Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval

 

 

Department or Program English

Course Number 220

Semester Hours 3

Frequency of Offering every semester

Course Title Multicultural American Literatures

Catalog Description A study of literatures representing the diversity of North American culture: Native American, Asian American, African American, Gay/Lesbian, or others. Each class will have a specific focus. Grade only. Prerequisite: ENG 111

This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2: No

This is a new course proposal: Yes

Proposal Category: Unity & Diversity/Multicultural Perspectives

Departmental Contact: Sandra Bennett

Email address: sbennett@winona.edu

 

English 220

Multicultural American Literatures—3 s.h.

A Unity & Diversity/Multicultural Perspectives Course

Proposal and Rationale

Catalog Description

A study of literatures representing the diversity of North American culture: Native American, Asian American, African American, Gay/Lesbian, or others. Each class will have a specific focus. Grade only. Prerequisite: ENG 111.

General Course Information

Students who take this course will get an overview of literature produced by members of specific minority cultures within the United States, including information on history and cultural development. They will study a varied body of literature, including oral tradition, poetry, memoirs, short stories, and novels, and may consider other forms such as music and dance. The course is designed to be taken by English majors as well as students with a general interest in the topic, and it complements a number of other classes in the Multicultural Perspectives category.

 

Rationale

USP Course Objective a: Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures.

By viewing different American cultures through the lens of the dominant culture, using genres such as poetry, fiction, and drama, students will learn how minority experiences have been influenced by the dominant culture and how members of minority groups have responded and adjusted to their life within a culture which does not reflect their history and values.

USP Course Objective b: Students will understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences.

In many situations, from family interactions to religious observance and community events, the experience of minorities has been different from that of members of the dominant culture. Through personal accounts such as memoirs and imaginative responses such as poetry and fiction, students will better understand that the general expectations of society do not necessarily describe the particular experiences of people whose identity is defined by their minority status.

 

USP Course Objective d: Students will examine different cultures through their various expressions.

Literary works by members of minority communities often deal with their relationship to the dominant culture. These interactions have usually been destructive and demoralizing for the minority culture, and students are generally not aware of the circumstances of oppression throughout U.S. history. Literary accounts of these circumstances by authors who have themselves experienced such oppression or who can relate the experiences of their community will be illuminating for students. This class will give students better understanding of the contributions minorities have made to the dominant society. Stereotyping and racist attitudes can be modified by such understanding.

 

Sample Course Syllabus: English 220: Native American Literature

(Syllabus will vary by instructor)

General Course Information

Students who take this course will get an overview of literature produced by members of specific minority cultures within the United States, including information on history and cultural development . They will study a varied body of literature, including oral tradition, poetry, memoirs, short stories, and novels, and may consider other forms such as music and dance. The course is designed to be taken by English majors as well as students with a general interest in the topic, and it complements a number of other classes in the Multicultural Perspectives category.

TEXTS: Allen, ed., Spider Woman’s Granddaughters

Crow Dog, Lakota Woman

Hillerman, Sacred Clowns

Silko, Ceremony

Velie, ed., American Indian Literature, Revised ed.

CLASS REQUIREMENTS: Three exams: 100 points each

Grade scale: 270-300=A; 240-269=B; 195-239=C; 165-194=D; 0-164=F.

USP Course Objective a: Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures.

Unit I: Introduction: Introductory lectures give an overview of Native American cultures and lifestyles before European contact and discuss how various groups were eliminated from original locations by disease, warfare, and forced re-location. Concepts common to Native American cultures are introduced and discussed. A film, In Search of the Ancient Americans, shows how anthropologists and archaologists have constructed information about pre-contact American cultures.

 

Unit II: Reservation life: Reading and discussion of Sacred Clowns personalizes the issue of cultural dissonance on Native American reservations and within Southwest tribal cultures. A film, Year of the Navajo, traces the life of a Navajo family practicing both traditional and contemporary lifestyles on the Navajo Reservation.

