English R1B

Reading and Composition: Cold War Literature and Culture

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2006 Melissa Fabros
MWF 3-4 222 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Course reader

Rise Axelrod, Reading Critically, Writing Well: A Reader and Guide

James Monaco, How to Read a Film

George Orwell, 1984

Graham Greene, The Quiet American

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

Gwendolyn Brooks, Blacks

A.R. Ammons, Tape for the Turn of the Year,

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Theresa Hak Kyun Cha, Dict�e

The Atomic Caf� (1982)

The Fog of War (2003)

Munich (2005)"


"This course looks at what was happening in culture at large from the mid- twentieth century until the end of the Cold War. We will immerse ourselves in the popular and political culture of the time�literature, poetry, film, television, advertising, and so on�in order to frame our readings and to see what response artists were making to that milieu. The �tranquilized fifties,� as Robert Lowell called the period, were in fact a period of world-wide instability, fear, and crisis�a situation that ironically accounts for the domestic traditionalism we associate with American society of the time.

The approaches we learn through critical writing can be applied to cultural products of all levels, not only the �high� culture of the sonnet or the literary novel, but also, as numerous books and articles have demonstrated, the �pulp� fiction of popular romance and detective stories; popular music of all varieties; and the most popular art form of the twentieth century, the fiction film. In this course we will read a variety of American cultural artifacts of the last half of the twentieth-century to understand their themes, their style, their techniques and perhaps particularly their social and political content, often expressed in allegory and representing the anxieties, hopes, and values of the period.

This will be a writing process oriented course with a research component. We will improve upon their current university level writing skill by developing an awareness of English grammar and rhetoric through exercises and demonstrated during journal free writing. Analytic reading skills will be practiced and executed through constructed response assignments, culminating with extensive peer and instructor drafting of three 5-7 pages critical papers, and a final research-based critical analysis.

Course requirements: one assessment essay, two 5-6 page critical papers, one 7-10 page research paper, drafting assignments, class presentation, constructed response assignments, grammar and writing exercises, group journals."

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