ENGL 1511N S01 [CRN: 24712]An historical consideration of how the novel in the United States addresses the relations between American liberalism and the projection of US sovereign authority into international contexts. Topics to be considered include: Manifest Destiny and the frontier; Reconstruction and the rise of imperial America; World War II and the Cold War; and the United States at the end of History.
Additional Description from the Instructor:
This course examines the American novel in terms of the relationship between liberalism and imperialism in the United States history. Taking our bearings from the ways in which the representation of seemingly ungoverned territory--virgin land--shaped the development of American liberal ideals, we will chart the complicated and unpredictable relations between liberal political theory and American imperial foreign policy from the Louisiana Purchase through the Cold War. At the same time, we will measure the notorious formal irregularity of the American novel against the shifting terms in which the national integrity of the United States received its elaboration and definition. Our discussions will hinge on two broad clusters of questions. 1) In what ways did American liberalism encourage American imperial ambitions? In what ways did American liberalism limit and restrain those ambitions? What justifications are available to imperial state projects other than liberal ones? Should we understand manifest destiny as an imperial enterprise? How should we understand the relationship between manifest destiny and United States’ avowedly imperial projects at the turn of the twentieth century or its proxy-based expansion of its sphere of influence during the Cold War? 2) In what ways is the United States novel a specifically nationalist literary form? What forms of nationalism does it sanction? On what forms of nationalism does it depend? Does it make sense to peg developments in the American novel’s formal history--from realism to naturalism and modernism, from modernism to postmodernism, etc.--to contemporaneous shifts in way the United States was conceptualized as a national entity? If all goes well, our discussions will enable us to develop strategies for exhuming a submerged interplay between American literary and political history. We should emerge from the semester with a firmer command of the multivalent permutations of American liberalism, with an enriched understanding of the intellectual interest of American diplomatic history, and with a broader conception of the cultural environment from which American literature has sprung.
- Course Syllabus
- View Syllabus
- Assignments and Grading
- The course requirements are simple. You must attend each class prepared to enter into a vigorous and contentious discussion of the week’s material (15% of final grade). You must write four shorter response papers (each of two or three pages, 50% of final grade). And you must write a final ten-page term paper (35% of final grade). I will discuss all of these assignments in more detail in our first meeting. The shorter papers will be due on or around the following dates: February 22, March 15, April 5, and April 26.
- Readings and Texts
- [Note: There are no texts for this course in the campus bookstore. The Brown and Melville material is in the public domain. All of the material listed underneath the primary work for each week will be available electronically through mycourses. You can order all of the primary works, at a considerable discount from campus store prices, from any of a number of etailers.]
- Spring 2013
- Credit Hours
- Maximum Enrollment
- Primary Instructor
- 10:30 am - 11:50 am Tue, Thu - from Jan 23, 2013 to May 17, 2013
- Exam Group Code
- 09 (May 8, 2013 9:00am)