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Literary Studies as American Studies
AMST 210
Fall 2007
Section: 01  

How do stories work and what work can they do for students of American culture? How do they contribute to and complicate efforts to historicize and theorize power? This Junior Colloquium will engage these questions by reading literary texts as powerful modes of cultural and ideological critique. We will read a series of canonical and non-canonical works in the context of both literary studies (drawing on close-reading, genre theory, and narratology) and cultural criticism (including Marxism, feminist theory, ethnic studies, and transnational theory) with the goal of understanding precisely how literary texts - through their form and themes - instigate, challenge, and ultimately facilitate the kind of analysis at the heart of American Studies. Starting with works by Hawthorne and Melville that historicize various subjectivities and conceptualize the operation of power among individuals, groups, and nations, we will proceed to an array of modern, hybrid texts - comics, graphic novels, television, and film - that combine story and image to articulate new modes of social critique. We will conclude with three contemporary texts, an Iraq War documentary (Gunner Palace), a historical novel (Amalgamation Polka), and a graphic memoir (Fun Home) that incorporates the lessons of American studies in their very conception and form.

Essential Capabilities: Interpretation, Writing
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA AMST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-18-2024
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