ENGLISH 364 - The Contemporary Novel
Fall 2023, Section 001 - Detroit State of Mind: Literary Representations of the Motor City
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Detroit is a city of stark contradictions. On the one hand, as the original home of the universally beloved black-owned music label Motown, it has become one of the most potent symbols of America’s integrated popular culture, while, on the other hand, the Detroit riots of 1943 and 1967 have made it all but synonymous with black-white racial strife. Once heralded as an “arsenal of democracy,” it nonetheless has a long history of antidemocratic policies and social movements. Although a site of tremendous wealth production and class mobility throughout the twentieth century, it filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and currently has the highest poverty rate of any major American city. How can we make sense of such a place? In this course, we will attempt to do so by turning to the writers, filmmakers, musicians, and poets whose works revolve around life in the Motor City. We will pay special attention to how these authors represent class conflict and race.

Assigned texts will likely include Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House; Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex; Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit; Paul Schrader’s Blue Collar; and the documentaries Finally Got the News and Searching for Sugar Man. Students should be prepared to encounter texts that include graphic depictions of violence and racist language.

This course satisfies the following CURRENT English major/minor requirement: American Literature

This course satisfies the following NEW English major/minor requirements: Time: Contemporary/Modern

Course Requirements:

This course will include weekly lectures and class discussions. Students will write weekly reading notes, give one presentation, and complete two take-home exams.

Intended Audience:

This class is intended for upper level students of all majors and is not open to first-year students. 


ENGLISH 364 - The Contemporary Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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