Spring 2021

21L.006 American Literature: Debt: Obligations, Intimacies, and Environments Laura Finch MW 1:00-2:30p Virtual

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Gender and Ethnic Studies, Twentieth Century and Contemporary Culture

Debt comes in many forms: those to do with money (student loans, medical bills, credit cards); the debts we have to each other (how we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, how we consider issues of justice and incarceration, what reparations we owe for the atrocities of slavery and Indigenous genocide); and environmental debts (what rights do we owe to animals, what do we owe the earth in the face of human-created climate catastrophe?).

This class is focused on issues of social justice, and we will learn to recognize and critique capitalist forms of debt within the United States. We will also read a range of novels, poems, and critical/theoretical texts in order to imagine other kinds of indebtedness and togetherness that value worth beyond credit scores and bank balances.

This class is a CI-H subject, which means that it will provide you with a foundation in written and oral communication. CI-H subjects require that you plan, organize, draft, and revise a series of sequenced assignments based on course material. Assessment is based on consistent participation and engagement throughout the semester, rather than being heavily weighted towards a final paper.