Course content spring 2019
In the spring semester of 2019, this course will focus on the theme of animals and animality in U.S. literature, from the 1960s to the present. We will study various genres of literature, including literary fiction, memoirs, essays, science fiction, and speculative fiction, as well as various approaches to the theme, including engagement with postmodernism, realism, fantasy, autobiography, nonhuman autobiography, advocacy, and activism.
We will explore not only representations and constructions of nonhuman animals, but also the ways in which various human groups can be constructed as animals, questioning the supposedly stable boundaries between what it means to be human and what it means to be an animal.
Animals and animality will be studied intersectionally with race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and environment, emphasizing the cultural and political implications of these intersections, situated in particular historical and cultural contexts.
The course will engage with key writers from the 1960s to the present, including J. M. Coetzee, David Foster Wallace, Paul Auster, Ursula Le Guin, Phillip K. Dick, Linda Hogan, Mark Doty, Ruth Ozeki, and Don LePan.