AMST-378 20th Century American Trickster
Fall for 2017-2018
In the last century, American authors and performers frequently called on the Trickster figure of traditional folklore to explore the shifting boundaries of modern life and mass culture. This comparative survey follows the misadventures of the Trickster through twentieth-century America.
Drawing on theories of transgression and the ludic, students will consider the various social and aesthetic functions attributed to this bawdy anti-hero and his comic-erotic tales. The class will make use of a variety of discursive modes and media: Oral performance, ethnography, blues and rock music, the novel, critical theory, the animated film short, fake news, and the digital mashup. Students will look for parallels and contrarities among twentieth–century American tricksters drawn from Native American, Asian, African, European, and Latina/o traditions.
Throughout this reading-intensive, discussion-based course, students will work collaboratively on research assignments and independently on a final research paper.
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