Course: Sources of the Self

HC 231H

Professor: Vera Keller

With the advent of social networking sites and their emphasis on narratives of the self, the self has become a subject of increasing activity, creativity, and prominence in the everyday lives of contemporary college students. Historians of the book have pointed to the profound societal changes in which changing textual technologies from the codex to the computer have been implicated. Changing media can help transform conceptions of the self and its relationship to communities, society, cultural production and consumption, intellectual property, social change, and ideas of the public sphere.

The self has long been assumed to be a hallmark of both modernity and American culture. This course challenges such assumptions by exploring the varying sources of the self - autobiographies, portraiture, diaries, confessions, etc.- from antiquity to the early modern period across Asia and Europe.