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Not Quite Passing
ENGL 136
Spring 2016
Section: 01  

While the tradition of memoir can arguably be traced back to St. Augustine's Confessions, there's an equally long history of false memoirs or "memoir minstrelsy" where authors write memoirs about lives they haven't lived or use false backstories to sell and publish fiction as thinly veiled roman a clefs. Often these memoirs/backstories "borrow" narratives from marginalized groups and ethnicities that have traditionally had their own stories hijacked.

Students will explore the tradition of false lives recorded as reality and seek out answers to the weird and difficult questions raised by this mutated genre: What is the author's agenda? Why is it that "people in the majority" consistently mine the plights of marginalized individuals? How did these stories get into our hands at all? Why are readers so willing to trust someone when an author says something is true in a book? What happens when fictional narratives are framed as personal non-fiction reportage? Students will also actively participate in writing their own false memoir, based on their close readings of assigned texts.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-23-2024
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