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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Andrea Opitz
AIS 377
Seattle Campus

Contemporary American Indian Literature

Creative writings - novels, short stories, poems - of contemporary Indian authors; the traditions out of which these works evolved. Differences between Indian writers and writers of the dominant European/American mainstream. Offered: jointly with ENGL 359.

Class description

For SPRING 2006: Decolonizing America: Storytelling, self and community, bi-cultural identity, alienation, relationships to place and to the past. In this course we will look at how American Indian writers address these central questions of the Native American literary canon. Also, we will ask a very basic question: What do these texts tell us about the difficulty of telling one’s story in a colonial setting? This question then leads us to examine the relationships between American Indians and the U.S. government, and between American Indians and American cultural and national narratives. What questions do these texts ask of race, nation and gender, and of the writing of history? What are some of the formal strategies these writers use to “decolonize America”? Students will write a midterm and longer final paper, a weekly response paper, and give a presentation in collaboration with others. Students should expect to participate actively in small groups and class discussion, and to be respectful toward other points of view. Readings include: Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain; Silko, Ceremony; Earling, Perma Red; Welch’s The Heartsong of Charging Elk. There’ll also be a course pack.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Andrea Opitz
Date: 02/11/2006