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ENGL BC3291 Fictions of Law and Custom: Whiteness in American Literature. 3 points.

This course examines "white" American identity as a cultural location and set of discourses and traditions with a history—in Mark Twain’s terms, "a fiction of law and custom." What are the origins of "Anglo-Saxon" American identity? What are the borders, visible and invisible, against which this identity has leveraged position and power? How have these borders shifted over time, and in social and cultural space? How has whiteness located itself at the center of political, historical, social and literary discourse, and how has it been displaced? How does whiteness mark itself, or mask itself, in literature and in larger cultural practices? What does whiteness look like, sound like, and feel like from the perspective of the racial "other"? And in what ways do considerations of gender and class complicate these other questions?