AMST 13186-1: Representing Homelessness in American Literature

Instructor: Benedict Giamo

Literature University Seminar

This seminar will explore significant representations of homelessness in American literature over the past century. Although we will focus initially on historic, class-based conditions of homelessness in both urban and rural settings, our interests will broaden to include other conceptions–and realities–of what it means to be homeless (whether the foundation is laid by existential and spiritual concerns, race and identity, futuristic designs of the non-human, or catastrophe). Throughout, we will pay particular attention to the interaction between text and context, critically examining the strategies employed by an author to encompass a situation—to size it up, define its larger meaning, juggle with the factors of identity, and convey a particular social attitude about the interplay between marginal and dominant cultures.

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