English R1A

Reading and Composition: Grappling with the Postmodern


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2007 Franklin Melendez
MWF 9-10 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Don DeLillo,White Noise

Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings"

Description

"This course is designed develop and polish college-level writing. By engaging the primary works of the class, we will focus on critical thinking skills, close reading/ analysis, argumentation and organization. We will pursue these objectives through the course topic which introduces the complex problem of Postmodernism.



Despite the frequent deployment of the term �postmodern� its definition remains vague, ranging from the fuzzy to the completely opaque. The central questions driving the course will revolve around competing models for understanding both postmodernity and Postmodernism. These questions include: how do we differentiate the modern from the postmodern? Can we define postmodernity as a clearly demarcated historical period, or are its boundaries more fluid? Can we identify postmodernism as a style, movement or trend in the arts? Can we trace a genealogy for postmodernism? What are its material roots? In particular, what is its relationship to the rise of mass culture, and specific media such as film, television, video and digital technologies? How does postmodernity affect major categories of identity formation such as gender, class and race?



Discussions will focus on the primary texts (film and literary); however, our discussions will also open onto other disciplines with supplementary materials. Some of these materials will include essays, handouts and in-class slide presentations on the visual arts; these will touch upon the influence of the Surrealist and Dada movements, the emergence of Pop Art, and the evolution of �Appropriation Art� in the eighties. We will also engage the role of television and music video. The aim is to obtain a sense of the interdisciplinary nature of the phenomenon, and trace how it emerges in different contexts and media.



The coursework will consist of completing assigned readings/viewings, vigorous discussion participation, in-class exercises, weekly writing assignments, and formal essays. We will also incorporate substantial essay revisions to build upon each student�s work, and address specific issues. "


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