nude human figures

TAs telegrams
An Introduction to the Study of Literature, Film, Photography,
Comics, and Streaming Media

William Nericcio, Professor, English and Comparative Literature

The Letter The title of this class is, of course, a tease—a titillating excuse for you to take a General Education class in Literature and Cultural Studies, as opposed to, say, an online class on tetherball, or god knows whatever else is passing for a GE at SDSU these days. In our English 220: Introduction to Literature class we will read books, and write about them--and our focus is all things naked, sexy, and bestial!

But that does not mean we will be altogether pornographic. Instead, we will focus on diverse and exciting stories that are written (novels), screened (television and film), drawn (graphic narrative/comics), and shot (photography) that reveal humanity at its most beastly, most naked, most sexy.

Take the word “naked,” for instance. Of course it means to be "without clothes," a state we associate with the “sexual,” but “naked” also means “[h]aving no defence or protection; open or exposed to assault or injury; vulnerable” and, as well, “[d]estitute of means; without resources” (thanks Oxford English Dictionary).

myriam gurba and
                    her book MEANThe same goes for the term “Beast." At first glance, the word might, at first conjure up images of vampires and werewolves—of all kinds of human and inhuman monsters, but there are all kinds of strange beasts, ostensibly "human" men, women, and others whose complexities break down what we might assume to be the difference between human and animal.

So our mad dash through 16 weeks of beastly, sexy, naked humans will be an adventure—the lineup of movies and books and comics is still in flux but for sure we will be reading The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells (Broadview Press edition); Mean, by Myriam Gurba; and others noted below!

We will also have in-class movie screenings--these cinematic required texts include Sorry to Bother You by Boots Riley; Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus by Steven Shainberg; and Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast (from which this class stole its name!).

Other likely figures on the syllabus are Diane Arbus, Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, Francesca Woodman, Ana Mendieta and more. 

The class is open to all majors; graduate students and advanced undergraduates who want to take the class for upper-division or graduate credit should come see me after the first class.

Required Books or "The Tasty Twelve"

guy carrying books
manicule pointing leftNote: NO DIGITAL BOOKS ALLOWED--all students must bring their delicious literary jewels made of paper, ink, and glue to our imagination laboratory / classroom for class discussion!

Also--note that the book links provided below are included to ensure you pick up the correct edition of the required books, NOT to make Jeff Bezos more money at Amazon. All the correct editions are available from Aztec Shops Bookstore--and do beware bargains you may stumble across as the pagination may be different in older editions and you
won't be able to follow along during class discussions.*

Are used books ok? Of course they are--but beware the notes and scrawls you find in these discarded receptacles of knowledge (not to mention the sneeze remnants lurking within their pages!!!

*Unlike other un-named classes here at SDSU, you actually have to read the books each week for the class to have any meaning at all.
Animal Farm
George Orwell
Island of Dr. Moreau
H.G. Wells
moreau cover
Classic Reimagined,
Edgar Allan Poe

Myriam Gurba

gurba link
Freud For Beginners
Richard Appignanesi
freud for
Man-Eaters #1
Chelsea Cane et al

Herculine Barbin
Michel Foucault     
Maus Book 1
Art Spiegelman
Wounds Fragments Derelict
Carlos Kelly

carlos kelly
Carlos Fuentes
AURA by Fuentes

In the Shadow of Man
Jane Goodall
Human Diastrophism
Gilbert Hernandez
human diastrophism by hernandez

Day to Day Assignment Calendar
August 27 | Tuesday
August 29 | Thursday
It is the first day of class--we enter the Den of Beasts, aka GMCS 333, filled with anxiety, visions of Naked Sexy Beasts chasing us through the GMCS corridors. This is a key class and not one to miss as we will establish the rules of the game for the entire semester. Additionally, in class, we will screen and discuss the first required "text" of the semester: THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF YOU, a BLACK MIRROR short feature, directed by Brian Welsh and written by Jesse Armstrong.
You walk into class and the first thing we will do is finish screening Jesse Armstrong's (screenwriter) and Brian Welsh's (director) THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF YOU.  By the time you walk in at 11am you will have started to read FREUD FOR BEGINNERS by Oscar Zarate (illustrator) and Richard Appignanesi (author) ... Read the first 91 pages or so (don't freak! It's mostly pictures by Zarate ... and, that said, be sure to study the images carefully as much as you read Appignanesi's words!) ...
September 3 | Tuesday September 5 | Thursday

Over the weekend finish your reading of FREUD FOR BEGINNERS--also read the first two chapters of George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM. The bookstore ordered two different editions--for the hardcover Everyman edition, read to the top of page 17.

