Literature in the United States
TTh, 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
“‘I would Prefer Not To’: Work in US Literature”
One of COVID-19’s effects has been to complicate our relationship with work. In the US, unemployment rates have shot up, “essential” labour is being redefined and in many cases coerced, and labour activism is on the rise. This course will shed light on current struggles by looking to the US’s rich history of literature about work by writers like Harriet Jacobs, Upton Sinclair, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ling Ma, and others. Texts will be drawn from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and will take an intersectional approach to labour history, exploring how changing regimes of work speak to issues of sex/gender, colonialism, migration, and political economy. Students will write literary-critical papers, and will also contribute to a class archive that tracks and reflects on the narratives about work and labour that circulate today. Students do not need prior knowledge of US literature to take this course.
In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.