Imposters and Impersonators in U.S. Literature & Culture

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Literary Studies

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Imposters & Impersonators
Fall 2023
Taught By: Anthony Galluzzo
Section: A

CRN: 15932

Credits: 4

Imposture or con artistry has always been central to US capitalism and culture. The con artist represents both flip side and dark side to standard American myths of self-making and frontier individualism, beginning with Ben Franklin’s fictionalized performance of self and continuing through P.T. Barnum’s self-conscious charlatanism and into our own contemporary celebrity spectacle. This course examines the long history of imposture through US literary and artistic representations that might include primary examples such as the work of Franklin, Alger, and Barnum alongside critical depictions of this phenomenon as exemplified by the output of Brockden Brown, Melville, Larsen, Fitzgerald, and Highsmith among others. We will finally examine—in this regard—the ways in which historically marginalized groups have used other sorts of imposture—from passing to drag—to survive and subvert an oppressive social order.

After the first week of the semester, permission of the instructor will be required in order to register for this course.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Literary Studies (LIT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 11, 2023 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 19, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:14pm EDT 9/22/2023