Topics in Literature:


Thanks to the global resurgence of rightwing populism, the term "fascist" has reentered serious discussions of the American present--intelligently and otherwise. This class will sidestep the charged debate over whether fascism and related forms of authoritarianism haven taken root in American soil to examine the robust tradition of American anti-authoritarianism. Instead of asking "Will it happen here?," in other words, we will ask how intellectuals with an eye on the U.S. wrote and acted to keep it from happening. We'll take up three main lines of thought along the way: historical narratives beginning with Richard Hofstadter's classic essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (1964); theoretical accounts from "The Origins of Totalitarianism" (1951), Hannah Arendt's commanding first American publication, to Vaughn Rasberry's "Race and the Totalitarian Century" (2016); and dystopian resistance fictions from Sinclair Lewis's more-cited-than-read "It Can't Happen Here" (1935) to Margaret Atwood's enduring "The Handmaid's Tale" (1985). These readings will help us tackle a number of pressing questions about literary study in the context of political and intellectual history, not to mention informed citizenship circa 2024. Satisfies the Twentieth Century and later requirement.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU IS; AS HUM; EL GML; FA HUM; AR HUM