America's entangled colonial history of slavery and territorial expropriation has left a lasting impact on American culture. Various literary modes of the supernatural – from the imperial gothic to postcolonial forms of haunting and magic realism – serve as a cultural register for expressing colonial guilt and anxiety about the past and present treatment of America's dispossessed populations. In this class we'll look at one older novel – Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables (1851), which mingles the memory of dispossession with that of the Salem witchhunt – and a series of more recent novels approaching this troubled past from various perspectives (settler colonial, Native American, African American). Our readings will be accompanied by critical texts analyzing America's "Phantom past" and a few movie sightings.
Students are required to purchase a Reader (Copy&Paste), as well as the following texts:
- Hawthorne, Nathaniel (1851/2009) The House of the Seven Gables. Oxford UP. ISBN-10: 019953912X
- King, Stephen (1983/2011) Pet Sematary. Hodder. ISBN-10: 1444708139
- Jones, Stephen Graham (2017) Mapping the Interior. Tor-com. ISBN-10: 076539510X
- Morrison, Toni (1987/1997) Beloved. Vintage. ISBN-10: 9780099760115