English R1B

Reading & Composition: Talking Normal: Speech Disorders and Disability in the 20 th Century

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
14 Spring 2008 Chris Eagle
TTh 9:30-11 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Charles M. Jones, et al. Looney Tunes ; Ken Kesey. One Flew Over the Cuckoo�s Nest ; Yukio Mishima. Temple of the Golden Pavilion ; Philip Roth. American Pastoral ; Franz Kafka. The Metamorphosis ; Lennard Davis. The Disability Studies Reader ; Susan Yankowitz. Night Sky; Sheila Hale. The Man Who Lost His Language; Arthur Kopit. Wings


"This course explores the numerous conflicted and contradictory ways in which speech disorders have been represented in twentieth century literature. We will engage with texts from a range of genres including novels, plays, nonfiction memoirs, essays and even cartoons, all of which portray the conditions either of stuttering or of aphasia. We will approach each of our primary texts alongside relevant secondary literature from the fields of Psychology, Linguistics, Speech Pathology, and Disability Studies. Because this course is also intended to serve as an introduction to Disability Studies, many of the central concerns of this growing field will guide our discussions throughout the semester. Some topics under consideration will include cultural definitions of what constitute �regular� or �normal� ways of speaking, the socially constructed status of the �normal� or �able� body, related issues of illness and recovery, the stigmas and comedic value often associated with speech disorders, and what the phenomenology of speech disorders can teach us ultimately about what it means to communicate. Although our primary impetus throughout the course will be, as one critic puts it, to discover �how representation attaches meaning to bodies,� the richness of all of the texts will undoubtedly lead us to explore them from numerous viewpoints, not solely that of Disability Studies.

Our method throughout will be a close in-class analysis of the novels, dialogues, and films. The focus will be on the development of your close-reading skills as well as an improvement in your writing that builds upon your experience in R1A. Thus, a portion of in-class time will also be spent workshopping each other�s writing. There will also be exercises assigned to develop your research skills for the final paper. "

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