Comparative Literature | Intro to Popular Culture: Self Writing of the Famous and Anonymous
C151 | 12081 | T. Kharadjian

3 cr
Meets MW 9:30-10:45 am
Fulfills A&H and CS Distribution Credit

How do people represent themselves when they tell their life stories
to others? This class will explore multiple forms of self-writing in
popular culture by examining texts from a variety of media: memoirs,
autobiography, tweets, interviews, video diaries, blogs, and film.
We will read the autobiographical accounts of the famous
(politicians, writers, directors) as well as the anonymous
(testimonials written by non-professional writers), as we consider
the techniques used by each, such as narrative structure, metaphor,
temporality, and imagery. Life stories are a way to provide
purposeful information about people, their identities, their plans
for the future, and their social networks. In popular culture, the
synthesis and sharing of life stories has been propelled by the
popular use of self-representational interfaces like Facebook,
Twitter, and blogs. With self-narratives being formed, edited, and
shared at high speeds, it is important to consider the effects of
creating and sharing life stories on both the writer and the reader.
Content and narrative style will be examined side-by-side to
identify elements of both artifice and reality in self-writing.
Finally, we will ask: how much of one's life story is fictional?