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Wolves of Wall Street: Representations of Wall Street in the American Cultural Imagination

In this course, we will examine Wall Street historically and as a construction of the American cultural imagination tied to the American Dream and American class identity. Historically seismic financial events, like the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the 1921 burning of Black Wall Street will be stopping points on our historical timeline. Wall Street has inspired social and economic progress that contributed to the American Dream narrative, and has also been the subject of economic critiques of the ethics of free-market capitalism.

Along this path of inquiry, we will research, analyze, and write about Wall Street as a place and a symbol traceable to the “founding” of American banking most recently represented in the musical, Hamilton. Wall Street has also inspired critiques and protest movements, such as Herman Melville’s story “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, “ arguably the first occupation of Wall Street, which inspired, in reverse, the ethos behind the founding, purpose, and philosophy of the Occupy Movement after the subprime lending scandal burst the housing bubble, crashed the Stock Market , and caused the 2008 recession.

Our exploration will touch on several historical and fictional “wolf” figures that have represented, influenced, and continue to haunt our understanding of Wall Street not only as an historical and metaphorical place but also as an institution of capitalism. Fictional wolves like The Great Gatsby’s Meyer Wolfsheim and Jay Gatsby, Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko, and American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, as well as and historical wolves like Charles Ponzi, Bernie Madoff, and the self-named “wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort will make either considerable or brief appearances.

 

 

 

 

Wolfpack

Wolf Street Journal

Fire In Little Africa reviewed in Rolling Stone Magazine!

Music Video for “Keep on Shining” from Fire In Little Africa “Jerica Wortham, who closes out “Shining” with a fantastic verse after strong appearances from Dialtone and Ayilla, begins with a direct reference to Greenwood Avenue, the center of black life in Tulsa before the massacre. “We’re what it looks like when we got our …

If Bartleby the Scrivener were a Gamer . . . what Game/s Would he Play? What would his Avatar be?

GameStop seems to connect to so much of what we’ve read (and didn’t get to read) this semester. Here, GameStop is compared to Occupy Wall Street, which relates to Bartleby the Scrivener: a Story of Wall Street (Bartleby being arguably the first instance of someone “occupying” Wall Street) . . . “Redditors successfully ‘Occupy Wall …

Readings

Unit 1: Foundations: American Myths & American Values

Unit 2: Other Wall Streets:  The Big Bad Wolf & Tulsa’s Black Wall Street

Unit 3: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Unit 4: Occupying Wall Street

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