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In the late 20th century, world literature has witnessed a “boom” in indigenous literature. Many critics and historians describe this global re-emergence of the subaltern and the indigenous in terms of literary justice fostered by post-colonial studies and the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1992. In this course, we will investigate this “indigenous boom” by reading novels and short stories from the Americas, the Middle East and North Africa from the 1970s to the present. Through these trans-regional and trans-historical peregrinations, our principal goal will be to examine and compare narratives about conquest, settler colonialism, colonial nationalism, indigeneity, sovereignty, indigenous epistemology and philosophy. At the same time, we will consider the following questions: How did pioneering indigenous women writers, such as the Laguna Pueblo Leslie Marmon Silko in the US and the Mayan playwrights of La Fomma in Chiapas, Mexico lead the feminist front of the indigenous literary renaissance? How did Palestinian folktales, Tashelhiyt Berber tales in Morocco, and Mayan dream narratives in Mexico and Guatemala produce narratives of decolonial history? What does the aesthetics of magical realism in Arabic, Quechua and Spanish, respectively, as evident in the works of the Kurdish writer Salim Barakat (Syria) and the mestizo writer José María Arguedas (Peru) tell us about the intersection of race, ethnicity, and indigenous epistemology? Ultimately, our goal is to trace how these texts contributed to global indigenous literature and the trans-historical and trans-geographical connections between them.
Format: seminar; Course will be offered remotely.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
active class participation, several short response assignments (3-4 pages), two film reviews ( 1 page ), a performance project, and a final paper (7- to 10 -pages)
Comparative Literature majors
Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course will enable students to write weekly while engaging with various forms of writing skills: articulating arguments in short response papers (3-4 pages each), developing visual criticism through writing two film reviews, (1 page each), journaling through writing a personal reflections on a performance project, and honing research language in producing a final paper of 7-10 pages. Instructor's feedback and peer review sessions will include review of drafts and argumentative structures.
At the heart of this course is the history of global Indigenous struggle for liberation and decolonization. The various novels, short stories, poems, films and other texts that students will engage with narrate histories of colonial dispossession, racial oppression, economic subjugation and dehumanization of minoritized Indigenous communities in the Americas, North Africa and the Middle East.
GBST Borders, Exiles + Diaspora Studies Electives