Course Description: In this course we will explore contemporary Native American written and oral literatures. We will be addressing the question of how Native American Literature has been defined, exploring relationships between Native communities, Native individuals, and institutions of the dominant society that form the social context for this definition. Two issues will run throughout the class. First, we will question received ideas about the distinction between "oral tradition" and "literature". And secondly, we will ask how our own cultural assumptions influence the way we understand works of Native American Literature and consider the extent to which ethnographic accounts of language use and meaning within Native American contexts may change our understandings. We will compare the written work of contemporary Native American authors with examples of oral performances by persons living in Native American communities, including performances recorded by local artists, educators, anthropologists, linguists and folklorists. Our readings will be interwoven with experiences of films, audio-recordings and Web publications.
Professor: M. Eleanor Nevins
Office: AB 503