This course asks how literature have captured the spirit of capitalism, fueling its fantasies, contemplating its effects, and chronicling its crises. More than just an economic system, capitalism created new habits of life and mind; it also created new values, forged and distilled by new forms of art. In this course we will trace the development of capitalism in contemporary American literature, by looking at the many faces it has, some of which are found in different modes of labor such as temp and academic, different modes of embodiment through consumerism and sleep, as well as economic systems and ideologies including global capitalism and neoliberalism. While doing these, we will also look at how the race and gender are two crucial categories in understanding the ways in which capitalism works. In addition to literature, we will also have a screening of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (2012), and you will be expected to watch selected episodes from the tv series Severance.
Course program will be announced in the first session. Most of the readings, including excerpts from novels, poems, and secondary literature, will be available on Learnweb, but you will also be expected to get some (short-term/trial period) subscriptions to streaming services.
In preparation, please have a copy of the following works:
- Cosmopolis, by Don DeLillo
- The New Me, Halle Butler
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh
NOTE: When purchasing the assigned books, please consider supporting local bookstores.