ENGLISH 630 - Special Topics
Section: 003 Southern Modern
Term: FA 2017
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Credits:
3
Consent:
With permission of department.
Repeatability:
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Inhabitants of the U.S. South in the early twentieth century were imagined by the rest of the country to be historically retrograde, caught in “Lost Cause” nostalgia, outmoded Christian fundamentalism, or feudal social and labor relations. The Harlem Renaissance spokesman Alain Locke, for example, described the northward migration of southern blacks to be not only a geographical move “from countryside to city” but also a temporal move forward “from Medieval America to modern.” Sociologist Georg Simmel contrasted the “emotional,” “rooted” rural inhabitant with the “metropolitan type” whose “intensification of consciousness” is brought on by “the profound disruption with which the fluctuations and discontinuities of the external milieu threaten” him. To combat such views typical of metropolitan commentators, historians of the Caribbean have built an argument since the 1940s that the sugar colonies were one of the first modern places on earth. Recently, historians of cotton have made related claims for that staple’s ties to global modernity. Throughout the plantation zone from the early modern period forward, migrant and multicultural populations from around the Atlantic world produced together, and against each other, creole cultures alongside a new construct of race, and race-based slavery, while financial speculation attached to commodified labor and plants produced the profits that would launch industrialism. Taking this debate around plantation modernity as a key problem, we will read a number of southern authors—as well as authors positioning the South—from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, among whom are (likely): Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B. Du Bois, H.L. Mencken, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Will Rogers and Ralph Ellison. For each, we’ll ask the basic but hard question: how was the question of the South’s particular modernity tied to modernism and its formal experiments? How did these authors mix distinctly southern cultural forms, like the spiritual, the Blues, or the “lie,” with recent continental intellectual practices like psychoanalysis, anthropology, dada and surrealism? We’ll read literary scholars working in the New Southern Studies as well as historians working on the plantation and post-plantation South, and I am also open to incorporating other theoretical and critical lenses—ecocriticism, new materialism, animal studies, media studies, for example—that you’d like to bring to bear. In class, you will do two brief oral presentations; a conference style 20-minute presentation at term’s end out of which you’ll revise a 12-15pp paper. Students from other Departments and the MFA Program are very welcome. I relish the chance to read these remarkable authors with you.

ENGLISH 630 - Special Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
31131
Open
1
 
-
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM
002 (SEM)
P
25980
Open
4
 
-
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
003 (SEM)
P
28748
Closed
0
 
-
Tu 6:00PM - 9:00PM
004 (SEM)
P
34187
Open
1
 
-
M 4:00PM - 7:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 9780679732259
As I lay dying : the corrected text, Author: Faulkner, William, 1897-1962., Publisher: Vintage Books 1990
Required
ISBN: 0679732179
Go down, Moses, Author: William Faulkner., Publisher: Vintage Books 1st Vintag 1990
Required
ISBN: 9780679732761
Invisible man, Author: Ellison, Ralph., Publisher: Vintage International 1995
Required
ISBN: 9780060916480
Mules and men, Author: Hurston, Zora Neale., Publisher: Perennial Library 1990
Required
ISBN: 9780140186864
The marrow of tradition, Author: Charles W. Chesnutt ; edited and with an introduction by Eric J. Sundquist., Publisher: Penguin Books 1993
Required
ISBN: 9780679732242
The sound and the fury : the corrected text, Author: William Faulkner., Publisher: Vintage Books 1st Vintag 1990
Required
ISBN: 0060931418
Their eyes were watching God, Author: Zora Neale Hurston ; with a foreword by Mary Helen Washington and an afterword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Publisher: Perennial Library 1st Perenn 1990
Required
ISBN: 0060587148
Uncle Tom's children, Author: with an introduction by Richard Yarborough., Publisher: HarperPerennial 1st Perenn 2004
Required
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