Short Course Description
Department of English and American Studies
Full syllabus is to be published
American Literature and Popular Culture
Spring Semester, 2021
Dr. Sonia Weiner
Office: Webb 503
Office Hours: By Appointment
American Literature and Popular Culture will focus on elements of popular culture that appear within literary texts (the term popular culture will be explored and defined). We will analyze and theorize these popular presences or intertexts, and consider a) the history of the intertext within American culture at large and b) the cultural work the intertext performs within the literary text (to what extent is the literary manifestation of the cultural intertext part of popular culture?) There will be an emphasis on the visual, namely, the texts examined will include popular photographic images (actual or narrative descriptions) and references to films. One of the texts we read will be comics.
Tentative Readings (definitely not a final list):
Jamaica Kincaid, Biography of a Dress (alongside sections from Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye and Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom-s Cabin), Joyce Carol Oates, You Must Remember This, Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Luis Alberto Urrea, Into the Beautiful North, Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Theoretical Texts will be linked to each literary text. General texts will include: John Storey, Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, Marcel Danesi, Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives, Walter Benjamin, The Task of the Translator.
Midterm Home Exam: 40%
Final Paper: 60%