ENGL 265
Topics in American Literature: Transnational America Spring 2015
Division I Writing Skills
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Class Details

This course explores the transnational currents, exchanges and encounters of peoples and cultures of the United States. Literature is often talked about, taught, and organized as part of a distinctly national culture. In doing so, we often forget that national cultures and traditions themselves are products of a more worldly and transnational dynamics. Rejecting the model of America as a “nation of immigrants,” this class aims to de-center nation and nationalism and instead to foreground transnationalism and diaspora to situate America as (to borrow from historian Henry Yu) “an intersection on a larger grid . . . one intersecting node for many journeys.” By thinking “American” literature through a diasporic lens, we will consider the ways in which literary texts have made, unmade, challenged, and re-envisioned national imaginaries, communities, and identities. Texts may include: Selected essays by James Baldwin, Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America, Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Ninotchka Rosca’s State of War Mark Twain’s Roughing It, among others.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 3595
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: active, daily in-class participation; independent research project (8-10 pages) and in-class workshop; 2-3 response papers (of 3-4 pages each)
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: Sophomores considering the English major
Unit Notes: 200-level Gateway Courses
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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