 

Unit III: Oral tradition: Reading and discussion of origin myths explores how Native cultures view their beginnings. Watunna, an animated version of a South American origin story, is contrasted with the Acoma story in the text. Traditional stories of adventure and humor are also discussed, demonstrating how ideas about success and failure vary in cultural contexts. Finally, traditional songs are studied, revealing how they function as a mode of expression and ceremonial practice in native cultures. A film, Native American Dance Theatre, illustrates how song, music, and dance are integrated in Native American ceremonies and celebrations.

USP Course Objective b: Students will understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences.

Unit IV: Contemporary poetry: By reading works by contemporary Native American poets, students are introduced to alternative views of history, politics, and social issues. Poetry is related to other artistic expression, including painting and production of traditional craft items, to demonstrate how artists utilize both traditional and modern motifs. A film, Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World illustrates how one tribe has incorporated modern technology and ideas while retaining strongly traditional social values.

 

Unit V: Personal stories: oratory and memoirs: The voices of individual Native Americans from several historical periods and a variety of tribes illustrate both the common concerns of native peoples after European contact and their varying response. A Native American account of the Battle of the Little Big Horn demonstrates, for example, how an historical event can be viewed from different perspectives. Films include Faithkeeper, a personal account by Onondaga Chief Orin Lyon of his tribe’s adaptations to modern necessity and In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, which establishes background on the Lakota tribe and the controversy over Wounded Knee for the autobiography Lakota Woman.

USP Course Objective d: Students will examine different cultures through their various expressions.

Unit VI: Fiction: short stories and novels: Fiction most fully develops the accounts of Native Americans living within or alongside the dominant culture. By reading a variety of fiction in short and long form, students acquire a spectrum of viewpoints and attitudes about the cultural dissonance experienced by Native Americans. The assigned texts offer a balance of men and women writers and characters, so issues of gender can also be addressed within the context of individual and tribal experiences. Films include Contrary Warriors: The Crow and Dakota Exile, narrating these two tribes’ struggle to retain their traditional lands and cultures.

 

SAMPLE SCHEDULE:

Aug. 29-31: Introduction and background on Native American cultures

Sept. 5-12: Sacred Clowns

Sept. 14-21: Velie: Tales

 

Sept. 26: First exam

Sept. 28-Oct. 5: Velie: Songs

Oct. 10-12: Velie: Poems by James Welch, Lance Henson, Paula Gunn Allen, Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich

Oct. 17-19: Velie: Oratory

Oct. 24-26: Velie: Memoirs

Oct. 31-Nov. 7: Lakota Woman

Nov. 9: Second exam

Nov. 14-21 : Allen: "A Woman’s Fight," "A Warrior’s Daughter," "The Warriors," "American Horse," "The Disposal of Mary Jo’s Children," "Grace," Yellow Woman stories, pp. 211-229.

Nov. 28: Velie: Fiction excerpts in Velie from House Made of Dawn and Winter in the Blood

Nov. 30-Dec. 7: Ceremony

Final exam: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 1 pm

Videos on Native American topics:

Thunder in the Dells: Story of the Wisconsin Ho Chunks

Since 1634: In the Wake of Nicollet: European influence on Menominee and Winnebago in Wisconsin

Crow Dog’s Paradise: Story of a Lakota family maintaining traditions such as the sweat lodge and peyote ceremony.

Seasons of a Navajo: Follows a Navajo family through a typical year, blending traditional and modern life.

Pow-Wow: Colorful account of a modern pow-wow.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse: Background of the modern Wounded Knee conflict in historical context.

House Made of Dawn: Film version of the novel.

Dakota Conflict: Background on the 1862 conflict in Minnesota and its effect on the Dakota people.

Winnebago Women: Women practicing traditional crafts.

Woodlands: Story of the Mille Lac Ojibwe: Tribal history.

Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World: Hopi culture and arts.

The Crow: Contrary Warriors: Conflicts between modern and traditional Crow life.

In Search of the Ancient Americans: How archaeology and anthropology explore the origins and evolution of Native American societies.

Faithkeeper: An interview with Onondaga Chief Orin Lyons by Bill Moyers.

Watunna: Animated version of a Venezuelan origin account.

