Dr. James Mellis
Honors Dissent in America
Tuttleman Learning Center Rm. 202
Office 951 Anderson
Office Hours MWF
12-1 and by appointment
Ralph Young Dissent in America: Voices that Shaped a Nation
*Additional texts on BlackBoard
*Additional texts are posted on Blackboard.
They are indicated on the syllabus with BB.
are responsible for printing out and bringing these texts to class on the days they are assigned.
In this course, we will look at a number of significant political moments in American history,
distinguishing and connecting them, considering the historical and cultural contexts of how we
continue to tell (and teach) literature and history.
What is dissent in America?
Where does it
What forms exist for the expression of dissent?
In what fields of culture and media do acts
of dissent and transgression occur?
Is “politics” an imposition on art, or is art inherently political?
And is politics inherently ‘artful’—full of art, containing it, using it, mobilizing it, performing it,
As we consider such questions, we will concentrate upon many moments/types of
dissent, historical and contemporary, reformist and revolutionary, distinct and overlapping, including:
We will examine these in terms of their historical, political, and aesthetic contexts.
This course is designed to develop knowledge, historical and cultural awareness, critical thinking and
communication skills, and principled citizenship through:
*understanding relationships between cultural and political practice, in (and beyond) the U.S.
*understanding the meaning of historiography and its relationship to politics and literature
*understanding the roles of art and literature in transforming, preserving and contesting history
*understanding democratic ideals and ideology, forms of power and resistance
We will do this through:
*critically evaluating historical and literary works in relation to one another
*assessing multiple historical instances and legacies of dissent over the past 150+ years
*conceptualizing dissent as a practice of representation connected to intellectual, linguistic, cultural
and technological transformation