English R1B

Reading and Composition: The Feeling of Labor

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Fall 2018 Walton, Alex
MWF 1-2 211 Dwinelle

Book List

Readings will be made available via a course reader (to be purchased)

Other Readings and Media

We will plan to screen two films: Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936, silent), and Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, English subtitles). 


This course will take up the changing ways in which work and labor have been depicted in literature and other arts as conditions and conceptions of labor have transformed over time, from subsistence labor to post-industrial production. How have the many modes of work -- agricultural, reproductive, domestic, factory-floor -- shaped the making of literary artifacts? How, as readers and thinkers, do we engage with (artistic or literary) works that seem especially demanding of our labor, throwing the burden of understanding or enjoyment on their audience? In addition to poems, short stories, and films, we will be reading a small set of critical essays to orient our thinking about these questions.

At the practical level, we will experiment with writing in various forms and formats, practicing and talking through the particular kind of work that scholarly writing (and thinking) about literature demands: this will involve revision and peer writing workshops, and a semester-long effort to find and form practices genial to developing your own process and habits of writing. By the end of the semester, students will complete a substantial piece of critical writing based on their own research, engaging with primary and secondary source material.

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