English 53 - Spring, 2022

Youth & Revolt

Class Information

Instructor: Solomon, Jeff
CRN: 62313
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 176 Everson
GE Areas: Domestic Diversity


In this course, we will examine literary and cultural representations of adolescence in the U.S. at a time of rebellious refusals and wild behaviors, with an eye towards emerging questions around gender and sexuality, psychological states, economic pressures, racial inequality, and methods of social discipline and punishment.

We will discuss works of narrative fiction, poetry, film, agit-prop, underground comix, and music, from the post-WWII period to the present, considering the impact of the arts when used to challenge the status quo and redefine notions of community or ideal social behavior.

Several questions inform the course theme: What are the causes of social repression? Can art be used to affect the social order or encourage social resistance? Who has the authority to produce art of resistance, and how does the persona of the artist affect its reception? And ultimately, what solutions, if any, do these artistic texts offer in response to the forms of repression they represent?


Weekly reading/viewing responses, short reading quizzes, one short essay final.


Howl, Allen Ginsberg
Gorilla, My Love, Toni Cade Bambara
Die N****** Die!, H. Rap Brown (Jamil Abdullah al-Amin)
Memoirs of a Beatnik, Diane di Prima
Revolt of the Cockroach People, Oscar Zeta Acosta