Michelle S. Liu
Advanced work in cultural studies.
You: the senior capstone course
This quarter will be all about you—or rather, why “you” have become the symbol of an electronic democratic culture. How did this celebration of the individual come about, and how is different from the past? What are the implications for thinking about “you” as the ultimate arbiter in matters of taste, social trends, and policy? And what is the relationship between “you,” as the vaunted savvy user of electronic media, and the United States’ military entanglements in the Middle East? Topics to be covered: celebrity culture, spectacle, travel literature, and soldiers’ blogs. Expect to complete your own project about the place of “you” in American culture by quarter’s end.
Required texts: Thomas de Zengotita’s Mediated; David Shields’ Remote; Miranda July’s Nobody Belongs Here More Than You; and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. E-reserve readings will include such works as Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle; Francine Prose on reality TV and democracy; Mary Louise Pratt’s Imperial Eyes; Lisa Nakamura on identity tourism; Susan Faludi’s Terror Dream; and Time Magazine’s article proclaiming “you” as the 2006 Person of the Year.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading