The Craft of Writing: The Monster, the Criminal, the Stranger
R1B - 003 | CCN: 32701
Katherine Guerra & Althea Wasow
T/Th 3:30-5:00pm, T 5:00-8:00pm; Barrows 587
“The stranger, like the poor and sundry ‘inner enemies,’ is an element of the group itself,” Georg Simmel observed in Germany in 1908. “His position as a full-fledged member,” he wrote, “involves both being outside [the group] and confronting it.” This course will investigate the production and circulation of knowledge about the monster, the criminal, and the stranger and interrogate the significance of these figures in popular narratives in global modernity. We will put silent film and contemporary cinema in conversation by focusing on a range of media from 19th-century photography to early single-shot films to German and Mexican silent cinema classics to recent American and international horror. Readings will include Carol Clover, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Tom Gunning, Anton Kaes, Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, and Linda Williams. The theoretical issues with which the films and texts grapple, including: the history of science and scientific truth, the production of sexual and racial difference, the visible body, the masses, urban modernity, policing, surveillance, trauma, xenophobia—connect with aesthetic, social, and political concerns that are still with us. Throughout the course, we will analyze the monster, the criminal, and the stranger as discursive force fields to which we can contribute our own original scholarship. Assignments (including two significant writing projects) will develop students’ analytical writing skills, knowledge and practice of research methods, and ability to formulate effective arguments.