Oral Tradition: How oral cultures evolved in Americas, Africa, elsewhere.

Native American Dance Theatre: Performances of chants and dances.

Wiping the Tears of Seven Generations: Documentary on the Big Foot Memorial Ride.

American Buffalo: Documentary on the mythology of the buffalo in Lakota culture and present management of herds.

Interview with Leslie Silko: SCETV presentation on author.

Shadow Catcher: The Life of E.J. Curtis

Powwow Highway: Feature film on contemporary Indian life.

Native Americans: People of the Forest: Dramatization of Ojibwe tale.

Audio tape: Song Catcher: Frances Densmore of Red Wing: Discussion of most significant collector of Ojibwe and Dakota oral tradition.

Bibliography of Native American Literature

Allen, Paula Gunn. Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook.

Boston: Beacon Press, 1991.

---Studies in American Indian Literature. New York: MLA, 1983.

---Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature 1900-1970. New York: Ballantine,

1994.

Astrov, Margot, ed. The Winged Serpent: American Indian Prose and Poetry. Boston:

Beacon Press, 1992.

Bierhorst, John, ed. Four Masterworks of American Indian Literature. New York:

Farrar Straus, 1974.

---The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians. New York: Indian Head,

1976.

Bruchac, Joseph, ed. Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First North

American Native Writers Festival. Tucson: Univeristy of Arizona Press, 1994.

Cronyn, George W., ed. American Indian Poetry. New York: Fawcett, 1962.

De Angulo, Jaime. Indian Tales. New York: Hill & Wang, 1953.

Edmonds, Margot and Ella E. Clark, eds., Voices in the Wind: Native American Legends.

New York: Facts on File, 1989.

Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, eds., American Indian Myths and Legends. New

York: Pantheon, 1994.

Green, Rayna, ed. That’s What She Said: Comtemporary Poetry and Fiction by Native

American Women. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

Larson, Charles. R. American Indian Fiction. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico

Press, 1978.

Lerner, Andrea, ed. Dancing on the Rim of the World: An Anthology of Contemporary Northwest Native American Writing. Tucson, Ariz.: Sun Tracks, 1990.

Lesley, Craig, ed. Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories. New

York: Delta, 1991.

Milton, John, ed. The American Indian Speaks. Vermillion: University of South Dakota

Press, 1969.

Ortiz, Simon, ed., Earth Power Coming: Short Fiction in Native American Literature.

Tsaile, Ariz.: Navajo Community College Press, 1983.

Riley, Patricia, ed. Growing Up Native American. New York: William Morrow, 1993.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. American Indian Literatures. New York: MLA, 1990.

Stensland, Anna Lee. Literature by and about the American Indian: An Annotated

Bibliography. Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1979.

Swann, Brian, ed. Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native

Literatures of North America. New York: Vintage, 1994.

---and Arnold Krupat, eds. I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native

American Writers. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.

---Smoothing the Ground: Essays on Native American Oral Literature. Berkeley:

University of California Press, 1983.

Thompson, Stith, ed. Tales of the North American Indian. Bloomington: Indiana

University Press, 1971.

Trafzer, Clifford E., ed., Earth Song, Sky Spirit. New York: Anchor Doubleday, 1993.

Trout, Lawana, ed. Native American Literature. Chicago: NTC, 1999.

Vizenor, Gerald, ed. Native American Literature. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.

Wiget, Andrew, ed., Handbook of Native American Literature. New York: Garland,

1996.

 

English 220: Multicultural American Literatures

A. Catalog description

A study of literatures representing the diversity of North American culture: Native American, Asian American, African American, Gay/Lesbian, or others. Each class will have a specific focus. Grade only. Prerequisite: ENG 111.

1. Statement of major focus

Students who take this course will get an overview of literature produced by members of specific minority cultures within the United States, including information on history and cultural development. Students will study a varied body of literature, including oral tradition, poetry, memoirs, short stories, and novels, and may consider other forms such as music and dance.

2. Course objectives

--Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures.

--Students will understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences.

--Students will examine different cultures through their various expressions.

