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This is a two-part junior seminar in which we take an expansive approach to memoir as a form, genre, and practice, with specific attention given to texts reckoning with the traumas, transgressions, and transformations of what we understand as “America” and its many discontents. As such, the courses are remote and may be taken in sequence or autonomously. In this second part, we convene on a selection from our historical present and explore how categories of identity and experience, memory and history are being constructed and deconstructed, reimagined and remade anew. We will ask: how do these authors narrate the overlapping cycles of loss, pain, grief, survival, resilience, and resistance in the face of historical violence? What possibilities for (individual and collective) healing can exist in and beyond the world as we know it? What does it even mean to have or to not have, to find, to lose, to have stolen, to dissolve, and/or to recover a self in a besieged American present-future tense? Texts to be considered may include: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Alexander Chee); When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele); Heart Berries (Terese Marie Mailhot); Know My Name (Chanel Miller); On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Ocean Vuong).
Format: seminar; Remote
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
weekly reading responses, midterm and final papers
American Studies 101 and/or 301, previous coursework in race, ethnicity, and diaspora, junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor
American Studies Majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
Analyzes the dynamics of power and privilege in the U.S. from a national and transnational context, examines the perspectives of socially marginalized groups, and fosters an understanding of the beliefs, experiences, and cultural productions of these groups.
AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora