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

Spring 2010

E 395M • U.S. Regional Literature: Problems & Prospects

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Meeting time, location: (Official course schedule)

This course considers regionalism as a recurrent "problem" in U.S. literary and cultural history, one that emerges at specific historical moments and incorporates a series of cultural and linguistic traditions. We will begin with the rise of "local color" and “regional” writing in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and extend our study well into the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Along the way we will seek out a capacious definition of regionalism, one that emphasizes multi-ethnic roots and transnational routes. As such, the course promises a survey of regional literature that is at once conservative and progressive, provincial and cosmopolitan, nationalist and antinationalist. We will canvass a number of U.S. regions, paying particular attention to local geographies and genealogies. Indeed, our reading list will be made up entirely of short fiction and poetry collections based in specific communities, both “real” (e.g., New Orleans, Seattle, Brownsville) and imaginary (e.g., Spoon River, Yoknapatawpha County, Belken County, Timms Creek).


Primary texts will be drawn from the following list:

Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron and Other Stories (1886)

---. Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)

Kate Chopin, Bayou Folk (1894)

---. A Night in Acadie, (1897)

Abraham Cahan, The Imported Bridegroom (1898)

Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales (1899)

---. The Wife of His Youth, and Other Stories of the Color Line (1899)

Zitkala-Sa, Impressions of an Indian Childhood (1900)

Sui Sin Far, Mrs Spring Fragrance (1912)

Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology (1915)

Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (1919)

William Faulkner, Go Down Moses (1942)

Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955)

---. Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965)

Rolando Hinojosa, The Valley (1983)

Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (1992)

C.S. Giscombe, Here (1994)

---. Giscome Road (2005)

Oscar Casares, Brownsville (2003)

Secondary readings will include texts by a range of thinkers from both the humanities and social sciences: Benedict Anderson, Edward Ayres, Mitchell Breitwieser, Richard Broadhead, Roberto Dainotto, Frank Davey, Thadious Davis, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Leigh Ann Duck, Judith Fetterley and Marjorie Pryse, Richard Gray, Jennifer Greeson, Wendy Griswold, Hsuan Hsu, Amy Kaplan, Jeff Karem, John Shelton Reed, Louis Renza, and Kim Stafford.


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