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ENGL 307 A: Cultural Studies

History Matters

Meeting Time: 
TTh 4:30pm - 6:20pm
SMI 305
Katherine Cummings

Additional Details:

This critical studies course is premised on two understandings: the first is that the past is accessible only in and through the narratives that we impose on the messiness of events; the second is that the histories we craft determine the present and future. Required texts place scholarship on historiography and trauma in conversation with dominant and insurgent histories of the “Cold War,” the U.S. war in Vietnam, immigration, “the free market” economy, and “the other America.” We will turn primarily to literature and documentary film for accounts of these subjects and events, but also to the “official histories” (eg., government documents, news reporting and other institutionalized memories) that they engage. Along with short fiction, essays and other cultural documents collected in a course packet, expect to read The Book of Daniel, The Gangster We Are All Looking For and The Tropic of Orange and to watch Trouble the Water, a counter-history of Hurricane Katrina and the storm’s aftermath. Three questions will orient our investigation of every text: 1. how does it make sense of the past; 2. what factors are likely to have influenced this interpretation; and 3. what are the social consequences of constructing history in this way.

Catalog Description: 
Overview of cultural studies with a focus on reading texts or objects using cultural studies methods and writing analytic essays using cultural studies methods. Focuses on culture as a site of political and social debate and struggle.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 15, 2016 - 3:31pm