American Literatures and the Powers of Culture|
Spring 2008 not offered
We will focus on American literature, ranging from the 15th to 20th centuries, as a critical force that has reflected on how culture (and cultural producers) can encode the ways in which we read, experience, and imagine our selves, our world, our possibilities. We will engage some illuminating modern cultural theory, but our emphasis will be on coming to terms with the power of American authors as complex, self-reflexive, daring theorists of the powers of culture. Themes and subjects we will take up include: the power of language, representation, and narrative to help organize against and resist oppression; ethnographic literature (which is sometimes about internal colonization) that explores cross-cultural differences in the production of value and meaningfulness; literature that concentrates on understanding how and why Americans are complicitous with larger social contradictions and often act as if they are not; how literature (from romanticism on) understands itself as a subjectivity production industry.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Christopher Columbus, JOURNALS
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Egotism; Or, the Bosom Serpent," "The Artist of the Beautiful"
Herman Melville, "Poor Man's Pudding and Rich Man's Crumbs," "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids"
Susan Glaspell and George Cram Cook, "Suppressed Desires"
Langston Hughes, THE WAYS OF WHITE FOLKS
Meridel LeSueur, "I Was Marching"
Tillie Olsen, "I Stand Here Ironing"
Workers Theatre Troupes, ART IS A WEAPON, NEWSBOY
Adrienne Rich, poems
Jimmie Durham (Cherokee), poems.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Three five-page papers plus some exercises. Each student will take a turn or two at leading class discussions.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
To obtain the 'Permission of Instructor', students must set up an interview with me to discuss the course and their interests.
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