English R1B

Reading and Composition: If it had been a movie, I wouldn't have believed it: Representation Of and After 9/11

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Spring 2007 Annie McClanahan
TTh 8-9:30 am 204 Wheeler Hall

Other Readings and Media

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer)

In the Shadow of No Towers (Art Spiegelman)

Rules for Writers, 5th edition (Diana Hacker)

A required course reader containing poems, short stories, essays and critical articles. "


"Responses to the events of September 11th, 2001 made surprisingly frequent reference to narrative: unable to describe the attacks any other way, we either noted their similarity to film or TV, or we described our shock by saying, as the title of this course puts it, ?If it had been a movie, I wouldn?t have believed it.? In this class, we?ll consider representations of and in the aftermath of September 11th as they appear in fiction, poetry, media, visual art and film. We?ll also read critical essays on issues such as the media and trauma, historical analogy, 9/11 and commerce, and memorialization. What are the available literary, narrative, or cultural forms for describing events we couldn?t imagine? What comes in the aftermath of national or personal trauma? Do we seek something different in literature after experiencing a ?nightmarish? reality? How do we properly memorialize national tragedies, and what political questions do these memorials raise?

And of course we?ll also be thinking about, talking about, and doing a lot of writing! The goal of R1B is to equip you with the skills needed to read, analyze, and write about literature and culture effectively, and to refine your skills in using research and evidence to construct persuasive expository essays. Throughout the semester you?ll work on a series of assignments designed to develop specific reading and writing skills. After getting your muscles stretched with these short assignments, we?ll shift to the long-distance running of longer and more argumentative expository papers, essays for which you?ll be free to develop both a topic and a set of research sources/primary texts according to your own interests and/or academic discipline. These essays will go through an extensive drafting process, both in peer workshop groups and in one-on-one meetings with me. "

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