In recent years, our understanding of modern social imaginaries has been revised by studies of a range of material contexts for literary expression. These include technology, architecture, media and virtuality, racial modernisms, and capitalist culture. In this seminar we will read selected works from the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, primarily but not exclusively from the U.S. Alongside these primary texts, we will survey some of the key critical approaches from this materialist turn in the field. Our aim will be to closely study selected works of American modernism while becoming acquainted with new critical approaches.
For our primary texts, authors may include: Pauline Hopkins, Henry James, Charles Chesnutt, Henri Bergson, Stephen Crane, Djuna Barnes, James Weldon Johnson, Frank Norris, Nathaniel West, José Marti, Catherine Anne Porter, Eric Walrond, William James. Students will help shape the syllabus through collective decisions about the works we want to read.