E234/ETST234 – Introduction to Native American Literature

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Description: In an attempt to draw away from purely anthropological and sociological concerns and to confront American Indian literature as literature, E234 emphasizes the history, forms, and style of Indian narrative, structured fiction, song, and poetry. Students are shown the progress and tradition of such concepts as the sacred hoop, the medicine wheel, unity with nature, and the meaning of the white incursions; they are exposed to Indian variations on such literary features as rhythm, syntax, symbol, metaphor, and allegory; and they are expected to come to a fuller understanding of various themes that are frequently repeated in the literature. Along with traditional and historical materials, the course features contemporary Indian authors such as Silko, Welch, Momaday, Deloria, Storm, Erdrich, Ortiz, Vizenor, Harjo and Owens.

Since the course covers such a wide range of materials, ranging from creation stories to modern poetry and fiction, the reading list usually will include at least one anthology containing traditional materials, some autobiographical and historically based narratives, and some novels with contemporary settings.

Possible course texts include:

Credit not allowed for both E 234 and ETST 234.