Re-Imagining American Borders

The course investigates how visual artists, novelists, filmmakers and poets perceive racial, ethnic, gender, sexualpreference and class borders in the context of a recent national discussion about the place of Americans at home and in the world. How do Anna Deavere Smith, Sherman Alexie, Carrie MaeWeems, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, or Najla Said consider redrawing such lines so that center and margin, or self and other, do not remain fixed and divided? How do text and image work across linguistic borderlines within multilingual pieces by Caribbean, Arab, or Asian Americans? How does performance art like that of Rhodessa Jones in her Medea Project for incarcerated women reveal and transgress American boundaries? Can Gloria Anzaldua's 1987 influential conception of 'borderlands' still be constructed through the matrix of language, dreams, images, music, dance and cultural memories in these contemporary American narratives? Course work includes a journal, comparative analytical essays and a creative final project examining personal or community identities.