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

Spring 2009

E 314J • Literature and Sociology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33565 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 101
Dean, J

Course Description

This course will trace the intersections between the emergence of the discipline of sociology in the U.S. and late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature. The initial premise is that, following Susan Mizruchi, America is a "social scientific culture," evidenced not only in the formal disciplines of the social sciences within the academy, but in popular culture as well. While we will consider contemporary examples of this intersection (from the HBO television show, The Wire, to popular fiction by Toni Morrison), our focus in the course will be mostly historical. We will read fiction and sociology from the turn-of-the-century through mid-century as overlapping discourses, engaging with many of the same ideas and methodologies. How and why did early sociologists make use of culture in their scientific research? How and why did authors of naturalism, realism and protest fiction model their writing on social scientific techniques?

Grading Policy

20% Class Participation
10% Final Presentation
10% Ethnography
20% Paper 1
40% Paper 2


Jane Addams, Hull-House Maps and Papers (selections), Twenty Years at Hull House
Nelson Algren, Chicago: City on the Make (selections), Never Come Morning
John Dewey, selected essays
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro (selections), The Soul of Black Folk
Robert Park, selected essays
Richard Wright, Black Boy (American Hunger)
Anzia Yezieska, All I Could Never Be
Louis Wirth, selected essays


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