COMPLIT 122 - Writing World Literatures
Section: 005 Curious Travels
Term: FA 2008
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
FYWR
Cost:
0
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This is a class about travel and autobiographical writing. When you travel to a new place, it’s natural to be curious about everything — everyday things like going to the store for bread or walking your pet are much stranger and more interesting when you’re in Cairo or Beijing than in Saginaw or Bloomfield Hills. Even short trips to relatively mundane places like a strange neighborhood or an event you feel like an outsider at can lead to interesting self-examinations.

The class will begin with a review of argument-based writing, after which students will write one argumentative on a topic of their choice. For the next month, we will look at a series of recent autobiographical essays by American authors who, out of sheer curiosity, immerse themselves in completely unfamiliar situations or lifestyles. During this month, students will be doing “field work,” investigating and exploring an unfamiliar environment around Ann Arbor. Each student will then write and subsequently revise a long essay about his or her experience, modeled on one of the essays we will have read.

In the second part of the class we will look at more exotic travels and larger questions. Assigned essays will look at such issues as the relationship of politics to experience, the experience of foreign language, and the effects of the past on everyday experience. Students will have the option of writing either another autobiographical piece that focuses on one of these issues or else a more analytical or critical essay that discusses one of these issues.

The whole class will be dedicated to writing and much of it will focus on students’ writing, so students should bring an interest in writing into the course. Classroom work will revolve around looking closely at assigned texts and at students’ work. Each student will have at least one of his or her essays will be workshopped by the whole class and all students will be expected to help edit and revise each other’s essays regularly. Students interested in essay/personal writing, creative writing, or history are encouraged to enroll.

Texts include:
Joan Didion “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”
David Foster Wallace “Consider the Lobster,” “A supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again”
William Vollman “Whores for Gloria”
Chuck Klosterman “Appetite for Replication”
James Agee Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (selections)
W.G. Sebald Rings of Saturn (selections)
Jean-Paul Sartre The Words

COMPLIT 122 - Writing World Literatures
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
P
20065
Closed
0
 
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MWF 9:00AM - 10:00AM
002 (REC)
P
20066
Closed
0
 
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MWF 11:00AM - 12:00PM
003 (REC)
P
22241
Open
1
 
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TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
004 (REC)
P
25072
Open
1
 
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TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
005 (REC)
P
29437
Open
2
 
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TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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