Who or what is haunting America? This course takes a tour of U.S. literature from the early nineteenth century to the present led by its many many ghosts. Spirits can confuse and confound the reality of literary texts, but they can also clarify the stakes of the stories we tell. Ghosts are figures for mourning and fear, but they are also the mediums through which American writers have often processed traumatic or unresolved histories. This course will take the ghostly perspective on American literature and history, from the Gothic golden age of Poe and Irving to writers who use apparitions and possessions to think about the legacies of slavery, the violence of Jim Crow, the American wars of the 20th century, the immigrant experience, the vexed visibility of gender and sexuality, and the existential crises of industrialization, climate change, and the ephemeral digital image.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM