FYS-178 Voice of the Rebel in America

Instructor: Adjunct Associate Professor Dustin Beall Smith
Department: English

Course Description:
When an individual rebels against the status quo, he or she implicitly affirms the existence of a larger community and is thereby often compelled to pursue social justice. America enjoys a rich tradition of radical thought and behavior, from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights movement to environmental activism. Of course, rebellion can be precarious for the unprepared: reckless revolt may have dire consequences for both the individual and the community. This seminar will scrutinize examples of the rebel’s voice in American culture, in an attempt to discern between fruitful revolt and fruitless rant. In a series of written assignments and group discussions, students will be prompted to respond to a diverse selection of readings and films, encouraged to interrogate the American zeitgeist, and asked to examine their own role in the evolution of our democracy.