Sunday, August 29, 2010

What We Talk About When We Talk About War

Fall 2010
How do we talk and think about war in America? We will focus on the language that fiction writers, historians, politicians, film makers, mass media, and even musicians use when addressing modern war. Will we see the same language repeated? Does the language of war invade and infuse non-war elements of our society? War discourse dominates post-World War II America, where race wars, Red scares, and battles of the sexes fill the American landscape. Thus, does language reserved for international aggression has guided Americans toward thinking about their fellow Americans as enemies of the state up to our present time.

The major course objective revolves around initiating critical inquiry into the rhetoric of war for America and globally. How is war represented visually and textually? We will explore where and how the language of war recurs in literature, history, film, mass media, and music. This is not an anti-war or pro-war agenda; instead, we will analyze the way in which we are provided a language to discuss war. A primary learning outcome centers on students developing complex views via close readings of social phenomena—in this case, war. Consequently, we will move beyond the status quo of pro- and anti- perspectives, as well as learning to research and construct public arguments. They will do critical analysis of war in 20th century and 21st century America.