The September 11, 2001 attacks and its aftermath had (and still have) an immense impact on international politics and global cultural productions. Since terrorists flew airplanes into New York City's iconic towers writers, critics, and artist from within and from outside the US were considering a change of occupation. (Arab) American novelists in particular felt compelled to grasp directly the traumatic events, to reconsider these event's pretext and confront the future implications of that day, thus forming a new sub-genre of post-9/11 literature. In the meantime even musicians, visual artists as well as Hollywood and TV producers seem alert to this discourse.
Drawing on selected works such diverse as the Palestinian American spoken word artist Suheir Hammad’s "First Writing Since" (2001), Don DeLillo’s novel Falling Man (2007), the novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) by the Pakistani transmigrant Mohsin Hamid, the Arab Canadian hip-hop artist The Narcicyst’s music video "P.H.A.T.W.A." (2009), or the television series Homeland (2011-13) this course covers a wide range of historical contexts, scholarly positions, literary topics, and audio-visual representations.
Issues to be addressed are the narcissistic domestication of the post-9/11 crisis in early mainstream American responses, the self-questioning of innocence and self-sufficiency as well as the effects of the so-called war on terror at home (including racial profiling and islamophobic scapegoating) and abroad (including the American led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and the transformation of silent terror suspects into (sometimes reluctantly) angry subjects.
Going beyond the exclusive focus on works of literature and setting particular emphasis on the existential incoherence of both assimilationist ideologies and essentialist counter-identifications the course introduces into key concepts and critical interpretive tools for studying post-9/11 cultural articulations from a decisively transnational perspective.
Students are expected to give an oral presentation in class and write a research paper.