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ENGL 355 A: American Literature: Contemporary America

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
CDH 110A
Katherine Cummings

Additional Details:

English 355

Winter 2016 description

Kate Cummings

This course will examine diverse representations of “living on the edge” in late 20th and early 21st century American literature, film, popular media, and other discourses. We will pay particular attention to fictions, films and other popular media and the events that they represent: eg., the ongoing U.S. “war on terror,” as well as domestic “states of emergency” (eg., immigration, homelessness, crime, perversion) and their impact on those perceived to be threatening the well being of the nation, community or family (eg., latino/as, poor and /or otherwise nonproductive citizens, black males, and queers). We will examine the world building project that sentences nonnormative populations to literal or social death. Moreover, we will pay particular attention to how these abjected subjects negotiate a bearable , hopeful life—at times in isolation and at other times, on which we’ll focus, through the formation of counterpublics. (Black Lives Matter is a recent case in point).

Students will be expected to participate in class discussions, produce short critiques of assigned readings (probably 8) and a final 7-8 page paper that draws on these critiques and discussion. Required texts will include a course packet, and the following novels are likely: Himes, If He Hollers Let Him Go; Robinson, Housekeeping; Allison, The Bastard Out of Carolina; Feinberg, Stone Butch Blue;, Yamashita, The Tropic of Orange; and Beatty, The Sellout.

Catalog Description: 
Examines recent American literature and its historical and cultural contexts.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 3:58pm