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Gender and Phototextuality

ENGL 290.401
crosslisted as: AFRC 290, GSWS 290
TR 12:00-1:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Cultural Diversity in the US of the College's General Education Curriculum

Expanding the definition of phototext to encompass literary texts employing photographic techniques as well as photographs, we will explore the impact of gender on seeing and rendering narrative in photographic images. Are issues of power necessarily inscribed in making of the photograph? Why did women gravitate early on to the art of photography? We will consider the interactions between the visual and the verbal, the uses of photography in textual representations, and the intersection of photography and narrative. What function does the photograph serve when incorporated into written texts? What work do photographs perform when linked to fictional narratives? Is there a gendered component to the socio-political role and discursive practices of phototextuality?

Texts: Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography; Susan Sontag, On Photography; James Agee and Walker Evans, Now Let Us Praise Famous Men; Richard Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter; Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones; Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia; Dana Gynther, The Woman in the Photograph; Helen Humphreys, Afterimage.  Several films selected from: City of God, The Color Purple, Daughters of the Dust, Blow Up, Amelie, The Lovely Bones,  Rear Window, and Memento. Two papers, one of which is a final project involving taking photographs, and one examination are required.