225 (R317)

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HUM225-01: Values in American Life

Summer 2017

T/Th 9-1 HUM 582

Sean Connelly

Office hours/ location: HUM 219 by appt.

email: connelly@sfsu.edu

The Project:

This course is not about “American Values” but Values in American Life, a crucial distinction that will become clearer as we proceed.

In this highly compressed summer session we will travel across space and through time to study the myths and realities of American life– a tangle of his/stories narrating ambition and violence, crime and desire, confidence, loss, greed, and love. Such space-times include Depression-era Pennsylvania steel mills, turn-of-the-century Oklahoma oil fields, and Gold Rush San Francisco, among others.

Our primary focus will rest with the genre of the novel, though we will also consider photography, film, popular music, political rhetoric and “theory.” We will need to ask basic questions in order to wrestle free from “commonsense” ideologies which attempt to think for us.

The familiar ought to become strange, the script flipped, the assumptions we carry unconsciously examined and revised. What is Manifest Destiny? What is capitalism? What is democracy? What is a nation? What is a people? What is American Exceptionalism? What values do these concepts assert in order to tell us about ourselves?

Basic Etiquette

ARRIVE ON TIME,  work completed, with a hard copy of the assigned text. All assignments should be typed and include name/date/course. Absolutely no electronic devices should be used during class.

Ethics

CHEATING DESTROYS TRUST between teacher and student. If you can’t trust your teacher, then you deserve a new one. This principle applies to students as well.
See http://www.sfsu.edu/~vpsa/judicial/titlev.html

Accessibility

If there’s anything I should know about you as a student, please talk to me RIGHT AWAY and I’ll do my best to help. See also: Disability Program and Resource Center (338-2472 or dprc@sfsu.edu).

The Work: Grading Rubric

4 page Essay 10% (7/27)
Class Work 30% (class participation, group work, pop quizzes, in-class writing)
Midterm 20% (7/20)
Film Analysis Presentation 20% (8/3)
Final Exam 20% (8/12)

Notes on Reading

You are required to use HARD COPIES of the right books! Read with a pencil. Flag significant passages. Always look for patterns. Talk about what you read.

Required Texts

William Attaway, Blood on the Forge

John Gibbs, Mise-en-Scene

An eReader:

 

Bertolt Brecht, “Hollywood Elegies”: brecht_poems

Andrew Carnegie, “Gospel of Wealth”: carnegie_wealth

LifeWithoutPrinciple

Storyworld

RedWindTOTAL

DYMTOTAL

BusinessNovel

johnbrownaddress00doug

Fugitive-Slave-Act-1850

SpicerNoir1

“What is a Novel?”

“The Purple Terror”

NatTurner

turner_frontier

Fearing

BluesWhatIAm

Films:

Boom Town (1940); Ravenous (1998); American Gangster (2007); Force of Evil ; The Master (2012) ;

Schedule

ALL assignments should be PRINTED OUT and brought to class.

UNIT ONE: CLEARING THE GROUND

Week One 7/12-7/14

7/12: Course introduction: Value/Nation/Experience

Clip:  Colter Wall, “Sleeping on the Blacktop”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKhMMCaFQsk

 

1. analepsis.org: “What You Need to Know…”

2. Manifesto of the Communist Party (sec. 1).

3. “The Great Nation of Futurity”. You will be tested on these readings.

4. Construct a ONE PAGE passport . This is your first graded assignment.

7/14: Lecture/ Discussion: What is Capitalism?

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party” (excerpt): ManifestoSec1

Sound, Image, Clip: Killing Them SoftlyCapitalism

Assignment for 2/3: Monroe DoctrineLife and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta (LA) [Introduction, Prefaces]

UNIT TWO: DIME NOVEL

Week Two 2/3-2/5

2/3: Lecture/Discussion:

Sound, Image, Clip:Merle Haggard, “Okie from Muskogee”;  It’s Everybody’s Business

Assignment: LA [pp. 7-55 paragraph 1]

2/5: Lecture/Discussion:

Sound, Image, Clip: American Gangster

Assignment: LA [55- 113 paragraph 3]

Week Three 2/10-2/12

2/10

Sound, Image, Clip: Ravenous

Assignment:  Complete LA

2/12

Sound, Image, Clip: Ravenous; Birmingham https://analepsis.org/2014/07/01/birmingham/

Assignment foe 2/17: “Joaquin Murieta and Popular Culture”

Week Four 2/17-2/19

2/17

Sound, Image, Clip: Budweiser commercial

Assignment for 2/19: “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro”; The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

UNIT THREE: DISOBEDIENCE

2/19

Assignment: The Higher Law (HL) [pp. 63-109]; “John Brown”

Week Five 2/24-2/26

2/24

Sound, Image, Clip:

PAPER ONE DUE

Assignment: HL [pp. 111-153]

2/26

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment: HL [pp. 155- 197]; Emerson’s eulogy of Thoreau

Week Six 3/3-3/5

3/3

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment: Catch up.

3/5

Sound, Image, Clip:

MIDTERM REVIEW

Week Seven 3/10-3/12

3/10:

Sound, Image, Clip:

MIDTERM

Assignment: The Pit (P) [pp. vii- 39]

UNIT FOUR: INCORPORATION/ DECORPOREALIZATION

3/12:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment: P [pp. 40- 96]; “Gospel of Wealth” (optional)

Week Eight 3/17-3/19

3/17:

Assignment: P [pp. 97- 130]

3/19:

Assignment for 4/2: P [pp. 131- 278]; Creditocracy (optional)

Week Nine 3/24-3/26

SPRING BREAK

 Week Ten 3/31-4/2

3/31

Si se puede!

4/2:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment: P [pp. 279- 328]

Week Eleven 4/7-4/9

4/7:

Screening:

Assignment: Complete The Pit

4/9:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment: A Rage in Harlem (RH) [Read it all or pp. 5- 100]

UNIT FIVE: NOIR

Week Twelve 4/14-4/16

4/14:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment for 4/21: Complete A Rage in Harlem

4/16:

NO CLASS

Week Thirteen 4/21-4/23

4/21: Detour

Sound, Image, Clip:Wee Gee

Assignment: Film Noir

4/23:

Sound, Image, Clip: A Rage in Harlem

Assignment:

UNIT SIX: The Bones

Week Fourteen 4/28-4/30

4/28: Gun Crazy; The Big Combo; Gilda

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment:

4/30:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment:    “Dead Yellow Women”

Week Fifteen 5/5-5/7

5/5:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment:

5/7:

Sound, Image, Clip:

Assignment:

Week Sixteen 5/12-5/14

5/12:

Review for Final Exam

5/14:

Final Exam: OPEN books, NO reader, ONE page of hand-written notes (to be attached to your final exam).

5/19

Final Paper due to ilearn (ecopy) by 8 pm