Literary Perversions: Revolution, Democracy, Identity|
Fall 2021 not offered
|Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate|
The Federalist Papers wrote under the strong impression that the American Revolution was imperiled by an overwhelming debt and the lack of a national authority and identity to bind the States together. Public fear of moral degeneration via the replacement of the "Old World" symbolic order with a "New World" order under the aegis of "representative democracy" loomed over the republic.
Taking these concerns and the dissemination of The Federalist Papers as our point of departure, this course will examine how representations of "non-normative" identities in several major 19th-century works relate to the problems of representing democracy in the aftermath of the American Revolution. Many of the most famous canonical literary texts in the United States during the 19th century write about "non-normative" topics such as maternity, slavery, bestiality, and gender inequality in the context of narratives that attempt to rewrite the legacy of the American Revolution. By focusing on the literary treatment of these "perverse" topics, we shall attempt to understand whether the authors we will undertake close readings of in this course were successful in their endeavors to not only amend the shortcomings of the Revolution, but also to think more rigorously about the history of slavery and gender inequality.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(ENGL)(ENGL-Literature)
Derrida, Jacques. ROGUES: TWO ESSAYS ON REASON. Stanford University Press, 2002.
Douglass, Frederick. NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDRICK DOUGLASS, AN AMERICAN SLAVE. W. W. Norton & Company, 1996.
Du Bois, W.E.B. THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK. Editors Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Terri Hume Oliver. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999. (Selected Essays).
Du Bois, W.E.B. "Color and Democracy." THE WORLD AND AFRICA AND COLOR AND DEMOCRACY. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. RALPH WALDO EMERSON: THE MAJOR PROSE. Editors Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson. Harvard University Press, 2015.
Melville, Herman. THE PIAZZA TALES. Editor Harrison Hayford. Northwestern University Press, 1996.
Morrison, Toni. PLAYING IN THE DARK: WHITENESS AND THE LITERARY IMAGINATION, 1993.
Spillers, Hortense. "Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book." Diacritics, Vol. 17, No. 2 (1987), 64-81.
Warren, Calvin L. "Black Nihilism and The Politics of Hope." CR: The New Centennial Review. Vol. 15, No. 1 (2015), 215-248.
Whitman, Walt. Democratic Vistas. Editor Ed Folsom. University of Iowa Press, 2009.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Five two page response papers, an in-class presentation, participation (attendance and in-class discussion), and a final research paper.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the Theory, Literatures of Difference, and Literary History 2 requirements and contributes to the American Literature and Theory & Literary Forms concentrations of the English major.
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