English R1B

Reading and Composition: The Postmodern and Beyond

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Fall 2004 Franklin Melendez
TT 3:30-5 243 Dwinelle

Other Readings and Media

"Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita

Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49

DeLillo, Don. White Noise

Easton Ellis, Bret. American Psycho


Lynch, David. Blue Velvet (1986)

Fincher, David. Fight Club (1999)

Inarritu, Alejandro Gonzales. Amores Perros (2001)

Excerpts from:

Twin Peaks

Buffy the Vampire Slayer [an error occurred while processing this directive] "


"This course is designed to introduce the complex problem of the postmodern. Despite the frequent deployment of this term, its definition remains vague, ranging from the fuzzy to the completely opaque. The central questions driving the course will revolve around competing models for defining the postmodern. 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 something like a postmodern style? Can we trace a genealogy of the postmodern? 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? As we gain a fuller understanding of the problems surrounding the field, we will also try to identify some of the underlying anxieties of these major accounts, particularly with regard to the consumer, the proliferation of the mass-produced, spectacle, and globalization. Ultimately, we will want to ask what it would mean to move beyond the postmodern?

We will attempt to explore these questions mainly through the primary literary texts. However, I will also introduce additional materials from other disciplines which might illuminate the problem and allow us to refine our analytic skills through various disciplines. Most of the supplemental material will be drawn from the visual arts, such as Surrealism, Dada and Pop Art. We will also try to engage some works of television and music video. The aim here is to get a sense of the interdisciplinary nature of the phenomenon, and see how it emerges differently according to particular media.

The main aim of this course is to continue developing and polishing the writing/ critical thinking skills obtained in 1A. By engaging the primary works of the class, we will continue focusing on critical thinking skills, close reading/ analysis, argumentation and organization. In addition to our formal essays, we will have weekly writing assignments, as well as substantial revisions which will allow students to work with feedback. The semester will culminate in a final research paper which will require the use of secondary sources in preparation for upper division level work. "

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