ENGL 248
Bearing Witness Fall 2009
Division I Writing Skills
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

“And I only am escaped alone to tell thee,” says the messenger who reports back to Job the disaster he has witnessed. This course will focus on the figure of the “sole survivor,” the one who alone returns from a harrowing ordeal to tell the world the story of what happened. We will ask: what motives and pressures propel the lone survivor to narrate the experience s/he has undergone? how do these pressures influence the shaping of the story? In what ways do the stories of “sole survivors” become part of a collective, social account? In the first section of the course, students will read pre-20th-century narratives of “sole survival,” including the book of Job and Dante’s Inferno. The final two sections of the course will each focus on a 20th-century historical event in which survivor testimony has played an important role: the Holocaust (here, materials will include Lanzmann’s documentary film Shoah, Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, the poetry of Paul Celan, and Art Spiegelman’s Mauss); and the proceedings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission following the dismantling of apartheid (here, materials will include transcripts of testimony, the Handspring Theater’s Ubu and the Truth Commission, and Antjie Krog’s Country of my Skull).
The Class: Format: tutorial; students meet in pairs with instructor once a week; 1 student will present a short analytical paper on texts covered, the other writes a response paper and join instructor in discussion of papers
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1939
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation based on work, discussion and oral presentations
Prerequisites: 100-level English course (except 150) or advanced placement
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores; the course is also open to first-year students with the prerequisites
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time