ENGLISH 290 - Themes in Language and Literature
Fall 2021, Section 002 - The Pursuit of Happiness
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:


The Declaration of Independence, adopted in 1776 by the Continental Congress, the provisional governing structure for the thirteen British colonies that ultimately became the United States of America, proclaimed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This course will look at how happiness has been represented and experienced by various populations in the United States from 1776 to the present. To do this we will read literature by European American, African American, Native American, Chinese American Latinx American, and Arab American writers—eight books plus some poems and short stories. Interspersed among literary texts will be several readings about theories and measures of happiness, along with music, art, film/TV, and, especially, advertising that focuses on happiness.

As we read these texts we will ask questions like these: How do literary texts give us access to understandings about what happiness means to people who differ by gender, race, ethnicity, and historical moment? What do these texts obscure? How do our own conceptions of happiness shift as we consider multiple texts on the topic? How do non-literary tests represent or obscure the intersection of race with other identifications, especially those based on gender and sexuality?


ENGLISH 290 - Themes in Language and Literature
Schedule Listing
002 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
005 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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