You walk into GMCS 333, the Den of Beasts amazed with yourself--you've made the valiant effort to FINISH reading ANIMAL FARM and you have just about done it.  A tip of the cap to you for your hard work, focus, and imagination. As you read, select two passages (two or three sentences here and there) that you view to be the most crucial in your reading of the text. Be prepared to share these with your colleagues during class discussion.

September 10 | Tuesday September 12 | Thursday

We get to the heart of the class with the work that inspired the Naked Sexy Beast theme-SEXY BEAST, directed by Jonathan Glazer and written by David Scrinto and Louis Mellis. As we will spend the better part of the class screening and discussing the movie, go ahead and start you reading for next week's classes on THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU--read pages 71-97, Chapters 1 to Chapter 8.
In class, we will continue to be amazed by Glazer, Scrinto, and Mellis's SEXY BEAST.

Read pages 97 to 118, Chapter 9 to Chapter 12 in HG Wells's THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

September 17 | Tuesday September 19 | Thursday
moreau cover
Read pages 119, Chapter 13 to the end of the novel, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.  Come to class with two passages (3-5 sentences each)--one from towards the beginning of Wells's novel and one from towards the end. Pick passages that are, in your view, directly related to each other. Key toolkit words for today include ALLUSION and DIALECTIC.

Key cameos in class by the folk tale of BLUE-BEARD and John Milton's COMUS

The essay--an undervalued genre if there ever was one.  Where novels get all the love, and poetry gets some notice, it is the essay that is out in the wilderness, unknown and often unloved. Today, you walk into class having spent some quality time reading IN THE SHADOW OF MAN, by Jane Goodall--finish the essay reading to page 61, but don't freak with all the reading because part of that is an interview that reads very quickly.  As you read, consider the differences between Goodall's essay and Wells's novel, 'MOREAU.  Both seemingly are focused on animals, but to decidedly different ends.

Our class will involve you doing work with both books so don't come to class without them!  Bring the assignment mentioned opposite for THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU for Tuesday, September 17, to class, typed out and ready to turn in TODAY, Thursday, September 19!
September 24 | Tuesday September 26 | Thursday

Read to page 93 in Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize winning memoir/biography MAUS. The subtitle of works are key, we have learned this semester, and this noted work is no different. Spiegelman calls this collection "My Father Bleeds History" and you will be hard pressed to decide whether you are reading a history of Jews in Poland under Nazis; a biography of Vladek Spiegelman, by his loving son; or a twisted autobiography of Artie Spiegelman, trauma witness and survivor. Again we are told a story thru/with/by animals--how is this work different.

Today you will enter our den of beasts, GMCS 333 having finished Art Spiegelman's MAUS. In preparation for the class, xerox two panels from different places in the book that you believe to be directly connected to each other. In class, you may be asked to establish this connection so don't come to class without your xeroxed printouts!

October 1 | Tuesday October 3 | Thursday

What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? If you stand nude before a mirror and see a penis and testicles, does that make you a "man?" If instead, you stand before a mirror and spy labia and a vagina, does that make you a "woman." What happens if you are born into this world with both a penis and a vagina? What does that make you? A Woman-Man? A Man-Woman. The unique real life history of Herculine Barbin presents us with just this case, just this scenario.

Walk into class having read the introduction by Michel Foucault (p. vii) and the Memoir by Herculine Barbin, (p.3-118). As you read the memoir (note that a memoir / autobiography is not a new genre for us as Spiegelman's MAUS was largely autobiographical), use the skill sets you've already begun to develop having read Freud, Wells, Goodall, Orwell, Appignanesi, and Zarate to analyze what you view to be the most provocative elements of Barbin's self-story.


The Den of Beasts welcomes you--before entering the room you have read THE DOSSIER, pages 119 to 154. The Dossier is not really "literature" per se; it is more HISTORY. Foucault, who assembled this book, was an intellectual historian, a writer responsible for the most illuminating histories of the prison, the university, insane asylums, and human sexuality. Here, with Herculine Barbin, he shares documents that informed his project, his sustained meditation on Herculine Barbin.  Barbin's memoir takes us onto the territory of the hermaphrodite--the more than man, the more than woman. A biological curiosity, the hermaphrodite throws all known and cherished binaries into turmoil, into confusion. Humans, culturally and socially indoctrinated to identify with one or the other gender, the hermaphrodite brings these categories to crisis.  As you read the dossier, consider how it relates to Barbin's memoir.

