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C LIT 250 A: Introduction To Comparative Literature: Literature And Culture

Narrating the Family

Meeting Time: 
TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
Location: 
DEN 212
SLN: 
23179
Instructor:
Brad photo
Brad Gerhardt

Syllabus Description:

Narrating the Family

As common and seemingly universal a word such as “family” seems to be, it has been scrutinized and criticized in literary and cultural studies for its complicity in heteronormativity, patriarchy, racism, capitalism, and more; despite this critique, “family” remains a resilient term for describing intimate human relations. Our intent in C LIT 240 is to examine the deployment of family structures in literature of the 20th century, an era already cautious if not hostile to scenes of domestic bliss, and by this examination of texts themselves to consider whether we can find, as Foucault suggests, “something altogether different,” behind both sentimental and aggressively critical accounts of “family.” We will work through novels and short stories, from J.D. Salinger and William Faulkner on this side of the Atlantic to Virginia Woolf and Joseph Roth on the other, examining the critiques they offer as well as how their interest in narrating the family informs their works. We will specifically examine how their different approaches to thematizing and narrating families interact with contemporary discourse on identity, history, nationality, and time. As a writing course, assignments will center on developing and practicing skills of close reading, commentary, comparative analysis, and research.

Additional Details:

As common and seemingly universal a word such as “family” seems to be, it has been scrutinized and criticized in literary and cultural studies for its complicity in heteronormativity, patriarchy, racism, capitalism, and more; despite this critique, “family” remains a resilient term for describing intimate human relations. Our intent in C LIT 240 is to examine the deployment of family structures in literature of the 20th century, an era already cautious if not hostile to scenes of domestic bliss, and by this examination of texts themselves to consider whether we can find, as Foucault suggests, “something altogether different,” behind both sentimental and aggressively critical accounts of “family.” We will work through novels and short stories, from J.D. Salinger and William Faulkner on this side of the Atlantic to Virginia Woolf and Joseph Roth on the other, examining the critiques they offer as well as how their interest in narrating the family informs their works. We will specifically examine how their different approaches to thematizing and narrating families interact with contemporary discourse on identity, history, nationality, and time. As a writing course, assignments will center on developing and practicing skills of close reading, commentary, comparative analysis, and research. 

Catalog Description: 
Study of literature in its relation to culture. Focuses on literature as a cultural institution, directly related to the construction of individual identity and the dissemination and critique of values.
Department Requirements Met: 
Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:24pm
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