CoursesNarrating Survival
COML 2192 / ENGL 2192 / ASAM 1211

Narrating Survival

This course critically examines the way in which “survival” has been/continues to be defined as individual triumph in the 20th and 21st century. The intent here is to dig deeper into current buzzwords like “resilience,” “wellness,” “grit,” and “care” to ask how such concepts have been constructed in different socio-historical moments, by and for whom, and towards what (social, cultural, political, economic) ends.

Monday / Wednesday, 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM

We will pay special attention to the central role that the child plays in these discourses as an icon of both ultimate vulnerability and idealized resilience, and we’ll consider the burdens and privileges that such centering might confer upon real-life children. We engage with a generically diverse body of contemporary multiethnic and transnational literature featuring children and young people in crisis, including texts from Black, Latine, Native, Asian and White U.S. writers as well as Dutch, Argentine, Iranian, Malaysian, and Afghan authors. All non-English texts will be read in English translation, with the option for students to read in the original language if they wish and are able. This will be an SNF Paideia-designated course, meaning that learning to dialogue and learning from dialogue with these texts and one other will be an essential part of our approach to exploring these complex questions.

Narrating Survival Syllabus Outline

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