“Family drama” is at the center of many influential American plays and performances, and this course is constructed as a chronological and thematic introduction to important writers, works, and historical moments in American theatre. The class will focus on the reading of family dramas (and comedies), which will be accompanied by essays that offer historical and theoretical contexts. Representative plays will include: Awake and Sing by Clifford Odets, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee and Fences by August Wilson. More contemporary work will include Hir by Taylor Mac and Fun Home by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, adapted from Alison Bechdel’s memoir.We will consider plays that explore family life and American culture(s), including dramas that express the specific experience(s) of Black, Irish, Jewish, Latino and other groups; we will also look at queer, trans, and other “non-traditional” family formations as represented on the stage. Where possible, we will view some of these plays at the theatre or in recordings.