FA17 455-01

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Lili Bernard, “Carlotta Leading the People” 2011

HUM 455-01: Humanities of the America/s

FALL 2017

M/W 9.35-10.50 in Hum 109

Dr. Sean Connelly

Office hours/ location: M/W 11-12 in Hum 219

Contact: connelly@sfsu.edu

 

The Project

Humanities of (the) America(s) explores “humanitstic expressions” of America over roughly 400 years through the genres of the historical novel, film, poetry, and popular music.

We will examine key moments in the construction of (the) America(s) as a geographical and historical imaginary that surpasses its appropriation by US Americans as a synonym for the United States and encompasses a remarkable cultural, linguistic, and natural diversity.

From the preColumbian era and the early stages of European colonization to the 21st century, this course examines the ways that narratives and images representing the New World produce the object they purport to describe.

Such texts not only dramatize America’s history; they illustrate contemporary social conditions and destinarian visions. The past becomes the means by which the present is judged and the future is anticipated. In this sense, America is not simply a place but a story.

In order to better understand various representations of America we will need to ask pointed questions.

How does historical fiction in particular shape our understanding of this space, its peoples, and their cultures?

What happens to knowledge, artistic forms, social institutions and cultural values when they travel?

What are the historical wages of revolution, national independence struggles, and other kinds of political violence?

How has global capitalism and resistance to it (class struggle) formed national and regional identities?

Learning Outcomes

Diligent students can expect to complete this course with a basic knowledge of narratology and film analysis and a greater fluency in the history of the Americas.

Prerequisite: ENG 114 or equivalent.

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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. 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.

As a general rule any ideas/words that are not your own should be cited. Yet intellectual honesty encompasses more than actively avoiding plagiarism. For example, reading a wikipedia entry rather than an assigned novel or allowing others to do your work for you are examples of cheating.

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).

Other resources

The SAFE Place – (415) 338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/

Counseling and Psychological Services Center – (415) 338-2208; http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/

Additional information on rights and available resources: http://titleix.sfsu.edu

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“Politicization entails raising the particular to the level of the universal.”

The Work: Grading Rubric

4-6 page Essay 15% (Write an informed and incisive academic essay on the geographical imaginary of one of the 4 historical novels assigned for this course. You MUST use key terms drawn from Abbot’s Introduction to Narrative in a thoughtful and germane manner. Due dates: Daughter of Fortune [9/27], The Kingdom of This World [10/23], The General in His Labyrinth [11/13], Atomik Aztex [12/11]. See https://analepsis.org/americas-essay/ and https://analepsis.org/paper-rubric/)

Class Work 25% (Class participation, group work, pop quizzes, in-class writing)

Midterm 20% (Short responses to key terms) 10/4

Documentary Presentation 20% (Each group locates, reviews, and screens a clip from a documentary film relating to one of 3 major historical conjunctures: the Haitian Revolution [10/11], Spanish American Independence [11/1], and the Conquest of the Aztec Empire [11/29]) See https://analepsis.org/americas-documentary/ for further details

Final Exam 20% (Short responses to key terms) 12/11

Students are expected to complete the assigned readings, think about what they read, and actively participate in class discussion. Late work will not be accepted.

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Required Texts

Abbott, Cambridge Introduction to Narrative 978-0521715157

Allende, Daughter of Fortune 978-0061565335

Carpentier, The Kingdom of this World 978-0374530112

Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas 978-0812975543

Foster, Atomik Aztex 978-0872864405

Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth 978-1400034703

Filmography

Images

https://analepsis.org/life-of-toussaint-louverture/

 

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Web

Facsimile of the Codex Borgia (pre-Columbian MesoAmerican religious text):

http://www.famsi.org/research/graz/borgia/thumbs_0.html

Resources on the History of the Americas from the AHA:

https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/teaching-resources-for-historians/teaching-and-learning-in-the-digital-age/the-history-of-the-americas

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eReader (Required)

“America, Ideas of” America(s) (idea of)

Anderson, “From Progress to Catastrophe”: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n15/perry-anderson/from-progress-to-catastrophe

Simon Bolivar, “Letter from Jamaica”: JamaicaLetter

Carpentier, Prologue to The Kingdom of This World: carpentier-marvelous

“Geographical imaginary” geographicalimaginary

“Negro”: Negro

Pablo Neruda, “Standard Oil Co.”; “Anaconda Copper Mining Co.”; “United Fruit Co.”: 3NerudaPoems

