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Empire and the Transnational Turn in the Study of U.S Culture

ENGL 558.301
instructor(s):
R 12-3

This course has a double focus. One explores representations of U.S. imperialism in a variety of literary and nonliterary texts from the 1840s through the early twentieth century. The second engages recent theory and criticism about culture and imperialism and sets them in dialogue with current efforts to remap the transnational dimensions of U.S culture. We will explore the value and limits of the concept of empire as a framework for cultural analysis.� Historically, we will discuss different forms of imperial expansion, from continental conquest of the 1840s to overseas territorial acquisitions as a result of the wars of 1898, to early twentieth century forms of deterritorialized domination. The course will also consider how different literary genres�domestic novel, travel writing, utopian fiction, historical romance etc.-- engage imperial themes. We will pay special attention to the relation between the exercise of U.S. power abroad and the formation�and contestation--of national identities at home, to the interplay between domestic and foreign spaces.�

Readings may include work by Herman Melville, �Martin Delaney, E.D.E.N. Southworth, George Lippard, �Mark Twain,� Helen Hunt Jackson, Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sui Sin Far, Pauline Hopkins, Charles A. Eastman, and W.E. B. Du Bois, supplemented by selections from John O� Sullivan,� Sarah Josepha� Hale, William Prescott, Theodore Roosevelt, Jose Marti,� Richard Harding Davis, Stepen Crane and letters by African American soldiers in the Philippines. Theoretical readings may include work by Ann Stoler, Edward Said, Renato Rosaldo, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, John Carlos Rowe,Mary Louise Pratt, Gail Bederman, Lisa Lowe, Etienne Balibar, Paul Gilroy, Matthew Jacobson., and Jose David Saldivar.