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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 314J • Literature and Journalism

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34295 MWF
9:00 AM-10:00 AM

Course Description

Computer-assisted instruction.

We will use the course books (a novel, a nonfiction book, a graphic novel, and a play) and films (fictional and documentary) to explore how literary works can expose the U.S. public to world events or influence their reactions to international politics in ways that today's mainstream news media seem hard-pressed to do. We will also question the particular biases and limitations of such literary representations of historical events.

This course thus revolves around three central questions:
(1) What can these literary works tell us about their historical events that news reports cannot, and vice versa? In other words, what can "literature" do that "journalism" cannot, and vice versa?
(2) What are the perceived and actual differences between literary works and news reports generally? That is, what makes "literature" literature and what makes "journalism" journalism?
(3) What might be achieved when journalists borrow literary forms and elements for their news reports, and artists borrow journalistic forms and elements for their novels and plays? To put it another way, what might be gained when writers cross the lines that separate "literature" and "journalism?"

Grading Policy

Précis on readings (4x5%) 20%
Film reviews (4x5%) 20%
Paper 1.1 10%
Paper 1.2 10%
Paper 2.1 10%
Paper 2.2 20%
Presentation and other assignments 10%


Books: Courtemanche, Gil. A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali (2003); Krog, Antjie. Country of My Skull (1998); Sacco, Joe. Palestine (2001); Brittain, Victoria, and Gillian Slovo. Guantanamo: 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom' (2004)
Films: Peck, Raoul. Sometimes in April (2005); Boorman, John. In My Country (2004); Hoffman, Deborah, and Frances Reid. Long Night's Journey Into Day (2000); Bolado, Carlos, B. Z. Goldberg et. al. Promises (2001); Winterbottom, Michael, and Mat Whitecross. The Road to Guantanamo (2006)


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