English 461 is an introduction to the literature of colonial North America and the Early United States, from the 1530s to the 1820s. This course is designed around four feature films: Cabeza de Vaca, Black Robe, Pocahontas, and Jefferson in Paris. These movies were based on the exploration narratives, stage dramas, missionary relations, autobiographies and natural history narratives that we will read.
Literature, 1500-1789 courses focus on writings during the period of European exploration and colonization -- from the early English Renaissance to the late eighteenth-century -- 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. The study of early periods in particular sensitizes readers to historical transformations of the language itself.
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.