Intro to Lit: Literary History

ENG 270 F’20 Intro to Lit: Literary History – Contemporary Indigenous Literatures


This course will focus on literature written by Indigenous writers since about 2010. Our readings will offer a direct counter to the stereotypical representation of Native people as being “of the past” or “disappeared.” Instead, we will consider the very real textures of Indigenous lives (primarily in the territories now known as the U.S. and Canada) in the 21st century. Themes we will address include: how Native modes of knowledge about land and the environment are essential in this contemporary ecological crisis, how contemporary Native writers respond to and re-write historical narratives of subjugation and disappearance, queer & two-spirit Native experiences, contemporary urban Native life, legacies of settler colonialism, intergenerational trauma, and decolonial love. We will look at novels and poetry alongside some legal and historical documents, as well as films and essays. Readings will include: Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Tommy Orange’s There There, Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem, and Leanne Simpson’s This Accident of Being Lost.


This is a writing intensive class. In addition to traditional analytical essays, writing assignments will include weekly responses and discussion questions, a podcast review project, and creative writing response options.