English 190

Research Seminar: Crisis and Culture: The 1930s, 1970s, and Today in Comparative Perspective


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2010 Lee, Steven S.
Lee, Steven
MW 9-10:30 301 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Doctorow, E.L.: Ragtime; Gold, M.: Jews Without Money; Kingston, M.H.: The Woman Warrior; Stoppard, T.: Travesties; Wright, R.: Native Son

Description

This seminar will investigate the relationship between culture and economics. To what extent is cultural production determined by market forces, and to what extent is it separate from these forces? Particularly during moments of crisis, how might culture help us to imagine new ways of imagining and structuring society? To answer these questions, the seminar will focus on the last three major worldwide economic crises—the 1930s, the 1970s, and the crisis that began in September 2008. We will see how the 1930s witnessed what has been called the “laboring” of American culture, but also the emergence of cultural forms that advanced fascism in Europe. We will see how the 1970s witnessed the emergence of an ostensibly depoliticized “postmodern” culture, but also the promotion of what has come to be known as “multiculturalism.” Finally, we will explore both the possibilities and limitations brought by the most recent crisis. Students will be invited to locate examples of contemporary culture and to relate these to cultural forms from the earlier two decades. Note: Since the readings might change, please refrain from buying books until after the first meeting.

English 190 replaced 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 English 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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