English R1A

Reading & Composition: We, Myself, and Why: Individuals, Communities, and Outsiders

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2015 Albernaz, Joseph
TTh 9:30-11 222 Wheeler

Book List

Butterworth, Jez: Jerusalem ; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein (1818 Text); Whitman, Walt : Leaves of Grass

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader 


“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you”

-Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”


What does it mean to be an individual, to say “I”? What does it mean to be part of a group or community? These days we seem to take individualism and the importance of the individual for granted, but was it always this way? This class will examine the ways in which individuals are conceived of and formed, as well as how larger communities include some individuals and exclude others. How are these outcasts and outsiders represented, and how do they represent themselves?

We will consider these and other questions by exploring and discussing a wide range of media from the past two hundred years: literature (poetry, novels, plays, essays), philosophy, film, TV, and visual art – especially artists classified (accurately or not) under the umbrella term “outsider art.”

The central goal of the R1A course will be to develop your critical thinking and writing skills. You will write and revise three papers of increasing length over the semester, and work with peers to improve your writing and ideas.


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