- Do 10:15-11:45, Raum C 301
This seminar conceives of the USA as a "sentimental nation" (Lauren Berlant's term) and examines different facets of American sentimentality throughout US history in literature, popular culture as well as political culture. We will begin with a discussion of the foundational document of the "Declaration of Independence" as a sentimental text (as argued by Elizabeth Barnes) along with the popular culture that surrounds it to this day - the latest example is the hugely successful musical Hamilton|, which we will also address. For the 19th century, the classic sentimental reform novel |Uncle Tom's Cabin| by Harriet Beecher Stowe will be discussed in terms of its discourses of race and gender - alongside Harriet Jacobs' slave narrative |Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl|. For the 20th century, Hollywood melodramas and their remakes suggest specific arguments regarding cultural difference, suffering, and emancipation that we will investigate more closely (see, for instance, the films |All That Heaven Allows| 1955 |Far from Heaven| 2002 Regarding 21st century sentimentality, we will look at the "political melodramas" of 9/11 (Elizabeth Anker's term) flanking the return of sentimental storytelling at large (exemplified by texts such as |Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer). The seminar will conclude with a discussion of the uses of sentimentality in American political culture in the present moment.
Please purchase and read the novels by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Jonathan Safran Foer. All additional material will be provided on the studon-platform.