3. Course outline (using Native American Literature as example)

I. Introduction and context

A. Cultures and lifestyles before European contact

B. Historical overview

II. Reservation life

A. Cultural dissonance

B. Traditional and modern life

III. Oral tradition

A. Origin accounts

B. Tales

C. Traditional songs, dances

IV. Contemporary poetry

A. Alternative views of dominant culture

B. Blending of traditional and modern elements in arts

V. Personal stories

A. Oratory

B. Memoirs

VI. Fiction

A. Short stories

B. The modern novel

 

4. Basic instructional plan and method

Lecture and discussion.

5. Course requirements

Three exams, combining multiple choice and essay.

6. Texts

Allen, Paula Gunn, ed. Spider Woman’s Granddaughters

Crow Dog, Mary. Lakota Woman

Hillerman, Tony. Sacred Clowns

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony

Velie, Richard, ed. American Indian Literature. Revised ed.

7. References

Allen, Paula Gunn. Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook.

Boston: Beacon Press, 1991.

---Studies in American Indian Literature. New York: MLA, 1983.

---Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature 1900-1970. New York: Ballantine,

1994.

Astrov, Margot, ed. The Winged Serpent: American Indian Prose and Poetry.

Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.

Bierhorst, John, ed. Four Masterworks of American Indian Literature. New York:

Farrar Straus, 1974.

---The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians. New York: Indian

Head, 1976.

Bruchac, Joseph, ed. Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First North

American Native Writers Festival. Tucson: Univeristy of Arizona Press, 1994.

 

Cronyn, George W., ed. American Indian Poetry. New York: Fawcett, 1962.

De Angulo, Jaime. Indian Tales. New York: Hill & Wang, 1953.

Edmonds, Margot and Ella E. Clark, eds., Voices in the Wind: Native American

Legends. New York: Facts on File, 1989.

Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, eds., American Indian Myths and Legends.

New York: Pantheon, 1994.

Green, Rayna, ed. That’s What She Said: Comtemporary Poetry and Fiction by Native

American Women. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

Larson, Charles. R. American Indian Fiction. Albuquerque: University of New

Mexico Press, 1978.

Lerner, Andrea, ed. Dancing on the Rim of the World: An Anthology of

Contemporary Northwest Native American Writing. Tucson, Ariz.: Sun Tracks, 1990.

 

Lesley, Craig, ed. Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories.

New York: Delta, 1991.

Milton, John, ed. The American Indian Speaks. Vermillion: University of South

Dakota Press, 1969.

Ortiz, Simon, ed., Earth Power Coming: Short Fiction in Native American Literature.

Tsaile, Ariz.: Navajo Community College Press, 1983.

Riley, Patricia, ed. Growing Up Native American. New York: William Morrow,

1993.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. American Indian Literatures. New York: MLA, 1990.

Stensland, Anna Lee. Literature by and about the American Indian: An Annotated Bibliography. Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1979.

Swann, Brian, ed. Coming to Light: Contemporary Translations of the Native

Literatures of North America. New York: Vintage, 1994.

---and Arnold Krupat, eds. I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native

American Writers. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.

---Smoothing the Ground: Essays on Native American Oral Literature. Berkeley:

University of California Press, 1983.

Thompson, Stith, ed. Tales of the North American Indian. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971.

Trafzer, Clifford E., ed., Earth Song, Sky Spirit. New York: Anchor Doubleday,

1993.

Trout, Lawana, ed. Native American Literature. Chicago: NTC, 1999.

 

Vizenor, Gerald, ed. Native American Literature. New York: Harper Collins,

1995.

Wiget, Andrew, ed., Handbook of Native American Literature. New York: Garland,

1996.

 

 

B. Rationale

This class addresses the expansion of the American literary canon to include

post-modern and historically excluded texts from non-mainstream populations. Interpretation of these texts examines historical, cultural, and political as well as literary contexts.

 

C. Notification

Does not increase or decrease total credits required by an English major or minor.

 

D. "G" Course

Not for graduate students

 

E. General education

See University Studies proposal: Unity & Diversity/Multicultural Perspectives