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World Literatures: Travel Writing

This semester, we will read writing about travel and place from Columbus's Diario through the present. Travel writing has some special features that will shape both the content and the work for this subject: reflecting the point of view, narrative choices, and style of individuals, it also responds to the pressures of a real world only marginally under their control. Whether the traveler is a curious tourist, the leader of a national expedition, or a starving, half-naked survivor, the encount...

Start Date: Sep 01, 2008 Topics: Film, Writing
Cost: Free

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Description

This semester, we will read writing about travel and place from Columbus's Diario through the present. Travel writing has some special features that will shape both the content and the work for this subject: reflecting the point of view, narrative choices, and style of individuals, it also responds to the pressures of a real world only marginally under their control. Whether the traveler is a curious tourist, the leader of a national expedition, or a starving, half-naked survivor, the encounter with place shapes what travel writing can be. Accordingly, we will pay attention not only to narrative texts but to maps, objects, archives, and facts of various kinds.Our materials are organized around three regions: North America, Africa and the Atlantic world, the Arctic and Antarctic. The historical scope of these readings will allow us to know something not only about the experiences and writing strategies of individual travelers, but about the progressive integration of these regions into global economic, political, and knowledge systems. Whether we are looking at the production of an Inuit film for global audiences, or the mapping of a route across the North American continent by water, these materials do more than simply record or narrate experiences and territories: they also participate in shaping the world and what it means to us.Authors will include Olaudah Equiano, Caryl Philips, Claude Lvi-Strauss, Joseph Conrad, Jamaica Kincaid, William Least Heat Moon, Louise Erdrich, lvar Nez Cabeza de Vaca.Expeditions will include those of Lewis and Clark (North America), Henry Morton Stanley (Africa), Ernest Shackleton and Robert F. Scott (Antarctica).

Details

  • Dates: Sep 01, 2008 to Dec 20, 2008
  • Days of the Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Size: Massive Open Online Course
  • Instructor: Prof. Mary Fuller
  • Cost: Free
  • Institution: MIT OCW
  • Topics: Film, Writing

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About MIT OCW: MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

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