Reading a range of examples from fiction to graphic novels and plays, students will examine the tropes, form and style of contemporary texts that explore the writing of place. Students will learn to comment on and analyze how texts construct place in order to engage its readers in issues such as spatial justice, memory, gender and otherness. Students will have the opportunity to engage in different writing protocols such as a research paper and a creative writing piece based on the common questions of the course.
The city & the country; space & place; the local; interiors & exteriors; travel; urban studies; public space; home.
To introduce students to the multiple forms and functions of place in literary texts. Students will be able to discuss and analyze the personal, social and cultural impact of place on issues such as genre, race and gender, and social justice. Through active participation in discussion and listening, students will gain the ability and language necessary to understand different possibilities and diverse perspectives both in the literature and amongst each other.
3 hours a week. In order to explore the critical and cultural framework of these examples of contemporary literature, the session may consist of group and class discussion, mini-lectures, writing workshops, student-led presentations and other discussion-based activities. This course is discussion-based and can be reading intensive, so, to facilitate reading and preparation for class discussion, students may sometimes be provided with reading guides or questions. Students are encouraged to plan ahead – do not leave reading to the last minute! Attendance is mandatory.
Assessment for the course is 100% coursework.
- Class participation (includes attendance, group and class discussion, student-led presentations) (30%)
- A piece of creative place-writing plus critical commentary (30%)
- Final essay (1,500-2,000 words) (40%)
Primary texts (required):
Dung Kai-cheung, Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City (2012)
Michelle Zauner, “Crying in H Mart.” The New Yorker, 20 Aug 2018.
*For further reading, check her memoir Crying in H Mart (2021)
Inua Ellams, Barber Shop Chronicles (2017)
Emma Donoghue, Room (2010)
Shaun Tan, The Arrival (2006)
Tim Cresswell, Place: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2014)
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space ( trans. 1964)
Yi Fu Tuan, Space and Place (1997)
Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender (1994)
A selection of essays and excerpts from critical works (e.g. Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, Edward S. Casey, Michel Foucault, Edward Soja, Rita Felski, Marc Augé) will be uploaded on Moodle.