Fachbereich 7

Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft

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The Muckrakers: American Fiction as Documentation

DozentIn: Jatin Wagle

Veranstaltungstyp: Seminar

Ort: 41/B10

Zeiten: Do. 14:00 - 16:00 (wöchentlich)

Beschreibung: In his essay on “The Responsibilities of the Novelist” from 1903, Frank Norris characterizes the novel as “an instrument, a tool, a weapon, a vehicle” that “expresses modern life better” than every other art form. This suggests that by the turn of the nineteenth century, narrative fiction had come be judged by many not for its potential to regale its readership but for its ability to record and document contemporary social reality in the United States. In particular, many progressives sought to employ this popular genre to investigate the excesses of capitalist development and to expose the dark underbelly of industrial modernity. This course in American Studies intends to explore and examine this perceived shift in the craft and function of narrative literature during the so-called Progressive era. We would take up a selection of American literary texts from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and analyze them in terms of their journalistic as well as aesthetic facets.
We will be reading and discussing the following texts intensively in our course:
Jacob Riis, _How the Other Half Lives_ (1890) [Norton Critical Edition, edited by Hasia R. Diner (2009), ISBN: 9780393930269]
Charles W. Chesnutt, _The Marrow of Tradition_ (1901) [Norton Critical Edition, edited by Werner Sollors (2012), ISBN: 9780393934144]
Please procure these books and start reading them. Several free or low-cost editions of these texts could be available. The above mentioned editions are recommended, but if you decide to procure other, low-cost versions, please see to it that they are complete and usable in classroom discussions.
In order to take and enjoy this class, you should be willing to read, analyze, and discuss historical and analytical texts, as well as texts of narrative fiction. Please note that this course can be taken as either a Literary Studies or a Cultural Studies course. Furthermore, this seminar is recommended for fourth and fifth semester students of English and American Studies, as it builds on students’ sound awareness and understanding of critical approaches to the study of literature.
As part of your assigned work in this seminar, all the course participants would need to carefully prepare the reading(s) allotted for a session, develop points of discussion, respond to the reading(s) via annotations on Google Docs. If you have queries or doubts, they should also be raised on the digital, collaborative tools. The due dates for your contributions will be mentioned in the syllabus wiki. Our weekly, in-person meetings will be assisted by expert groups/session presenters.
While posting your comments, remarks and questions on digital, collaborative platforms used in this course, please keep in mind that you are communicating and interacting within an academic context. Therefore, your online contributions are expected to articulate informed and well-grounded views that are germane to the course contents, i.e., considered reflections based on analyses and/or scholarly readings.
We will review our progress, revisit and amend the course schedule, our strategies of classroom interaction as well as the seminar contents on a periodic basis. Readings will be made available in a “Readings” folder via links or as pdfs under the “Files” tab.
This course shares requirements and guidelines with other American Studies courses taught at IfAA. The “American Studies Tool Kit” in the Stud.IP “Files” section outlines these requirements and guidelines. Please see the “Guidelines for Seminar Papers” for information on the formal requirements for the final paper. The “Abbreviations Key” and “Grading Rubric” are used in the grading and feedback process and will enable you to better judge your own paper even before handing it in. Please check the course webpages on Stud.IP regularly for updates, announcements, and changes.
Prerequisites for participation: ANG-B1 module

zur Veranstaltung in Stud.IP