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

Spring 2009

E 314V • Native American Literature and Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33635 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
MEZ 1.202
Moulder, A

Course Description

In The Truth About Stories, Thomas King explains how stories have the power to structure the world as we see it and, thus, narrative plays a major role in defining everyday realities. Therefore, we should be conscious of our responsibilities as readers and hearers of those stories. In this class, we will begin by reading Thomas King and will expand on the critical framework he offers for reading indigenous literature by reading selections by indigenous literary critics such as Craig Womack, Robert Warrior, and Daniel Heath Justice. These scholars emphasize that Native Literature is most responsibly read and best understood from a tribal critical perspective. In other words, readers of native literature bear the responsibility of studying the cultural and historical context in which a text emerged, as well as foregrounding indigenous perspectives in interpretation. With these principles and theoretical frameworks in mind, we will read a variety of Native voices in novels, poetry, films, and nonfiction. We will read and "listen to" these texts while attending to issues of sovereignty, community, and responsibility. The main goals of this course are to gain an appreciation for and better understanding of Native American intellectual and literary traditions, and to experience a variety of voices and worldviews within that tradition.

Grading Policy

30% for 1-2-page reading responses
10% for participation, essay topic proposals, and writing workshops
15% or midterm paper (4-5 pages)
20% for final research paper (5-7 pages)
25% for significant revision of final paper (5-7 pages)


Possible Texts:
Thomas King, The Truth About Stories; Leslie Marmon Silko, Storyteller; Craig Womack, Red on Red; Robert Allen Warrior, Tribal Secrets; Daniel Heath Justice, Our Fire Survives the Storm; Nancy Ward and Cherokee Women, Speeches, Letters, and Petitions; Zitkala-Sa/Gertrude Bonin, American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings; M. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn; Louise Erdrich, Tracks; Sherman Alexie, Reservation Blues or Toughest Indian in the World; Luci Tapahonso, Blue Horses Rush In; Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach; Return of the Navajo Boy (film); Smoke Signals (film)


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