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War and Representation

ENGL 105.601
crosslisted as: COML 150, RUSS 193
instructor(s):
Tuesdays 5:30-8:30 pm
Sector IV: Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences of the College's General Education Curriculum

Representations of war have been created for as many reasons as wars are fought: to legitimate conflict, to celebrate military prowess, to critique brutality, to mobilize popular support, to vilify an enemy, and to generate national pride.  In this course we will examine literary and cinematic representations of war, produced in Russia, Europe, and the United States.  Over the course of the semester we will reflect on the tension between the need for memorialization and the limits of representation: How is war represented in literature and film? How do those mediums both enable and thwart us in our attempt to capture wartime experiences?  What is the relationship between perspective, politics, and representation?  And finally, how is the experience of being in a war refracted through gender, race, class, and sexuality?  Authors we will read in this class might include Leo Tolstoy, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, John Okada, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Rabih Alameddine, and Toni Morrison.