ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Fall 2022, Section 006 - The Pursuit of Happiness
Instruction Mode: Section 006 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Details

Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Repeatability:
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Description

Called an “inalienable right” in the Declaration of Independence, “the pursuit of happiness” has long been a defining feature of what it means to be American. But what exactly that happiness is, how to successfully pursue it, and whether it can really form the basis for an emancipatory politics were questions for future generations to answer.

This course unearths how American authors of roughly the first century and a half of its existence grappled with those questions, even as students formulate answers of their own. Each text we read will wrestle in its own way with the variously cruel and transcendent pursuit of happiness, from utopian social experiments and demands for freedom to the pursuit of love, wealth, and fame. Major authors are likely to include the first Native American poet, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, and widely-read authors like Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Pauline Hopkins, Edith Wharton, and Eugene O’Neill. Along the way we will consult recent theoretical meditations on the good life, optimism, and happiness by Judith Butler, Lauren Berlant, Saidiya Hartman, and Sarah Ahmed, and put those theories in conversation with texts from the course. Meanwhile, students will articulate and then revise their own conclusions on happiness and its discontents. They will ultimately gain a strong foundation in major American texts and authors of the long nineteenth century, and a rich theoretical vocabulary with which to analyze one of America’s defining principles. 

Major Requirement: Pre-1900, American Literature 

Schedule

ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
28889
Open
5
 
-
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (LEC)
 In Person
24432
Open
1
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (LEC)
 In Person
28890
Open
1
 
-
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
005 (LEC)
 In Person
30229
Open
12
 
-
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
006 (LEC)
 In Person
32828
Open
2
 
-
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
007 (LEC)
 In Person
33676
Closed
0
 
-
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)