English 180A

Upper Division Coursework: Auto/bio/graphy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Sweet Wong, Hertha
TTh 11-12:30 200 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Baca, J. S.: Mart�n and Meditations on the South Valley; Cant�, N.: Can�cula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera; Cha, T. H. K.: Dict�e; Eggers, D.: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; Endrezze, A.: Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon; Hoffman, E.: Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language; Kingston, M. H.: The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts; Momaday, N. S.: The Way to Rainy Mountain; Spiegelman, A: Maus: A Survivor's Tale, Part I: My Father Bleeds History, and Part II: And Here My Troubles Began


In 1909 William Dean Howells called autobiography, 'the most democratic province in the republic of letters.' Acknowledging autobiography as a 'characteristically American mode of storytelling,' contemporary scholars tend to celebrate the liberatory possibilities of self-narration or condemn its patriarchal, colonizing tendencies. In addition to reading a select number of contemporary autobiographies with this in mind, we will read widely in autobiography theory--examining notions of subjectivity, individual identity, community, representation, memory and literacy and the historical-cultural contexts in which they are formulated. We will focus not only on written forms of self-narration, but on those that experiment formally (especially those that incorporate multimedia into their written texts or those that rethink the relationship between image and text) as well as challenge conventional definitions of life writing.

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