MALS-289: "Digital American Cultural Studies"
This course provides an overview of the various theories and methods used by
digital humanists to study American culture. We will give particular attention
to critical code studies, game studies, and machine learning approaches to
distant reading. Two short essays will interrogate oppositional positions
within the field of digital cultural studies. Final projects will approach an
object of American culture through digital methods or study a digital object.
Course readings include: Alan Liu, N. Katherine Hayles, Matthew L. Jockers, Lev
Manovitch, and Lisa Gitelman.
MALS-289: "American Cultural Studies" 15F
This seminar course offers a broad survey of methodologies and approaches for the study of American culture. We will read both classic and contemporary work in several representative or emergent areas in the study of American culture including science and technology studies, food studies, critical race theory, queer and feminist theory, and the study of material culture. Throughout the term we will think critically about the methodological choices and commitments of the critics and theorists that we encounter by turning to a core text, an edited volume of keywords for the study of American culture. Our “test objects” for understanding and critiquing these choices will include short stories, novels, and films. Additional critical and theoretical readings may include works by Slavoj Žižek, Lauren Berlant, Lee Edelman, Jennifer Fleissner, Bill Brown, Eric Lott, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, and Caleb Smith. Shorter papers will provide the opportunity to interrogate oppositional positions within American Studies and our objects. A final seminar paper will allow you to examine an object (film, text, a piece of music, visual or material object, etc.) of your synthesis of the broad approaches studied throughout the term.
MALS-318: "Cultural Studies" 16X
Perhaps because of its capacity to cut across social and political interests
and transgress disciplinary boundaries, Cultural Studies has provoked highly
contradictory descriptions of its politics and academic location. Cultural
Studies has been described as the academic location where the politics of
difference—racial, sexual, economic, transnational—can combine and be
articulated in all of their theoretical complexity. It has also been depicted
as an academic containment strategy designed to tame cultural otherness through
the universalization of the “idea” of culture and the resistance to theory. In
this course we shall analyze the work of scholars—bell hooks, Douglas Crimp,
Janice Radway, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, Homi Bhabha, Andrew Ross, Meaghan
Morris, Elsbeth Probyn, Michael Warner, Rey Chow, Cornel west, Kobena Mercer,
Judith Butler, among others—who explicitly reflect upon the importance of
conceptualizing and defining this diverse and often contentious enterprise. In
addition to examining the social and institutional geneology of the field, we
shall deploy disparate methodological practices developed within the field of
Cultural Studies to analyze a range of cultural artifices including: film noir,
television soap operas, rap music, Hollywood blockbusters, borderlands
discourse, whiteness studies and postcolonial theory.
ENGL-54.02: "American Renaissance at Dartmouth" 16W
F.O. Matthiessen coined the term "American Renaissance" in his groundbreaking book, The American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman (1941). At the outset of the nineteenth century American writers struggled with a sense of cultural inferiority and artistic belatedness belatedness. The "American Renaissance" demarcates a period as well as a cultural movement marked by intense literary activity between the 1830s and 1860s that aimed at the formation of a distinctively American literature. Matthiessen restricted the American Renaissance to the years between 1850 and 1855, an "extraordinarily concentrated moment of literary expression." In the years since the publication of Matthiessen's important work, teachers and scholars in American literature have extended the American Renaissance's chronological provenance at least as far back as the anti-slavery debates in the 1830s and as far forward as the termination of the Civil War. In the past several decades, Matthiessen's argument has been challenged for its exaggeration of the originality of his coterie of male authors, for the exclusion of women and African-American and popular authors from his account of the United States during a period of remarkable social and cultural transformation, and for its seemingly uncritical acceptance of the doctrine of American exceptionalism. In light of these criticisms, scholars have added Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain (among others) to Matthiessen's American Renaissance pantheon.
WRIT-5: Dartmouth College in Fiction and in Fact 16W
Dartmouth College, as both a setting and object of analysis, has appeared in numerous cultural objects as alumni, students, and those looking in from the outside have reflected on the intellectual and social life of the College. In this writing-intensive course we will examine the range of representations of Dartmouth in a variety of prose sources including memoirs, novels, and essays. We will write our own analyses of these texts before conducting historical research in Rauner, Dartmouth's special collections library. Along the way, we’ll learn something about the history of our institution, differences between various student experiences, and debates over the past and future of Dartmouth College. Texts include: Gina Barreca, Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Co-Education in the Ivy League (UPNE, 2011). 978-1611682038 and Chris Miller, The Real Animal House: The Awesomely Depraved Saga of the Fraternity That Inspired the Movie (Little, Brown and Company, 2006). 978-0316022415
WRIT-5: "Campus Life" Syllabus (PDF)
Despite the fact that we come together to learn and work within an institution with a long history and a complex understanding of its own purpose, we have few opportunities to step back and ask larger questions about how the university and academic life are often represented. We will examine representations of the tension between a college and a university that President Emeritus James Wright identified as at the core of Dartmouth's identity. This class examines a wide variety of cultural texts that offer a response to questions concerning what happens in the university. We will explore representations of academic institutions in a number of films and in textual depictions such as the "campus novel," and ask how these objects organize and deploy the symbol of the University within the wide range of ideological interests, desires, and goals that have historically framed this institution. Frequently taught texts include F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
; Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
; Donna Tartt, The Secret History
; May Sarton, The Small Room
; Shirley Jackson, Hangsaman
WRIT-5: "The Ghost in the Machine: Neuroscience and the Novel" Syllabus (PDF)
This course is an exploration of what many are now calling the "neuronovel" that takes as its founding assumption that literary works and contemporary theories of mind are significantly related. The neurological novel registers a shift in thinking from previous accounts of the self as structured by latent or hidden desires to one in which characters possess a set of neurological symptoms that demonstrate a physical-mental disorder. The goal is to show how this division, crudely speaking, enables us to differentiate between fictional works that represent the self as centered on the mind versus those that treat the self as originating in the brain. Several short papers will offer students space to analyze existing arguments on the subject and to practice writing leading to the longer papers. In the two major papers students will write and support evidence-based claims about the intersection between science and literature. Primary texts include Mary Shelley, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus
, Ian McEwan, Enduring Love: A Novel
, Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
, Henry James, The Sacred Fount
ENGL-42: "American Fiction to 1900"
A survey of the first century of U.S. fiction, this course focuses on historical contexts as well as social and material conditions of the production of narrative as cultural myth. The course is designed to provide an overview of the literary history of the United States novel from the National Period to the threshold of the Modern (1845-1900). To do justice to the range of works under discussion, the lectures will call attention to the heterogeneous cultural contexts out of which these works have emerged as well as the formal and structural components of the different works under discussion. In keeping with this intention, the lecturers include the so-called classic texts in American literature, The Last of the Mohicans, Moby-Dick, The Scarlet Letter, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, but also the newly canonized Uncle Tom's Cabin, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Life in the Iron Mills, Hope Leslie in the hope that the configuration of these works will result in an understanding of the remarkable complexity of United States literary culture.
ENGL-34: "American Drama"
A study of major American playwrights of the 19th and 20th centuries including Susan Glaspell, O'Neill, Hellman, Wilder, Hansberry, Guare, Williams, Wilson, Mamet, Miller, Albee, Shepard, Wasserstein.