English 84

Sophomore Seminar: Contemporary Native American Short Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2009 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Sweet Wong, Hertha
Tues. 3:30-5:30 (Sept. 1 to Oct. 20 only) 305 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Wong, H., et. al, Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women;  Reader (available at Copy Central, 2560 Bancroft Way)


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 the short fiction of a select number of 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; and articulations of a geocentric epistemology and land-based narrative. 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.

NOTE: This class meets 2 hours per week for the first 8 weeks of the semester.

This one-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.

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