ENGL 935 (01) - Seminar: Studies in American Literature

Sem/Studies Americn Literature

Durham   Liberal Arts :: English
Credits: 4.0
Term: Spring 2020 - Full Term (01/21/2020 - 05/04/2020)
Class Size:   10  
CRN: 55270
May be repeated.
Section Comments: Special Topic: Recent Memoir/Autobiography/Theory
You must sign up in the Dept Office before registering through WEBCAT.
Instructors: Diane Freedman

Times & Locations

Start Date End Date Days Time Location
1/21/2020 5/4/2020 M 4:10pm - 7:00pm HS 108
Additional Course Details: 

Recent Memoir/Autobiography/TheoryRecent Memoir/Autobiography/Theory

This course will focus on autobiography as a predominant literary and critical mode through a study of recent literary memoirs and other works in and about the personal mode, including some of those in the hybrid form known variously as autobiographical scholarship, personal scholarship, or narrative criticism, among other terms. Addressing the issues of self-inclusion, emotion, and voice and story in literary criticism and theory and academic writing more generally–not to mention being mortal--the seminar is for creative and academic writers, critics, theorists, teachers, social activists.

An increasing number of writers--especially feminist, composition, literary, and environmental scholars–join the personal with the critical as well as political, often challenging both the literary canon and conventions of critical prose. The borders between reader and writer and author and subject, like those between genres and disciplinary discourses, the personal and the professional, blur. Memoirs, which invoke and reflect current thought about trauma, illness, identity, authority, writing, and testimony, are increasingly the subject of scholarly attention as well as woven into scholarly practice. We will examine, map the influence of, and emulate some of the hybrid forms scholars and poet-critics use to express overlapping and competing writerly and personal identities in a culture which has often silenced persons not of the dominant gender(s), race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, political orientation, and/or state of mental or physical health.

Readings will include literary memoirs, graphic memoirs, hybrid memoirs, autobiographical scholarship, including in disciplines other than literature, and related critical-theoretical texts.  We may discuss “technologies of memory,” controversies around fraudulent memoirs (A Million Little Pieces, Fragments, Love and Consequence , The Angel at the Fence), the truth quotient and autobiographical pact expected in memoir, and gender and life-cycle issues in memoir, among other aspects of now enormous field.  We will also spend time on English academic conventions, practices, and “genres” as well as the continually changing shape of literary studies and what to do with degrees in “English.”      

Writing will include short and long responses to, assessments/analyses of, and practice in personal-scholarly writing. Attendance, careful and complete reading, engaged and knowledgeable discussion, an oral presentation/inauguration and follow-up comment, an annotated bibliography, and peer responses are also required. 

Readings may include Educated, Being Mortal, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant, Fun Home, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, Lying, H is for Hawk, Adventures with Ari, Autobiographical Writing across the Disciplines (selections), The Teacher’s Body (selections), autobiographical,theory and criticism, as time and interest allow.

THIS COURSE COUNTS FOR ENGLISH AND FOR THE FEMINIST STUDIES CERTIFICATE and with permission may count for the English graduate requirement in theory.

Please contact the instructor Diane.Freedman@unh.edu with any questions or suggestions.