Liminal Form(s): Ethnic American Short Fiction
This course will examine Ethnic American short fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its structure and content uphold and contest literary, corporeal, and national form(s). While the short story has been a celebrated component of the American literary tradition, it has also been understudied in comparison to other forms such as the novel and poem. From the short-short story to the novella—and even allied narrative forms such as the short film and the podcast—this course asks what may be gained by reading short fiction as a form specifically attuned to the liminal social and political positions of Ethnic American writers and communities. We will trace this theory of the liminal as it plays out in relation to corporeal concerns, such as gender, mixed/ race, and indigeneity; national concerns, such as citizenship and migration; and literary concerns, such as formal and generic conventions. We will also examine liminal subgenres, such as science fiction, magic realism, and Afro- and Indigenous futurisms.
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.