The image above is a section of Evan Dorkin's comix included in Generation Ecch! The Backlash Starts Here, by Jason Cohen and Michael Krugman. New York: Fireside, 1994.
Contemporary Literature: The Fiction of Generation X
Professor Naomi Mandel
class will focus on fiction by and about Generation X, the generation
born between 1960-1980. GenXers came of age in a world marked by the
collapse of Communism and the ascendency of the New Right, as the
discourse of capitalism, the economic function and social significance
of the commodity, replaced the commitment to liberal causes that
characterized the 60s and 70s. For Generation X, happiness is the
product of Prozac, serenity is elicited by Valium, love is haunted by
AIDS. Its catchword is "whatever," its anthem "Nevermind." How does
Generation X think about identity (in the heyday of "identity
politics"), history (with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the onset of
the Gulf War), and violence (before and after the terror attacks of
September 11, 2001 and the global "war on terror")?
McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights Big City (1984)
Ellis, Bret Easton. Less Than Zero (1985)
Coupland, Douglas. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991)
Delvaux, Martine. "The Exit of a Generation: The 'Whatever' Philosophy."*
Howe, Neil and Bill Strauss. 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? (selections)*
Rushkoff, Douglas. "Introduction" to The GenX Reader*
Homes, A.M. The End of Alice (1996)
Alexie, Sherman. Reservation Blues (1995)
Whitehead, Colson. The Intuitionist (1999)
Walter, Jess. The Zero (2006).
* indicates text available on Sakai
It Right: the SourceAid guide to citation, research, and avoiding
plagiarism / co-authors, Tom Fox, Julia Johns, Sarah Keller. Chapters 1
and 4. Electronic resource (available in the URI library).
"Acknowledging the Work of Others"*
* indicates text available on Sakai
Formal Paper #1: Close Reading. 3-5 pages. 10%.
Formal Paper #2: Reception Study. 3-5 pages. 15%.
Formal Paper #3: Critical Engagement. 3-5 pages. 20%.
Formal Paper #4: Research Paper. 5-7 pages. 25%.
Prospectus for Paper #4: 1-2 pages. Due in conference. 5%.
Midterm: 10%. Academic Honesty and MLA Bibliography
Attendance and Participation: 15%
This class is designed to REINFORCE your skills in close reading, research, argumentation, and analysis.
Essential learning outcomes are as follows:
• Gaining factual knowledge
• Gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of intellectual/cultural activity
• Developing skill in expressing yourself in writing
• Learn how to find and use resources for answering questions or solving problems
• Learn to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view
• Acquire an interest in learning more by asking your own questions and seeking answers
student with a documented disability is welcome to contact me as early
in the semester as possible so that we may arrange reasonable
accommodations. As part of this process, please be in touch with
Disability Services for Students Office at 330 Memorial Union,
means: being present in class, bringing the assigned text in hard copy
with you to class, participating in class discussion, and note-taking.
Being present in class without the assigned text, or without having
read the assigned text, will reflect negatively on your attendance
record. If unforeseen circumstances keep you away from class for 2 or
more consecutive classes, you MUST contact me (or get someone else to
contact me if you are unable) to let me know what is going on. I will
interpret silence from you as an indication that you are indifferent to
your grade and to this class. If this is NOT the case, it is up to you
to let me know in a timely manner.
Illness Due to Flu
nation is experiencing widespread influenza-like illness. If any of us
develop flu-like symptoms, we are being advised to stay home until the
fever has subsided for 24 hours. So, if you exhibit such
symptoms, please do not come to class. You are not required to present
a note from a healthcare provider. Notify me at 874-4011 or
firstname.lastname@example.org of your status, and we will communicate through the
medium we have established for the class. We will work together to
ensure that course instruction and work is completed for the semester.
Handheld electronic devices
phones, glowing screens, and even the operation of such devices are
disruptive influences not conducive to learning. Their
indiscriminate usage in class is inconsiderate to students and to the
instructor. Furthermore, sending text messages during a class is
a completely inappropriate use of these devices, as it diverts
attention away from the educational function.
(or any wireless computers or similar electronic devices) may be used
for note-taking or specified course activities with prior permission
from the instructor. Students using these devices for note-taking must
turn off the wireless function and close all applications/windows other
than the appropriate document or application unless the instructor
specifically permits otherwise.
Students who require access to
hand-held or wireless technology for purposes of a documented
disability may use them according to stipulations in the student's
are expected to be honest in all academic work. A student’s name on any
written work, quiz or exam shall be regarded as assurance that the work
is the result of the student’s own independent thought and study. Work
should be stated in the student’s own words, properly attributed to its
source. Students have an obligation to know how to quote, paraphrase,
summarize, cite and reference the work of others with integrity.
The following are examples of academic dishonesty.
• Using material, directly or paraphrasing, from published sources (print or electronic) without appropriate citation
• Claiming disproportionate credit for work not done independently
• Unauthorized possession or access to exams
• Unauthorized communication during exams
• Unauthorized use of another’s work or preparing work for another student
• Taking an exam for another student
• Altering or attempting to alter grades
• The use of notes or electronic devices to gain an unauthorized advantage during exams
• Fabricating or falsifying facts, data or references
• Facilitating or aiding another’s academic dishonesty
• Submitting the same paper for more than one course without prior approval from the instructors.
Student Handbook, in particular Section 4.1, provides guidelines
concerning academic honesty. Additional assistance is available at the
Writing Center and the Academic Enhancement Center.