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Course Information

Instructor Info:Daniel Block
Office Extension x6209
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104
Description:

This course analyzes the British culture of capital through its defining literary tropes.  We study the ways in which literary culture both reflects and produces the economic system of modern capitalism.  How does literature shape the meaning of industrialization, urbanization, slavery, and empire?  To what extent does nineteenth-century cultural history continue to inform contemporary society? 

To address these questions, the seminar explores a range of topics: among them, Malthus’s fear that society requires more food than it can produce, Wheatley’s and Equiano’s experience as human capital, Marx’s analysis of commodity fetishism and the alienation of labor, Dickens’s critique of laissez-faire economics, Stoker’s vampire and the professionals who combat him, Carroll’s bizarre world of living objects, and Haggard’s exploration of imperialist desire. 

Course Objectives:

Learning objectives:

  • To develop the core skills of engaged conversation, close reading, comparative analysis, and evaluating theory;
  • To analyze the British culture of capital through its defining literary tropes;
  • To test the hypothesis that literary culture both reflects and produces the economic system of modern capitalism;
  • To interrogate the extent to which nineteenth-century cultural history continues to inform contemporary society

Enduring goals: On completing this course, students are able…

  • To address key issues that define eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature;
  • To complete assignments on time and interact with instructors during office hours – both key prerequisites for academic advancement at Hampshire;
  • To practice the skills of close reading, critical writing, and engaged conversation that are necessary for college-level work
Evaluation Criteria:

See syllabus

Additional Info:

Helpful links:

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Schedule: Asterisks (**) indicate that the reading is posted to Moodle.  Print out a hard copy of each e-text and bring it to class on the assigned day