This course will help first-time teachers find useful strategies for teaching both literature and writing about literature. We will explore theories of composition, the politics of the classroom, and the complex issues surrounding plagiarism, grading, harassment, and so on. We will work together during the spring of '99 to develop a syllabus, discussing along the way the issues that haunt syllabus-construction: canonicity, diversity, literariness and the reader-friendliness and unfriendliness of various kinds of texts. Below is a sketch of the writing course so far: the texts are open to discussion, but we will retain the title and the geographical theme.
Writing About Space and Place In the geography of the imagination, we remember places that we have never seen. We come to "know" large parts of the world through representations of them. In this course we will read and write about the consequences of knowing spaces and places through texts. Places may Fae Myenne Ng's San Francisco Chinatown, WEB Dubois's Philadelphia, Jane Austen's England, T.S. Eliot's Wasteland, Spike Lee's Brooklyn, William Wordsworth's Alps, Good Housekeeping Magazine's idea of home, and the Caribbean as it has been written about by Shakespeare, Jamaica Kincaid, and the unsung authors of tourist brochures. The readings will provide the ground for the writing of many short analytic essays through which students will learn to recognize and use many forms of argument.