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American Literature on Fire: Conquest, Capitalism, Resistance: 1492-1865
Fall 2020 not offered
Crosslisting: AMST 243A

We begin with a 1938 Langston Hughes poem, a north star shining light on American unexceptionalism and then move back in time: from Columbus's dismemberment and enslavement of the Arawaks when demanding gold; to Cabeza de Vaca's feel-good handbook for the conquest of indigenous peoples; to Puritan inventions of a "God" that pulls the trigger; to Franklin's blowing the whistle on a mercantile capitalism he supercharged with a secular work ethic; to a Declaration of "Independence" in 1776 that provoked alternative declarations written by workers, women, and ex-slaves in the 19th century; to Poe's readings of a Divided States of America (race, gender, domesticity) as gothic; to Douglass's representations of the tactical artfulness of slave culture; to Hawthorne's deconstruction of the Americanization of power; to Thoreau's entwining of collective protest and what he hoped would be an individualized escape route; to Melville's attacks on imperialism, racism, and class domination; to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's critique of domestic slavery; to Stowe's socially transformative antislavery novel (whose sentimentalization recirculated stereotypes). During our literary-intellectual time travel, we will engage some of America's most "on fire" writers who make possible insights into the ideological foundations of American cultures, identities, and hegemonies that provocatively illuminate America's situation today (and offer some lessons for how to change it).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)(ENGL-Literature)

Last Updated on SEP-24-2023
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