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ENG 440 This is America: Reimagining the Nation (American Multicultural Literature) - Dr. Early: Home

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Course Description

In his recent video, rapper Childish Gambino declares “This is America” while the camera captures a series of images that invoke everything from Jim Crow to mass shootings. Arresting and controversial, the video creates a disturbing representation of America and compels viewers to question how they view the nation, forcing us to ask, “What is America?” That same question and the similar question, “Who is American?” are taken up by the authors we will study in this course. Drawing on Benedict Anderson’s landmark theorization of nationalism in Imagined Communities, we will consider how the United States is imagined and how the texts we study work to counter, critique, and expand that image. In addition to poetry, novels, and short stories, we will read scholarly work and examine pop culture texts to deepen our knowledge of American literature and develop a more nuanced understanding of racial, cultural, and social issues that inform our national imaginary. 

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