The History and Paradigms of American Studies 2 (Šesnić, 2013)

Course title: The History and Paradigms of American Studies 2
Instructor: Dr Jelena Šesnić
ECTS credits: 6
Status: elective
Semester: 8th and 9th semester, Spring 2013
Enrollment requirements: enrollment in the 8th and/or 10th semester
Course description: This is a companion course to the History and Paradigms of American Studies 1 which thus continues to examine the changes in the methodology of American Studies since the 1970s. Major developments in this respect are poststructuralist theory, new historicism, feminist and gender studies (from Marxism to psychoanalysis), ethnic, postcolonial and border studies, transnational turn and cultural studies. These approaches will be exemplified by representative scholarly essays and tested in turn on the appropriate primary texts. The course is obligatory for American studies majors (8th semester); elective for all other MA students.
Course requirements: regular attendance; participation in class discussion; in-class and home assignments (two research projects/ reviews); oral presentation (10 min); 2 seminar papers (6-7 pp. each/ 2000-2500 words); final test (mandatory, non-negotiable, continuous assessment). Grade break-down: seminar papers 40 %; final test 30 %; written assignments 20%; the rest 10 %.

Readings (alterations possible):
Primary texts
1. Thomas Jefferson: Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-2; selected chapters)
(E-text centre, U of Virginia Library)

2. Lenora Sansay: Secret History, or The Horrors of St. Domingo (1808)

3. Edgar Allan Poe: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838)
(American Studies at the UVa)

4. Henry David Thoreau: Walden (1845; selected chapters)
(American Transcendentalism on the Web)

5. Herman Melville: „Benito Cereno“ (from The Piazza Tales, 1856)

6. Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman: „The Yellow Wall-Paper“ (1892);cc=newe;view=toc;subview=short;idno=newe0011-5
(Cornell University Library Making of America Collection)

7. Chicano/ borderlands literary production: selection (Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros)

Syllabus (alterations possible)
Week 1: Introduction: European vs US Americanists; perspectives, focus and methods:
Chenetier, Fluck, Shapiro; Jefferson, Notes (introduction)
Week 2: Centring and de-centring American studies: Jefferson, Notes; Erkkila
Week 3: Whiteness studies (CEEPUS guest lecturer)
Week 4: Thoreau, Walden (Buell, ecocriticism and de-exceptionalizing Walden)

Week 1: Thoreau, Walden (cont.)
Week 2: E.A. Poe, Pym and ethnic/ race studies; Morrison
Week 3: E.A. Poe, cont.
Week 4: New Historicism into transnational American studies: Herman Melville: “Benito Cereno” (Sundquist, Stuckey)
Week 5: Melville, cont.

Week 1: Transnational AS: Leonora Sansay: Secret History, or The Horrors of St. Domingo
Week 2: Sansay, cont.
Week 3: Border studies: Anzaldúa; borderlands (Chicano) literary production (Cisneros) (CEEPUS guest lecturer)
Week 4: Feminist criticism and the canon: Baym; Perkins Gilman: “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

Week 1: American Studies and cultural studies: is there a method? Guest lecturer: Dr. Sven Cvek (American Studies Program, Zagreb)
Week 2: Final test.