means kidnapper, plunderer, or (get this!) thief--not a GOOD thing. In the university, plagiarism refers to the art and crime of presenting other people's work under your own signature, aka cutting and pasting copied crap from wikipedia--definitely a BAD thing. While your professor is forbidden by CSU/SDSU code from tattooing the word LOSER on the foreheads of guilty students, he can promise that felonious students will be remanded to the state-authorized SDSU executioners.  Read THIS as well--SDSU is SERIOUS about this shit, so don't take any chances!  Rely on your own mind and your own precious imagination!

Major Course Requirements

  • 50%  Attendance, Quizzes, In-class "Panic-Inducing Challenges", In-class participation, In-class writing, cineTREKS, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram postings, Office Hour visits, etc.
  • 25%  Your Major Essay
  • 25%  Final Examination


You will be asked to write ONE 8-10 page essay (also know as THE IMAGINATION CHALLENGE) during the course of the term. Please note that you will never be compelled to write about something you absolutely hate. Though I will provide you with a list of prompts, please feel free to see me at any time over the course of the semester during office hours to pitch/brainstorm essay ideas.


There will be an Imagination Challenge In-Class Festival (aka, the FINAL EXAM) on the last regularly scheduled day of class: Thursday, December 14 2017 at 12:30pm. Your final is absolutely comprehensive; it assumes you have read all the books and screened all the movies that are part of our required work. If you do the work, the final is a breeze--even "fun" if you can believe it. If you slack off, you will find the Imagination Challenge In-Class Festival as enjoyable as being the waiter for the Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo clan!


During the semester, you can expect several In-class Panic-Inducing Challenges otherwise known as CHECK-YOU-DID-THE-READING QUIZZES. You can expect these miserable quizzes from time to time, the number of quizzes depending on how many of you are nostalgic for high school. In other words, if everyone acts like a talented university student, we will enjoy FEW if any quizzes during our semester. 

Coming to class for each seminar session is NOT optional--the whole point of this class is to work together, the idea being that we creatively and magicly convert our  classroom into a chaotic, unpredictable, and exciting intellectual laboratory. Missing class, you miss, as well, the whole point of the adventure. So please bypass no more than three classes during the semester--you are responsible for any work/notes you miss when you are absent and can PRESUME that what you missed that day was important!

If you miss MORE than three classes during the term and your grade will decay in an ugly way. EXAMPLES: your hard-earned A- will morph into a B-; your "gentleman's C" will appear on the webportal as a "D."

Ditching this class too often will be as fun as a case of flesh-eating virus. 

Do you receive any second chances in this class on the off chance you miss a quiz, blow an assignment, or generally screwup altogether? Luckily, your eccentric Professor is a recovering Catholic and believes in the wonders of absolution--from time to time we will have out-of-class cineTREK© assignments, aka EXTRA-CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES; these can be used to atone for an extra-absence, a missed quiz, or some other class-impacting catastrophe you may experience during the term.


Our main social media site for this class, Facebook-based, is located here. If you are a member of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s mad hallucinatory experiment in digitized, self-mirroring, then you are expected to post class-related links, images, videos, articles, etc at least ONCE a month or 5 total for the whole semester. If you have not bought into Zuckerberg’s mad experiment and stay away from Facebook like the plague, you have a second choice--you can directly submit a posting to the simulated americans tumblr page--anonymous submissions are allowed here for those of your who don't want Edward Snowden peering in your digital window!  You can also contribute to our own instagram hashtag, which goes by the catchy, if difficult to type, #simulatedamericans. If Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram remain alien to your consciousness, you can send your suggested links/images/videos to me via email to memo@sdsu.edu; I don’t promise that I will post ALL of your forwarded materials but I will try, however, to see that some of them make their way to the fabulous internets.  


nericcio's office, a viewWhy visit me during 'office hours'? Why not? If only to experience the madness of my working studio space! You are warmly invited to visit me in office hours at least once during the semester if you can. At SDSU, it's easy to fall through the cracks, to feel that you are nothing but a Red ID# or some warm pile of sentient flesh filling a seat. In order to convince you that the Professor teaching you is occasionally human, please make a point during the semester to take the time to introduce yourself in person. My office hours will be on Tuesday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm in AL 273 (if I am not there, look for me in the SDSU Press office, AL 283). If these hours are inconvenient, do not hesitate to email me for an appointment either at  memo@sdsu.edu or bnericci@mail.sdsu.edu

You can also call me at 619.594.1524 either to schedule an appointment or discuss your questions via telephone, but keep in mind I don't check my answering machine very often!

                              nericcio in office hours
Professor Nericcio awaiting students in office hours, AL 273


Paper Prompts