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Course Calendar

Readings are due – meaning they should be completed – on the dates indicated. Readings marked with “(GD)” are available in our class Google drive folder. All other readings are either linked to here or they are novels/TV episodes/films (see “Required Course Materials” on the Course Info & Policies page).

The most accurate and up-to-date version of this calendar can be found on our course site. Use the online calendar to check on reading assignments, rather than this print version, since the print version of this syllabus will not be updated throughout the semester.

I reserve the right to change the course calendar as needed; adequate advance notice will always be given of any changes.

Unit 1: 9/11 and its Aftermath

Week 1

Monday, January 25

  • Introductions

Wednesday, January 27

Week 2

Monday, February 1

  • Leti Volpp, “The Citizen and the Terrorist,” UCLA Law Review, vol. 49 (June 2002): 1575-1600 (GD)

Wednesday, February 3

  • Selections from the The 9/11 Commission Report (GD)
    • I’ve extracted the first 14 pages of this report and placed them in our course readings folder in Google drive. Please read pages 1-8 (until “The Hijacking of American 77”) and skim the rest.
  • DeLillo, “In the Ruins of the Future: Reflections on Terror and Loss in the Shadow of September,” Harper’s Magazine (Dec 2001) (GD)

Week 3

Monday, February 8

  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), pgs 1-85 (What The?; Why I’m Not Where You Are: 5/21/63; Googolplex; My Feelings)

Wednesday, February 10

  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), pgs 86-173 (The Only Animal; Why I’m Not Where You Are: 5/21/63; Heavy Boots Heavier Boots)
  • “David Foster Wallace – The Problem with Irony,” Will Schoder (9:54 min),

Friday, February 12

  • Response paper 1 due

Week 4

Monday, February 15

  • Read through your teammate’s response papers.
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), pgs 174-261 (My Feelings; Happiness, Happiness; Why I’m Not Where You Are: 4/12/78; The Sixth Borough; My Feelings; Alive and Alone)

Wednesday, February 17

  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), pgs 262-end (Why I’m Not Where You Are: 9/11/03; A Simple Solution to an Impossible Problem; My Feelings)

Friday, February 19

  • Response paper 2 due

Week 5

Monday, February 22

  • Salon Staff, “Introduction: The Abu Ghraib Files,” Salon, March 14, 2006,
    • NOTE: This article is about the torture of prisoners by US Army personnel in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. The article linked above includes 1 image of torture, though it is not graphic in of itself (but it may still be upsetting due to context). If you would prefer to read a version of the article without the image, you can find one included in our course readings on Google drive. The “chapters” the introduction above links to do include images of torture, and they have all been taken down. However, they are available via the WayBack Machine. You are only required to read the above introduction, NOT any of the chapters it links to.
  • Susan Sontag, “Regarding the Torture of Others,” New York Times Magazine, May 23, 2004 (GD)
    • NOTE: I’ve included a pdf of this article as it originally appeared in the New York Times Magazine. It includes images of torture, but the pdf I’ve provided has a very low reproduction quality, so the images are fuzzy, black, and difficult to see. This is by design.
  • Judith Butler, “Torture and the ethics of photography,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space vol. 25 (2007): 951-966 (GD)

Wednesday, February 24

  • Homeland episodes, “Pilot,” Season 1, episode 1 (2011); “Crossfire,” Season 1, episode 9 (2011)

Friday, February 26

  • Email me with the name of the person you will be interviewing for Paper 1

Week 6

Monday, March 1

  • Mohamedou Ould Salahi, ed. Larry Siems, Guantánamo Diary (2016), “Note on the Text and Annotations of the Restored Edition” (by Siems); and Ch. One “Jordan-Afghanistan-GTMO: July 2002-February 2003” (by Salahi) (GD)
    • In Ch. One, read pages 3-45, skim pgs 45-69

Wednesday, March 3: “Wellness Wednesday,” NO CLASS

Friday, March 5

  • Paper 1 due

Unit 2: Citizenship and Belonging post-9/11

Week 7

Monday, March 8

  • Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Elegies: A Novel (2020), “Overture: To America,” I. “On the Anniversary of Trump’s First Year in Office,” II., “On Autobiography; or, Bin Laden” (GD)

Wednesday, March 10

  • Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Elegies: A Novel (2020), IV. “God’s Country” (GD)

Week 8

Monday, March 15

  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (2017), Chapters 1-5 (pgs 3-98)

Wednesday, March 17

  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (2017), Chapters 6-9 (pgs 101-189)

Week 9

Monday, March 22

  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (2017), Chapters 10-12 (pgs 193-231)
  • White House, “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” March 6, 2017 (GD)
  • Center for Migration Studies of New York, “President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration and Refugees,” originally posted in 2017,

Wednesday, March 24

  • Selections from Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, A Failure of Initiative (2006) (GD)
  • Nicholas Lemann, “Why Hurricane Katrina was not a Natural Disaster,” The New Yorker, Aug 26, 2020 (GD)

Friday, March 26

  • Response paper 3 due

Week 10

Monday, March 29

  • Read your teammates’ response papers (response paper 3)
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011), pgs 1-107 (The First Day through The Fifth Day)

Wednesday, March 31

  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011), pgs 108-176 (The Sixth Day through The Eighth Day)

Friday, April 2

  • Response paper 4 due

Week 11

Monday, April 5

  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011), pgs 177-262 (The Ninth Day through The Twelfth Day, please also read “Living through a Category Five Hurricane”, pgs 261-262)

Wednesday, April 7: CLASS CANCELLED

  • Unfortunately, I need to cancel class on this day. Please read the below reading and watch the accompanying mini-lecture instead. I will post instructions about how to access the lecture recording once it’s available.
  • John Lanchester, “After the Fall,” London Review of Books 40.13 (July 2018) (GD)
  • Watch mini-lecture by Prof Thomas: This mini-lecture is available via our Blackboard site. Select Class Meeting Zoom > Cloud Recordings > “April 7 class mini lecture” (the lecture was recorded April 4).

Week 12

Monday, April 12

  • Hustlers (2019), dir. Lorene Scafaria
    • Hustlers is no longer available to rent on Fandango (you can still purchase it there). Here is a list of places where it is available to stream (the Fandango info is wrong). If you don’t want to purchase the movie for $12.99-$14.99, the best thing to do might be to sign up for a fuboTV or Showtime etc subscription free trial, watch the movie, then cancel the subscription. My apologies for the hassle in trying to watch this movie.

I have removed the below reading from our schedule and we will no longer be discussing it in class. However, the reading is still in our course readings folder and I’ve kept this information here in case you are interested in reading it.

  • Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Elegies: A Novel (2020), V. “Riaz; or, The Merchant of Debt” (GD)

Wednesday, April 14: “Wellness Wednesday,” NO CLASS

Friday, April 16

  • Paper 2 due

Week 13

Monday, April 19

  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen (2014), I-V (pgs 1-79)
  • Christina Sharpe, In the Wake (2016), pgs 13-16 (GD)

Wednesday, April 21

Week 14

Monday, April 26

  • Final paper workshop: bring paper 2 with comments from me to class

Wednesday, April 28

  • Final paper workshop
  • Course evals
  • Response paper 5 CANCELLED: You will receive a 10/10 on this assignment. Happy end of the semester!

Final project due by the end of the day Monday, May 10