Simon Ventura Trujillo
A comparative study of multiple ethnic literatures within American culture and society. Addresses issues surrounding the formation of an American literary canon. Stresses themes and methods for advanced literary interpretation within American Studies.
This course draws from José David Saldivar’s call for intellectual practices that “articulate a new, trans-geographical conception of American culture—one more responsive to the hemisphere’s geographical ties and political crosscurrents than to narrow national ideologies.”
With this in mind, this course is organized around a selection of US ethnic literary and cultural texts that question and interrogate a singular notion of “America.” We will engage texts that depict the varied geographies, histories, and peoples who constitute multiple forms of “America,” revealing the term to be more of a site of struggle rather than a static entity.
By analyzing US ethnic literary productions as sites of struggle over the identity, history, and territory of “America,” this course will engage with the following questions:
How do literary and cultural texts represent and reimagine geographic and political borders?
How do political borders organize forms of social identity, historical memory, and geographical space?
How do literary productions represent historical formations of race, gender, and sexuality?
What historical knowledges are made apparent when we read literature as a form of history writing, and how can we read history writing as narrative?
Possible Primary texts: • George Washington Gómez by Américo Paredes • Corregidora by Gayl Jones • Storyteller by Leslie Marmon Silko • Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading