War, Myth, and Masculinity in the U.S.

Amy Laura Hall
LS 780-92
Fall 2017
Mondays, 6:15-8:45 pm
GLS Conference Room

In his 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 what makes a man manly in the U.S., and how athleticism and militarism have been intertwined to confuse, amuse and distract.  (Bell points out that Congress spent more hours during 2005 investigating and discussing steroid use in Major League Baseball than on the response to Hurricane Katrina or the Iraq War.)  In this class, we will consider myths of masculinity and war in the U.S., using film, history, historiography, and literature.  Readings will include 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 will include Modern Times, High Noon, The Fog of War (documentary) and Bigger, Stronger, Faster (documentary).  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

Amy Laura Hall is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics. She holds her B.A. from Emory (1990), her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (1993), and her Ph.D. from Yale University (1999). Professor Hall has been on faculty for eighteen years. She has taught for the Focus program in Genomics and in Global Health. She serves on the faculty board for Graduate Liberal Studies and for the NCCU-Duke Program. She organized a 2011 conference against torture and is organizing a 2017 conference on drones in warfare. Her book on Julian of Norwich is forthcoming from Duke University Press.