L240 1956 SPERBER
Literature and Public Life

7:15p-8:30p TR (25) 3 cr.



This course focuses on literary, journalistic, scholarly, and visual treatments of undergraduate college life in America. We will read Ernest Boyer's College : The Undergraduate Experience in America and Michael Moffat's Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture. However, our main reading source will be a large packet of articles on the topic by a variety of authors. In addition, we will view a number of films, including Animal House, Breaking Away, Everybody's All-American, School Daze, and Where the Boys Are (1960 version), and we will examine some television programs on the topic, including Felicity.

We will also spend a number of weeks on the sub-topic of intercollegiate athletics, particularly its meaning to regular undergraduates. For this part of the course, we will read various articles, view such films as Blue Chips, The Program, and Rudy, and examine such television programs as Coach and ESPN's SportsCenter.

Our on-going concerns will be: What is the nature of undergraduate student life, and how has it evolved and changed during the twentieth century? What are the past and present connections between undergraduate student life and intercollegiate athletics? How have undergraduate student life and college sports been portrayed in literary and visual works, and what are some of the cultural, economic, and social reasons for these portrayals?

Student responsibility in the course includes a class presentation, a number of short papers and quizzes, a mid-term exam, and a major research paper. Because L240 fulfills the Intensive Writing requirement, the instructor will also emphasize the expository writing aspect of the course, and he will include sections of a style handbook in the course packet.