This fall, I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Autobiography course, a course I pushed through curriculum last year after we did a year-long survey of students to find out classes might interest them. Our thought was to add spice to our standard survey and introduction to literature offerings to take advantage of the increase in enrollment (and, not incidentally, get back the many students who were using Art History and Communication courses to fulfill their general education Humanities’ requirement).
[In case you’re interested, the most requested course idea was The Bible as Literature, but the one faculty member in our department willing and able to teach such a course, put it off another year, understandably, after a few over the top fundamentalist students acted out on campus last year (remember my colleague’s student who would bring a cross and rosary beads to class, praying with them as s/he lectured?) ]
So, autobiography. It’s been a challenge creating this 10-week course for non-majors, since there is so much I want to do, but I don’t want to terrify them–I want them to enjoy the immersion in this contradictory genre.
Here’s what I have planned, and yes, it’s ambitious: After an initial discussion of exactly what autobiography IS, we’ll start with an historical overview and an introduction to some of the theoretical debates and different modes of the genre. Students will read excerpts from several historical autobiographies, two full-length childhood-centered contemporary memoirs, a graphic memoir (Persepolis and excerpts from Maus and Fun Home), and about a dozen excerpts from other contemporary memoirs on subjects ranging from addiction to religion (I know, a risk). We’ll also spend time on other modes of autobiography such as audio/video, diaries and letters, and blogs. [One final project choice is, indeed, for students to keep a blog all term.]
Here’s where I hope you all come in. I need me some blogs. Yes, I read dozens of blogs each week, all neatly alphabetized in my Google Reader, but they are all, you know, about academics. I know that Roxie’s typist is having her students read her own blog for her course this fall on blogging (which I can’t wait to read about), but no, I won’t be offering up this particular blog for their reading pleasure. Besides, I want them to discover blogs that are personal (so not just politics or celebrity gossip) but also of interest to them.
Have any ideas for blogs that are autobiographical in nature and that might appeal to our non-traditional students, ages 16-65? Is there an index of sorts I could direct students to? Please let me know in the comments.
Kindle Update: My new chocolate Kindle cover has a paperback book inside it now since it looked so sad, so lonely. Estimated delivery of the new Kindle itself is now mid-late September.