English R1B

Reading & Composition: Representing American Education

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2014 Huang, Lynn
MWF 12-1 222 Wheeler

Book List

Du Bois, W. E. B.: The Souls of Black Folk; Rodriguez, Richard: Hunger of Memory; Washington, Booker T.: Up from Slavery; Wright, Richard: Black Boy

Other Readings and Media

Waiting for "Superman"; The Freedom Writers Diary (2007 film); selections from Paulo Freire, Lisa Delpit.


What, exactly, do Americans expect education to do for us as individuals, or as a society? What does it mean to “be educated”? It seems there are as many answers to these questions as there are people in this country—but how do we arrive at any answers at all when our population is so diverse? This course will explore literary representations of education in twentieth-century American texts, and consider how these works both reflect and comprise our experience of school and society. Our focus on nonfiction invites the question: in what ways do these narratives themselves constitute educative experience for their authors? How might telling the tale of one’s own education enact that experience? Moreover, what are these texts meant to teach us as readers? Selected critical readings will give context to our discussion of education as a sociocultural institution.

Our primary goal is to cultivate scholarly writing and research skills. Students will learn and implement strategies for developing exposition and argumentation, as well as investigating and incorporating outside sources. Course assignments include one short essay and two longer essays, and students will engage with all stages of the writing process. The third paper will feature a research component.

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