ENGL 412
An Infinity of Traces: Haunting, Historical Violence, and Alternative Futures Fall 2017
Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed COMP 412 / ENGL 412 / AMST 412
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci writes that history has “deposited in you an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory.” In this senior seminar, we will adopt a comparative, interdisciplinary, and mixed media approach to inventory some of these uncanny traces as they manifest in the form of social hauntings through narratives of repressed or suspended historical violence. Animated by a whole host of names like “ghost,” “spirit,” “specter,” “zombie,” “things that go bump in the night,” “the unborn,” or “the undead,” we will ask what other stories/other knowledges these halting and haunted figures might seek to tell us. How do they dis-order our experience of a modern world whose space/time is shaped by ongoing processes of chattel slavery, settler colonialism, capitalism, mass incarceration, immigration, imperialism, militarism, and war? How do they unsettle, arrest, disrupt, and even seek vengeance for a “common sense” that is structured in human dispossession, exploitation, repression, and death? Finally, how do they leave us with a radical urgency to unlearn and reorient our ways of knowing, being, living, and imagining toward alternative futures where such systems of power and domination can be dismantled for good? Texts to be considered may include: All They Will Call You by Tim Z. Hernandez, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and short stories by Sherman Alexie, Lose Your Mother by Saidiya Hartman, Burning Vision by Marie Clements, The Gangster We Are All Looking For by lê thi diem thúy, Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, and The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 2050
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and class participation; weekly journal entries (1-2 pages); in-class group presentation; midterm paper (5-6 pages); final creative project
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: previous courses in American Studies, critical studies in race and ethnicity and cultural studies, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: American Studies majors
Distributions: Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP or ENGL
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 412 Division I ENGL 412 Division I AMST 412 Division II
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives
AMST 400-level Senior Seminars

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