SES430 - Autobiography: Self and Society

Outline information
Schools offering this subject
Last revision date Nov 11, 2019 12:30:09 AM
Last review date Nov 11, 2019 12:30:09 AM

Subject Title
Autobiography: Self and Society

Subject Description

?Who am I?? This is a fundamental question asked by autobiographers, both fictional and non-fictional. In the form of memoirs, stories, essays, poems, films, stand-up comedy, blogs, and more, autobiographies often reflect the writer?s attempt to reach a universal human goal: self-knowledge. Through self-reflection writers express, and often resist, their personal and social identities - gendered, sexual, racial - revealing how they are shaped by the world around them. This course will explore the history of the genre, its frequent themes, methods of storytelling, and the question of what motivates an autobiographer to reminisce or rage, to confess or confront, to reveal or even avoid the truth. Often it is the imagined connection to you the reader that shapes this form of storytelling. Memoirs are human psychology laid bare. As such, they expose the limits and possibilities of knowledge and perception, and they captivate us by providing an intimate view of human life.


Credit Status
One General Education elective credit in the Arts and Humanities category.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate awareness of autobiography as a genre, its history, theory, and principles
  2. Critically read an autobiographical novel, research and interpret the typical topics and themes, and respond with a well-structured essay
  3. Critically read shorter pieces of autobiography, both fictional and non-fictional
  4. Identify the relationship between the subject of an autobiography, the narrator, and the social milieu and recognize the relationship between the individual and society. Learners will use autobiography as a means to explore their own position in history
  5. Identify with the personal experiences of others and write about one’s own in the form of journal entries, thus developing their ability to write autobiographically
  6. Write an MLA-formatted independent research essay, using the knowledge of the genre, the approach to autobiography analysis.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.