English 24

Freshman Seminar: Here Here in Tommy Orange's There There

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2019 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Tues. 12:30-1:30 305 Wheeler

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Orange, Tommy: There There


Tommy Orange's story cycle, There There, depicts the lives of contemporary indigenous people in Oakland, California. Shaped by a transgenerational trauma, Orange's characters nonetheless survive. Countering romantic stereotypes of the Noble Red Man, children of Nature, or the ecological Indian, these Oakland natives are the urban indigenous. There There counters Gertrude Stein's famous pronouncement that in Oakland, "there is no there there." A character itself, Oakland is described, mapped, and traversed. In this seminar, we will practice close reading, review indigenous history (particularly, how the Indian Relocation Act of 1956 encouraged native people to move from reservations to urban centers), and place There There in the context of 20th- and 21st-century Native American literature. Finally, we will go on a field trip or two to Oakland to walk in the steps of Orange's characters and navigate their urban interactions. This seminar is part of the On the Same Page initiative.

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

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