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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35755 MW
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 1.104

Course Description

American Indian Writers and Indigenous Mexico 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. *Lynn Riggs is the dramatist who wrote Green Grow the Lilacs (1931), on which Rodgers and Hammerstein based Oklahoma! (1943). The Spud Johnson collection at the HRC contains manuscript letters and poems by Riggs, on whom there is currently a substantial amount of recovery work in progress. Grades: Seminar paper 50%; Reading responses and oral presentations 50% Possible Primary Texts: Downing, Todd. The Cat Screams. 1934. ---. The Mexican Earth. 1940. McNickle, DArcy. 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, and 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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