skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Contemporary American Literature

Fall 2019      Michael Wutz     MWF 11:30-12:30    EH# 403     CRN# 22259 (4550), 24502 (5550)

Office MWF 12:30-1:30, or by appointment

Course Description

This survey-oriented course focuses on American literature from the 1950s to the present within the context of the dramatic political and cultural changes that have shaped contemporary American culture, such as the Cold War, Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, feminism and multiculturalism. Like its modernist predecessor (ENG 4540), it ranges across genres and media to survey various emergent traditions and tendencies in contemporary and postmodern U.S. letters. As such, any course on an almost 70-year time span of bustling literary activity cannot be but punctual and eclectic; it certainly does not presume to be inclusive, opting instead (by default, one might say) for "representative" samples that serve to illustrate certain literary and cultural developments.

Yet, one thing is for sure: you will be exposed to a daring and dazzling, brilliant and befuddling, perplexing and puzzling array of writers. Welcome and enjoy!

Useful Links:

  • Please check CAL PAL regularly for useful links to contemporary American literature sites, as you prepare for class and research your interests. Many of these sites contain numerous other links. You might also find the (rather skeletal) Theory PAL useful on occasion. — As you find additional sites we should all know about, please let us know

Texts and Materials

  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit From The Goon Squad (2011)
  • Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (2004)
  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers (2013)
  • Richard Powers, The Overstory (2018)
  • Online readings, focus questions, CAL PAL, clips, and perhaps a film or two, time permitting; optional old-fashioned hardware: a notepad and binder .

Let's Connect!

mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

LebenslaufCurriculum Vitae
Weber – The Contemporary West
Follow Me On Facebook Follow Me On Twitter

Mailing Address


Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA