Course Syllabus

Over the course of the semester, you will read and discuss texts, complete regular informal reading and writing exercises, write several longer essays, and prepare a brief retrospective, all while exploring works of literature. You will learn how to construct critical conversations about literature through independent research into the historical, theoretical, and critical contexts of the work. These skills will encourage you to claim ownership over your work and learn how to improve your writing independently.

Our entry point for the texts we will be reading this semester will be the question of cultural identity in its modern and postmodern forms and how we perform multiple identities in social situations. How are our cultural identities constructed and performed? How is status differently defined and performed based on a character’s race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic class? We’ll pursue answers to these questions (and more) through the lenses of history, law, race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, class, immigration, and power. As we pursue answers to those questions, you’ll learn how to contribute meaningfully to a scholarly conversation that precedes you, or perhaps better: you will pursue possible responses to your questions as you shape those responses in relation to what your colleagues say in class discussions and what other literary interpreters say in their published work about the texts.

In our Course Syllabus, you will find the goals and expectation of our course, descriptions of essay assignments, and the due dates for homework and drafts.

Image: Garden of Earthly Delights (2004) by Raqib Shaw

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