Communication And Culture | Topics Comp Study Commun/Culture
C645 | 1138 | Goodman

Topic: Genre, Author, Text: Cultural and Historical Perspectives

Texts are not static artifacts but are emergent in sociocultural contexts
and embedded in social action. Beginning from this proposition, the course
investigates the constitution of and the relations between genre, author
and text within a range of cultural settings and at discrete historical
moments. We will consider questions such as:
What ideologies of text are implicit in the language of scholarship? Can
non-alphabetic modes of representation be considered texts? How have oral
forms of communication been construed by both analysts and practioners as

What social roles and institutional processes accompany the production of
texts? Do such globalizing institutions as copyright law necessarily
produce similar modes of textual circulation and similar ideas about

How does the social organization of texts produce certain kinds of
authors? Must "text" imply an authorial voice? What possibilities of
authorship are embedded in or excluded from particular conceptions of

How does a text come to be associated with a genre, and what implications
does this association have for the way(s) the text can be interpreted? How
are genre categories ideologically motivated?

To what degree do texts orient the modes of their reception? How do
various participants help to fashion or challenge interpretations of text?
How is reading itself organized in relation to culture, class or

How have text-making practices and genre categories participated in the
hierarchical construction of the west's "others," especially in colonial
contexts?  How do postcolonial textual practices attempt to reconstitute
this space of difference?

We will learn analytical methodologies that enable us to read texts
"backwards" in order to uncover the sedimented layers of social relations
that carry.  In a short paper (5 pages), students will analyze a text of
their choosing from this perspective (metadiscursive analysis).  Course
requirements will also include leading seminar discussions and producing a
longer (15-20 page) research paper.

Course readings will move between classic and recent works of literary
theory, linguistic anthropology and ethnograpically grounded studies of
text-making practices and processes that challenge western assumptions.

Please note: this course is scheduled to meet Tuesdays 5:45-8:15.  The
course time is likely to change, based on the schedules of course