Literatures of the Americas
This course is designed to introduce students to a range of poems, stories, essays, declarations, and manifestos written in the landmasses known as “the Americas.” Our primary focus will be on transcultural contemporary work from North America, but we will consistently attend to earlier materials from the Americas writ large in order to inflect our understandings of the present. What does it mean to live on this land, in these languages? And what kind of leverage can literature afford us as we go about answering such questions?
In the course of our reading we will encounter poets such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Emily Dickinson, Fred Moten, and Juliana Spahr; fiction writers like Ursula Le Guin and Ted Chiang; and essayists such as James Baldwin, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Lewis Hyde.
In addition to frequent critical responses to these texts, our writing this term will include focused research projects on particular authors, as well as a repertoire of creative practices that should serve to deepen our sense of the work that literature has done and can still do in a place that Ralph Waldo Emerson once called “this new yet unapproachable America.”
Our work will be conducted remotely, using Canvas and Zoom. Faculty will offer alternative assignments if conditions or illness prevent students from accessing our synchronous meetings, which will allow students to earn comparable credit.