English R1B

Reading & Composition: Post-1945 Deserts

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2015 Rahimtoola, Samia Shabnam
MW 4-5:30 225 Wheeler

Book List

Albee, Edward: Desert Solitaire; Anzaldua, Gloria: Borderlands/La Frontera; Austin, Mary: The Land of Little Rain; Bitsui, Sherwin: Flood Song; Silko, Leslie Marmon: Ceremony

Other Readings and Media

Required Course Reader will include primary works by T.S. Eliot, Charles Olson, and Robert Misrach, and critical writings by Michel Foucault, W.T.J. Mitchell, Mark Reisner, Rebecca Solnit, and Shiloh Krupar.


(Note the new instructor, topic, book list, and course description for this class:)

In this course, our primary focus will be the cultural representation of the American desert in the post-1945 period. From the first detonation of the atomic bomb in New Mexico to the massive infrastructure projects devoted to bringing water to the west, the American desert has served as both backdrop and rallying cry for American environmental struggle. We will investigate the ways in which literature, film, and activist writing reveal the desert as a site at once subjected to and critical of the administrative logic of late modernity. Drawing on secondary readings in critical geography and cultural criticism on landscape and place, we will confront the desert as a contested, produced, and rigorously managed site.

This course acts as an introduction to college composition and research. Together, we will develop skills of critical reading and learn how to build evidence-based arguments from our readings of literary texts. We will also learn how to construct compelling research questions from literature and other arts. To help you through this process, we will devote significant class time to developing analytical, argumentative, and verbal skills. Concretely, over the course of the semester, you will produce at least 32 pages of writing.

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