This seminar looks at the road as a central motif and at mobility as a central concept of American culture. We will start off by reading some theoretical texts from cultural geography and cultural studies which focus on mobility as a space-producing practice and a central element of an American life-style. The first novel we will closely examine is Jack Kerouac’s 1957 classic On the Road. We will also discuss the 2012 film version of the novel. The movies Easy Rider and Thelma & Louise will serve as a preparation for looking at the second road novel, Erica Lopez’ Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing of 1997. We will close with Chloé Zhaos 2020 film Nomadland and take stock of the emerging and changing patterns of the road in American culture.
Texts to be bought are the two novels, Jack Kerouac On the Road and Erica Lopez Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing. Students will have to watch the movies independently. All theoretical texts will be provided on moodle.