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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Raj G Chetty
ENGL 207
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Cultural Studies

Introduces cultural studies as an interdisciplinary field and practice. Explores multiple histories of the field with an emphasis on current issues and developments. Focuses on culture as a site of political and social debate and struggle. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This course will introduce students to the influential and interdisciplinary field of cultural studies by engaging some of the key critical writings on the concept of "culture" and situating these critical ideas in relation to a very specific topic: baseball. The course presumes no interest in baseball or sport per se, but instead aims to look at baseball as a cultural site, an important space where cultural issues like race and class are articulated and contested.

One purpose for cultural studies is to engage with spaces that are typically seen as not sufficiently intellectual or academic, not "cultivated" or "cultured" enough to warrant serious reflection or study. Cultural studies as a discipline in the US and the UK emerged in the 1950s and 60s as a method to consider the political, economic, and social implications of culture at large, and since that time has branched into different approaches that can all loosely be termed "cultural studies." In this class we will be engaging with different models of cultural studies, and putting these models to use in studying cultural materials ranging from novella to theater to film and visual culture. The unifying theme across these different cultural materials is the relationship between baseball and race.

Readings will come from Don DeLillo's novella, Pafko at the Wall, August Wilson's play Fences, and additional texts on course reserve by, tentatively, Matthew Arnold, W.E.B. Du Bois, CLR James, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Adrian Burgos, Amy Bass, Alan Klein, Ken Burns, Toby Miller, Roberto Gonzalez Echevarría, and Ben Carrington.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Some lecture, though minimal. Most of the instruction is discussion-based: large class discussion led by the instructor, small group discussion initiated by the instructor but led by participants, and online discussion.

Recommended preparation


Class assignments and grading

For this course, the method for demonstrating understanding and engagement with the materials will be through formal, semiformal, and informal writing assignments. In all the writing assignments, writing serves as a place to explore meanings, connections, and ideas. All of the informal and semi-formal writings will help both discussion and development of the formal writing assignment.

Grades are determined by the formal essay (40%, due at the end of the quarter), semi-formal writings (35%), and participation (25%: informal writings, peer review, discussion board participation, etc.).

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Raj G Chetty
Date: 12/29/2010