In Place of Reading: Social Location and the Literary Text|
Spring 2015 not offered
|Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory|
To read, Michel de Certeau wrote, is to travel. True enough, but de Certeau is using a metaphor, and traveling has appeared in place of reading. Why is it so hard to keep reading in view? Why are so many readers so eager to put something else in its place? This course considers the question by suggesting that, if to read is to travel, it is also to remain precisely where we are, reading. Social location shapes the specific qualities of our attention to literary objects. We will examine key texts that have invited--or coerced--readers into an intensive style of reading in modern times, and we will ask questions about the social worlds represented within the texts and implied outside them. Why have so many of these texts depicted--or tried to enact--the social transformation of readers, that is, to move them somewhere else? What makes some readings portable and roots others profoundly to their places of origin? Who has time and resources to read, and to read closely? Is close reading itself a noxious byproduct of modernity's decadence? Or are there ways of getting close to texts that promise more than social privilege? What are the locations of reading, and how are they part of readers' actualizations of the texts they read? Our texts will range from early modern fiction to contemporary novels, from painting to film, and will be accompanied by major writings on the ethics and theory of reading.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
LAZARILLO DE TORMES (1554)
Daniel Defoe, MOLL FLANDERS (1722)
Benjamin Franklin, AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1771-90)
Thomas Hardy, JUDE THE OBSCURE (1894-95)
J.M. Coetzee, YOUTH (2002)
Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin, TOUT VA BIEN (1972)
Jane Austen, NORTHANGER ABBEY (1818)
Mary Wollstonecraft, A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN (1792)
Mike Leigh, VERA DRAKE (2004)
T.J. Clark, THE SIGHT OF DEATH (2006)
Andrei Tarkovsky, STALKER (1979)
Shorter pieces by Theodor Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, Malcolm Bull, Stanley Cavell, Roger Chartier, Simone de Beauvoir, Gilles Deleuze, Paul de Man, William Empson, Antonio Gramsci, D.A. Miller, Fred Moten, Sean O'Sullivan, Leah Price, Jacques Rancière, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Reinhard Wittman, and Richard Wright.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Weekly short memos. One 5-7pp. paper, one 15pp. paper. Three required film screenings at the Center for Film Studies.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course meets the Theory and Literary History 2 requirements for the English major.
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