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Archiving America
ENGL 341
Spring 2021
Section: 01  

Sounds, ephemera, books, letters, classified documents, feelings. All of these materials can constitute an archive and, in turn, shape what we know and don't know. This class will ask: What is an archive, and how does it shape the production and suppression of knowledge? We will study authors who illustrate the importance of archiving experiences and events across scale, from pandemics to hunger, genocide to day-to-day survival, environmental disaster to the smallest of environmental shifts. We will also consider the politics of the archive, given that the same archive can yield vastly different interpretations, depending on what one's priorities are. Throughout the course, we will closely attend to the archive's many purposes. It is a way to cope with catastrophe, an instrument through which nations and empires sanitize the past, and a method for ethically imagining what has been lost and what is yet to be found. Finally, to consider archival concepts alongside practice, we will familiarize ourselves with the language and key concepts of archival processes and work with Wesleyan's Special Collections and Archives. Students will have the option of delving into their own materials or the University's archives to undertake projects that illuminate something valuable about the archive.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUN-24-2024
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