English R1B

Reading and Composition: Living Photographically

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2016 Yoon, Irene
MWF 9-10 225 Wheeler

Book List

Agee, James & Walker Evans: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen; Sebald, W.G.: The Emigrants; Sontag, Susan: On Photography; Turabian, Kate: A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations; Woolf, Virginia: Orlando

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader, including essays by Charles Baudelaire, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Siegfried Kracauer, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Hine, Roy Stryker, Sharon Musher, Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes, Geoffrey Batchen, Leigh Raiford, Teju Cole, and Alison Winter.


This course examines the increasingly central role of photography in capturing and constituting events in our everyday lives. We will conduct a broad survey of critical essays on photography from its inception to the present day, tracking not only its technological development over the last century and a half but also key debates regarding photography's capacity to change the world and our sense of ourselves in it. As we begin to understand the world as photographed and photographable in the twentieth century, new questions emerge as to the kinds of narrative practices we turn to in telling stories of our individual and collective experiences. Does photography record history or make it? What kinds of (in)visibility has the medium offered its subjects throughout the last two centuries? We move from critical investigations to contemporary literary texts that attempt to grapple with these issues thematically and formally. Our class will enter these ongoing conversations in a similar spirit, maintaining a Tumbir comprised of mixed photographic and verbal responses both to our texts and to each other's posts. This course also requires two short essays and will culminate in a final research project and presentation.

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