ENGL 103 A13: Case Studies in Research: Adoption and Attachment

J. Sheckter

Peter Parker; Sherlock Holmes; Mowgli; Tony Stark; Oliver Twist. 

What do all of these characters have in common? Their stories range wildly in terms of genre and sensibility, but they are united by the fact they are all adoptees. 

But what does it mean to be adopted? Why is it such a common feature in stories? What does this tell us as readers about the way that we approach and understand the concept of adoption, and more broadly, of attachment, bonding, and parenting? How much has our understanding of adoption changed over time, and how much does it vary across cultures? What assumptions and value-systems have been and continue to be engaged in response to adoption, and how do those ideas influence our understanding of what it means to construct and be part of a family?

Catalog Course Description: 

How does research matter to reading and understanding literature, broadly conceived? In this course, we will pursue literary research through one or more case studies in literature, print texts, and/or other media and their effects. Research helps us to understand texts in particular locations, histories, contexts, and debates. Students can expect to learn about, and put into practice, the stages in a research process, from identifying a research question or problem, to finding and evaluating useful supplementary materials, and learning about how to place their ideas in conversation with the knowledge they build from research.