Bookpacking New Orleans (ENGL 352g)
*Undergraduate applicants only, graduate students are not eligible*
This four-unit Maymester course is an exercise in “bookpacking“, an innovative form of literary travel in which novels serve as portals through which to explore regional history and culture. The course takes us to New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, a unique and extraordinary destination formed of a fusion of cultural strands: French, Creole, Cajun, and African-American.
The objective of this Maymester course is to reach a critical understanding of the eclectic nature of New Orleans. It’s not enough to see that New Orleans is different—our intent is to understand why it’s different. We might describe New Orleans as wild, transgressive, vibrant, atmospheric, nocturnal, decadent, a ‘party city’—but what explains these particular characteristics? How has the city evolved over time to become the extraordinary place we know today?
Our aim is to use novels as guidebooks, steering us through the physical, cultural and spiritual heart of New Orleans and its environs.
This is a unique humanities experiment that will demand of us an authentic desire to dig deep, opening ourselves up to new experiences, testing our feelings, and encouraging empathetic responses as readers and as travelers. Our goal, over four weeks, is to know New Orleans in the connected way that escapes most tourists, but which all true travelers understand.
Faculty Director: Andrew Chater