American Culture: Methods & Visions: Home, Bittersweet, Home: Histories of Home and Homeownership


In "A Case for Reparations" (2014), Ta-Nehisi Coates called for a "revolution of the American consciousness"--a "national reckoning" that would involve "reconciling our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history." Thanks in great part to Black Lives Matter activism, "reckoning" has since become something of a household word (and even a cliché), as schools, businesses, churches, and governmental institutions acknowledge their entanglement with problematic racial histories, pursue DEI programs and BIPOC representation, remove Confederate statues, and rename buildings and sports teams. In this writing-intensive course, we will explore how problematic, contested, or suppressed pasts revisit themselves in later times. In so doing, we'll attend to two key trends: the dominance of "reckoning" as discourse and practice in contemporary culture (including acts of apology, restitution / reparations, and forgiveness), and the flourishing of new cultural forms that aim to acknowledge and own problematic, contested, or suppressed pasts (visual/textual conjurations of lost histories, digital mapping projects, counter-monuments and activist memorial practices, land acknowledgments, and more). What is accomplished by these forms of reckoning? What new types of historical imagination do such activities foster, and what are their effects, disruptive powers, and limitations? And most foundationally, what difference does it makes to think of American culture as one "haunted by history," perpetually confronting unresolved legacies and pains that disrupt social and political life? By what means--analytical, historical, theoretical imaginative--can we as students of culture understand the ongoing effects of restive, haunting and traumatic histories?
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS WI I; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

American Culture: Methods & Visions: Home, Bittersweet, Home: Histories of Home and Homeownership
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