Intro to Lit: Genre

English 271: Intro to Literature: Genre – “Decolonial Fiction”

In this course, we explore how elements of fiction engage resistance to imperial/colonial powers. How does centering indigenous and marginalized voices foreground issues of agency, survivance (survival + resistance), mis/representations of natives, and cultural appropriation? What social change has fiction helped foster in the past? How does fiction influence us now? Novels, short stories, and decolonial futures narratives will help us understand the role of fiction in shaping and reflecting socio-political realities. As we engage texts by writers such as Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony), Patricia Grace (Potiki), Lurline Wailana McGregor (Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me), Sia Figiel (Where We Once Belonged), Walidah Imarisha and Audre Lorde, we will be crafting answers to these questions.

The readings for this course engage anti-colonial narratives centered on land, water, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and non-human elements. Through in-class discussions alongside formal and informal writing assignments, students will develop critical and creative skills for engaging fiction that actively decolonizes the mind. Students will improve their craft as critical readers and writers in order to delve deeper into the major themes of this class.

Students will be responsible for weekly reading responses as well as informal in-class free-writes and discussions. These responses are scaffolded alongside two shorter writing assignments that are, in turn, preparation for the midterm and final paper.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this semester, students will have improved their ability to ask questions of, to read, and to analyze and interpret complex literary texts using relevant terminology critically and creatively. Students will augment their knowledge of how literature is organized by historical periods, genres, cultures. Students will improve their ability to express ideas by organizing, developing, and supporting a description, analysis, or argument in written formats within the conventions of academic writing. Students will produce a significant amount of writing such that the course fulfills the requirements of its mandatory WI Focus designation (4,000 words).

(texts subject to change and based on availability)