October 8 | Tuesday October 10 | Thursday

Movie Screening Week
begins with Boots Riley's contemporary classic SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, a film that can be read in multiple ways: a revisioning of Wells's THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU; a satiric skewering of 21st century corporate culture; an Afrofuturist allegory of labor, race, and science in the age of Amazon, and much much more. Note that though the bulk of our week will be spent screening the movie in class (and no, it's not the same if you watch it on a small screen on your own), you also have required reading from your special, illustrated Edgar Allan Poe collection of poetry and stories--read "Never Bet the Devil Your Head," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Black Cat" and "Berenice" over the weekend.  As you screen the movie, consider overlaps, alliances, and conflicts between Edgar Allan Poe's 19th century America and your own 21st century world encapsulated by Boots Riley's riveting dystopia.

Not required and perhaps should be saved for AFTER you screen the film, an interview with the director of SORRY TO BOTHER YOU.

Not only do we get to screen the amazing conclusion to Boots Riley's SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, but there's a surprise waiting for us as Parker Edison, a leading African American thinker and speaker (check out the Tedx Talk below), will take the wheel and guide our post-movie discussion!

Here's his assignment/blurb: "In class, we will gather for the conclusion of Boots Riley’s provocative think-piece SORRY TO BOTHER YOU. Guest moderator Parker Edison (Platform Collection/MMSM) will lead a Q&A discussion of code-switching, capitalism, dystopian similarities and possible parallels to the works of Poe.”


October 15 | Tuesday October 17 | Thursday
We continue our exploration of the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe--walk into the den of beasts having carefully read "Murder in the Rue Morgue."

You may also want to re-read "The Tell-Tale Heart."

You don't walk into the DEN OF BEASTS today as your fearless Professor has teleported into another dimension--take the time given you by this break to catch up on your reading, sleep in, begin researching your paper, or whatever else you want to do!
October 22 | Tuesday October 24 | Thursday

Darker and darker our world becomes as we descend with Poe into the nether, subterranean worlds of shadows and human vice and viciousness--enter GMCS 333, the Den of Beasts, having read the "Cask of Amontillado" and "The Premature Burial." Also read the poems "The Sleeper," "The Conquerer Worm," "Dreamland," and "A Dream Within a Dream."

Note that you will receive your BEASTLY IMAGINATION CHALLENGE writing prompts today--you can peek at the unfinished works in progress page here!  Your paper will be due Friday, November 8, at 12noon outside my office, AL 273. Here is a checklist of bad writing habits to avoid (and to look for when you are doing the final edit of your paper).
Stop the Presses! There's a new kid in town--a young colleague and doctor of philosophy equally in tune with all things naked, sexy, and bestial!  Here's his assignment!

"Le Blanc est persuadé que le nègre est une bête [The white man is convinced that the black man is a beast/animal]."

Frantz Fanon
Martinican revolutionary psychiatrist, from Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks).

We'll move from viewing Black American artist Kara Walker's art installation "A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby" to discussing Dominican American fiction writer Junot Díaz's sci-fi short story, "Monstro." Walk into class having printed out and read Diaz's work provided free of charge here.

Both approach how nakedness, sexiness, and beastliness are wrapped up in questions of race, particularly the relationship between the monstrous and racial blackness.

Mini bio: Raj Chetty is brand new in SDSU's English & Comp Lit Department, having moved from New York where he taught at St John's in Queens. He teaches Caribbean literature and culture across English, French, and Spanish, with a focus on black diaspora.

Raj Chetty, PhD
Assistant Professor, Black Literature & Culture
English & Comparative Literature
San Diego State University
Co-editor (with Amaury Rodriguez), "Dominican Black Studies," The Black Scholar (2015)
October 29 | Tuesday October 31 | Thursday
AURA by Fuentes
You enter the room having read the first 60 pages or so of AURA by Carlos Fuentes. Keep your eyes on the animals (and the plants)--they are key!

With AURA--as with "The Murder in the Rue Morgue," we are 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 a beast-filled universe with deep subterranean chasms, primal caves of human consciousness--a ghost story at the heart of the Freudian unconscious.

Today we complete Carlos Fuentes's AURA.  Extra credit to any and all students who dress up in a costume; extra extra credit for all that come as a beast!

The main course, today? Finish reading AURA! 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.

