Fall Semester Junior Requirement

Where does the story of American literature begin? What voices are included in that story and what voices are excluded? What constitutes a national literature? To what extent does American literature reflect the American experience? To what extent does it shape that experience? This course will consider how the emergence of a distinctly “American” literature is entangled with the forces of colonial conquest, the transatlantic slave trade, and debates about the nature and practices of democracy. We will explore paired texts of various genres, comparing the colonial perspective (facing west and focused on discovery and expansion) to the indigenous perspective (facing east and focused on invasion and encroachment).