Spring 2009 Liberatory Lit Course

Sign-up for ZNet’s 10 week Spring ZSchool is currently ongoing, including for Liberatory Lit: Imaginative Writing for Social Change:

Literature and other art may be created to liberate or enslave, to enlighten or deceive. This course will explore progressive and revolutionary tendencies in liberatory literature. While broad based enough to facilitate explorations of a wide variety of arts, this course will focus especially on liberatory fiction and liberatory criticism of imaginative writing. I will present my own lib lit criticism and fiction, along with works of a variety of other scholars and imaginative writers. Course members are expected to participate in exploring the existing reality and potential of lib lit and to contribute to its further creation. We will use the new art and issues journal Liberation Lit (liblit.org) as a touchstone.

See initial readings below – however, the course is rather free form and probably should be thought of as an independent study, with forums, shaped by participants’ interests and time beyond the background readings and knowledge provided. Participants should feel free to explore their particular liberatory interests and avenues beyond the provided background.

I’ve provided links to all the readings online to ensure that everyone has ready access. Unfortunately, it takes some digging or is impossible to turn up paper versions of many of these readings. Books of other liberatory criticism and fiction can be substituted if extensive online readings are objectionable, or too remote from participants liberatory interests and needs. The course may be either reading intensive or writing intensive as participants choose.

About half of the course work will correspond with something like the weekly reading schedule below. This is much of the planned reading component. A general discussion forum will facilitate exploration of the readings. Additional readings may be added depending on participant interest. (Any participants who would rather read my work minimally should feel free to substitute work by any of the dozens of authors listed, or propose other authors.)

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the forums in either critical or imaginative form – as will I in commenting on some amount of participant work.


Week 1: Liberatory Literature and Socialit subsite

1) Read the excerpts linked at Critical Excerpts – 1883 to 2003
2) Begin reading in the PDF of the expanded bibliography and excerpts of sociopolitical criticism of literature.
3) At Lib Lit, read Please Attack Appalachia, The Slow Slide to Barbarity, Plan USA, and any of Paul Street’s three satires
4) Be familiar with the Socialit subsite.

Week 2: Liberation Lit journal

1) At Lib Lit, the following: either story by Adetokunbo Abiola, both stories by Joe Emersberger, the novel excerpt by Ron Jacobs, the story by Mahmud Rahman, either story by Joseph Veramu, and the three novel excerpts by Andre Vltchek.
2) Continue reading in the PDF of criticism excerpts.

Week 3: Liberation Lit journal and critical excerpts continued

1) Additional works in Lib Lit that you select and the rest of the PDF of criticism excerpts.
2) Read Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal.
3) Be familiar with these other mostly classic works of engaged fiction. Read or read-in several.

Week 4: Homefront and related critical work

1) Read Homefront PDF chapters 1 and 6, and read-in (at least briefly) chapters 11, 13, 14. The full paper novel or PDF expanded version is optional.
2) Read related commentaries:
    a) by myself – Footnotes to the Conquest: Iraq War Novels and Movies, Antiwar Novels are “belligerent”?, Hollywood Always At War, Partisan Fiction – Its Public Function, Homeland and Partisan Fiction.
    b) by John Pilger – Hollywood Hurrah, Our Writers’ Failure (I), Our Writers’ Failure (II), The Silence of Writers.
    c) by others – The Iraq war movie: Military hopes to shape genre – Julian E. Barnes, Art, Literature, and the CIA, Iraq War Fiction links.
3) Also see many more and various commentaries of mixed value at Social and Political Art Article Archives Links.

Week 5: Short Fiction, Satire, Criticism

1) Various topical nonfiction: Read commentaries and articles of interest at Z Course Miscellany and at Social and Political Art Article Archives Links.
2) Sample [read some of] the following Tropetopia selections: The Bush Plan to Abolish America, The General Petraeus Plan to Abolish America, The Fox News Plan to Abolish America, The Pelosi-Reid Plan to Abolish America, The CNN Plan to Abolish America, The Dimslow Report – Warhawk Guns For Hire, A Practical PolicyBanked, Balloted, Error Incorporated.

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