English 190

Research Seminar: The Seventies


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Fall 2009 Saul, Scott
Saul, Scott
TTh 2-3:30 224 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

The book list for this course has not been finalized, but the books will be at the bookstore by the time classes start.

Description

As one historian has quipped, it was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. “The ’70s” routinely come in for mockery: even at the time, it was known as the decade when “it seemed like nothing happened.”

Yet we can see now that the ’70s was a time of cultural renaissance (e.g. the New Hollywood of Scorcese, Coppola et al; the music of funk, disco, punk and New Wave; the postmodern theater of Saturday Night Live, Sam Shepard and Maria Irene Fornes; the "dirty realism" of Raymond Carver; the sci-fi boom represented by Ursula LeGuin, Samuel Delany et al) and a period of intense political realignments (the shock of the oil crisis; the fall of Nixon and the fall of Saigon; the advent of women’s liberation, gay liberation, and environmentalism as mass grassroots movements; the rise of the Sunbelt and the dawning of the conservative revolution). One might even say that the ’70s were the most interesting decade of the post-WWII era -- the period when the dreams of the ‘60s were most intensely, if achingly, fulfilled.

It may also be the decade closest to our own contemporary moment. In this class, we will consider how the roots of our current predicament lie in the earlier decade -- with its uncertainty about the oil supply, its stagnant economy, its alarm at Islamic fundamentalism, its fetish for self-fulfillment, its reality TV and its fascination with the appeal of instant and often empty celebrity. We will, in turn, reflect on how Americans in the ‘70s struggled with many of the dilemmas that we face now.

English 190 replaces English 100 and 150 as of Fall ’09. English majors may fulfill the seminar requirement for the major by taking one section of English 190 (or by having taken either English 100 or 150 before Fall ’09). Please read the paragraph on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course!

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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