November 5 | Tuesday
November 7 | Thursday

It's fabulous young scholars week here in the land of naked sexy beasts as we welcome brand spanking new professor types who are at different moments of their career. First up today is Hayley Kasden who will open up our week on the work of Chelsea Cain with MAN-EATERS #1. Ms. Kasden is a graduate of SDSU's MALAS program, a cultural studies MA with graduate students researching across the interdisciplinary studies spectrum.  Presently working as a web development agent with Illumina, a biotechnology company in La Jolla, she is at the crossroads of careers in biotech and/or academe. For today, enter the room having read the first two chapters of MAN-EATERS.

You are in for an amazing treat as we continue our reading of MANEATERS led by Dr. Alice Balestrino, a fresh Phd out of Italy (Università degli Studi "La Sapienza" di Roma, European, American and Intercultural Studies Department) presently serving as a Fellow at the International Forum for U.S. Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Enter the room having finished the graphic novel--also be sure to carefully study all the support material and parodic advertising.

Your paper is due today Friday, November 8, at 12noon in your group/team bag outside my office, AL 273.

Your paper is due today Friday, November 8, at 12noon in your group/team bag outside my office, AL 273.

November 12 | Tuesday
November 14 | Thursday
human diastrophism
                            by hernandez
Come into class having read the novel--HUMAN DIASTROPHISM by Gilbert Hernandez; it takes up half of the book, up to page 122 or so, so don't read the whole book my accident (though I suspect some of you will want to!). And don't come to class without your book or having done the reading.

How exciting! We welcome yet another cutting edge educator into the house as Megan Morris drops in to teach us about Gilbert Hernandez's HUMAN DIASTROPHISM. Here are her instructions: "What are the consequences of several violent acts in a small, sequestered town? Let’s chat about the “shades” of trauma that ripple throughout the hamlet of Palomar in Human Diastrophism. Come prepared to examine the artwork as thoroughly as the written text."

Enter the class with a carefully chosen xerox of a panel from Hernandez's novel that you view to be the most important or the most vexing or the most provocative or the most disturbing or the most connected to our semester-long projet. On the other side of the image write out a 250 words justification for selecting this particular panel. Remember, a comic book panel is one square sequence on a page, not the entire page. Put a cover page on your xeroxed image + justification.  Fold this in half and write your name and group name HUGE on the outside.  $5 to the best designed name/group name design!

November 19 | Tuesday November 21 | Thursday
carlos kelly book
Literature is not ONLY about famous people from our planetary cultural metropoles like Paris, New York, and London--sometimes it comes right from where we sit!

So i
t is our week for poetry as we bounce into class having carefully read Carlos Kelly's WOUNDS FRAGMENTS DERELICTS for class today.  Kelly is a graduate of SDSU and is presently a superstar Ph.D. doctoral candidate at the Ohio State University.  As you read the book for our discussion today, be sure to pick out what you view to be decisive motifs, clear obsessions, and any other things you feel fill the creative imagination of this San Diego native.

If you are feeling artistic, write out your favorite poem in your own handwriting and adorn the page with your interpretation of the poem in word, image, or both.

Literature comes alive today as we welcome poet, writer, proto-professor, and rock band lead singer Carlos Gabriel Kelly into our amazing Den of Beasts. 

Literature is all too often imagined and taught as dead words on dead pages by dead voices, but Carlos is VERY MUCH alive and will treat us to a live performance of his work + also share some of his doctoral research on the latest form of literature: video games! Even William Shakespeare might have played Fortnite, Super Smash Brothers or
Portal if he were a 20-something today!

November 26 | Tuesday November 28 | Thursday

No Class!

You have TOTALLY earned your vacation--enjoy your break with friends and familia!

Thanksgiving Week
No Class!

You have TOTALLY earned your vacation--enjoy your break with friends and familia!

Thanksgiving Week
December 3 | Tuesday December 5 | Thursday
gurba link
We have saved the best for last as we close our tour of Naked Sexy Beasts with one of the best-written books of the last ten years--Myriam Gurba's MEAN. Elizabeth Hoover, writing in THE IOWA REVIEW, states: "Gurba’s memoir MEAN isn’t a coming-of-age story about discovering an authentic self. Rather, it’s a hybrid text that blends humor, true crime, poetry, and art criticism to enact how identity is apparitional. It is created and destroyed in thousands of violent and daily collisions between one’s own sense of self and the outside forces of educators, rapists, bullies, and racists. Identity is slippery and contingent, and its flickering nature allows for resistance and creativity." Walk into our Den of Beasts having read to page 115.

