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See this document for course policies and reading schedule: English 300 SQ17 syllabus Canvas.docx
This course is framed by two sets of questions. One set is focused on examining the cultural value assigned to fictional narratives. Why are some texts deemed “major” and others not? Who decides what is major (besides Oprah)? How does knowing that a text is “major” change what we notice in a text?
The other set of questions is focused on the relationship between reading and self-making. How does reading shape how we see ourselves? In what ways does reading both foster and foil the compassion we feel for others?
We will read Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Ursula LeGuin’s The Wizard of Earthsea, Viet Nguyen’s short story “Black-Eyed Women,” and Ted Chiang’s novella “Story of Your Life.” This literature will be supplemented by selected theory on narrative and aesthetics. In order to best develop answers to the organizing questions of the course, I will be asking you to practice some different forms of analytical writing this quarter. Some writing will be of the kind expected in traditional English class analyses, but others will use more open formats to better access the deep and myriad ways that reading affects our imagining of ourselves and our culture.