Spring 2019, IDS2935/1D51 What is a Man?

MWF, 9:3 5-10:25, Leigh Hall Room 207

This multidisciplinary arts and humanities course uses literature, art, music and film to complicate popular science claims about the “nature” of masculine identity.  Focusing on the experiences of African American and White men in the late 20th century, we will examine the ways that ideas of “what is a man” are formed in dialogue with ideas about the family, meaningful work, class, race, and sexuality.  To understand how that happens, we will read popular texts produced during moments in 20th century American life when changes in the nation’s political and economic structures have called long-held ideals of masculinity into question. Through these imaginative works we will see how diverse men construct identities for themselves (and find meaning and value in their lives) not only through their relationships with women, but also through their friendships and work, their political and their spiritual beliefs. We will ask and answer these questions through class discussion, formal/analytical writing, and less formal, personal writing.

Texts may include: Curtiz, Casablanca (1944); Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1959); Jewison, In the Heat of the Night (1967); Springsteen, Born in the USA (1984); NWA, Straight Outta Compton (1988); Russell, Three Kings (1999); Jenkins, Moonlight (2016); plus a packet of short articles.

This course is a pilot of the UF Quest Curriculum and can be taken in place of IDS 1161, What is the Good Life? It fills Gen Ed Humanities and Diversity requirements, and carries 2000 words towards the Gen Ed Writing requirement.