Spring 2009
Fully Enrolled

SOCS 624
Lives in School

Barnes,Nancy

01/28/2009 - 05/06/2009
Wednesday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 421


Special Schedule: Saturday & Sunday, February 11-12; Saturday & Sunday, March 24-25; and Saturday, April 14.

What can we learn about education in the contemporary U.S. by looking closely at the stories people tell about their schooling? Do you believe that most people have had generally similar experiences in school in the U.S.? If not, why not? How would you describe the changes that education may have made in the life of your family between your parents' generation and your own, or that of your children? Are the identities that define you to yourself the same as the identities that have defined your careers in school? What meanings does school have to people in other cultures?



School is among the most powerful institutions in American culture, often reproducing inequalities of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, and more. At the same time, narrative accounts reveal that school can bring about great transformations in the lives of individuals, and can play a critical part in social change that affects significant groups of Americans. This seminar explores these contradictory realities through the lenses of autobiography and memoir, ethnography and social science research, journalism and documentary film and video. The readings will be framed by education studies as a field, and will focus on urban school reform as a specific set of circumstances that we investigate from different perspectives.

The course asks students to think critically about their educational experiences as students, teachers, parents, and citizens. Students will develop and interpret their own educational autobiographies and will research and present educational narratives drawn from the lives of individuals quite different from themselves. In addition to weekly reading and participation in class discussion, there will be frequent short writing in class and three required papers.

This course is open to auditors.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus


Nancy Barnes (B.A., New School College; Ph.D., The New School for Social Research) ) is visiting professor of American studies. She is a cultural anthropologist and works as an ethnographer in the "small schools" in NYC and on a number of professional development and school reform projects with high school and college teachers. Her most recent publication is a personal essay, "This Life that Is Ours Just Once to Live", forthcoming in Death and Choice, eds. Bauer and Maglin, Rutgers University Press, 2008.


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Dalton Conley, HONKY (Vintage), Paperback

Barbara Ehrenreich, NICKEL AND DIMED, with New Afterword (Holt Paperbacks), Paperback

Temple Grandin, THINKING IN PICTURES (Vintage), Paperback

Jane Lazarre, BEYOND THE WHITENESS OF WHITENESS (Duke University Press), Paperback

Mike Rose, LIVES ON THE BOUNDARY (Free Press), Paperback

Ron Suskind, HOPE IN THE UNSEEN (Broadway), Paperback

Beverly Daniel Tatum, CAN WE TALK ABOUT RACE? (Beacon Press), Paperback

OPTIONAL TEXTS:

Sherman Alexie, ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN (Little, Brown, Young), Paperback

Anne Fadiman, SPIRT CATCHES YOU AND YOU FALL DOWN (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Paperback

Mark Haddon, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME (Vintage), Paperback

Tracy Kidder, MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS(Random House), Paperback

Gregory Michie, HOLLER IF YOU HEAR ME (Teachers College Press), Paperback

Brian Schultz, SPECTACULAR THINGS HAPPEN ALONG THE WAY (Teachers College Press), Paperback

Theodore Sizer, RED PENCIL (Yale University Press), Paperback

Abraham Verghese, MY OWN COUNTRY (Vintage), Paperback

READING MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323 Order your books online

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