ENGL437 - Contemporary American Literature

Prerequisite: Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.

Prose, poetry, drama of living American writers. Current cultural and social issues.

     This course concentrates on writers who are “Material Witnesses” in a variety of ways. Some focus on migration, displacement, and dispossession.Others contrast the real world with the virtual world of newtechnologies that have transformed global relations. Our major questions: What roles do memory, commemoration, and trauma play in testimony – i.e., inbecoming a “Material Witness?” How do these writers’ narrative experiments reflect the social and psychic fractures of contemporary experience?

     Writers are selected from the following (but not limited to them): Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, Sigrid Nunez, Monique Truong, Sherman Alexie, Don DeLillo, Joseph O’Neill, Natasha Trethewey and Anna Deveare Smith. A fiction anthology and a packet of scholarly essays may also be assigned. Requirements:1 short (5 pp.) and 1 longer (8-10 pp.) paper; 2 exams. You will be at disadvantage if you miss any class, beginning with the first day.