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The Twentieth Century: Whose American Dream?

ENGL 0040.601
Tuesday 5:15-8:14pm

Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. This piece of
conventional wisdom has long led Americans to believe that if we love to do
something, it can’t be work. It becomes, essentially, a labor of love—and
yet, doesn’t even a work of art require…work? In this survey course of
twentieth-century American literature, we will consider the relationship
between the American Dream, the figure of the “worker,” and artistic labor
writ large. Through our readings of novels, poetry, and films, we will
explore contemporary notions about workers in the context of social and
economic developments throughout the century, paying particular attention
to texts that challenge the association of the figure of “the worker” with
heteronormative white masculinity and the industrial jobs that make up a
shrinking portion of the U.S. economy.

English Major Requirements
  • Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora (AEDD)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
College Attributes
  • Sector III: Arts & Letters (AUAL)
  • Foundational Approach: Cultural Diversity in US (AUCD)