This section of 111 will investigate literary and cultural products that are often considered taboo, forbidden, transgressive, provocative, and have been banned or contested. Engaging with this literature will allow us to cultivate skills and methods of rhetorical analysis and scholarly writing at the college level. In this class we have four themed weeks dedicated to representations in literature that often lead to texts being banned or contested:
- Representations of sexuality / gender
- Representations of violence
- Representations of race
- Representations of state religion / power
We will engage in complex discussion topics such as:
…What rhetorical situations/writing makes literature taboo, transgressive, or provocative?
…Is the taboo always bad?
…Can literature be dangerous? Who decides?
...Are there limits to what children or students can be exposed to in the classroom?
…Should all literary or cultural products be available for consumption?
…Should books be banned? Can we be offended by literature?
…Does literature reinforce or challenge prejudice and stereotypes?
…How does fiction connect with reality? How does power operate in literature?
…How does provocative literature shape our understanding of the world? My own identity?
We will continually reengage these questions as we work to analyze literature in service of developing skills as researchers and writers at the college level. What I ask is that we all work to be respectful and open to the views of others throughout the quarter (This includes the authors and the content/themes of the texts!). The more we commit to the thoughtful discussion of the texts, open engagement with writing, and sharing of ideas the more enjoyable and fruitful this course will be. I can promise that if we all participate it won’t be boring!