Whither the American Dream? Exacerbating skepticism around the popular fantasy, recent occurrences-from the 2007 housing market crash and subsequent economic recession to the rising xenophobia after the 2016 election and the 2020 global pandemic-have prompted many to proclaim the onset of an "American Nightmare." Meanwhile, persistent racial inequities increasingly highlight the contradictions embedded within the American Dream: the perils that accompany its promises and the realities that undermine its values. For instance, how do we grapple with the fact that the nation's celebrated ideals such as freedom and democracy have historically coincided with slavery, exclusion laws, and disenfranchisement? This course centers literary works by writers of color to explore how race, class, and sociopolitical contexts unevenly determine who has the opportunities and resources for realizing this dream and why it remains elusive for so many. These texts counter post-war American promises of socioeconomic mobility with the disillusionments of intensified disparities across the country. Elucidating the stark realities for minoritized communities, US ethnic literatures leverage the American Dream as a platform for social justice by contemplating the possibilities for realizing a more perfect union while expanding our vision of what such dreams entail.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; EL TC