L&S Humanities

Crowd Power [Full]

Mary Mullen

Course: L&S HUM 192, SEM 001
Class Number: 26581
Credits: 3 HU
Time: TR 8:00 – 9:15 AM
Place: CRT 939

Course Description:

In this course, we will think about crowds, groups, mobs, and masses. How and why do they form? What holds them together? How do they acquire political power? Why do they dissolve? We will ground our study of crowds in specific historical sites: the Wisconsin protests, Arab Spring, the Chartist movement in 19th century England, and the French Revolution. We will read a variety of cultural texts – literature, blogs, images, essays, and video clips – and practice writing in several different genres. The course emphasizes close reading, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary inquiry.

Work Involved:

Students are expected to contribute several short, informal pieces to a course blog, as well as complete three more substantive papers (one personal essay, two critical essays). They are expected to come to class, carefully read all the reading, and participate in class discussions.

Sample Reading:

Semantic Histories of the Crowd (From Stanford’s Humanities Lab)
Selections from Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power
Selections from Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind
Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”
Edgar Allen Poe, “The Man of the Crowd”
Imaging the French Revolution (an online archive compiled by Jack Censor and Lynn Hunt)
Helen Maria Williams, Letters Written in France
Thomas Carlyle, Chartism
Selections from Charles MacKay, Voices from the Crowd
Selections from Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke
In Tahrir Square: 18 days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution (an HBO documentary)
Cécile Oumhani, “Voices, Voices Everywhere: Democracy in Tunisia”
John Nichols, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street

About the Instructor:

Mary Mullen is the Deputy Director of UWM’s Center for 21st Century Studies. She received her Ph.d. in English from UW-Madison and has taught literature and composition at the UW-Madison and the College of Wooster. Her research examines the relationship between literature, history and politics with a particular emphasis on nineteenth-century English and Irish writing. Although she doesn’t always follow the crowd, she believes in its power.