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Syllabus for 2017/18

Stephen Shapiro, convenor (
Nick Lawrence (

Please purchase and read this book on writing essays BEFORE Week 4: Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Norton, 2006; rev. ed. 2014)

Term 1, week 1: Joint session 1: Introduction: C21 US writing and culture
Note: 11am-1pm classes meet in A0.28 in Millburn House; 2-4pm classes meet in the Humanities Studio

Term 2, week 1: Joint session 2: TBD

Stephen's readings

Week 2.
Mark Fisher, selections from Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Zero Books, 2009) [available on forum].

Ivor Southwood, selections from Non-Stop Inertia (Zero Books, 2011) [available on forum]. Read pages 1-30.

Dale Beran, “4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump” [available on forum].

“Fuck You, Buddy” from The Trap (2007), dir. Adam Curtis (in-class viewing)

Week 3.
Gerard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, from The Crisis of Neoliberalism (Harvard UP, 2011): 7-32, 45-54 [handout]

Michael Denning, selections from The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century, 3-50 [handout on forum]

Week 4.
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (Fleet, 2017)
#blacklivesmatter videos

Please listen to Charlie Parker's Relaxin' at Camarillo and read short article "Hair Relaxer Facts - What is A Hair Relaxer? (Teen Vogue) on forum

Week 5.

Please read in this order: Rankine, Samatar, Coates. If possible, wikipedia entry on microagression (on forum)
Claudia Rankine, Citizen, An American Lyric (Graywolf, 2014), parts I-V, pages 5-79.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Text Publishing, 2015)
Sofia Samatar, "Skin Feeling"

Week 7.

Charles Duhigg, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets";
Gilles Deleuze “Postscript on Societies of Control”;
Frank Pasquale, Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms that Control Society & Money (selections);
Antoinette Rouvroy, “The end(s) of critique: data-behaviourism vs. due-process” [all handouts] The readings are here:

Week 8.

Occupy Wall Street Videos (in-class viewing)

Week 9.

Nick Srnicek and Alex WIlliams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (Verso 2016).

Week 10.

George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury 2017)

Nick's readings

Week 2. Peter Frase, Four Futures (Verso 2016)

Week 3. Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140 (Orbit 2017)
Paul Mason, Part I, Part II: “Prophets of Postcapitalism,” and Part III: “Project Zero,” Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (Penguin 2016)

Week 4. Paulo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife (Orbit 2016)
Sasha Lilley, “Great Chaos Under Heaven” [handout]

Week 5. Omar El Akkad, American War (Knopf 2017)
Wolfgang Streeck, “How Will Capitalism End?” [handout]

Week 7. Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions (Fourth Estate 2017)
from Reece Jones, Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move (Verso 2016) [handout]

Week 8. Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World (And Other Stories 2015)

Week 9. Chris Kraus, Summer of Hate (Semiotext(e)/Native Agents 2012)

Week 10. Alex Rivera, dir., Sleep Dealer (Futuro Films 2008)