Department of English

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376-576/001 20th Century Literature: Regional Narratives: The Midwest in Literature and Popular Culture

376-576/001 20th Century Literature: Regional Narratives: The Midwest in Literature and Popular Culture

Instructor: Adam Ochonicky

Description:

As a region, the Midwest is uniquely situated within the American popular imagination. Often labeled as “flyover country,” this space and its inhabitants have been celebrated as comprising the “real” or “authentic” America, while also derided as a backwards, cultureless mass. Over the course of the twentieth century – and especially in recent years – such regional narratives appear in a wide range of textual objects and cultural forums. This course will explore the complex (and often contradictory) ways in which the Midwest has been imagined across a diverse assortment of materials. Although the primary texts will be works of American literature spanning from 1920 to the present, this course also features an interdisciplinary approach to its subject matter. More precisely, the assigned literature will be supplemented by critical, theoretical, and/or historical readings on regionalism, as well as by several clips from films and television series (and, potentially, select full screenings).

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