129AC | CCN: 26498

Autobiography and the Rhetoric of Individualism in American Cultures

Instructor: Michael Mascuch,

4 Units

T/TH 9:30 - 11:00 AM, Dwinelle 215 ///

This Rhetoric course is intended to fulfill the American Cultures Breadth Requirement. Its purpose is to introduce students to American autobiography and American cultures by means of exploring how representations of personal experience by writers of diverse cultural groups respond to or are otherwise informed by the American rhetoric of individualism. We will begin with a general, critical discussion of "individualism" as an ideology and of "autobiography" as a mode of discourse that performs a specific rhetorical function for Americans, and then move on to explore the complex relationship between discourse and ideology in American cultures through rhetorical analysis of particular autobiographies. We will examine a series of primary works drawn from three American racial & ethnic cultures: African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/a & Chicano/a Americans, to consider how these texts address the imperatives of ideology and cultural and social discourse.

Students will complete three papers. One of the three papers will count as the final exam.