English 150

Senior Seminar: Reading New Orleans

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2005 Snyder, Katherine
Snyder, Katherine
TTh 9:30-11 61 Evans

Other Readings and Media

A hefty photocopied course reader is required, as are some of the following books (please consult the course syllabus at the beginning of the semester before buying books for this class!): Berry, J.,et. al.: Up From the Cradle of Jazz; Buerkle, J. and Barker, D.: Bourbon Street Black; Cable, G.W.: Old Creole Days or The Grandissimes; Heard, M.: French Quarter Manual; Hearn, L.: Inventing New Orleans: Writings of Lafcadio Hearn; Johnson, W.: Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market ; Lewis, P.: New Orleans: the Making of an Urban Landscape; Marquis, Donald M.: In Search of Buddy Bolden; Saxon, L.: Fabulous New Orleans; Smith, M.: Spirit World; Rose, A.: Storyville, New Orleans


The Big Easy, the City that Care Forgot, The Most Interesting City in the World, the Great Southern Babylon....what has New Orleans done to earn these sobriquets? In what ways has New Orleans been imagined by those who have lived or visited there? What can the literature and culture of New Orleans tell us about the inventions and reinventions that have emerged from its mixture of peoples, memories, and histories? An intersection of African diasporic, European, and Native cultures that first began to develop out of colonization and the slave trade, New Orleans is a particularly, and peculiarly, American place, not so much a melting pot as a gumbo of cultural differences and convergences. We will read a wide array of historical, theoretical, cultural, and literary texts to inform our understanding of New Orleans's unique geographical, urban, and architectural spaces; its distinctive cuisines and music; its spiritual traditions and carnival (Mardi Gras!); and its historical and contemporary association with sexual license. Students will do several short written exercises and essays, a collaborative project, an oral presentation of independent research, and a longer research-based essay on a New Orleans literary text or cultural phenomenon. Regular attendance, active participation, and on-time submission of written work are required.

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