3rd year/MA: Cold War Culture and its Countercultures

3rd year/MA: American Cold War Fictions and its Counter Cultures

Tuesdays 1:15 to 3:00 p.m. Anthropole 5060 (Please note — this is a new room!)


This advanced seminar will explore American literature and culture of the 1950s and 60s, with a particular focus on the Manichean logic of the Cold War and the oppositional cultures and literatures that it produced, including the Beats, the anti-war movement, and the so-called Counterculture itself. We will read works by Arthur Miller, Richard Wright, Shirley Jackson, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Herr, and others.

Course objectives include the development of critical thinking and writing skills as well as an introduction to principles of cultural studies and discourse analysis. Validation of the seminar will depend on a short midterm assignment (3-4 pages) and a longer final essay of 8-10 pages for BA students. MA students will need to write an essay of 12-15 pages. Depending on class size, there will also be an oral presentation or the preparation of questions and leading a small group discussion on one day.