American Culture: Memory and Identity Politics

lgerm1525  2023-2024  Louvain-la-Neuve

American Culture: Memory and Identity Politics
5.00 credits
22.5 h

  This biannual learning unit is not being organized in 2023-2024 !

Bragard Véronique;
Level B2 of the Common Europea Framework of Reference for Languages

Main themes
The course studies :

1. the material reality;
2. political and social organisation (forms of government);
3. moral attitudes;
4. Cultural, intellectual, philosophical and religious life;
5. the hopes, failures and achievements of the communities in English-speaking countries.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The course studies the major developments and structures in politics, social relationships and culture, and introduces the students to contemporary life in the United States.
By the end of the course, students are expected to have acquired in-depth knowledge of the identity and culture of the United States.
This course offers students a survey of American history in its broader conceptualization, taking into account cultural, artistic and memorial aspects. It addresses the cultural construction of memory by interrogating various geographical sites and texts in which traces of the past are physically ingrained, commemorated, represented, celebrated or contested. One module addresses the history of American feminism and debates on gender and intersectionality issues. Another one addresses the history and circulation of resources within the country’s borders, in an attempt to highlight how the exploitation/extraction of natural resources have shaped the political, social and territorial configurations of the country. In other words, we study how natural landscapes also become witnesses of political decisions and conflicts. Starting from Bull & Hansen’s work on modes of memory (antagonistic, cosmopolitan, agonistic), this class asks the question why and how America remembers the past through landscapes, monuments, memorials, literary texts or visual art forms that offer diverse modes of engagement with identity politics and conflicts. Starting from Nora's concept of "Site of memory" and contemporary debates about memorialization, it attempts to understand the construction and Americanness of America and how art and sites of memory (monuments, memorials but also geographical sites such as foxholes, Native American reservations, mining sites, polluted areas, trees, flowers) mediate politics and identity/community struggles. It proceeds through case studies to show how political/energy motives and conflicts become entangled in debates about the appropriate mode of representing the past. Students will participate in a field trip to the Bastogne War Museum or the Red Star Line Museum of Antwerp.
Teaching methods
Teaching method: formal lectures, personal readings, museum visits.
Evaluation methods
Assessment: written exam.
Other information
Study aids: course book, text syllabus, video extracts of films, documentaries and archives.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Minor in English Studies

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures: German, Dutch and English

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Minor "Decentering History: Subalternities and postcolonial Studies"