The United States Now

Course title: The United States Now
: Prof. Stipe Grgas

ECTS credits: 6

Semester: 2 and 4
Enrollment requirements:
enrollment in the graduate program
Course description:
The course will explore the main issues and topics which characterize the present moment of United States reality. The departure point for the course is the contention that the time frame within which the “present” is defined was inaugurated by September 11 and the subsequent actions taken by the United States government, subsequent domestic developments and the effects these had on self-projections and representations of the United States. The second event which is believed to have inaugurated a new phase in United States history is the current financial crisis. The course will explore the nature of this crisis and how it has made it imperative to question some of the basic assumptions of United States identity.

Objectives: The methodological objective of the course is to show how an interdisciplinary approach can be used to explore a historical conjecture. Overall the purpose of the course is to give a thick description of the present reality of the United States.

Course requirements: attendance, participation in the course, oral presentations, a written paper and a final written exam

Week by week schedule: the present moment, the meaning of the event (September 11/financial crisis), terrorism, imperialism, corporate power, religion, war, financialization, technology, production of American spaces, the question of the persuasiveness of American myths, literature and American Studies in the moment of danger.

Reading: In addition to a selection of texts dealing with the present moment the students will be asked to follow and keep track of news items from the States. The lecturer will give them a list of internet sites that reflect various viewpoints and opinions. In addition the participants in the course are expected to read Richard Powers’ novel Gain and a selection from Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon.