English R1A

Reading and Composition: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and The "Grapes of Wrath" Narrative

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2017 Cruz, Frank Eugene
MWF 10-11 211 Dwinelle

Book List

Graff, Gerald: They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing; Steinbeck, John: The Grapes of Wrath: Text and Criticism, revised edition

Other Readings and Media

REQUIRED MEDIA:  Note: Will be available via YouTube, bCourses, and/or presented in class. DO NOT BUY THIS STUFF!

Films/Theater/Documentaries: The Grapes of Wrath; The Plough That Broke the Plains; House/Divided; 99 Homes

Music: Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads; Bruce Springsteen, The Ghost of Tom Joad; Rage Against the Machine, "The Ghost of Tom Joad; Desaparecidos, Payola

Photography:  Dorothea Lange and Matt Black

REQUIRED READER OF THEORETICAL, HISTORICAL, AND SECONDARY TEXTS:  Available for purchase at Copy Central. Includes texts by John Steinbeck, Carey McWilliams, James N. Gregory, Michael Denning, Charles Shindo, Americo Paredés, Ramón Saldívar, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites, David See, Mae M. Nagai, Jonathan Dyen, Susan Shillinglaw, Shannon Jackson and Marianne Weems.


Please note the changes in the instructor, topic, book list, and course description of this section of English R1A (as of early December).

In this course, we will read, analyze, and interpret various artistic responses to the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008. We will begin with John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath and conclude with Matt Black's Instagram project The Geography of Poverty. In between, we will engage works of art by Dorothea Lange, John Ford, Woody Guthrie, Americo Paredés, Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against the Machine, The Builders Association, and Ramin Bharani as we attempt to connect the problems of the Great Depression to contemporary problems that America continues to grapple with today: economic collapse, environmental catastrophe, fear and anxiety, the politics of migration, the decline of the white American working class, and the looming threat of fascism. As we explore these works of art and their historical contexts, we will develop your practical fluency in college-level academic writing. In total, you will produce a minimum of 32 pages of writing, including a short diagnostic essay at the beginning of the semester. Full attendance, weekly reading responses, team teaching, writing workshops, and participation in classroom discussion are all required to earn a passing grade in this course.

Back to Semester List