St/20-Present (Studies in Memory: (Dis)appearing Acts & History)

writing-intensive Studies course examines literary texts and essays
investigating how ideas about memory and remembering have evolved during the 20th
and 21st centuries. You will come to appreciate ways in which memory
is a vexed and sometimes contentious concept with both individual and
collective necessities, strategies and ethical dimensions.  In discussions and in every stage of in-class
response paragraphs, initial and later essay drafts, you’ll recognize that
recollections are profoundly affected, and thus change, through cultural
practices of commemoration, domestic and international events, and the
evolution of collective histories and values. The readings will pay attention
to both the accrual and the depleting of memories, whether the triggers are
psychological, amnesiac, singular, strategic, politically willed, or culturally
traditional. You’ll be responsible for active dialogue and discussion, and for
introducing the readings at the start of each session and for stimulating
debate. The literary works selected for this course emphasize the symbiotic
dynamic 1) between memory and identity formation, affiliation and
interpretation; 2) between memory and textual articulation/witnessing; 3)
between memory and metaphor; and 4) between memory and history.

Key Texts (subject to change)

Short selections such as Sylvia Watanabe’s
“A Book of Names”; Jorge Luis Borges’ “Funes, His Memory”; (from) Edward Said’s
Out of Place; and Maxine Hong
Kingston’s “No Name Woman.” Full length texts such as George Orwell’s 1984; Patricia Grace’s Potiki; Elie Weisel’s Night; Richard Powers’ The Echo Maker; Nicole Krauss’ Man Walks Into a Room; and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The course reader will be Theories of Memory: A Reader edited by Michael Rossington and Anne
Whitehead (2007).

Course Requirements/WI Component (subject
to change)           1) Five-page critical analysis due Week #6 (25%).  In-class preliminary development and
drafting. This assignment focuses on thesis conception and refinement as well
as knowledgeable, balanced use of source materials.

Fifteen-page research essay project (75%). You’ll be engaged in this project
for approximately six weeks while the assignments range from drafting at home
and periodically during class to conferencing with the instructor to peer
evaluating and group work.  Preliminary
versions of the thesis, the outline, and an early draft are all included in the
grade for the project.