The prolific White Earth Ojibwe writer Gerald Vizenor conceptualizes the cultural work of Indigenous literatures as “survivance,” wherein Indigenous writers and artists declare “an active sense of presence” in resistance to mainstream stereotypes of vanishing Native peoples.
According to Vizenor, survivance also reflects Indigenous literature’s “renunciations of dominance, tragedy, and victimry.” In this introductory course, we will engage with Indigenous texts from a variety of forms and genres, attending to issues of sovereignty, nationhood, and social and environmental justice to better understand, in part, Vizenor’s often-cited theory of survivance. Via thoughtful reading, discussion, and writing, we will learn about the lived implications of federal law, the historical legacy of settler colonialism, and media representation of Native peoples, and we will examine some of the ways Native literatures confront and transcend these contexts.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Multicultural, Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) courses examine the social construction of collective identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. The purpose of courses in this category is to analyze the general principles underlying tolerance, or the lack of it.
US: Difference, Inequality, and Agency courses focus on race and ethnicity in the United States by considering two or more racial and ethnic groups.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.