The end of the road for our class, as we walk into GMCS 333 having finished Gurba's MEAN. And we have a great surprise in store for us, as the author herself, Myriam Gurba joins for a reading from her book and then an open Q & A with the author.

Come to class with two discussion questions carefully composed, edited, proofread, and TYPED up and printed for Myriam! --be sure to write your name BIG and your section name BIG on the other side from your questions.  These WILL BE graded as a quiz and count for your attendance, so do a great job...
December 10 | Tuesday

It is Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 11am, and you walk into GMCS 333 with a couple of pens and that's it--today is your final exam for the semester. Good luck!

*You will note that the SDSU Final Exam schedule says that our exam is at 11:00am, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 from 1030-1230. IT IS NOT--I will, however, be available in the DEN OF BEASTS, GMCS 333, on that fine day and time to return your graded finals and let you know your final course grade.

man going yikes
letter this is a university-level course in literature, film, art, and the internet--as it is thematically focused on issues of representation, subjectivity, psychology, and sexuality, it should not come as a shock that students in the class may, from time to time, encounter characters, ideas, situations, images, and scenarios that make them uneasy.


The antithesis of a place of worship, the flipside of a space dedicated to faith and belief, the university is a site of questioning--a sacred space of critical thinking, skepticism, cynicism and irony.

So open your eyes, jump-start your mind, and prepare to enter the choppy corridors of the always already evolving and morphing dimensions of the human psyche!


A Description of How Your Work Will Be Evaluated in

This section of your online syllabus documents how your work will be evaluated Fall 2019. Here you will find all the little gates, cages, locks, statutes, ordinances, edicts, and formulas that allow our innovative nakedsexybeast-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 part of your syllabus.

After all, we want to have a great time, to be the best literature/cultural 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 beast-laced, literature-filled wanderlust. So, then, read these laws carefully and thoroughly, so when you walk into GMCS 333, aka, the Den of Beasts, aka the #NakedSexyBeasts Mothership, you will know what to do and what not to do!


professor beast

                        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 Wednesday afternoons from 1pm to 3:45 in AL 273 (you are welcome to walk back with me after class from the Den of Beasts, GMCS 333, to AL 273; also, if you arrive and 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 or

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 medieval office landline very often!


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 "I read the Cliffs/Sparks Notes online!)

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 her/his ax, a prostitute without, er, well, I better stop there. 

Do the readings

Do them twice if you can MAKE the time! 

I know, you are saying to yourself, "they don't make me read in my other classes" or some other sort of nonsense... well here, you must!

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 to chat 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 phone-call. 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 301 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 singular mind and imagination!

Major Course Requirements


  • 40%  Attendance, Quizzes, In-class "Panic-Inducing Challenges", In-class participation, In-class writing, cineTREKS, Office Hour visits, etc.
  • 30%  Your Imagination Challenge (aka, the Essay)
  • 30%  Final Examination


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

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.

Also to be expected? cineTREKS™!

What are cineTREKS™? These are extra-curricular activities--some on campus, others in the greater San Diego area that are related to our adventures in class.  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 #nakedsexybeasts 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 your own instagram hashtag#, which goes by the catchy, if difficult to type, #nakedsexybeasts. If Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram remain alien to your consciousness, you can send your suggested links/images/videos to me via email to; I don’t promise that I will post ALL of your materials but I will try, however, to see that some of them make their way to the fabulous internets. 

What are you expected to share via social media?  Things you run across that relate to our class experiences--you do not HAVE TO WRITE a long essay with your postings... a couple of pointed, pithy, well-crafted sentences will do, enough to give me and your classmates a sense of a connection to ideas developed during the semester in our class.


Direct link to Beastly Imagination Challenge Prompts

You will be asked to write ONE 5-8 page essay (also know as THE BEASTLY 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 a final In-class Imagination Challenge (aka, the FINAL EXAM) on the last regularly scheduled day of class: Tuesday, December 10 at 11am in GMCS 333.  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 final In-Class Imagination Challenge as enjoyable as being the waiter for the Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo clan!

TAs, Research Associate, Pedagogy Intern, & Professor Biographies

Note: Though you are a member of a particular group, you are free, welcome, and encouraged to reach out to any of us during the semester.

the mighty...


