Poverty, Rurality, & Whiteness



Time and place

  • Tue 16:15-17:45, Room C 601 ICS

Das Hauptseminar kann wie folgt verwendet werden:

  • MA North American Studies - Culture and Literature: Modul 4,5,7,8

  • MA The Americas/Las Américas: Modul 3b

  • MA Literaturstudien - intermedial und interkulturell

  • MA Ethik der Textkulturen

  • Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien: Hauptmodul L-GYM Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul L-GYM Literature)

  • BA English and American Studies: Hauptmodul A mit begleitender Independent Study Group

  • MA English Studies: "Freie Ergänzungsstudien/Wild Card" mit begleitendem Kurs


This class will discuss cultural imaginations of rurality in twentieth and twenty-first century USA with an emphasis on issues of class and race and specifically constructions of poverty and whiteness that have been inscribed into historical narratives of American identity, the “heartland,” as well as “the redneck,” the “hillbilly,” and similar figures. We will focus on literary productions like Donald Ray Pollock’s |Knockemstiff| (2008), J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir |Hillbilly Elegy| and the ensuing controversy, and include film adaptations like Debra Granik’s |Winter’s Bone| and a selection of episodes from TV series (|Ozark, Justified, Mare of Easttown|). To explore significant historical contexts and lines of literary tradition we will also read a selection of shorter texts by Willa Cather, Erskine Caldwell, John Steinbeck, Flannery O’Connor, and William Faulkner.

Additional information

Expected participants: 20