SOC 362
Story, Self, and Society Fall 2017
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed COMP 362 / SOC 362
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From The Moth to StoryCorps to Williams College’s own Storytime, stories are ubiquitous in contemporary society. Indeed, sociologists have argued that social life is itself “storied”-that we locate ourselves within familiar narrative structures, using them to “construct” identities and “tell” our lives. Stories, in this view, are not only the stuff of literature, but also the very fabric of social life: the foundation for individual and collective identities. This tutorial will grapple with the role of stories and storytelling in modern social life. What role do stories play in constituting personal identity? What cultural templates structure the stories we tell? Why are memoirs so popular, and how can we explain the more recent resurgence of interest in oral forms of storytelling? Specific topics will include illness narratives, confessional culture, digital stories, oral history, and memoir. As a capstone exercise, each student will construct a narrative analysis focused on a memoir that we will select collectively. The course will conclude with a final seminar meeting during which each student will tell a story of their own, and we will work together to consider how the theories we have encountered throughout the semester might illuminate our own narratives.
The Class: Format: tutuorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1099
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 5-page paper every other week; comments on the partner's paper in alternate weeks
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: if overenrolled, students will be asked to submit a short statement of interest; priority consideration will be given to ANSO and COMP majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under SOC; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 362 Division I SOC 362 Division II

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