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Introduction to American Literature

ENGL 080.910
instructor(s):
TR 4:30-7:40

Taking Superman's Cold War motto as a jumping-off point, this class will explore the different ways American authors from the Puritan to the postmodern eras have defined truth and justice. We will consider how issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality complicate our understanding of what is true and just. We will also question whether truth or justice can be said to exist "on their own," or whether these are cultural fictions that emerge in response to specific historical and political crises. Since this a survey course interested in a wide range of representations of American experiences--Jewish, gay/lesbian, we will be reading texts by such diverse figures as Toni Morrison, Seneca Chief Red Jacket, Maxine Hong Kingston, William Faulkner, Anne Bradstreet, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Cherrie Moraga, and Norman Mailer.