Reading & Composition
Narratives of Modernization
Definitions of modernity are legion and hotly debated. A related, thought distinct, word—modernization—has taken on a life of its own, usually referring to a wider variety of phenomena than those usually associated with modernity. What does it mean to modernize? What is involved in this process, at a local, concrete level (a building can be modernized) or at a global, more abstract level (a country can be modernized)? In this course, we will study literary, aesthetic and critical works that engage these questions.
Since this is an R&C course, its major goals are to improve students’ skills in close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing, and to explore the relationships between the three skills. In addition to discussing the texts in class, students will write responses to them in a variety of forms, from literary analysis essays to creative projects. Readings include Wordsworth, Lu Xun, Woolf, Borges, García Márquez. Critical writing by Benjamin, Polanyi, Weber, Franco and Kennedy. Murals by Orozco. Film by Lee.
This course fulfills part of the University’s R&C (Reading and Composition) requirement.