AMST 340 Fall 2012 Reading Americans Reading (W)

Cross Listed as ENGL340
"Take heed what you read!" Sojourner Truth warned her audiences. Frederick Douglass described the mixed blessing of literacy--facilitating his freedom, but not without first increasing his sense of oppression. Truth and Douglass signal the strong American awareness of both the promises and the dangers of reading, and of the intensely social nature of that seemingly insular world of the reader and the book. While, culturally speaking, we are what we read, it's not always clear how the process of digestion works. How have certain American writers become the writers they are through the books they devour or are denied? How might we account for the mutual relations between reading, consciousness and action, making sense of how reading is at once a function of our social construction, as well as a mode of transforming ourselves and the worlds we inhabit? What happens when we shift our attention from the uses of books to the uses of popular culture, and from readers to fans? Who really authors a text? Using models drawn from literary and cultural theory, social history and theories of literacy, we evaluate the ways Americans have found and lost themselves in their reading. Readings include works by Emerson, Douglass, Melville, Hawthorne, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Roland Barthes, Georges Poulet, Paolo Freire, Carlo Ginzburg, Alice Walker, Richard Rodriguez, Janice Radway, Constance Penley, as well as Harlequin romance, slash and mashup fiction.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation (discussion seminar format), several short papers and one substantial final essay
Additional Info:
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate for English majors; AMST 201 for American Studies majors
Enrollment Preference: English or American Studies majors
Department Notes: counts for either the Arts in Context or Critical/Cultural Theory for American Studies majors only if registration is under AMST
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
Divisional Attributes: Division II, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives,AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives, ENGL Criticism Courses
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 1615
AMST340-01(F) SEM Reading Americans Reading (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Cassandra J. Cleghorn
TF 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Hollander 140 1615
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