We all know them. From fairy tales to bestsellers, legends of oral tradition to trend-setting points in the U.S. and global literary marketplace, they are the stories that win. These stories are rooted in a collective literary imagination that binds individual and community hopes + struggles. They are novels, or memoirs of political coming of age, tales of creative sparks that have led to iconic global brands and products, or narrative analyses that become collective origin stories. They speak to the relationship between expectations of justice and our varied political identities; they provide communal reference points during marked moments in history. These stories win by transcending the limits of time or through the entanglements of commercial success. This semester we delve into political memoirs; origin stories of athletes, iconic products, and CEOs; community narrative histories; fairy tales; and myths of national beginnings. We want to understand how power and the uses of history are central to making certain stories, especially "origin stories," the ones public figures deploy to represent their identity, the stories we as a nation tell about ourselves over and over, and the ones that become our collective points of reference-that is, the stories that win. And we want to know why other stories-and the people they're about-are so often left out of our collective imagination.
Course Attributes: AS HUM; EN H