|ENGL4700||PAYTON, JASON||TR||2 :00 PM||0503|
This course is about origin stories and legacies. It examines the birth of “America” as both concept and material fact in the aftermath of Columbus’s voyages. It explores the problematic and unsettling legacies of the Columbian exchange in hemispheric contexts by studying Native American literatures, the literatures of the Spanish and English colonies, and pan-American literatures from the Age of Revolutions.
Our thematic focus will be on “America” as a contested space, both physically and ideologically. We will ask how literary texts constructed the idea of America and of its inhabitants, for what purpose, and to what ends. Our pursuit of these questions will confront prominent themes in early American studies: the dynamics of European discovery, conquest, and settlement; Native American sovereignty and resistance; African slavery, resistance, and rebellion; the emergence of American nationalisms. We will explore social issues including the construction of race, gender, and sexuality, as well as the intersection between religion and politics. We will endeavor simultaneously to understand the various forms of contestation that defined the social and political landscape of early America *and* to understand the ways in which we are the heirs of the contested histories studied in the course.