Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: A Small World After All: World’s Fairs, Theme Parks, and the Politics of Display
Reading and composition courses serve as introductions to textual analysis and as guides to the composition of well-argued essays. This will be accomplished by class discussion, by breaking down essay-writing into manageable components, and by extensive rewriting. With these practical goals in mind, we will examine how world’s fairs, theme parks, and other forms of popular entertainment have shaped Euro-American perceptions of race, gender, and sexuality. Our study of such sites of analysis as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris, and Disneyland will be supplemented by films, fiction, and fan art. Exploring different genres and forms will allow us to develop a complex understanding of the politics of representation, while at the same time offering us the opportunity to develop a diverse set of tools for analyzing cultural texts, from the visual to the cinematic to the literary.