Course Goals

Students in this senior seminar, English 391W: Brain Narratives, will:

1. Gain an overview of a tradition of twentieth- and twenty-first-century autobiographies and novels that use narrative to investigate the relationship between brain, mind, and the self.

2. Recognize the influence of science and philosophy on literary works and the influence of literary writers on the cultural reception of science and philosophy that propose theories about the brain, mind, and self.

3. Practice close reading and analysis of works of literature, scientific theory, and philosophy of the mind.

4. Practice writing in stages and gain understanding of their own writing process, through informal writing (in class and on course blogs), drafting, responding to feedback from peers and the instructor, and revision.

5. Conduct research on a self-defined topic relevant to course readings and discussion–including the critical evaluation of online sources, the use of research databases and library resources, and participation in scholarly and intellectual “conversations” at play in various texts: literary works, scholarly articles, journalism, and popular writing.

6. Adapt a research essay to the rhetorical demands of an online project.

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