Karl Lisovsky  

Every once in a while, something unexpected happens.


A varied life, but I’ve settled down

    I was born in a small town in the north of Michigan to an American mother and a European father.  When I was still young, our family moved to Barcelona, Spain, where we lived until I went into high school.  I'll never forget how hard it was to move there and how immeasurably more difficult it was to move back.  American culture was as foreign to me then as almost anything I could imagine.  Which is perhaps why I have always taken a keen but somewhat detached interest in our popular culture, and which is why I enjoy analyzing it--and making my students question it--in my classes.

    I myself have led an eclectic life.  Academically, I started out in Anthropology and Linguistics at

University of Michigan.  I left Ann Arbor and came to California in the mid 1970s (along with many others of my counter-culture generation) and turned away from academia for a while.  I lived in communal situations, later in remote locations.  I did all kinds of jobs including ranch work, wild land fire-fighting and lots of construction.  Finally I returned to school, making one last detour (a two-year stint in art school) before getting my BA from UC Santa Barbara in the department of Spanish & Portuguese and going on to do graduate work at UCLA in the department of Applied Linguistics. 

    Early on in my career I taught English as a Second Language.  Since 1998, I have been teaching in UCLA Writing Programs, mostly freshman composition courses as well as some upper division and general education courses.