American Studies after Late Modernity: Contemporary Directions
This course will take seriously the idea of American Studies as an Area Studies project. It will introduce students to important debates in current postcolonial and critical area studies, situating the U.S. within those debates. From there we will ask how American studies is re-configured and re-presented for us when compared and connected to other regional modernities. Since the U.S. is not simply a single closed nation-state but also determines the persistence of empire in other regions, we will engage a form of comparative thinking that refuses a national ontology and examines the links and forced separation of the U.S. (as global dominant) from other geopolitical regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We will consider contexts such as settler colonialism, slavery, immigration and war as forcing a critique of “comparativism.” The course will predominantly use the object of sexuality to think through these questions. And, students will be required to attend a May 25th, Wed night Stice Lecture on Queer Studies as well as a two-day workshop on Area and Sexuality Studies on May 27-28. Do not enroll in the course if you will be unable to attend these additional events.