Exploring the Literature of Empowerment; Rising Above the Subaltern


Spring 2023
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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In this reading intensive literature program, students will be introduced to subaltern studies and voluntary and involuntary minority communities in the United States with an emphasis on novels, short stories, non-fiction and poetry. In order to participate in this hybrid program, students will read African American, Latinx, East Asian American, Indigenous, LBGTQIA and gender diverse authors and consider how these writers identified and negotiated existing structures of power. We will examine a wide range of 20th and 21st century literature, with a particular emphasis on the history of colonialism and slavery, as well as the conditions that continue to reproduce systems of oppression.

Students will be asked to consider the ways in which writers cross borders and contest those systems, including autocratic structures that operate along the lines of race, gender identity, culture, language and class. This inquiry will be anchored in a close reading of the texts, as well as weekly lectures and discussions that provide historical and philosophical contexts from a variety of shared multiple perspectives. Program goals are to encourage respectful collaborative learning and to enhance students’ understanding of literary themes, devices and historical erasures. In addition, students will take part in weekly discussions, seminars and written analysis and literary mapping of the assigned literature. Students will conduct biographical research about authors whose work we study and for whom they hold an interest and passion about their writing.

Students will complete a final project, synthesis essays and a multimedia presentation about the historical conditions and contexts that inform the authors’ literary themes, plot and character designs. These themes include, but are not limited to depictions of white supremacy, social justice, gender in literature, immigration, intersectionality and the role of subaltern voices in literature. Students should expect to be fully immersed in our learning community. Students will participate in program meetings (Zoom and in person) and complete both individual and collaborative assignments.


Spring 2023 Registration

Academic details

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$50 for entrance fees


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 D4107 - Workshop