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ENGL 607.86: Social Media and Literature

Instructor: Dr. Karen Bourrier
Schedule: Thursday 12:30-3:15

Course Description:

How has the digital era changed the way we read in the twenty-first century? How does it change Dickens to read David Copperfield on a Kindle rather than in print? How has the digital turn affected studies in the material history of the book? In this course, we will explore what social media traces can tell us about the way that people are reading what is generally termed “classic literature” (but which we in the academy periodize as Victorian or nineteenth-century literature). Focusing on three case studies--Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Great Expectations--we will explore how readers are engaging with nineteenth-century novels on social media platforms including Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and GoodReads. We will place our studies within the larger context of the material history of the book, comparing Twitter and Pinterest to the historical practices of commonplacing and anthologizing. Theorists studied may include Caroline Levine, Franco Moretti, N Kathrine Hales and Bruno Latour. Students will be responsible for a seminar presentation and a final project, which may be presented either as a traditional term paper or a digital project.