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2011-12 syllabus

EN336: States of Damage: C21 US Writing and Culture

Note that there are independent syllabi for each tutor’s seminars. We will be having joint sessions at the start of terms 1 and 2; please read the Zizek (term 1) and Klein (term 2) before we meet.

You must have the entire year’s texts (barring handouts) in your possession before Term 1 begins. Experience has taught us that in most cases it’s easiest and cheapest to get the texts for this module from Amazon, so each title below has the relevant hot link. Handouts and any other items will be provided in class. Some readings are accessible online, as indicated by the links. We welcome you reading the works in advance, but if you do, try to read them within the context of their ‘term’ appearance.


Week 1: Introduction: C21 US writing and culture (joint session)
Slavoj Zizek, “Welcome to the Desert of the Real,” South Atlantic Quarterly 101.2 (Spring 2002): 384-389

Lawrence term 1
(weeks 2-5 or 7-10):

Week 2/7
Susan Willis, “Empire’s Shadow,” New Left Review 22 (July-August 2003): 59-70
George Trow, Within the Context of No Context (Avalon)

Week 3/8
Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes (Picador)

Week 4/9
Wallace Shawn, The Fever (Grove)
Wallace Shawn, “The Quest for Superiority” [handout]

Week 5/10
Eliot Weinberger, What I Heard about Iraq (Verso)
Juliana Spahr, This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (U of California P)

Shapiro term 1
(week 2-5 or 7-10):

Week 2/7
George Saunders, Pastoralia (Bloomsbury)
Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Zero Books)

Week 3/8
John Lanchester, Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay (Penguin)

Week 4/9
"Fuck You, Buddy" from The Trap (2007), dir. Adam Curtis
start reading David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (Hamish Hamilton)

Week 5/10
David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (Hamish Hamilton)


Week 1: Joint session
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine (Penguin)

Shapiro term 2
(week 2-5 or 7-10):

Week 2/7

David Harvey, selections from A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford UP): Introduction (pp 1-4); Ch 1 (pp 5-38); Ch 6 (pp 152-182) [handout]
Intro from Dumenil and Lévy, The Crisis of Neoliberalism (Harvard UP, 2011)
Jason W. Moore, "Wall Street is a Way of Organizing Nature," Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action (12) May 2011.
start reading Jonathan Franzen, Freedom (Fourth Estate)

Week 3/8
continue with Franzen

Week 4/9
Philip Roth, Nemesis (Vintage)

Week 5/10
Edu-Factory Collective, Toward a Global Autonomous University (Autonomedia)

Lawrence term 2
(week 2-5 or 7-10):

Week 2/7
David Shields, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (Penguin)

Week 3/8
and other poetries: a sampler [handout]:

from Kevin Davies, The Golden Age of Paraphernalia (Edge Books)
Sharon Mesmer, “Earthly Soul Rides this World”
Lawrence Giffin, Get the Fuck Back into that Burning Plane (Ugly Duckling Presse)
from Jennifer Moxley, Clampdown (Flood Editions): “The Price of Silence”; “Clampdown”
from Lisa Robertson, Rousseau’s Boat (Nomados): “Passivity”; “Face/”

Christopher Nealon, "Camp Messianism, or the Hopes of Poetry in Late-Late Capitalism," American Literature 76.3 (September 2004): 578-602

Week 4/9
John Edgar Wideman, Fanon (Mariner Books)

Week 5/10
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Jonathan Cape)