In a society as obsessed with celebrity as ours is today, what does the urge to gossip tell us about where we live and who we are—as a nation, as a community, and as people? In this ENGL 114 course, we’ll ask ourselves why certain names, faces, and bodies are elevated above others, and how we participate in the performance of celebrity. We’ll think about gossip and scandal: not just as a means of policing human behavior, but as two different strategies for protecting the less powerful. And we’ll consider how social media has definitively altered the conception and consumption of fame. In other words, this is a class that celebrates and scrutinizes Instagram, web apps, and all things Kardashian, which will touch on topics as diverse as anthropology, sociology, art history and media studies. Along the way, we’ll tackle the following questions: Are gossip, scandal, and celebrity fundamentally frivolous? And how can they best be employed in contemporary society?