Projects in Reading & Writing

TOPIC: "One of Us!": The Freak in American Popular Culture

7404 9:30a-10:45a TR TBA

INSTRUCTOR: R. Baumann

In this course, students will develop critical reading and writing skills through the exploration of the "freak" in American popular culture. We will examine written and visual texts such as the 1932 film Freaks and the sideshow novel Geek Love by Katherine Dunn to ask how these sometimes disturbing texts allow our culture to deal with its oft- unspoken fears about the ambiguous distinction between "normal" and "freak." We will also think about what freaks can tell us about our cultural anxieties about gender, race, sexuality, and the body. Students will investigate these problems through analytical, argumentative essays which examine "freak shows" through the lens of social issues. This is a reading and writing intensive class.