Patterson, Inventing Western Civilization (excerpt): InventingBarbarians

Shaw, “The Historical Novel” in The Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism via SFSU library

Thornton, “African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution”: AfricanSoldiersHaitianRev

White, “The Purple Terror”: “The Purple Terror”

White, “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality”: HWhiteNarrativity

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Supplemental (Not Required)

Eduardo Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America: Open_Veins_of_Latin_America

Eduard Glissant, Monsieur Toussaint: GlissantM.Toussaint

Jerome de Groot, The Historical Novel: deGrootHN

CLR James, The Black Jacobins: CLR_James_The_Black_Jacobins

John King, Modern Latin American Culture: Modern-Latin-American-Culture-2004

Karl Marx and Friedrch Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party ManifestoSec1

Eugene O’Neill, Emperor Jones: The_Emperor_Jones

Verity Smith, Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature: Encyclopedia-of-Latin-American-Literature

Claire Taylor, “The Spanish and Portuguese Empires” SpanPortEmpires

Nat Turner, The Confessions of Nat Turner: NatTurner

Note on Reading

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

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Schedule:

(note: this schedule of readings and screenings is subject to revision. )

Week ONE 8/23

Wednesday

Introduction: What is America?

Screen: “What are Continents?”; Despacito: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kJQP7kiw5Fk “Honest Government Advert: Puerto Rico”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-GYqakwHdg

Week TWO 8/28-8/30

Monday

Due: Complete the Questionnaire. PRINT, read and bring to class: “America(s), Idea of” and “Geographical Imaginary.” Read Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (through 52). Watch Puerto Rico Austerity

Maps:  the-spatialization-of-history-americas; absolut/cascadia mercator/peterson explore/conquer empires

Wednesday

Due: Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (through 97); Patterson, Inventing Western Civilization

Week THREE 9/4-9/16

Monday

NO CLASS

Wednesday

Due:  Anderson, “From Progress to Catastrophe”; Allende, Daughter of Fortune (Part One)

Handout, “Storyworld”: Storyworld

Week FOUR 9/11-9/13

Monday

Due: Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 27); Allende, Daughter of Fortune (Part Two)

Wednesday

Due: Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 39); Allende, Daughter of Fortune (Part Two); Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (through 127)

Documentary Presentation: Gold Rush

Week FIVE 9/18-9/20

Monday

Due: Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 54); Allende, Daughter of Fortune (Complete)

Wednesday

Due: Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 66); Allende, Daughter of Fortune (Complete)

Week SIX 9/25-9/27

Monday

Due: Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 111); White, “The Purple Terror”; Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (through 158)

Wednesday

Due: Pablo Neruda, “Standard Oil Co.”; “Anaconda Copper Mining Co.”; “United Fruit Co.”; Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (through 188).

Essay: Daughter of Fortune

Week SEVEN 10/2-10/4

Monday

REVIEW

Wednesday

MIDTERM

Week EIGHT 10/9-10/11

Monday

Due: Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 129); “Negro”

Wednesday

Due: Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 144)

Documentary Presentation: Haitian Revolution

Week NINE 10/16-10/18

Monday

Due: Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World; Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 159)

Wednesday

Due: Thornton, “African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution”

Week TEN 10/23-10/25

Monday

Due: Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth; Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (through 174)

Essay: The Kingdom of This World

Wednesday

Due: Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth

Week ELEVEN 10/30-11/1

Monday

Due: Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth; Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (through 158)

Wednesday

Due: Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth

Documentary Presentation: Spanish American Independence

Week TWELVE 11/6-11/8

Monday

Due: Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth; Bolivar, “Letter from Jamaica” or TBA

Wednesday

Abbott, Introduction to Narrative (complete); Fernandez-Armesto, The Americas (complete)

Week THIRTEEN 11/13-11/15

Monday

TBA

Essay: The General in His Labyrinth

Wednesday

In-class assignment: TBA

Week FOURTEEN 11/20-11/22

FALL BREAK

Week FIFTEEN 11/27-11/29

Monday

Due: Foster, Atomik Aztex (complete)

Wednesday

Due: Foster, Atomik Aztex (complete)

Documentary Presentation: Conquest of the Aztec Empire

Week SIXTEEN 12/4-12/6

Monday

Due: Foster, Atomik Aztex (complete)

Wednesday

Due: Foster, Atomik Aztex (complete)

Week SEVENTEEN 12/11

Monday

Essay: Atomik Aztex

LAST CLASS MEETING: REVIEW OR FINAL EXAM?

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