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Contemporary Literature: U.S. Literature and Culture after 9/11

Spring 2021

MW 3:30-4:45 pm
Online only

Professor Lindsay Thomas,
Virtual office hours: MW 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm, and by appointment

  • Please email me to schedule a time to meet. The best time to meet with me is during the above time slot, and slots will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. But if you can’t make my virtual office hours, just let me know and we’ll set up an appointment that works for both of us.

Course Description

This course focuses on the legacy of the events of September 11, 2001 and how they have shaped American literature and culture since. We will consider a wide range of media and genres, including fiction, memoir, poetry, television, and film. Our focus throughout will be on the war on terror and its ramifications. The first half of the course will explore media that take 9/11 and the war on terror as their topic. We will pay particular attention to the role of trauma and violence in narratives about 9/11. How are the stories of 9/11 narrated, and by whom? Who is depicted as traumatized, and who is depicted as violent? In the second half of the course, we will broaden our focus to emphasize how the war on terror has affected and has been affected by American conceptions of citizenship and belonging. Who is understood to “belong” in this country and who isn’t? And how do ideas about belonging structure the war on terror itself? Throughout the course, we will seek to answer these questions by developing a history of now. How did we get here, and where do we go from here?

Download PDF of syllabus