ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Summer 2019, Section 201 - Visual Fictions: Photography and 20/21 Century Literature
Instruction Mode: Section 201 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


The rise of photography in the 19thand early 20thcenturies participated in an extraordinary creative period in both visual and literary cultures, which continues in the 21stcentury. The force of new kinds of images and icons was immediate and transformative. Photography was used in a wide range of ways during its early years, from multimedia art forms (collage) to new surveillance methods (mug shots and passport photos) to advertising, journalism, family and personal mementos, among others. This was also the era of mass movements of people (immigration and migration). This course will provide an introduction to the emergence of photography as a popular and artistic medium in the 20thcentury US, which we will put in dialogue with the literary and cultural movements of realism, modernism, postmodernism, and contemporary globalism. We’ll read key instances of photographic theory and ask how they can also illuminate trends in 20thand 21stcentury US novels. Some questions we’ll consider include: How did novels respond to the emergence of photography as a new visual medium? How might novels be read as competing and collaborating with photography? How might literary narrative have informed the trends and techniques of photography? How did (and do, today) photography and literary narrative respond to the social tensions around immigration and racialization? We will read works by a wide range of US novelists and photographers, likely including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ishmael Reed, Norma Cantú, Teresa Cha, Aleksandar Hemon, Claudia Rankine, Ben Lerner, Ransom Riggs, Sesshu Foster, and Teju Cole.

Course Requirements:

Brief reading responses, two short essays, and a midterm and final exam

Intended Audience:

All students, particularly those interested in visual culture and literature


ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Schedule Listing
201 (LEC)
 In Person
7/3/19 - 8/15/19

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