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Fall 2021 - Class Option #2


From the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930, and from Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955 to the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989 to the Black Lives Matter marches across the U.S. in the summer of 2020, protests have shaped and punctuated the history of our world. This course considers the catalysts, consequences, and aesthetics of protest from interdisciplinary and global perspectives. How do protests take shape? When do they succeed? When do they fail? When do they turn into revolutions? What roles do literature, art, and performance play in the politics of protest?

Sample texts may include:
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself
James Baldwin, “Everybody’s Protest Novel” (in Notes of a Native Son)
Mohandas K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth (selections)
Selected poems by Namdeo Dhasal (Dalit Panther poet)
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rang De Basanti (Hindi film, 2006)
Robert Darnton, “The Great Cat Massacre”
James Green, Death in the Haymarket (excerpts)
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Rebel Girl (excerpts)
Robin D.G. Kelly, Race Rebels (excerpts)
Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”


Kevin Boyle is William Smith Mason Professor of American History. He is an historian of the twentieth century United States, with a particular interest in modern American social movements. His book, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age, received the National Book Award for nonfiction, The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Tolerance Book Award. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was selected for community-wide reading programs in the Detroit metropolitan area and the state of Michigan. Boyle is currently at work on two book projects: The Splendid Dead, a micro-history of political extremism and repression in the early twentieth century; and The Splintering, a narrative history of the 1960s. He teaches undergraduate courses on modern United States history, the civil rights movement, and racial violence and graduate courses in twentieth century American history, working-class history, and narrative history.

Laura Brueck is Associate Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the Comparative Literary Studies Program. She specializes in modern and contemporary Hindi literature, with a particular focus on literatures of resistance, popular literatures, and translation studies. Her book, Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of Hindi Dalit Literature, focuses on modern and contemporary Hindi Dalit literature, or resistance writing by those formerly known as “untouchables.” Her new book project considers Indian “pulp” fiction, particularly the genre of detective fiction and crime narratives. She is especially interested in the ways that the socio-political discourse of crime and criminality are reflected in twentieth century Hindi, Urdu, and English detective novels. Brueck teaches courses on South Asian literature in Hindi/Urdu, English, and in translation, Bollywood cinema, Indian epic literature, the theory and practice of translation, and South Asian civilization, with a particular focus on the modern politics of caste, class, and gender.

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