E 379S • Senior Seminar--Literature of American Warfare-W
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
This class will explore the circumstances, practices, collective beliefs and personal experiences of American wars and warfare as represented in both fictional and nonfictional accounts and in both prose and poetry. It will examine instances of combat from the Pequot War of the earliest English settlers in New England through the second Iraq War in light of America's changing self-images and position in the world, in light of the U. S.'s westward (and eastward) territorial and imperial expansions, and in light of the powerful and abiding American ideology of perpetual innocence, righteousness, chosenness, and manifest destiny among the nations and of that ideology's equally abiding critique. Contestation over questions of masculinity and femininity, patriotism and treason, and racial identity and otherness will also, inescapably, be matters of concern, as will be questions of the politics and poetics of different media, forms, and genres of war's representation.
Students will be evaluated on the basis of class attendance and participation, Blackboard discussion posts, reading quizzes, and two analytical essays.
Blackboard discussion posts 25% Reading quizzes 20% Analytical essays 35% Attendance and participation 20%
Beginning with framing religious narratives by 17th century writers John Winthrop and Mary Rowlandson, we will proceed through selected works of and about 18th through mid 20th century wars by such writers as Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Dalton Trumbo, and Norman Mailer, before focusing in the second half of the class on literature and journalism from the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq.