Here you will find course materials and assignments for English 204: The Literature of Culture. If you have questions or concerns or cannot find something, please let me know ASAP!
From the course description: In this section of the Literature of Culture we will be reading texts that seek to bear witness, inviting the reader not just to acknowledge a variety of economic, social, political, and cultural ills, but also to change how she goes about her daily life. These texts, then, deal directly with moral reflection and cultural diversity. While notions of witness may entail legal and cultural forms of truth, particularly with regard to why the reader would/would not enact the real-world changes sought by the text, these texts nonetheless complicate how we relate to historical events, times, and places. To what extent are the universal truths of human rights and human dignity more important than the historical occurrences that befall a particular individual? In making arguments for sweeping change, why do such texts often elide the individual stories of their authors in order to highlight the more general condition of the author’s social/ethnic/economic/racial class? How do moments of fiction actually bring us closer to the truth than the factual recording of events? How do our own ideas of truth prejudice our readings of these texts? What factors complicate the production of these texts with regard to authority, writing, and their potential reception? Does who reads in the end matter just as much as who’s doing the writing?