English R1A

Reading and Composition: Forms of Humiliation

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Fall 2016 Callender, Brandon
MWF 3-4 41 Evans

Book List

Baldwin, James: Giovanni's Room; Chee, Alexander: Edinburgh; Kincaid, Jamaica: A Small Place; Kingston, Maxine, Hong: The Woman Warrior; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen; Torres, Justin: We the Animals

Other Readings and Media

Other texts will be made available through the course website. This will include work by a range of authors, such as Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, Thomas Glave, Wayne Koestenbaum and others. 


What do bullying, body-shaming, and bashing do to one’s experience of language and the world? Often, scenes of humiliation involve an encounter between some private ideal we have of ourselves and our public reception. But what is humiliation – this word that has humility at its core, and expresses the common fear of being outcast, misaligned, and misunderstood? In this course we will examine the shifting forms of identity and belonging to see how humiliation can reinforce national, racial, and gendered identities while also providing murky escapes from these categories. To that end, we will consider the role that humiliation plays in the politics of individual and group representation, especially pertaining to questions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability. How does humiliation transform our relationships with our bodies and the world that they inhabit? What happens when we understand works of fragmentation not as broken or impaired forms, but as differently-abled modes of artistic expression?

The goal of the course will be to improve your writing and critical abilities. We will work to develop compelling arguments and clear, artful prose. You will be expected to write and revise three papers over the course of the semester.

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