1A: Reading & Composition
In this course we will read a variety of short essays that attempt to analyze some aspect of the everyday. We will engage topics as wide ranging as fashion, food, race, nature, the home, language and the body, with sources ranging from philosophy to popular culture. Our readings will serve as sites for close-reading and critical engagement as a class. They will also ground and support the analyses of cultural objects, experiences and practices that you will perform on your own. Over the course of the semester we will grapple with the following questions: How does one write about the everyday? How are experiences, observations and popular phenomena translated into academic writing and thought? How can the critical tools of philosophy and theory enable us to read our everyday lives with more insight and creativity?
This course is writing and reading intensive. There will be assigned papers of varying lengths and styles throughout the semester, as well as in-class writing. We will focus consistently on practices of close reading and textual analysis, as well as the development of 'voice'. We will also pay critical attention to the act of writing itself, the relationship between writing and reading, and the politics of style. Questions of race, class, gender and sexuality will be vital to our engagement of the texts.
1. Lorde, Sister Outsider
2. Barthes, Mythologies
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)