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States of Damage syllabus for 2019/20

Stephen Shapiro, (s dot shapiro at warwick dot ac dot uk)

Term 1

Week 1

Introduction: C21 US writing and culture

Week 2

1. Mark Fisher, selections from Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Zero Books, 2009) [available on forum].
2. Ivor Southwood, selections from Non-Stop Inertia (Zero Books, 2011) [available on forum]. Read pages 1-30.
3. Dale Beran, “4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump” [available on forum].
4. Philip Mirowski, [11 Tenets of Neoliberalism] [available on forum]
“Fuck You, Buddy” from The Trap (2007), dir. Adam Curtis (in-class viewing)

Week 3

1. Gerard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, from The Crisis of Neoliberalism (Harvard UP, 2011): 7-32, 45-54 [handout on forum]
2. Michael Denning, selections from The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (Verso 2nd edition, 2011): 3-50 [handout on forum]
3. Please listen to Charlie Parker's “Relaxin’ at Camarillo” (1947) and Dizzy Gillespie, "Salt Peanuts" (1945)

Week 4

1. #blacklivesmatter videos [seen in class]
2. Read short article “Hair Relaxer Facts - What is A Hair Relaxer?” (Teen Vogue)
3. Claudia Rankine, Citizen, An American Lyric (Graywolf, 2014), parts I-V, pages 5-79
4. Sofia Samatar, "Skin Feeling"
5. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket 2016) [handout on forum]

Week 5

Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Vol. 1 only) (Fantagraphics, 2016)

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7

1. Nora Krug, Heimat: A German Family Album (Penguin, 2019)
2. "Nazis Killed Her Father. Then She Fell in Love with One" (NYTimes, June 19, 2019) [on forum]

Week 8

Michael Chabon, Moonglow, (2017)

Week 9

1. Charles Duhigg, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets"
2. Byung-Chul Han, The Burnout Society (2015)
3. Antoinette Rouvroy, “The end(s) of critique: data-behaviourism vs. due-process” [on forum].
4. Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (selection) [on forum]

Week 10

1. "A Brief Guide to the Elements of the Academic Essay," Gordon Harvey
2. "A Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis in History & Literature" (Harvard)
3. Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Norton, 2006; rev. ed. 2014). Please purchase.
4. The Craft of Research (selection) [on forum]

Term 2

Week 1

13th (dir. Ava DuVernay, 2015) (in-class viewing)

Week 2

Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room (Bloomsbury 2017)

Week 3

Attica Locke, Black Water Rising (2010).

Week 4

Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys, (2019)

Week 5

Raj Patel and Jason Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet (2018)

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7

1. Richard Powers, The Overstory (2019)
2. Peter Wohleben, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, (selections) [on forum]

Week 8

Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (selections on forum).
Occupy Wall Street Videos (in-class viewing)

Week 9

Hernan Diaz, In the Distance (2019)

Week 10

1. Warrior (Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin)
2. Beth Lew-Williams: The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in American, (selections) [on forum]

Next year, the assessments for this module are changing. Depending on which year you're in, you'll follow a particular assessment pattern:
2nd years:
  • A bibliographic and citation exercise (20%)
  • 2 X 3000-word essays (80%)
3rd years/Finalists:
  • A group video essay (20%)
  • 2 X 4000-word essays (80%)

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the Stephen Shapiro (s.shapiro@warwick.ac.uk).