Krystal Galvis is a graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the Department of English and Comparative Literature where she specializes in writing fiction. She received her BA in English at SDSU (2017), and is a writer fascinated by magic, fantasy, and darkness. An avid reader, Galvis believes a book and a poem can change a person’s life. She is currently working on her manuscript thesis that focuses on immigration, borders, and identity in a contemporary fantasy genre. Her published work appears in Feminine Collective Literary Magazine. She is also one of the founding editors of a literary journal called The Dahlia Review and interviews authors/publishers, writes reviews about books and literary events.

email: kgalvis AT sdsu DOT edu
Office hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:30 pm to 2:30pm
Where? --> in AL 260 (aka, the MFA Resource Room)

DAVID ORNELAS, head beast for the...


Hello, my name is David Ornelas and I’m a first year graduate student in the infamous MALAS degree program--the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences! I received my Bachelor’s degree at SDSU in May 2017 from the Rhetoric Writing Studies program. My passion is writing but I’ve found a new love in literature after taking Dr. Nericcio’s ENG220 course back in Fall 2018. We had to read the books for class which can be painful  for some students but after reading each book you learning something new that you can apply to your everyday life. When I’m not reading books, I’m taking the extra steps to teach either at SDSU or a community college. Since I’ve mastered writing as an undergraduate, I hope to master literature in the MALAS program which will only strengthen my knowledge when I decide to teach.

email : dpoj5 AT yahoo DOT com
Office hours: Wednesday 11am-12noon &
Friday - 8AM - 9AM

Where? --> in the SDSU Press office, AL 283

WILLIAM NERICCIO, chief guru for the...


The Director of MALAS, the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences, an interdisciplinary studies program at SDSU, Dr. William Nericcio also serves as Professor of English and Comparative Literature and serves on the faculties of the Department of Chicana/o Studies & the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University. Nericcio's first book, Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of "Mexicans" in America, appeared with the University of Texas Press in February, 2007. His next book, an edited anthology of playwright Oliver Mayer's early works entitled The Hurt Business appeared in April of 2008 and his follow-up to that, Homer from Salinas: John Steinbeck's Enduring Voice for California appeared in March, 2009. Other noteworthy essays by Nericcio include his lurid meditations on the life of Pee-wee Herman (aka Paul Reubens) in The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies and an illustrated survey of the cool graphic narrative Mestizo stylings of Gilbert Hernandez and his spiritual godmother, Frida Kahlo, for NYU Press's Latino Popular Culture. Nericcio's long-awaited meditation on American visual culture, Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race, is in preparation with UT Press, while his new book, with Frederick Luis Aldama, Talking #brownTV: Latinas and Latinos on the Screen, will appear Christmas 2019 with The Ohio State University Press.

email : memo AT sdsu DOT or ... bnericci AT sdsu DOT edu
Office hours: Tuesdays after class to around 3:30pm

Where? --> in AL 273

ALI SCHULZ, lead pedagogy intern for the...


I am a third year student pursuing my undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in three Departments: Linguistics, Television Film and Media, and English & Comparative Literature. I am an Editorial and Marketing Associate for the San Diego State University Press. I also assist with the SDSU College of Arts and Letters Splice Journal and pacificREVIEW: A West Coast Arts Review Annual. When I'm not in the SDSU Press office or the 220 mothership, I am helping out the undeclared student population on this campus

email address: amcschulz AT gmail DOT com
Office hours: Mondays 2pm-3pm in AL 283

SARA SCHULKE, Head of State for...


Sara Schulke is in her second year of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, where she focuses on stories of the absurd or surreal within realistic settings, and occasionally young adult novels.
She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in 2018, where she worked on the only UC-wide literary journal, Matchbox Magazine, and hunted banana slugs. Sara hopes to someday be in the editor's chair at a major publishing house, but for now she's happy to read submissions for Fiction International, as long as she's taking in new thoughts and perspectives through literature.

email: sschulke9773 AT sdsu DOT edu
Office hour: Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:30
  in the MFA Resource Room, AL 260

ELLEN LUSETTI, almighty grand poobah of the...

Montrous Monsters

Ellen Lusetti is a graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, where she focuses on fiction and nonfiction, specializing in women’s literature, mystery, horror, memoir and personal essays. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Music degree (vocal emphasis), where she worked on the literary journal, Blue Mesa Review. Ellen currently reads for Fiction International and runs her own online makeup/skincare business. 

email: elusetti7100 AT sdsu DOT edu
Office Hour: Thursdays 12:30pm in the MFA Resource Room, AL 260

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