This class will explore some of the literatures of the Mexican War (1846-1848) and their relation to writings from the Civil War (1861-1865). To contextualize our focus, we will begin by watching a PBS documentary entitled "The U.S.-Mexican War" (1998). Next, we'll analyze 19th century U.S. Congressional speeches, captivity narratives, and sermons to uncover why proponents of Manifest Destiny align the Mexican War with civil war and the American Revolution. Alongside these writings, we will also explore the connections between abolitionism, transcendentalism and the Mexican War through authors such as Emerson, Channing, Fuller and Thoreau. In literatures on slavery and the fugitive slave--such as William Wells Brown's CLOTEL (1853) and Frances E.W. Harper's poetry--we'll examine the correlations between the internal border between free and slave territory established by the Compromise of 1850 and the border between the U.S. and Mexico secured by the Mexican War in 1848. It is this border that one U.S. representative claimed would establish a "sanitary chord" between the United States and Mexico. How is this transgression of racial borders--represented by the mixed-raced Mexican and Mulatta--conflated with the transgression of national boundaries? To answer and complicate this question, this course will investigate the connections between the "tragic" Mulatta, the Mexican American, and national identity in the context of literature that aligns the Mexican with the Civil War such as Samuel Chamberlain's MY CONFESSION (1855-1861) and Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's THE SQUATTER AND THE DON (1885). Finally, we'll examine how the Mexican and Civil Wars relate to the two Americas of Jose Marti's "Our America" (1885) as well as analyze the 20th-century legacies of both wars through John Sayles' LONE STAR (1996).
COURSE FORMAT: Discussion
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL Grading Mode: Graded
Prerequisites: NONE Links to Web Resources For This Course.
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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