ENG 212W Readings in Popular Literature & Culture: “Fictions of Care”

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:00-2:15pm (Rich Building 108)

Instructor: Adam P. Newman adam.p.newman@emory.edu

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30-4:00pm, Thursdays 11:15am-12:45pm, and by appointment.

(all Office Hours held in Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Woodruff Library unless otherwise noted)


Course Description:

Conversations about healthcare in contemporary America often focus unilaterally on “health” while leaving the issue of “care” unmentioned. But what exactly do we mean by care? What does it entail? Is it a feeling? A kind of labor? A right? Who does this caring? And why? In this course, we will grapple with the realities of care and caregiving in the United States through an engagement with the fictions we tell about care. We will engage such fictions—including novels, short stories, plays, films, and graphic novels—as windows into the wide array of issues that care can entail and the values we attach to care in different contexts. Major assignments for this course will provide students with multiple opportunities to explore their own disciplinary and personal interests in relation to the topic of care. Texts for this course will include Milos Forman’s film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Susan Nussbaum’s novel Good Kings, Bad Kings and her play No One As Nasty, Sarah Leavitt’s graphic memoir Tangles: Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me, as well as various shorter texts and selections from relevant historical and theoretical works.

Required Texts:

sarah-leavitt-tangles-a-story-about-alzheimers-my-mother-and-me        nussbaum_goodkings_jacket-300

Sarah Leavitt. Tangles: Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me.

Susan Nussbaum Good Kings, Bad Kings.

All other texts will be provided electronically

Learning Outcomes:

Understanding of the diverse social, historical philosophical, and political meanings of care in America and the scholarly discourse around such issues

Understanding of the complex and contingent relationships between caregiving and the contextual factors affecting its provision in America, in particular the social positions of caregivers and care recipients (in regards to race, gender, class, disability) and the environment/social structure in which care is provided (institutional, familial, etc.)

Ability to articulate one’s own interests in and perspectives on care within the framework of pre-existing scholarly conversations on care.

Appreciation of the cultural work performed by fictional representations of care and understanding of its potential impact

Ability to analyze representations of care across a variety of modes and genres (feature film, documentary, novel, play, graphic novel, short stories, poems, memoirs.

Ability to independently research and present representations of care in relation to their respective aesthetic and socio-historical contexts