This course will examine the arc of American literature in a century of rapid technological development and escalating global catastrophe. We will pay particular attention to the shifting relationship of literature to an ever-expanding media environment. How do novelists and poets position their work in relation to the new forms of media which become dominant in the 20th century, from photography, to film, to digital technology? What can literature teach us that conventional histories cannot? In answering these questions, we will gain a deeper understanding of how 20th century literature grapples with issues of modernity, historical memory, and racial and national identity. Potential authors include James Baldwin, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Leslie Marmon Silko, among others.