I feel like I’m always talking about the love/hate relationship I had with lit classes back in the day. Instead of talking about what a bad idea it is to take 15 credits for your major PLUS a “fun” lit class on the side, I’m going to talk about this article that HarperCollins tweeted awhile ago. (Sorry I’m just now getting to write about it.)
I, for one, was so happy to see this article (thanks, Lithub!) because I cannot figure out how to view the required reading for my university’s lit classes now that my student ID has been inactive for a good five years. (Aaand now I feel old.) While I’m not going to “read along” with these lit classes, I think I’ve found a number of books to add to my TBR.
Professor Anne McClintock’s Pleasure, Power and Profit: Race and Sexualities in a Global Era (Princeton University) sounds like something I would have wanted to take when I was in college, but ultimately would have been too afraid of. I just feel like I’m not the right person to write academic essays on race and sexuality, but reading these books? Sounds like a good way to expand my horizons.
💜 Making Sex by Thomas Laqueuer
💜 Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
💜 Porn Studies by Linda Williams
💜 Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry by Frederique Delacoste
💜 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
💜 Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Getting back to my linguistics background, I think Professor Serguei A. Oushakine’s course on Language, Identity, Power (also Princeton University) sounds amazing. I love everything about words, from the study of how they’re pronounced (phonetics) to the small pieces of words (phonology) to how we put those pieces together (morphology) and how words are combined to create meaning (syntax). Even more than that, I love analyzing the different possible meanings of the same few words. A whole class on how words can shape identity is right up my alley.
💚 The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle
💚 The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious by Sigmund Freud
💚 Empire of Signs by Roland Barthes
💚 Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative by Judith Butler
💚 Language and Symbolic Power by Pierre Bourdieu
💚 Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff & Mark Johnson
Are you currently enrolled in any lit classes, or have you taken any that you’ve really enjoyed? My favorite was a course by Professor Nete Schmidt called Criminal Utopias. I was inspired to find the syllabus after reading this article, and it seems to have changed a bit in the seven years or so since I took the course. Currently, the required reading is:
💙 Kallocain by Karin Boye
💙 Red Wolf by Liza Marklund (new!)
💙 Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum
💙 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
💙 Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason
💙 Sidetracked by Henning Mankell
💙 The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (new!)
💙 excerpts of George Orwell’s 1984, Thomas More’s Utopia, Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, and Harry Martinson’s Aniara, among others
If you’ve found any great lit classes (or just a great book from a lit class), please let me know!