12:00 PM to 01:15 PM MW
Innovation Hall 336
Section Information for Fall 2022
Undeadness takes many forms. In the American south, some of these forms—like the vampires in True Blood and the zombies in The Walking Dead—are eerie (and sometimes campy) physical embodiments as well as reflections of political and social frictions. Undeadness in the south often appears in symbolic, psychological, and cultural forms, including the social death endured by enslaved people, the Lost Cause that resurrects the Confederacy, and the reverberations of the Indian removal crisis.
In other words, undeadness is an important, useful, and flexible critical lens. For this literature capstone class, we'll vault beyond traditional, conventional notions of the southern Gothic and cast both the south and the undead in a wide variety of lights: regional, national, historical, haunted, traumatized, environmental, ecological, modernist, carceral, post-apocalyptic, monstrous, experimental, lyrical, and more.
I've chosen four novels that offer us just such a wide range of approaches to the course topic:
As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner)
Sing, Unburied, Sing (Jesmyn Ward)
Lincoln in the Bardo (George Saunders)
Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)
All four of these books promise to be really generative for the work we'll do together this semester. That work will mainly consist of a substantial literary research essay, which we'll work on early and often throughout most of the semester.
This course carries an "RS" designation. "RS" means that the course is research designated: developed through OSCAR (the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research) and part of Mason Impact. As a student in this course, you will conceptualize and carry out an in-depth research project that will be shared with classmates and also presented to the public (that is, to a campus and/or scholarly community of people not enrolled in our class).