ENGL-174 Literatures of the American West
Spring for 2015-2016
Is the American west a place or an idea? In this course, we will understand the American west in at least three distinct ways. First, we will approach the west as a concept and a myth that exists within cultural and popular imagination and that changes over time. Second, we will consider the west as a place of lived-experiences within specific historical and political contexts. Third, we will contemplate the west as a landscape that has and continues to inspire environmental conservation movements. With these categories in mind, we will read a broad range of literary texts from 1860-present that represent the “frontier,” meditate on migration (forced and voluntary), and explore identity, race, and gender. We will discuss the formal choices writers make in their texts to represent the west. The authors that we will read for this course may include Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Zitkala Sa, Edward Abbey, Sherman Alexie, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cormac McCarthy, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Snyder, and N. Scott Momaday. In this course, students will practice close reading and critical thinking skills and write analytical papers.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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