... one of the course objectives is to "undermine and subvert" the traditional narratives of "American hegemony and mythology." In both the objectives and the description of the required research paper, it is made clear that we are to use post-structuralist approaches to the readings.
I was fearful; I would have to quickly read up on all this post-structuralism and fake it, and I had no idea what the class discussions would be like. (Okay, so I had studied post-structuralism in history, but literature is a whole other animal. They do some crazy stuff there.)
Well, I'm done, and in the end, my fears were much ado about little. The professor hardly brought any of that up in the discussions, focusing mostly on the literature itself. There were some biased questions we were expected to write about, but not many, to be honest. I employed the tactic of using the authors' words to undermine American hegemony, reporting that author X criticized America for this, and author Y felt disenfranchised for that, and never talked about my opinions on it. And I got an A, so, there we are.
Granted, I could have produced much more creative work if I had not felt constrained by the BS in the syllabus, but on the other hand, the professor did me a favor by declaring his political allegiances up front, so I knew what to avoid.
I'd like to thank everyone who weighed in with advice in the comments to that earlier post: Eric Hines, Eric Blair, Ymar, Grim, AVI, ColoComment, Raven, and douglas. (I hope I haven't forgotten anyone! If so, my apologies, and my thanks!)
It was helpful, and it's good to know I'm not alone. Thanks!