Spring 2023 - War, Myth, and Masculinity in the U.S.

Amy Laura Hall
LS 780-92
Spring 2023
Mondays, 6:00PM-9:00PM

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In the 2008 documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Chris Bell begins with the World Wide Wrestling Federation’s carnivalesque version of geopolitics, as Hulk Hogan battled The Iron Sheik during the 1984 season.  Bell tells a story about his two brothers on steroids, but the film is also about how athleticism and militarism have been intertwined to confuse, amuse, and distract.  Bell points out that the U.S. Congress spent more hours during 2005 investigating steroid use in Major League Baseball than on the response to Hurricane Katrina or on the Iraq War. We will consider myths of masculinity and war in the U.S., using film, historiography, podcasts, and readily available chapters and essays.  Readings may include selections from War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War(John Dower); Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man (Susan Faludi); and Black Sexual Politics (Patricia Hill  Collins).  Films may include Modern TimesHigh NoonThe Defiant OnesThe Fog of War, Friday Night LightsSorry to Bother You, and Get Out. Assignments include participation in discussion and 2-3 page close-reading papers on the reading or film for that week.

About Amy Laura Hall
Divinity School

GLS Advisory Committee Term: 2021-24

Amy Laura Hall is the author of four books: Kierkegaard and the Treachery of Love, Conceiving Parenthood: The Protestant Spirit of Biotechnological Reproduction, Writing Home with Love: Politics for Neighbors and Naysayers, and Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich. She has also written numerous scholarly articles in theological and biomedical ethics. Her new essay on Kierkegaard and love will appear in the T&T Clark Companion to the Theology of Kierkegaard (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019). Her book Laughing at the Devil was chosen for the 2019 Virginia Festival of the Book and as a focus lecture for the Chautauqua Institution in June, 2019. She continues work on a longer research project on masculinity and gender anxiety in mainstream, white evangelicalism.

Professor Hall has served on the steering committee of the Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy Center, the Bioethics Task Force of the United Methodist Church, and as consultant on bioethics to the World Council of Churches. She has served on the steering committee of the Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy Center and as a faculty member for the Focus Program of the Institute on Genome Sciences and Policy. She served as a faculty adviser with the Duke Center for Civic Engagement and as a faculty advisor for the NCCU-Duke Program in African, African American & Diaspora Studies. She currently teaches with and serves on the faculty advisory board for Graduate Liberal Studies and serves as a core faculty member of the Focus Program in Global Health. Hall serves as an elder in the Rio Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.