Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What're They Teaching Us: ENGL 307, Cultural Studies

It is now officially the third day of the new quarter, and I'm beginning to get better acquainted with the specific brand of academic variety that I've chosen for myself for the next ten weeks. I've got a normal lecture class, with Pscyhology, and a super-crazy experimental class, with Informatics, and I thought I'd go ahead and round out the quarter with just a nice, solid English class. Books, as you may have noticed, happen to be my favorite, and I was looking forward to reading some new ones. 

Imagine my everlasting surprise when I checked the Amazon listings for the titles in my textbooks section for English 307

The class, Cultural Studies, has taken many forms over the past couple of years, covering everything from the highbrow - GeoPolitical Theory in Literature, or some mumbo jumbo like that - to the more easily accessible - How Tolkien Changed the Fantasy Game, anyone? - but all retaining the singular focus of Cultural Studies, in seeing how ideas presented in novels can affect and reflect the world around them. Then again, remember that cultural studies counts anything and everything as text, from governmentally-regulated street signs to the graffiti that covers them.   

As you might easily be able to tell with a glimpse at the images below, my English 307 Cultural Studies course is organized around a similar mix between the artistically elevated and the typically lowbrow, with our studies being specifically emphasized in graphic novels and literature's ties to imagery and the object world... whatever that means. I'll probably be much better at articulating the objectives of the class by the time I'm done with it, so check back in with me later. 

Anyways, here's my booklist for English 307 for Winter 2014 (I added in some of the different covers and excerpts, just so you can see how much of a time I'm going to have with this quarter...): 

Palestine (Joe Sacco)

Fun House (Alison Bechdel) - pictured at top of post

Black Hole (Charles Burns)

Epileptic (David B)

Jimmy Corrigan (Chris Ware)

So, hopefully this quarter will be an interesting one, one that expands my knowledge of literature, cultural studies, and graphic novel styles... but even if none of those things happen, I sure wouldn't be getting this kind of an education anywhere else. What's up, Winter Quarter 2014! 

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