The Literature and Writing Studies Department values the close relationship between
literature, reading, and writing and requires majors to take courses that specialize
both in literature and in writing. Three- and four-hundred level courses may be taken
with junior standing, or with consent of the instructor. We encourage students to
take LTWR 307 and/or LTWR 325 as soon as possible, preferably in the semester they
begin work on their major. Five-hundred level courses may be taken by advanced undergraduates
meeting the necessary pre-requisites as well as graduate students.
In keeping with the multicultural and interdisciplinary philosophy of Cal State San Marcos' Mission Statement, the LTWR major provides students with a global literary experience, which may be best described under the general rubric of "cultural studies." In its broadest sense, this term implies that literature and other cultural artifacts are studied as reflections and expressions of the cultures that value them. Studied in this context, literature is viewed not only in terms of its form and style, its relation to previous traditions and genres, its rhetoric and language, but in terms of its use in constructing social and cultural identities. Cultural studies may involve comparative approaches between "high" and "low" forms of expression; it may concern itself with new kinds of media (film, video, computers); it usually involves issues of social status, gender, ethnicity, and national demographics; it often examines relationships between various kinds of cultural documents (historical records, archives, newspapers, novels).
From a pedagogical point of view, cultural studies stresses cross-cultural contexts of a given literature, exploring not only the dominant literary tradition of a culture, but also the indigenous, marginalized or unrecognized literatures within that tradition. These "literatures" take multiple forms: oral tale, comic book, folk narrative, national epic, or avant garde poem.
The LTWR major also provides directed experience in writing expository prose, fiction, poetry for various media or professional audiences, as well as intensive work in practical criticism and rhetorical theory. An integral feature of the program is to place emphasis on student interaction through peer-groups. Students who are developing themselves as writers will regularly find courses offered in various genres to develop their own style and breadth of experience in composition and criticism. Those interested in the teaching of writing will find the major a context both for writing extensively and for dealing critically with the act of written composition.
The Literature and Writing Studies department understands the value that proficient reading and writing skills bring to any career. The LTWR minor provides students with the opportunity to enhance these skills alongside their major. At only 15 units, our minor is designed to complement your other studies, not overshadow them.
The minor requires 5 LTWR courses: one lower division, one Literature course, one Writing course and two electives. Students are able to develop the skills they value most and can select topics that pique their interest. Some courses may even satisfy GE requirements simultaneously!
A LTWR minor demonstrates to employers excellent written and oral communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creative skills, making our students highly desired applicants.