EN/NA 235: Survey of Native Literature of North America
MWF 2:00-2:50 CAS 119


Home -- Policy Statement -- Syllabus -- Essay 1 -- Essay 2 -- Research Paper -- Research Links

Instructor: Dr. Amie A. Doughty
Office: 301 KJS Library
Office Hours: MWF 11:00-12:00; TR 10:00-11:00; and by appointment
Phone: 635-2378
E-mail: adoughty@lssu.edu
Web Address: http://www.lssu.edu/faculty/adoughty

Required Texts:
Bruchac, Joseph. The Heart of a Chief. New York: Puffin, 2001.
Erdoes, Richard, and Alfonso Ortiz, eds. American Indian Myths and Legends. New York: Pantheon, 1984.
Johnston, Basil. Ojibway Tales. Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska P, 1993.
Purdy, John L., and James Ruppert. Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literature. New York: Prentice, 2001.

Recommended Text:
Slapin, Beverly, Doris Seale, and Rosemary Gonzales. How to Tell the Difference: A Guide for Evaluating Children's Books for Anti-Indian Bias. Berkeley, CA: Oyate P, 1995. [Particularly recommended for future educators--see oyate.org for more information about Native American children's books.]

Course Goals:
Catalog Description: An overview of Native American Literature, including myths, poetry, biographies, legends and stories from recognized Indian and non-Indian authors. The significance of Indian philosophy found in such literature will be emphasized. Pre-req. EN 210 or 215.

The Reality: The goal of this course is to expose students to the variety of literatures from various nations of North America. To that effect, we will examine traditional literatures, non-fiction, poetry, and fiction, and discuss the difficulties of defining "Native American literature" and "Native American authors," among other issues and themes.

Course Policies:
I. Attendance: This class meets once a week. As such, it is vital that you attend every class since missing a single class constitutes missing an entire week of materials. If you must miss a class, it is your responsibility to make up your work by talking to other class members.

II. Class Discussions: I firmly believe that the best learning comes from student-generated class discussions. Therefore, I expect you to come to class having read the materials and prepared to discuss them. If I call on you, I expect you to have something to say about the readings we're doing, even if it's a question about what was going on or your objections to what we've been saying about the text. It is OK to disagree with me and with your classmates, as long as you express your disagreement in a courteous manner. Many of the subjects we will discuss are highly charged, and a consensus on these subjects is unlikely. That's fine. I want to lay the information on the table so that you're aware of the issues. If you know of additional information that may be of use to the class, please bring it up.

III. Assignments: You will complete the following assignments this semester:

         Reading Journal: Each week, starting Monday, 21 Jan, you will have a 2-3 page journal entry due about some aspect of the reading you do for the week. These journal entries can focus on anything from a literary aspect of the reading to a comparison of a couple readings to a discussion of the nation you're reading about. It should not be just a simple "I like this reading because" or "This reading reminds me of the time I. . ." Move beyond initial response to the readings and explore meanings of the texts. I will collect journals at the beginning of each class. (20%)

         Essay 1: This essay will be about the traditional literature we read. I will distribute a specific assignment sheet once we are closer to the due date. (15%)

         Essay 2: This essay will be about either Bruchac's Heart of a Chief or Johnston's Ojibway Tales. I will distribute a specific assignment sheet once we are closer to the due date. (20%)

         Presentation: For this assignment, you may work individually or with one other person. You will choose one of the authors represented in the Purdy and Ruppert anthology and research his/her nation and literature and present background information on this author (at least 10 minutes). Then you will lead a discussion on the author's texts for the remainder of the class. (20%)

         Research Paper: You will choose some aspect of Native American literatures to research for this project. I will distribute a separate assignment sheet for this paper at the beginning of the semester. (25%)

All assignments need to be completed in MLA format and should be typed. If you're not sure what MLA format is, see me and I will give you instructions. Further, I expect all assignments to be proofread carefully. Sloppy work is unacceptable.

IV. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the passing off of another's work (whether quoted, paraphrased or summarized) as your own without proper documentation and can result in serious repercussions, including expulsion from the university.