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Callaway Center N203
Content: "Worthless notions, talk, or writing" is one of the several definitions of "trash" authorized by the Oxford English Dictionary. How is it that certain forms, structures, and ejaculations of language, both written and spoken, fall into the category of "trash" or that which is "trashy"? Who decides what is valuable and what is tossed aside? Is there not something fascinating and even alluring about the devalued and discarded?
This course seeks to understand trash in its myriad cultural and historical valences and how the meanings of trash are shaped by processes of rhetoric and language. Topics may include environmental trash, trash talk, "white trash," "trailer trash," human trash, humans as trash, historical trash, literary trash, Hollywood trash, junk food, and getting trashed. Exploring trash as a concept, this course is geared toward sharpening skills of college-level research, argumentation, and writing with the goal of keeping our writing out of trash bins and instead as viable works in progress.
Particulars: Weekly blog posts of 150-300 words, two 4-6 page papers, an annotated bibliography, an 8-10 page research paper, an oral presentation on research topic, and class participation.
Possible Texts: A. R. Ammons, "Garbage"; Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History; Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter; Leo Bersani, "Is the Rectum a Grave?"; T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation; Taro Gomi, Everyone Poops; Harper Lee, To Kill a Mocking Bird; Derek Walcott, "The Sea as History"; Hedwig and the Angry Inch (dir. John Cameron Mitchell), Rent (dir. Jonathan Larsen), Super Size Me (dir. Morgan Spurlock), Andy Warhol's Trash (dir. Paul Morrisey), photography by Nan Goldin, MTV's Jersey Shore, Sesame Street, and articles by Perez Hilton.
The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.