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The Burden of Representation

ENGL 390.401
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

This is an interdisciplinary seminar that explores the representation of difference through film, literature, photography, social science, and medicine. The course considers how stigma attaches to particular bodies and the modern regimes of representation that organize the perception of these figures. Topics that will guide our discussion include the history of the human sciences, embodiment and stigma, the concept of deviance, the dynamics of objectification, colonial modernity, the skin as signifier of difference, and poverty and shame. Texts may include work by Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Georges Canguilhem, Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. Du Bois, Daphne Brooks, Irving Zola, Rosemary Garland Thomson, Howard Becker, Kenji Yoshino, Roderick Ferguson, Susan Seizer, Charles Baudelaire, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Jean Genet. We will also be analyzing films by Douglas Sirk, Agnes Varda, Frederick Wiseman, Lars von Trier, Forugh Farrokhzad, and others. Some short writing assignments, a class presentation, and a final seminar paper.