English R1B

Reading and Composition: Walking America

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2016 Gillis, Brian
MWF 9-10 225 Dwinelle

Book List

Anderson, Sherwood: Winesburg, Ohio; Baum, L. Frank: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter; Solnit, Rebecca: Wanderlust: A History of Walking; Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly; Thoreau, Henry David: Walking (this one will be an electronic text to be supplied by the instructor)

Other Readings and Media

Map: Berkeley PATH Wanderers Association, Berkeley and Its Pathways (to be provided by the instructor with the generous support of the Koshland Course Development Grant).

Movies:  The Wiz (1978); Manhatta (1921)

Short Stories:  Kate Chopin, "A Morning Walk"; Ray Bradbury, "The Pedestrian"

Poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Walt Whitman


Note the change in instructor, topic, book list, and course description for this section of English R1B.

From Walt Whitman's walks through Manhattan to Leslie Marmon Silko's treks through the Tucson wilderness, American writers have long been preoccupied with the subject of walking and its political, aesthetic, and social meanings. This course will examine the theme of walking from a variety of interpretative frames, and from the perspectives of a wide array of American authors. Our goal will not just be to consider the history of walking in America, but more crucially to understand how that history has shaped American literature and culture and consequently the ways in which we each walk in the world.

The main objective of this course is to equip you with the skills needed to read, write, and analyze literature coherently, and to fine-tune the techniques you use to produce persuasive research essays. The essential skills you learn and refine in this class can become the foundation of your future studies even if your major is outside the humanities, because we will focus on skills generalizable across all classes: reading, writing, researching, and critical thinking. You can expect that the essays and strategy assignments due for this course will build on each other to aid in your compositions and to help you reach new and exciting levels of analysis.

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