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syllabus 2015-16

Thursdays 11-1; 2-4

Stephen Shapiro, convenor term 1 (
Nick Lawrence, convenor term 2 (
Mark Storey (
Myka Tucker-Abramson (

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: Introduction: C21 US writing and culture (joint session 1):
(joint session 1): **This session will take place in Milburn House, rehearsal room - please come early enough to get to MIlburn on time**

Week 2. 11.00-1.00 seminar in Humanities Studio; 2.00-4.00 seminar in H244

George Saunders, Pastoralia (Bloomsbury, 2000) [Read these stories only: “Pastoralia,” “Winky,” “Sea Oak” and “The Falls”]
Ivor Southwood, selections from Non-Stop Inertia (Zero Books, 2011) [available on forum]
Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Zero Books, 2009) [skip sections 6 and 7]

Week 3. Please go to the room indicated on your timetable for this week (ie. for those in the 11.00-1.00 seminar, it will be either the Rehearsal Room in Milburn House or the Humanities Studio; for those in the 2.00-4.00 seminar, it will be either the Rehearsal Room or H244)

“Fuck You, Buddy” from The Trap (2007), dir. Adam Curtis (in-class viewing)
David Harvey, from A Brief History of Neoliberalism (OUP, 2005) [handout]
Gerard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, from The Crisis of Neoliberalism (Harvard UP, 2011): 7-32, 45-54 [handout]
Colin Crouch, from The Strange Non-Death of Neo-Liberalism (Polity, 2011) [handout]

Week 4. all sections will happen in Milburn Rehearsal Room for this week

David Graeber, The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement (Penguin, 2014)
Videos from Occupy Wall Street, 2011

Week 5. Claudia Rankine, Citizen, An American Lyric (Graywolf, 2014)

Week 6. Reading Week

Week 7. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (Canongate, 2015)

Week 8. Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (Verso, 2013)

Week 9. Karen Russell, Sleep Donation (Atavist, 2014): either purchase as kindle book or get from forum

Week 10. Frank Pasquale, Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms that Control Money and Information (Harvard UP, 2014) [temporarily only as hardback, but we expect paperback by September 2015; if not, then handout]
Charles Duhigg, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets” [handout]
Antoinette Rouvroy on algorithmic governmentality [handout]

Term 2

Week 1. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine (Penguin, 2007) (joint session 2)

Week 2. The Wire, Season 1 (David Simon, dir., HBO, 2002)
John Kraniauskas, “Elasticity of Demand: Reflections on The Wire,” The Wire: Race, Class and Genre, ed. Liam Kennedy and Stephen Shapiro (U of Michigan P, 2012) [pdf]

Week 3. The Wire (contd.)
Michelle Alexander, “Chapter 5: The New Jim Crow,” from The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2012): 178-220 [pdf]
Angela Davis, chapters 1, 4 and 5 from Are Prisons Obsolete? (Seven Stories Press, 2003) [pdf]
Loïc Wacquant, “Prologue: America as Living Laboratory of the Neoliberal Future,” Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Duke UP, 2009) [pdf]

Week 4. Teju Cole, Open City (Faber, 2012)

Week 5. Jake Halpern, Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld (FSG, 2014)
David Graeber, “On the Experience of Moral Confusion” and “(1971-The Beginning of Something Yet to Be Determined),” from Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Melville House, 2011) [pdf]

Week 6. Reading Week

Week 7. Chris Kraus, Summer of Hate (Semiotext(e), 2012)

Week 8. Orange is the New Black, Season 1 (Jenji Kohan, dir., Netflix)
Sarah Lamble, “Transforming Carceral Logics: Ten Reasons to Dismantle the Prison Industrial Complex Using a Queer/Trans Analysis” [pdf]

Week 9. Chris Ware, Building Stories (Jonathan Cape, 2012)

10. Paolo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife (Orbit, 2015)