Examines the origins and development of Native American literature and culture in relevant intellectual, social, and historical contexts. Course will be taught once or more per academic year.
La Malinche. Pocahontas. Sacagawea. These are likely the only Indigenous women with whom many are familiar. Though real historical figures, these Indigenous women are often depicted in popular literature along a rigid spectrum as race traitors or colonial sympathizers, virtuous princesses or lascivious sq---s. As Mohawk writer, performer, poet, and critic Pauline Johnson noted over 120 years ago, such framings erase the enormous cultural specificity and political diversity of tribal experience while also doing discursive, political, and physical harm to Indigenous women. Taking Pauline Johnson as a literary ancestor, this course explores what happens, to paraphrase Laguna writer Paula Gunn Allen, when Indigenous women speak and write for themselves across a variety of genres and forms. Much to the dismay of settler colonial discourse, Indigenous women have not gone quietly into that good night of erasure and absence. On the contrary, they have actively and aggressively engaged in acts of subversion, resistance, refusal, and resurgence by asserting (and inserting) their voices, self-images, and narratives into the broader discourses that would silence them. In order to appreciate the role Indigenous women have played, and continue to play, in decolonization, cultural survivance, and efforts to protect, strengthen, and expand Indigenous sovereignty, we’ll necessarily situate our work where questions of gender, sexuality, race, and class intersect those of settler colonialism, sovereignty, and self-determination.
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.
Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.
Empire, Race, and/or Ethnicity courses focus on ways that race matters in literature, media, and culture. Recent courses have examined such matters as native American literature and film; nineteenth-century writings by slavers and enslaved people in the U.S. and British colonies; fiction and filmmaking in post-apartheid South Africa; Latinx science fiction and environmental justice, and the novels of Toni Morrison.
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.