TITLE: TELL ME A STORY: SELF, CULTURE, AND NATION IN CONTEMPORARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY

What do MTV's The Ashlee Simpson Show, scrapbooking, David Sedaris' book Naked, time capsules, and weblogs have in common? They are all forms of contemporary autobiography (also called memoir), and beyond telling a story about one individual, these texts also "tell stories" about American culture. Personal narratives, for example, reveal which social groups have access to authority in America and the ways these people stay in power. Thus, autobiography, what largely seems to be the story of just one individual, can say much about our experiences as Americans. In this course, we will utilize a variety of written, visual, and televisual forms of contemporary autobiography to examine the motivation for making the "private" public as well as the consequences and popularity of a mode of storytelling that is highly personal yet so much more. Additionally, because this is a composition course, we will also practice the kinds of analytical writing college requires using this course's theme as a guide.