|| EN34420 |
|| NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURE |
|| 2007/2008 |
|| Dr Martin Padget |
|| Semester 2 |
|| Mr Michael J Smith |
| Course delivery
|| Seminars / Tutorials || 20 Hours. Seminar. (10 x 2 hr seminar workshops) |
|Assessment Type||Assessment Length/Details||Proportion|
|Semester Assessment|| Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)||100%|
|Supplementary Assessment|| Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected.||100%|
On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
1. demonstrate an understanding of Native American literature and of the critical debates pertaining to it;
2. write about the subject in a well-structured and well argued manner;
3. have added to their knowledge of the corpus of American literature;
4. have developed their powers of critical analysis.
This module aims:
1. to investigate the histories and cultures of North American Indians, paying particular attention to how differences between Indian and non-Indian world views, themes, genres, and techniques are articulated in American Indian literature;
2. to examine the great diversity of Native American oral and written storytelling. To this end we will read creation myths, traditional oral narratives and songs, collaborative autobiographies, and poetry and fiction;
3. to understand the unique place of Native Americans in U.S. society as indigenous peoples and as an ethnic and cultural minority in a polyglot nation.
In her poem 'Anchorage', Creek poet Joy Harjo speaks of 'the fantastic and terrible story of all our survival', while in 'The Significance of a Veteran's Day', Acoma poet Simon Ortiz has written: 'I am talking about how we have been able/ to survive insignificance'. Harjo and Ortiz are two among a growing number of contemporary Native American writers who have used autobiography, poetry and fiction to investigate what it means to be 'Indian' in the late twentieth-century United States. Through the semester we shall consider how both contemporary and historical Native American writers have dramatised cultural survival and questions of individual and tribal identity through a variety of literary forms.
We begin the course by examining the complex and dynamic relationships between Native Americans and the natural world as they are expressed through oral narratives, songs, chants, and ceremonies. We proceed by exploring a variety of textual forms through which American Indian voices were represented from the late eighteenth century through to the early twentieth century. These forms include oratory, sermons, life histories, poetry, collaborative autobiography, and novels.
In the latter half of the course we will critique literature by a variety of contemporary authors and poets.
Seminar 1: Introduction
Seminars 2 & 3: Oral Literatures
Required reading: 'Introduction', 'Tales', 'Songs' and 'Oratory' sections from Velie (3-151). Pay particular attention to 'The Origin Myth of Acoma', 'The Winnebago Trickster Cycle', and 'Walam Olum'.
Seminar 4: Autobiography
Required reading: Black Elk and John G. Neihardt (ed.), Black Elk Speaks (1933)
Seminar 5: The Early Twentieth Century in Recent Native American Fiction
Required reading: Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)
Seminar 6: 'Native American Renaissance'
Required reading: N Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1986)
Seminar 7: Storytelling
Required reading: Leslie Marmon Silko, Storyteller (1981)
Seminar 8: Critical voices of North American Literature
Required viewing: Imagining Indians (Dir. Victor Masayesva Jr, 1996)
Required reading: Selection of online essays
Seminar 9: Contemporary Native American Literature and Film
Required reading: Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993)
Required viewing: Smoke Signals (dir. Chris Eyre, 1998)
Seminar 10: Poetry
Required reading: Poetry selections from Velie
** Should Be Purchased
Alan R. Velie (ed.) (1991) American Indian Literature: An Anthology
Revised Edition: University of Oklahoma Press
Black Elk (ed.John G. Neihardt) (2003) Black Elk Speaks
University of Nebraska Press
Leslie Marmon Silko (1989) Storyteller
Louise Erdrich (1994) Tracks
N. Scott Momaday (1999) House Made of Dawn
Sherman Alexie (1997) The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
This module is at CQFW Level 6