Otherness & Belonging (FYS)|
Fall 2020 not offered
RULE 208F, RUSS 208F, WLIT 245F|
One of the many haunting utterances of Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous antihero, the Underground Man, is "I am alone, I thought, and they are everyone." Like him, the other protagonists of this course are outcasts, dissidents, and strangers - jaded office clerks and repressed misanthropes, queer activists and "enemies of the state" - who refuse to conform to societal norms, disrupt conventions by saying the unsayable, and write and make art from the margins, the realm of undesirables. Focusing mainly on Russia and Eastern Europe, we will analyze representations of otherness and belonging in fiction, non-fiction, and film. We will explore narratives of undesirability through the thematic prisms of exile and immigration; gender and sexuality; mental illness; prison writing; ethnic difference; religion; and unrequited love. The concept of undesirability will also be our point of entry for constructing arguments about community, privilege, and a society without outsiders.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (REES-MN)(REES-Lang/Lit/C)(REES-Social Sci)
Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground, trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
|Examinations and Assignments: |
The writing assignments will include four essays (ca. 5 pp. each), each drafted, peer-reviewed, and revised. The goal of the essays is to hone the skills of framing an argument, engaging with someone else┐s ideas about otherness and belonging, and articulating an analysis of a given problem in concise and elegant prose. In addition to the four main writing assignments, the students will be asked to produce a number of short unrevised writing assignments, such as reading responses, brief film reviews, and close reading exercises. All students will be asked to nominate a text of any genre that grapples with the notions of otherness and belonging in salient ways. The class favorite will be included on the syllabus.
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