ENGL 2605. Capitalism, Literature, and Culture (Honors)

Prerequisite: ENGL 1007 or 1010 or 1011 or 2011.

In this section dedicated to Honors students, we’ll read some of capitalism’s most influential theorists (such as Adam Smith and Karl Marx) and look at some of its most ardent defenders (including Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand). The primary focus, however, will be on twentieth- and twenty-first century novels and a few films that raise questions about whether capitalism is indeed the best, much less the inevitable, way of structuring the economy—and so many other aspects of our lives. We will consider if there is a racial component to capitalism and also the possibility of a new form of surveillance capitalism emerging in the digital age. The reading list for this course is still a work in progress, but will likely include such novels as Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Dave Eggers’s The Circle, Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. In addition to a substantial amount of reading, course requirements include a 15-minute presentation on a full scholarly book, a short paper, a research paper, spot quizzes—and lots of lively discussion. I love working with Honors students, and expect this course to be a blast.
If you have any questions, including about waiving the prerequisite, feel free to email me (clare.eby@uconn.edu).