Seminar in 20th Century American Literature: University in Fiction & Theory

Section 01
Samuel Cohen
Course Description

This seminar will have two foci: American fiction about higher education and critical university studies. We will spend our time talking about contemporary American fiction as a field of study, about the genre of the academic novel, about critical university studies, and about the intersection of the three areas. Students will be responsible for writing daily questions about the reading, giving presentations, writing and presenting book reviews, and writing and presenting conference-length papers.

Texts to be announced but may include some of these: in fiction, Don DeLillo, White Noise; ; James Hynes, Publish and Perish: Three Tales of Tenure and Terror; Mary McCarthy, The Groves of Academe; Ishmael Reed, Japanese by Spring; Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members; Jane Smiley, Moo; John Williams, Stoner; in critical university studies, Marc Bousquet, How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation; Roderick Ferguson, We Demand: The University and Student Protests; Louis Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University; Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class; Thorstein Veblen, The Higher Learning in America: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities by Businessmen.