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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2008

AMS 390 • American Indian Writers and Indigenous Mexico

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30129 MW
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 1.104
American Indian Writers and Indigenous Mexico

Course Description

We will have two main objectives in this class: to become familiar with and interrogate rigorously the literary critical theory and practice called American Indian literary nationalism, which is currently at the center of attention in American Indian literary studies, and to take this critical practice as the foundation of our discussions of American Indian authors who write about Indigenous Mexico. We will take our primary materials as a case study for the practice of American Indian literary nationalism and ask in what ways this practice does or does not help to illuminate these texts that traverse so many inter-tribal nation and international borders. Most of the primary works were published between 1934-1954, so an additional critical focus will be the way that these texts work within and against the history of US and Mexican federal Indian and immigration policy (in the 1930s, mass deportations of Mexicans and Mexican Americans and the Indian New Deal in the US and land redistribution in Mexico; in the 1950s, the bracero program and termination and relocation legislation). We will also consider how the writing about Indigenous Mexico by American Indian authors contributes to early twenty-first century discussions of immigration, border security, nationalism, and Indigenous nationhood. Primary texts will include histories, novels, plays, and other works by mystery writer Todd Downing (Choctaw), D'Arcy McNickle (Confederated Salish and Kootenai), Lynn Riggs (Cherokee),* Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), and Gerald Vizenor (White Earth Band of Chippewa) and literary criticism by Lisa Brooks, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Daniel Heath Justice, Robert Warrior, Jace Weaver, and Craig Womack, for example.


Possible Texts Downing, Todd. The Cat Screams. 1934 ---. The Mexican Earth. 1940 McNickle, D'Arcy. Runner in the Sun: A Story of Indian Maize. 1954 Riggs, Lynn. A World Elsewhere. 1939 ---. The Year of Pilar. 1938 Silko, Leslie Marmon. Almanac of the Dead. 1991 Vizenor, Gerald. The Heirs of Columbus. 1991 Possible Secondary Texts Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth. "American Indian Intellectualism and the New Indian Story." 1998. Justice, Daniel Heath. Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History. 2006. Ortiz, Simon. Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism. 1981. Teuton, Sean. A Question of Relationship: Internationalism and Assimilation in Recent American Indian Studies. 2006. Warrior, Robert Allen. Tribal Secrets. Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions 1995 Selections Weaver, Jace, Craig Womack, & Robert Warrior. American Indian Literary Nationalism 2006 Selections Weaver, Jace. That the People Might Live: Native American Literatures and Native American Community 1997 Selections Womack, Craig, Daniel Justice, and Christopher Teuton. Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective 2008 Selections. Womack, Craig. Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism. 1999. Selections.


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