ENG254H1S - L5101

Introduction to Indigenous Literature


Tuesday 6 pm - 9 pm

Instructor Information

C. Suzack

E-mail: cheryl.suzack@utoronto.ca

Course Description

This course explores literature by Indigenous writers from North America. It focuses on fiction, critical essays, and films in order to account for the ways in which Indigenous writers are in dialogue with each other and to analyze how they use cultural texts as sites of contestation, appropriation, and renewal in altering how Indigenous peoples are understood by themselves and the wider public. By comparing and contrasting the different styles of engagement that writers and film makers use to advance debates about Indigenous cultural expression, our course will enquire into the following questions: What are the cultural concerns of Indigenous writers, and how are these concerns thematized in their writing? What concepts of race and ethnic identity do Indigenous authors employ and at what historical junctures are these terms relevant? How do Indigenous writers and film makers explore colonialism and resistance, and what claims for social change do they propose? The course will also focus on ideas about Indigenous literary activism, identity politics, and oral tradition as literary innovation.

Required Readings


First Three Authors/Texts

  • D'Arcy McNickle
  • N. Scott Momaday
  • Louise Erdrich

Methods of Evaluation

  • Participation (15%)
  • Midterm Test (20%)
  • Essay (25%)
  • Final Exam (40%)