Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Signs, Shrines, and Monuments in the U.S.A. cancelled

ENGL 016.402
MW 3-4:30

This course explores the relation between public landscapes and American identity. We'll focus on a range of spaces, texts, and objects, from national monuments to manifestos to muscle cars to graffiti art. Taking Ground Zero and the New World Trade Center Memorial as our starting points, we will think about how authors, artists, architects, and urban planners have shaped public expressions of trauma and mourning. We'll discuss how mass violence and loss are represented and how they become part of public debate. We'll explore how monuments like Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, the Civil Rights and Vietnam Veterans memorials, and the Museum of Sex shape our history, our memories, and our national, racial, and sexual identities. We will also take a close look at some �anti-monuments� � murals, manifestos, and urban artforms such as graffiti and culture jamming. Readings will include the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address; fiction and nonfiction by Kurt Vonnegut, Joan Didion, Jack Kerouac, Don DeLillo, Sapphire, and Toni Morrison; essays by Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes; as well as writings by architects Maya Lin, Daniel Libeskind, and others. This is an ideal seminar for students interested in architecture, art, film, literature, philosophy, urban studies, or psychology. Trips to local Philadelphia sites and possible trip to WTC memorial will be required. Assignments include group presentation, weekly online discussion, and choice of two papers or final project.

fulfills requirements