Indigenous American Epics
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Lisa Brooks (Section 01)
(Offered as ENGL 458 and AMST 358.) [before 1800] This course will delve deeply into the literature and history of “Turtle Island,” or North America. The Quiché Maya Popol Vuh (Council Book), the Iroquois Great Law, and the Wabanaki creation cycle are rooted in longstanding, complex oral narratives of emergence and transformation, which were recorded by Native authors and scribes. We will close read these epics (in English) as works of “ancient American” literature, as narratives of tribal history, and as living constitutions of tribal governance. We will study the tribally and regionally-specific contexts of these epic narratives as well as the “intellectual trade routes” that link them together. The course will conclude with an epic narrative of more recent colonial history, composed by the nineteenth-century Pequot author William Apess, born in the Connecticut River valley. Following an interdisciplinary American studies approach, our reading will be enriched by guest speakers and artistic media.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Brooks.
KeywordsForeign culture taught in English, Writing attentive, Speaking attentive
Offerings2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012