Literature, Media, and Culture 3518:
Literary and Cultural Postmodernism
In surveying the major themes, representational techniques, and social and cultural concerns of postmodern art and literature, this course will pay special attention to the ways that science, technology, and media have contextualized and influenced the fiction, poetry, nonfiction, electronic literature, and theory of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. In studying postmodern literature, we will necessarily begin with understanding the basics of modernist literature and theory and how postmodernism responds to the modernist precedent. From there we will trace a roughly chronological path through the past 60 or so years of literary and cultural history, exploring such important topics as the influence of the nuclear age on postwar literature; the rise of “theory” writ large and its effect on literary production; and the ways that computers and the Internet have suggested new possibilities and new challenges for human thought and literary production.
Texts and Resources
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot.
Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings.
Churchill, Caryl. Cloud Nine.
DeLillo, Don. White Noise: Text and Criticism.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
Moore, Alan and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen.
Mullen, Harryette. Sleeping with the Dictionary.
Baudrillard, Jean. From Symbolic Exchange and Death.
Bell, Daniel. From The Coming of Post-Industrial Society.
Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”
Foucault, Michel. From Discipline and Punish.
Freud, Sigmund. From The Interpretation of Dreams.
Hassan, Ihab. “POSTmodernISM: A Paracritical Bibliography.”
Lyotard, Jean François. From The Postmodern Condition.
Manovich, Lev. “Database as Symbolic Form.”
Said, Edward, from Orientalism.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. From “Existentialism.”
Saussure, Ferdinand. From Course in General Linguistics.
Spivak, Gayatri. From “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
Projects and Assignments
Group Presentation on Theoretical Essay or Excerpt
Multimodal Research Essay
Self-Assessment of Class Participation