Anglo-American Cultures

A.Y. 2018/2019
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-LIN/11
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
Focusing on the literary and non-literary works, films, art forms, discourses and cultural practices which inform and characterize the current debate on US national, racial and cultural identities against the backdrop of the continent's history and global scope, this course aims to enhance the students' knowledge and understanding of these themes, which are central concerns in our experience of contemporaneity. This aim is pursued through the methodological and critical tools of cultural studies, which, in line with the main objectives of the Degree Course, favour an understanding of ideological, intercultural and socio-spatial relations, as well as a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach. The course is meant to foster active participation from the students, and, besides advancing their English skills, aims to enhance their ability to make judgements and recognize the differences and connections among divergent forms, genres, and cultures, according to the wider mission of Mediazione Linguistica.

- Applying knowledge and understanding - Students will gain knowledge and understanding of a variety of cultural practices and productions (visual art, films, writing, performances) and literary texts, primarily in English, presented through the lens of Cultural Studies and against the backgrounds of contemporary Anglo-American culture, history and society. Attention will be devoted to representations and redefinitions of US identity/ies, multi-culturalism, new ethnicities, the reemergence of nationalism, and current social inequalities and tensions. Cultural production and consumption will also be considered, along with the discourses and practices of consent construction and resistance.

- Making judgements - Students will acquire the skills relevant to making more informed and autonomous judgements. Thanks to their familiarity with different perspectives of intercultural analysis, they will develop analytical and critical attitudes towards cultural productions and literary texts and draw comparisons and establish connections between the various contexts under scrutiny and their own situated experience.

- Communication skills - The course will enable students to discuss given topics, present their own work to an audience of peers; structure group work among peers; use IT technology to support both academic study and networking.

- Learning skills - Through active participation and independent work, students will be invited to develop a higher degree of intellectual curiosity, autonomy, and ability to discriminate; transfer the acquired skills to related fields of analysis; and to apply a methodological approach to future research and activities.
Expected learning outcomes
Beside consolidating their English language skills, students will acquire interdisciplinary methodological and cultural tools for discussing and analyzing cultural, political and media discourses and practices, fictional and non-fictional texts, visual culture, documentaries and films. This will be done from a variety of perspectives and using the methodological approaches of Cultural Studies. The acquisition of these skills will be fostered by encouraging active participation and dialogue, and by enabling the students to draw comparisons between the US context and their own situated experience of being Italians and citizens of the world, so as to facilitate forms of analysis and engagement with the issues and challenges of the American present which are consistent with the avowed specialist and intercultural mission of their Degree Course.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
ATTENDING STUDENTS
Teaching Unit 1
Course syllabus
"No one to welcome me to the land of freedom": African Americans' long struggle for freedom, civil rights and social justice from the abolition of slavery to Black Lives Matter (1818-2018).
Against the backdrop of the Trump presidency, module 1 will address African Americans' long march towards self-emancipation and the overcoming of social and economic inequalities from the abolition of slavery to our complex and controversial present. Celebrating 2018 as being both the bicentenary of Frederick Douglass' birth and the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, jr., this module will move from a brief introduction to Atlantic slavery and its abolition in order to analyse the thought and civil action practices developed by Black intellectuals and militants since the end of the nineteenth century. Special attention will be given to the civil rights struggle and its iconic leaders, to the Obama presidency and the current age of Black Lives Matter. African American rhetorical style and strategies will also be a focus for analysis.
This module is taught mostly in Italian; study material and audiovisual matter are in English.

· Excerpts from speeches and texts by intellectuals, activists and politicians (among others: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, jr, James Baldwin, Malcom X, Henry Louis Gates, jr, Toni Morrison, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates) - These texts will be available on the Ariel website of the course.
· Michael Jay Freedman, "Free at Last: The US Civil Rights Movement". 2008. L'elenco delle sezioni da studiare sarà pubblicato sul sito Ariel all'inizio del corso. Il testo, in open access, sarà disponibile sul sito Ariel.

Essays:
1 to be selected from the following list:
· Dewey M. Clayton, "Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: A Comparative Analysis of Two Social Movements in the United States", Journal of Black Studies, 49(5), 2018, pp. 448-480
· Dana A. Williams, "Racial Mythologies, Neoliberal Seductions, and the Fictioning of Blackness: An SOS from "Old Lem"", American Literary History, 28, 4, 2016, pp. 835-844.

Plus 1 to be selected from the following list:
· Marian Meyers & Carmen Goman, "Michelle Obama: Exploring the Narrative", Howard Journal of Communications, 28:1, 2017, pp. 20-35
· Claire Sisco King & Vanessa B. Beasley, "Running on screen while black: Representations of black presidential candidates in U.S. film and television", Quarterly Journal of Speech, 103:1-2, 2017, pp. 117-135
· Joseph Lowndes, "Barack Obama's Body: The Presidency, the Body Politic, and the Contest over American National Identity", Polity, 45, 4, 2013, pp. 469-498 [da prepare: pp. 17-31]
· Paul Gardullo, Lonnie G. Bunch III, "Making a Way Out of No Way: the National Museum of African American History and Culture", History Workshop Journal, 84, 2017, pp. 248-256
· All the files and presentations available on the Ariel website of the course.
Teaching Unit 2
Course syllabus
The fight for freedom and the myth of the "underground railroad" in the work of Colson Whitehead.
Module 2 will address representations of slavery and of its enduring impact on the lives of broad sections of African American citizens in terms of social and economic inequalities in the present. It will focus on the analysis of classic slave narratives, contemporary neo-slave narratives, films and TV series focusing on slavery and abolition. Special attention will be given to Colson Whitehead's acclaimed novel "The Underground Railroad", which effectively combines the unique potential of speculative fiction and the historical imagination with a pointed critique of today's dysfunctional racial politics.
This module is taught mostly in Italian; study material and audiovisual matter are in English.

