English R1B

Reading & Composition: Houses and Homes

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2015 Young, Rosetta
TTh 12:30-2 225 Wheeler

Book List

Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; James, Henry: Washington Square ; Kaysen, Susanna: Girl, Interrupted ; Sittenfeld, Curtis: Prep

Other Readings and Media

Films:  Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee; The Suburbs, Arcade Fire; American Beauty, Sam Mendes; Illmatic, Nas; Downton Abbey, episode 1

Excerpts in course reader from Charles Dickens's David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, Robert Burns, Edgar Allen Poe, Adrien Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family and Marcel Proust 


In this course, we will consider the multiple forms the house and home can take, as well as the relationship between the individual house, apartment, dorm room, etc. and its surrounding environs. We will use a range of texts to help us theorize the physical dwelling itself and its connection—or lack thereof—to the more abstract feeling of being “at home.” We will also consider the condition of the “private space” situated within a larger institutional structure (the campus, the hospital, the housing project, the country estate, the jail, the cemetery) or neighborhood (urban, suburban, rural, small-town and city). Additionally, we will consider the range of possible spaces an individual can occupy throughout his or her life, investigating how this sequence of homes influences our interpretations of whether our own lives and the lives of others are successful, unsatisfying, ideal, unconventional, problematic, normative or just quirky enough.

This course will add to the composition skills developed in R1A by focusing on students’ research skills; students will write two short essays and one longer research-based paper.

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