How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them do you consider to be real friends? How does the quality of our interactions affect our relationships with others? How do our relationships with our parents, friends, teachers and fellow students affect how we grow and change? How do these relationships affect our self-esteem, sense of dignity and wellbeing?
In this course we will read texts and watch movies that draw from a variety of genres and cultural contexts in order to ask these kinds of questions, and explore what we can learn about ourselves through our relationships with others. Some examples of these texts are: the graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Young (which will take us, briefly, into the Chinese legend of the Monkey King and the world of kung fu movies), a novel (and its film adaptation) by Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb and essays and short stories by James Baldwin and Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing). We will also examine how social networking sites and other technologies work as texts.
As a writing-intensive course, we will draw from our variety of sources in order to develop writing projects that focus on how we communicate with others in different contexts. We will use individual projects, class discussions and workshops to develop analytical skills, creative arguments and well-articulated essays.