Upper-Division Seminar: Intellectual Labor and the Work of Literature

Course Number: ENGL 197
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
Advisory Enrollment Information: This course cannot be repeated and is limited to upper-division English majors only.
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 197
Quarter: Winter 2017
Instructor: Steffen, Heather
Day(s): MW
Time: 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Location: SH 2617

This seminar explores the work that makes literature happen: the creative labor of writers, editors, designers, and publishers; the physical labor of printing, warehousing, shipping, and digitizing; and the intellectual labor of critics, readers, students, and teachers. We will combine ideas from cultural studies, book history, the sociology of the professions, and critical university studies to examine how labor processes and ideologies of work affect the creation and interpretation of literature in the 21st-century. Along the way, we will encounter concepts like Fordism and post-Fordism, immaterial labor, affective and emotional labor, precarity, contingency, entrepreneurialism, and the tensions between artistic autonomy and commerce. As a class and in individual research projects, participants will mobilize these concepts in readings of contemporary American short stories and novels.