English R1B

Reading and Composition: “Native American Literature”

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Spring 2009 Hausman, Blake M.
Hausman, Blake
MWF 3-4 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians; John Rollin Ridge,, the The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit: Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine. There will also be a course reader containing works by writers such as E. Pauline Johnson, Zitkala-Sa, D’arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon Ortiz, Michael Dorris, Linda Hogan, Wendy Rose, Joy Harjo, Marilou Awiatkwa, and Thomas King.

Film List: The Business of Fancydancing


As studies in “American literature” or “Literature in English” grow increasingly diverse and inclusive, several important questions arise in relation to “Native American literature.”  What is Native American literature, and how does it relate to the larger canons of American and Anglophone literature?  On one level, Native literature predates European settlement by thousands of years; on another level, Native literature in English is barely older than the United States itself.

This class will examine a wide range of word art produced in English during the last 160 years by writers of Indigenous American descent.  We will engage works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and film.  Since the writers who create these texts come from such different backgrounds and employ great variations of style and substance, we will ultimately question what makes “Native American literature” what it is.  From the 19th century myth of Joaquin Murieta to the widely popular contemporary work of Sherman Alexie, how does Native American literature give readers some wonderfully entertaining stories while simultaneously pushing us to question the implications of living in “America” in the 21st century?

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