Welcome to the class blog for ENGL 685 (Fall 2010), at George Mason University. This site will be an essential component of the course…as you will soon discover.
I’d like to hit the ground running on the first day of class, so please note that there is already material to read for the first week of class:
- “Against Aca-Fandom” by Ian Bogost, 29 July 2010 (Also read the ensuing discussion in the comments)
- “On Mad Men, Aca-Fandom, and the Goals of Cultural Criticism” by Henry Jenkins, 11 August 2010 (Also read the ensuing discussion in the comments)
- Excerpts from Chapter 1 of Before Reading by Peter Rabinowitz, pp. 20-29 and 36-46 (available now Blackboard)
The first two links lead to a smart, heated (but mostly courteous) cross-blog discussion about the role of the critic when it comes to examining popular culture. The participants are mostly focused on television, but we can easily extend the discussion to other realms of popular culture, such as comics and graphic novels. The Rabinowitz excerpt is about what happens before we even read—the kind of expectations we as readers bring to a text and how those expectations relate to genre.
I think all three of these texts will help us situate ourselves as we begin to study what so many other people have dismissed as trivial, low brow, or even trash. So, please, read these three items before our class on September 1, and see you Wednesday at 7:20 in 136 Innovation Hall!