Syllabus

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Course Description and Objectives

In this course you will study American literature and economics from 1900 to the present. Topics to be discussed include the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, the dot.com bubble, neoliberalism, and the recent financial crisis.

Looking at a number of novels, but also films, short stories, and economic theory, we will examine how the American tradition engages with economics and creates fictions about finance.

Course Requirements

The course is based on seminar-style discussions, with mini-lectures, collaborative group work, and individual scholarly research.

The course involves extensive reading, writing, and discussion. You will be expected to read one up to novel a week plus a secondary reading of 20-40 pages.
Your learning will be assessed in several ways to allow for all learning styles to flourish:

  • Attendance and Participation and Presentation (20%)
Your regular attendance, preparedness, and participation are absolutely essential. No more than a day’s absence (excused or unexcused) will be permitted. You will also give one 10 minute in-class presentation that reflects on a critical keyword, historical moment, literary period or genre, related to the course.

  • Bi-Weekly writing assignment (20%)
Every week half the class will write a 500 word response to the materials we have read, to be posted to the class discussion board. This should be a discussion question that

either a) cites a specific passage in the novel and asks a question prompted by a close reading or b) points to a specific paragraph in the secondary reading that you wish to illuminate, discuss, or challenge.


  • Mid Term Paper (15%)
One 5-page close reading of a text we have read

  • Annotated Bibliography (15%)
5-7 secondary sources relevant to your topic with 150 word annotations.

  • Final Paper (30%)
12-15 page paper covering one or two literary texts from the class.