This class is an advanced survey course (a sort of repetition) on major problems of American Cultural History with a focus on American Art. It is a companion course to Reading American Literature and Culture which focuses on literature and Theories of American Studies which focuses on theory. The objective is a repetition of the field combined with an exploration of US visual culture. For these purposes we will explore visual objects (works of art, photography, architecture) from different periods and discuss the “cultural work” they do, i.e. the specific representation of America they present. The "periods," which we will explore ("periods" always to be taken with a grain of salt!) are: Re-Discovery: 1492 (Old and New Inhabitants); City upon a Hill (The Puritan Experiment); Reason and Revolutions (The Age of Reasons and American Revolutions between Philadelphia and Seneca Falls); In and beneath the American Renaissance (a canon for 1850 and its multicultural and multi-gendered basis); Post-bellum Realisms and Naturalisms; Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance; Postmodernism and the old/new Diversity. The main part of the meetings will concentrate on questions of visual history. Master students who need a more concise introduction to American literary and cultural history are more than welcome to participate in the lecture for the BA students (https://moodle.hu-berlin.de/user/index.php?id=121296 - please ask me for the Moodle course key).
Classroom Format: This class will be taught in the classroom (not online)! You should still register for the class through Agnes so that I can send you the Moodle key. If you cannot register for some reason, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The texts for the class will be up-loaded onto the Moodle platform. The key to Moodle will be announced through Agnes.
- The art works to be explored in class will also be accessible through Moodle.
As a preparation for the module exam students have to hand in a 4 page essay on one work of art of your own choice by Christmas. As a Modul examination (in February) students will write a take-home exam with questions from this class and the class "Theories of American Studies". For this exam you are expected to prepare one work of art in depth. You can only do the Module Exam once you have taken both of these classes (This class and the Theories-class).