English 250

Research Seminar: Native American Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2009 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Wong, Hertha Sweet
W 3-6 2525 Tolman

Other Readings and Media

Alexie, S., The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Callahan, S. A., Wynema; Endrezze, A., throwing fire at the sun, water at the moon; Erdrich, L., Love Medicine; Harjo, J., The Woman Who Fell from the Sky; Hogan, L., Power; McNickle, D., The Surrounded; Momaday, N.S., House Made of Dawn; Power, S., The Grass Dancer; Silko, L.M., Ceremony or Almanac of the Dead; Wong, H., et. al, Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women.


Contemporary Native American stories are survival stories, reckonings with the brutal history of colonization and its ongoing consequences:  they calculate indigenous positions, settle overdue accounts, note old debts, and demand an accounting. These are the stories, says Joy Harjo, that “keep us from giving up in this land of nightmares, which is also the land of miracles.” Focusing on contemporary Native North American writers from within the U.S., we will examine how these Native writers convey: cultural survival in the wake of colonization; struggles for sovereignty; rejuvenations of ceremonial healing; retellings of myth and history; experiments with orality and literacy; articulations of a geocentric epistemology and land-based narrative; and an engagement with contemporary literary forms. In addition, we will examine the literary, cultural and regional influences on these writers and place their work in the context of Native American literatures specifically and U.S. literatures and global indigenous literatures, generally.

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