English | Projects in Reading and Writing
W170 | 1830 | Michelle Ross

Topic:  FREAKS

This course will explore the place of the "freak" in American culture.
We will read a number of critical essays, a few novels, as well as
examine films, television, advertisements, cartoons, music videos and
lyrics, photography, visual art, and the like.  This exploration will
include an examination of cultural icons such as Michael Jackson and
Shirley Temple, as well as some investigation into the history of
freak shows.  Using these materials we will consider how American
culture defines and represents freaks, who and what cultural values
and spaces determine who the freaks are, and what drives this
production of freaks.  As part of this investigation we will consider
the relationships between freaks and humor, and freaks and violence.
We will consider too how these marginalized others reclaim freak
identity, subvert it, and use it toward empowerment and social change.
This is an analytical writing curse, and work for the course will
include four major papers, a number of shorter writings, and at least
one class presentation.