American Literature as American Studies|
Fall 2014 not offered
ENGL 345, FGSS 333|
Together we will consider how literature can advance American studies as an interdisciplinary critical and self-critical project. Literature--like life, and like American studies--is not divided into disciplines. Indeed, literature functioned as a form of "American studies" long before American studies took shape as a field in the 1930s. Literature investigated some areas of American experience well before historians recognized and researched these areas as "history" and focused on key theoretical concerns well before theorists formulated and abstracted these concerns as "theory." We will read a variety of literary forms: novels (Twain, Adams), stories (Hawthorne, Hughes, Cheever), plays (Glaspell, Odets, Gold Kopit), essays (Emerson, London), literary cultural criticism (Eastman, Du Bois), utopian fiction (Bellamy), memoirs (Cabeza de Vaca). And, we will reflect on writing by some key critics (Trilling, Bercovitch) and theorists (Marx, Williams, Eagleton, Bourdieu, Butler). Our goal is to reassess how literature can help us develop as creative American studies thinkers.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(FGSS)
Cabeza de Vaca, ADVENTURES IN THE UNKNOWN INTERIOR OF AMERICA
Nathaniel Hawthorne, THE ARTIST OF THE BEAUTIFUL
Herman Melville, stories
Henry Adams, DEMOCRACY
Mark Twain, A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT; THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Edward Bellamy, LOOKING BACKWARD
W.E.B. Du Bois, THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK
Charles Eastman, THE SOUL OF THE INDIAN
Susan Glaspell, SUPPRESSED DESIRES, TRIFLES, THE VERGE
Langston Hughes, THE WAYS OF WHITE FOLKS
Mike Gold, STRIKE!
Clifford Odets, WAITING FOR LEFTY
John Cheever, THE SWIMMER
Arthur Kopit, INDIANS
Lionel Trilling, THE MEANING OF LITERARY IDEA
Sacvan Bercovitch, THE FUNCTION OF THE LITERARY IN A TIME OF CULTURAL STUDIES
Judith Butler, PERFORMATIVE ACTS AND GENDER CONSTITUTION
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Students will write three six or seven page essays and the themes for each essay assignment will be related. Essay options will include scholarly topics as well as some more creative approaches that explore the literature we are studying as a critical resource. Each essay will constitute a "chapter" of a small "book" or "book-in-progress." At the end of the term students will also write a two page introduction and a one page afterword that will unify the three essays--or three "chapters"--as a project. The final project, then, will be the submission of the "book" or "book-in-progress" (introduction, three chapters, afterword). Each student will help lead discussion (with a partner) two or three times.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This is a thinking intensive seminar. We will learn--and no doubt unlearn--a great deal. As Kenneth Burke wrote many years ago, literature is an "equipment for living." It is also an equipment for American Studies. English majors should note that this seminar will contribute to the fulfillment of the American Literature concentration and the Literatures of Difference requirement in English.
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