Fall 2022

The Confession

Listed in: English, as ENGL-477  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-455


Pooja G. Rangan (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 477 and FAMS 455)

Confession is arguably central to expressions of postmodern selfhood in TV talk shows, YouTube videos, tweets, and Facebook updates. It also informs the evidentiary logic of our civil apparatuses (legal, medical, humanitarian) and infuses the fabric of our diplomatic, familial, and intimate relations. Indeed, we might say that the confession is the preeminent practice through which we understand the “truth” of our selves.This course investigates the many meanings and itineraries of the confession. We will focus on the various institutional sites that have shaped confessional regimes of truth (such as the church, the school, the clinic, the prison, the courtroom), as well as the role of media forms (from autobiographical video to cinematic melodrama and reality television) in consolidating and challenging these regimes. Readings and assignments emphasize a twinned engagement with media and cultural theory. Topics include: narratives on coming-out, truth and reconciliation, hysteria, torture, the female orgasm, insanity defenses, and racial passing. 

Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS or equivalent introductory film course, plus any one course in cultural studies/literary theory/gender studies/race and ethnicity studies. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Rangan.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to junior and senior English and FAMS majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: weekly readings and screenings; in-class activities (lectures, close readings of films, discussions, and debates); regular writing assignments (reading responses, textual analysis, argument-driven essays).

ENGL 477 - LEC

Section 01
M 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CHAP 101
W 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CHAP 101
Su 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM FAYE 115


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2019, Fall 2022