Travis J Sands
American literature in its political and cultural context from the Civil War to the present. Emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to American literature, including history, politics, anthropology, and mass media.
This course on American political cultures will examine the relationship between the operations of state power and the practices of national citizenship from the early cold war to the current â€śwar on terror.â€? As we read across literary, cinematic, social scientific, governmental and theoretical texts, our primary focus will be on how race, gender, and sexuality have served as important domains in the uneven transition from â€śthe welfare stateâ€? to the â€śsecurity state.â€? By the conclusion of the course, students should have better understanding both of how U.S. state power has transformed in the past six decades, and of how the complex intersections of the state, culture, and the market comprise the shifting grounds through which â€śAmericansâ€? come to understand themselves as political subjects.
Although the syllabus remains a work in progress, students should expect to read: novels by Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, and Fae Myenne Ng; films by Elia Kazan and Todd Haynes; sociological texts by Alfred Kinsey, Gunnar Myrdal, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan; a range of pivotal government documents and supreme court decisions; and critical theory from figures such as Michel Foucault, M. Jacqui Alexander, James Scott, Lisa Lowe, Benedict Anderson, Ruth Gilmore, and Judith Butler. Grades will be based on active classroom participation, four short critical response papers, and a final 8-page research paper.
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General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading