English R1B

Reading and Composition: Narratives of Enlightenment

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Fall 2017 Wilson, Evan
TTh 9:30-11 225 Dwinelle

Book List

Hesse, Hermann: Siddhartha; Pamuk, Orhan: The New Life

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with excerpts from: Ecclesiastes; Augustine, Confessions; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience; Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams; John Dewey, Democracy and Education; Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed; Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera



This class explores what it means to be wise, enlightened, or educated. While it will offer no definitive answers to those enormous questions, it will look at how writers in a number of traditions have offered their own answers and written compelling narratives about the process of attaining wisdom. We will read and think comparatively about three related concepts: enlightenment, education, and conversion. What distinguishes them from each other? How does each one, as it’s framed by various writers, demand particular attitudes and ways of behaving from those of us who want to follow these paths? What relevance do such apparently fuzzy or spiritual qualities as “wisdom” or “enlightenment” have for your own college education in 2017?

In the process of reading narratives of enlightenment, you’ll also be writing and developing the research skills that help make you a critical citizen and curator of information in our twenty-first-century digital world. Units on analyzing different genres and media, including newspaper articles, scholarly articles, and film, along with frequent chances to write both formally and informally, will help equip you to write a research paper on a topic of your choosing.

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