This course examines U.S. literature and culture in the context of the history of the United States as it belongs to the Americas (North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean). We will complicate the conventional periodization of nineteenth-century U.S. literature and history that makes the Civil War the pivotal event in a narrative that moves from sectional conflict to national consolidation to imperialism at the end of the century. Topics we will address include the complicated politics of anti-imperialism, the relationship between notions of manifest destiny and the conflict over slavery, the role of domesticity in promoting and valorizing imperialist imperatives, and the conflicts between colonization and resistance schemes in the Americas. Possible readings include Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, the anonymously authored Xicotencatl, Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, writings by Simon Bolivar, Melville's Benito Cereno, selected poetry by Jose Marti, Thoreau's Resistance to Civil Government, and Ruiz de Burton's The Squatter and the Don.
Course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in US for Class 2012 and after in the College.