Listed in: English, as ENGL-95
Marisa Parham (Section 04)
(Offered as English 95-04 and Women’s and Gender Studies 95-01.) This course examines some of the many ways American authors have written about memory–memories of the past as well as of other places, about memories that refuse to be surfaced and memories that are at times not even of their protagonists’ own lives. How, for instance, do writers portray the ways painful pasts have influenced their characters’ senses of self-identity? What does it mean to suffer for a past whose details one does not even know? Is a truth freeing, or does overcoming the hidden and silent increase memory’s burdens? What are some of the possibilities and limitations of portraying traumatic experiences in the novel form? And can “trauma” even mean the same thing across ethnic experiences? With such questions in mind we will look specifically at novels concerned with two of the foundational experiences of American civilization, slavery and migration, and at the pervasive problems of longing, disjuncture, and displacement endemic to such experiences. Authors we may read in this cross-cultural literature course include Maxine Hong Kingston, Edwidge Danticat, Gayl Jones, and Cynthia Ozick.
Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Parham.
If Overenrolled: Preference given to senior and junior English majors.