English | Introduction to Prose (Excluding Fiction)
L206 | 2055 | Chang


L206 2055 CHANG
Introduction to Prose (Excluding Fiction)

4:00p-5:15p TR (30) 3 CR.

TOPIC:  “Autobiography”

In this class we will focus on the problem of “voice” by reading a
range of autobiography and memoir by authors of various backgrounds
of race, class, gender, and sexuality.  We will explore how these
backgrounds may – or may not – influence an author’s autobiographical
voice.  For instance, does an author identified as gay, white, and
male ostensibly have a different authorial voice than an author
identified as straight, black and female?  At the same time, we will
reflect on our own reading strategies – how might our perception of
an author influence the way we read her voice?  Some other questions
we will explore include:  What are the differences in reading a text
by an author self-identified as, gay, for instance, versus reading a
text by an author who is merely assumed to be gay?  How does this
difference between self-identification and ascription function for
writers of color who cannot necessarily mask their ostensible
difference from mainstream norms?  What do we make of texts that
offer no stable, authorial voice, but multiple voices that appear to
shift and cross what we understand as identity boundaries?  To this
end, this course will examine how categories of “identity”
impact “voice” while remaining critical of those categories by also
examining the ways in which the idea and function of “identity” may
regulate literary production and reception.