English 149-2 - Fall, 2018

Topics in Literature


Class Information

Instructor: Clearwater, Michael
CRN: 43332
Time: MWF 2:10-3:00
Location: 103 Wellman


    Contemporary political discourse abounds with stories people tell about welfare. Narratives of “personal responsibility,” upward mobility, and “welfare queens” are powerfully persistent, even as they have been discredited by social and political science. In this course we will examine how contemporary Anglophone fiction has represented welfare and its recipients in ways that are often at odds with dominant political narratives. In this course, we will consider how these fictional representations offer various counter-narratives that complicate our understanding of what welfare is and what it does.


    Two essays, final exam, three short writing exercises, and participation


    In the Ditch, Buchi Emecheta
    Bastard out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison
    Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
    Push, Sapphire
    The Financial Lives of Poets, Jess Walter