The last half-century has seen our means of communication increase at incredible speed—ostensibly creating a “global community” through social media and the World Wide Web. At the same time, much of contemporary fiction bears witness to growing alienation and the ultimate failure to “connect.” Mirroring the current proliferation of media platforms, this course will incorporate novels, films, graphic narrative, poetry, songs, and short stories to survey the breadth of contemporary American literature in its global contexts. Focusing on texts that dramatize a desire for community, connectivity, recognition, and meaningful encounters will allow us to explore the relationship between post-45 American fiction and the world we (try to) live in. Texts will include works by Ellison, Kerouac, O’Connor, Roemer, Highsmith, O’Brien, Coppola, Scorsese, Moore, DeLillo, Gibson, and Diaz. Assignments will consist of discussion posts, two short paper exercises, and a comprehensive exam.
Keywords: Novel, Cinema, Contemporary, Comics, Postmodernism, Community