Modern America 1900-1950: The Museum of Innocence cancelled
Over time, objects can change from daily household items to artifacts requiring labels and interpretive contexts. The familiar can become a museum display, the known an unknown. This process is as true of books as it is of telephones, typewriters, and toasters. In this course, we shall consider literary productions as material objects, subject to varied principles of selection and arrangement. We will examine traditional categories such as “Modernism” and “Realism” against transnational and multicultural backgrounds, seeking new understanding of familiar texts, exploring some less familiar works, and analyzing relationships between language, gender, race, and power. Readings include novels, short stories, non-fiction, and poetry with a glance at art, music, photography, drama, and film. Writers include Theodore Dreiser, W. E. B. DuBois, Zitkala Sa, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, W. C. Williams, Jean Toomer, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, James Agee, Meridel LeSeuer, Chinese immigrant poets from Angel Island, John Hersey, and Allen Ginsberg. Geographically we will move from Chicago, to a Sioux reservation, to Paris, back to New York, then to the South, the Midwest, San Francisco, and Hiroshima. Requirements will include several shorter exploratory essays and an individual project. Depending on the class flexibility, we will access resources such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a local theater, and Penn Rare Books and Manuscripts.