English R1B

Reading and Composition: American Transience in the 20th Century

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2014 Miller, Christopher Patrick
MWF 12-1 225 Wheeler

Book List

Agee and Evans, James and Walker: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Cather, Willa: O Pioneers!; Johnson, James Weldon: Autiobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Kerouac, Jack: On the Road; O'Hara, Frank: Meditations in a Time of Emergency; Robinson, Marilyn: Housekeeping

Other Readings and Media

In addition to the book list, we will read a series of shorter essays to help situate us culturally and historically that will be made available online.


Since the imperious dream of Westward expansion, notions of American autonomy, power, and identity have often been caught up with living in motion.  But of course, motion also involves exposure: to displacement, to homelessness, to precarious labor conditions, etc.  How do we then talk about both the possibility and costs of remaining in motion?  And how is motion experienced across the constructions of race, class, and national borders? 

This class will take up a series of questions about the uneven experiences of living in motion through a variety of narratives and cultural documents.  We will look at not only popular representations of vagrants, hobos, migrants, and modes of transit but also more indirect representations of personalities or communities for whom movement is an integral part of their existence.    

Building on what you have already learned in the first of the Reading and Composition courses, this second course will use the questions that this material poses of us, as well as those we pose of it, to develop your critical reflection as well as your writing and research skills that will culminate in a larger research paper at the end of the semester.

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