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Ways of Reading: Sound Sense, Nonsense, and Language's Radical Desires

Fall 2021 not offered
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

Ways of Reading courses introduce students to the characteristics thought of as literary and the methods for studying them. This is a gateway course into the English major. Only one of the ENGL201 series may be taken for credit.

Ways of Reading courses develop strategies for careful and close reading, and techniques for the analysis of literary forms such as poetry and drama, and prose narratives such as novels and short stories. They familiarize students with some of the protocols of the literary-critical essay, examine the idea of literature as a social institution, and explore ways of connecting textual details and the world beyond the text. The ways of reading learned in the course are powerful tools for critically assessing discourses that expand far beyond the realm of literature. So while students will become adept literary critics, they also will learn quickly that to be a literary critic is to read critically and carefully all the time: in poems, novels, and plays, but also in political speech, in popular culture, and in the discourses that shape everyday life.

How do we listen to a text? How do we articulate the sensory experiences of music? What shapes do we imagine when we imagine listening so closely that the feeling of listening goes bone-deep? How do we explain, describe, and put into language the feeling of how we approach a text, object, performance, etc., aurally? What does listening have to do with improvisation? With something like freedom? How does the visual appear sonically, and what is its relationship to constraint, to un-constraint? How do we imagine a relation between the practices of close reading and methods of (brown and black) sound studies?

This Ways of Reading course is dedicated to a sonically playful displacement of the technique of close reading into a synesthetic, or multisensorial and improvisational, "poetic listening." The field of this Ways of Reading course is marked on some sides by what Fred Moten calls "philosophy's color line" or "the problem of feeling" (In the Break 77), and by what Jacques Derrida calls "the problem of the cry--of that which one has always excluded, pushing it into the area of animality or of madness ... and the problem of speech (voice) within the history of life" (Of Grammatology 166). We will engage texts by a range of minoritarian and queer writers who compose an American poetics that makes a lot of sounds, has a lot of problems, and opens swishy, stiff, curvy, porous, disturbing, and bent pleasures. Rhetoric, prosody, literary terms and devices, and genre will help us along this path of study.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(ENGL)

Last Updated on JUL-25-2024
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