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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 first part, we focus on authors charting the lives and afterlives of chattel slavery, settler colonialism, genocide, war, and the expansion of the global American empire, from the 19th through 20th centuries. How do these authors remediate the critical (il)legibility of personhood and place, community and nation? What myths must be dispelled and/or rewritten? What structural elements are deployed to tackle the obstacles of hegemonic power and historical amnesia, and how do these authors re/generate “what remains of lost histories and histories of loss” (Eng and Kazanjian)? Texts to be considered may include: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen (Lili’oukalani); Notes of a Native Son (James Baldwin); Borderlands/La Frontera (Gloria Anzaldúa); Dictee (Theresa Hak Kyung Cha).
Format: seminar; Remote
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
weekly reading responses, midtern 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
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
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