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Victorian Fictions of Research
ENGL 212
Fall 2023
Section: 01  

This course will investigate the relationship between literary production and new models of scientific evidence during the heyday of Britain's global power. We'll ask how novels grappled with new scientific paradigms and forms of evidence--the invention of anthropological fieldwork, the police archive, the geological and fossil record, the statistical average--and explore how those developments were reimagined through British fiction between 1830 and 1900. We'll focus on the theories of self and other that accompanied new scientific methods--the categories of primitive, deviant, minor, pathological, everyday--and the relation of this research to the construction of evidence, the scientific self, labor, and gender as social, historic, and economic processes. We will read fiction by Gaskell, Eliot, and Carroll, alongside social theory by foundational thinkers of the nineteenth century (Marx, Simmel, Martineau) and our own (Barthes, Said, Steedman). As a part of the course, we will also extend the conceptual questions raised by research to our own work, as we explore a range of scholarly tools and methods--from special collections archives to digital databases--in reflecting on the practices and infrastructures of research. The class will include trips to Wesleyan Special Collections.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on APR-16-2024
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