Glenn Ligon (b. 1960), Rückenfigur, 2009. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
W.E.B. Dubois Scholars Institute
Academic Composition: Literature, Social Criticism and the Deep Democratic Tradition
Instructor: Frank Roberts
Office Hours: By Appointment
This reading-intensive writing course serves as an advanced introduction to the craft of U.S. social and cultural criticism. Drawing from a range of perspectives within the humanities and social sciences (including, but not limited to the fields of literature, history, philosophy, and sociology) we will focus our attention on what philosopher Cornel West has referred to as the “deep democratic tradition.” This tradition (exemplified in the work of U.S. writers as diverse as Emerson, Morrison, Baldwin, and Lorde) can best be described as a radical attempt to undo, recodify and remake the symbolic meanings attached to the predicament of “being American.” As such, in this course we will think critically about how to write/right American identity from “the margins.” These thematic inquiries will be engaged alongside an attention to the mechanics and poetics of forceful expository writing. They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, co-authored by former MLA President Gerald Graff, will serve as our foundational writing textbook.
Download Syllabus: Academic Composition–DuboisInstitute