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Topics in American Literature

ENGL 286.301
instructor(s):
TR 9-10:30

This course considers audiences' expectations and creators' exploitations of facts in written and visual media. This discussion begins with the notion of facts as deeds done or actual happenings in time and space and continues by investigating the assertive use of the term as opposite and privileged in relation to the subjective or fanciful. Among the topics is a section on word and image, specifically photography, exploring the "seeing is believing" myth. This section encompasses photojournalism such as war reporting and the photographic and written accounts of the Depression, and it ends by looking at the relatively new phenomenon of digital photography. Other topics include a section on memoir/autobiography, as well as a look at so-called objective writing as offered in newspapers, news magazines, and televised news programs. In addition, the philosophic complexities of adaptation are addressed in a case study, such as that provided by the film *Amistad* and its relation to history and fiction.