The critical practices that we’ll examine over the course of this quarter are counterhistories in two senses of the word. First and fundamentally, they debunk common (i.e. positivist) conceptions of history as a disinterested record of “the past as it really was;” they define history as a narrative that imposes a particular meaning on the messiness of events and the complexities of human existence; they affiliate history with literature; and they affirm that historical narratives are inevitably political. Second, these counterhistories render visible the violence that such ostensible goods as the rule of law, freedom, family, and community conceal. Critical examinations of history, trauma, racism, and neoliberalism supplement late 20th and early 21st century American fiction, memoire and film. Required texts will include a course packet and the following texts: Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina; Diem’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For, Wideman’s Two Cities; Chua’s Gold by the Inch; and Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange.