English R1B

Reading and Composition: Media Fictions / Fictional Medias

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2018 Wilson, Mary
MWF 1-2 122 Wheeler

Book List

Brown, Brandon: Top 40; Lerner, Ben: 10:04; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen

Other Readings and Media

Henry Jenkins, "Convergence Culture"; Morgan Parker, There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce; Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things; Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media; John Perry Barlow, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”; Claudia Rankine, “Open Letter: A Dialogue on Race and Poetry”; Christian Marclay, The Clock, Theodore Adorno, "On Popular Music"; Laurie Anderson, Americans on the Move; Jon Bois, What Football Will Look Like in the Future.


Note the changes in instructor, topic, book list, and course description.

What does it mean to be mediated? According to the OED, the word "media" comes from the Latin medium, for "middle, center, intermediary." And according to a quick Google search, we spend up to eight hours a day in the fraught middle ground of media consumption. But this is all old news, and we have plenty of news to keep up with. So in this class we will bracket the question of what "the media" is or should be. We will turn instead to the question of how it functions, how it comes between us and the world, and consider works that resist, reconfigure, or remix various media content for aesthetic or political ends. We will read books by Claudia Rankine, Brandon Brown, and Ben Lerner alongside the cultural sources they engage with, and consider the writings of Teju Cole and Morgan Parker in relation to their Twitter interventions. We’ll also think about the internet as a medium in Jon Bois’s online fiction What Football Will Look Like in the Future. In our writings and conversations we’ll explore how our notions of presence, cultural affiliation, and political urgency are affected by our engagement with different media, and develop tools to read across the texts and images that saturate our daily lives. The primary aim of this course is to develop your critical thinking, writing, and research skills. To this end, you will write and revise two short critical essays (4-5 pages) and one final research project (8-10 pages). Students will also be responsible for weekly reading responses and in-class peer writing reviews.

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