Courses of Study 2015-2016 
    Mar 24, 2018  
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AMST 2050 - [Ghosts in American Culture]

(crosslisted) ENGL 2655  
Spring. Next offered 2016-2017. 4 credits.

K. Howe.

Headless horsemen, vanishing hitchhikers, wailing women, revenants, poltergeists, and spectres. Ghosts haunt the American landscape, and the Amercian imagination, their spectral shapes acting as the embodiment of cultural contradiction. They are present, but not present. They are remnants of history, and witnesses to it. They reassure the living that others have passed here before, yet they terrify us with their passing. In this course we will examine the figure of the ghost in American literature, film, and popular culture, paying special attention to the unique relationship between ghost narratives and the landscape of New York State. Readings will include current scholarship on ghostlore, together with authors including Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Toni Morrison, and Neil Gaiman, as well as ghost folklore and oral histories collected by the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration. Films will include The Univited (1944), The Haunting (1963), The Shining (1980), The Sixth Sense (1999), and American Horror Story (TV, 2012).

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