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First-Year Seminar (101-6-20)


Passing and the Performance of Identity


Tracy L Vaughn
1860 Campus Dr Crowe 5-103

Meeting Info

Locy Hall 213: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

This first-year seminar will be an intensive, multi-genre study of literary and cinematic works that focus on passing or the reinvention of identity from 1900 through the turn of the 21st century. Through film, literature, and other expository writings, this seminar will explore the various ways in which notions of race and other identities are socially constructed performances. What does it mean to act, talk, be black, white, or multiracial? How do these identities relate to one's socio-economic status and/or gender or do they? Can socio-economic status be performed as well? Finally, when are these social constructions of identity fluid, interchangeable, temporary, or permanent?

Students will learn how to read closely and critically; how to develop a distinctive voice in their writing; how to become confident in asking questions and framing persuasive answers. We will acquire a technical and critical vocabulary for various literary forms and put it to use in our own written explorations of a given text. Ultimately, students will experiment with several ways in which identities are performative.

Class Attributes

WCAS First-Year Seminar

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Reserved for First Year & Sophomore only
Add Consent: Department Consent Required
Drop Consent: Department Consent Required