· Colson Whitehead, "The Underground Railroad", Random House, 2016 (any edition) - novel
· Essays:
· Laura Dubek, "Fight for It!": The Twenty-First-Century Underground Railroad", The Journal of American Culture, 41:1, 2018, pp. 68-80
· All the slides and files available on the Ariel website of the course.
Teaching Unit 3
Course syllabus
'Drag that first person out of the social death of history:' the autobiography and the epistolary form as political statements.
Module 3 focuses on a number of texts by contemporary African-American authors that employ first-person narration (as in autobiographies) and/or address a second-person interlocutor (as in the epistolary form). In particular, this section aims at investigating the political implications of such narrative strategies, also against the background of the African-American tradition of "Call and response."
This module is taught in English.
· Alice Walker, "The Color Purple", (any edition) - novel.
· Ta-Nehisi Coates," Between the World and Me", (any edition) - book
· Ta-Nehisi Coates e Brian Stelfreeze, "Black Panther 1: A Nation under Our Feet"
· Claudia Rankine, Selezione di poesie da "Don't Let Me Lonely, An American Lyric" e "Citizen, An American Lyric"

Essays:
· Zora Neale Hurston, "How it Feels to Be Colored Me", 1928
· bell hooks, "Call and Response - Taking a Stand." In Journal of Appalachian Studies, vol. 20, no. 2, 2014, pp.122-123
· Toni Morrison, "Black Matters." In Playing in the Dark, Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, 1992, pp. 3-28.

· All the slides and files available on the Ariel website of the course.
NON-ATTENDING STUDENTS
Teaching Unit 1
Course syllabus
The programme is the same as for attending students, audiovisual matters excepted. Students are welcome, if they wish, to replace the ppt presentations, speech excerpts and files published on the ARIEL website of the course with additional essays. The programme, in this case, will consist in:
· Michael Jay Freedman, "Free at Last: The US Civil Rights Movement". 2008. A list of the
sections to be prepared will be published on the Ariel website of the course at the beginning of the lectures. This text, which is open access, will be available on the Ariel website.

Essays:
· Dewey M. Clayton, "Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: A Comparative Analysis of Two Social Movements in the United States", Journal of Black Studies, 49(5), 2018, pp. 448-480
· Dana A. Williams, "Racial Mythologies, Neoliberal Seductions, and the Fictioning of Blackness: An SOS from "Old Lem"", American Literary History, 28, 4, 2016, pp. 835-844.

Plus 2 essays to be selected from the following list:
· Marian Meyers & Carmen Goman, "Michelle Obama: Exploring the Narrative", Howard Journal of Communications, 28:1, 2017, pp. 20-35
· Claire Sisco King & Vanessa B. Beasley, "Running on screen while black: Representations of black presidential candidates in U.S. film and television", Quarterly Journal of Speech, 103:1-2, 2017, pp. 117-135
· Joseph Lowndes, "Barack Obama's Body: The Presidency, the Body Politic, and the Contest over American National Identity", Polity, 45, 4, 2013, pp. 469-498 [da prepare: pp. 17-31]
· Paul Gardullo, Lonnie G. Bunch III, "Making a Way Out of No Way: the National Museum of African American History and Culture", History Workshop Journal, 84, 2017, pp. 248-256
Teaching Unit 2
Course syllabus
The programme is the same as for attending students, audiovisual matters excepted. Students are welcome, if they wish, to replace the ppt presentations, speech excerpts and files published on the ARIEL website of the course with additional essays. The programme, in this case, will consist in:
· Colson Whitehead, "The Underground Railroad", Random House, 2016 (any edition) - novel
· Essays:
· Laura Dubek, "Fight for It!": The Twenty-First-Century Underground Railroad", The Journal of American Culture, 41:1, 2018, pp. 68-80
· Matthew Dischinger, "States of Possibility in Colson Whitehead's: 'The Underground
Railroad', The Global South, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2017, pp. 82-99
Teaching Unit 3
Course syllabus
The programme is the same as for attending students, audiovisual matters excepted. In addition, students will have to prepare the following essays:
· Langston Hughes, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." In "The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism", 2nd Edition, edited by Vincent B. Leitch and all, 2001, pp. 1313-1317.
· Hortense Spillers, "Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book." In "Diacritics", vol. 17, no. 2, 1987, pp. 64-81.
Teaching Unit 1
L-LIN/11 - ANGLO - AMERICAN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Teaching Unit 2
L-LIN/11 - ANGLO - AMERICAN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Teaching Unit 3
L-LIN/11 - ANGLO - AMERICAN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Balestrino Alice
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)