Ideas & Visions

(ENGL 445N/845N; ETHN 445N)


SYLLABUS / Schedule

--Spring 2019--
12:30-1:20 MWF    AND 109

Last Updated: 8 March 2019

Contact InfoSyllabusSchedule
Essay #1Essay Gradesheet (PDF)MLA Template (PDF)
Essay #2Graduate Student Presentations
Correction SymbolsCourse "NOTES" Page (incl. immediate ASSIGNMENTS)

Contact Information: THOMAS C. GANNON        

OFFICE:346 Andrews Hall
MAILBOX:227 Andrews Hall
OFFICE HOURS:TU, 11:00-12:00, W, 2:00-3:00, TH, 11:00-12:00; and by appointment . . . and email, of course::::
< >
    —both also accessible via CANVAS


"The native voice in American literature is indispensable. There is no true literary history of the United States without it . . . ."
    —Momaday (MMofW 14)

COURSE DESCRIPTION/OBJECTIVES: The working subtitle for this class, "Ideas & Visions: Native American Non-Fiction," issues from Vine Deloria, Jr.'s intriguing assertion that the "white man . . . has ideas; Indians have visions" (FTL 105). The value of these visions, in Native poetry & fiction, has often been lauded—and taught in college classrooms. And yet "Indians" have "ideas," too, often expressed in expository prose of great eloquence and wisdom (and sometimes vehemence): this class, then, is an avenue into the critical theory & cultural criticism of this "visionary" ethnicity, a body of philosophical thought that examines Native identity, Native spirituality, the Native relationship with "Nature," and the role of the—potentially postmodern—Trickster in all such debates.

REQUIRED TEXTS (in order of use):

   Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks. 1932. Bison Books, 2014.

        (There are lots of various old Bison Books editions of BES out there, but the pagination is different;
    and this new edition is blessed with the now-"essential" annotations by the leading Black Elk scholar,
    Raymond J. DeMallie. The just-previous edition by SUNY Press [2008] also has DeMallie's annotations,
    but again, the pagination is different.)

   Deloria, Vine, Jr. For This Land: Writings on Religion in America. Edited by James Treat, Routledge, 1999.

   Momaday, N. Scott. The Man Made of Words: Essays, Stories, Passages. St. Martin's, 1998.

        (This book just went out of print. PDFs of all assigned essays therein are available on Canvas.
    However, there are probably lots of cheap used copies out there, and this might be an easier
    option than printing out all those PDFs.)

   Silko, Leslie. Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit. Simon & Schuster, 1997.

   Hogan, Linda. Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World. W. W. Norton, 2007.

        (Older editions—1995, 1996—are fine: same pagination.)

   Vizenor, Gerald. Shadow Distance: A Gerald Vizenor Reader. Wesleyan UP, 1994.
—Plus, Your PRINTOUTS of PDF files on CANVAS (under "Files")—

TEXTS on RESERVE (Love Library):
        (—The following texts have been [3-day-]reserved, in large part, for your research-essay efforts. See also the scanned PDFs on Canvas for more useful "outside" sources. . . . This "reserve" deal now seems pretty obsolete, and often more of a hassle to students than it's worth. Consider this now a "further readings" list, incl. useful sources for your essays.

Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth. Anti-Indianism in Modern America. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 2001.
Deloria, Vine, Jr. Custer Died for Your Sins. New York: Macmillan, 1969.
---. God Is Red. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1973.
---. Red Earth, White Lies. New York: Scribner, 1995.
Hogan, Linda. Calling Myself Home. Greenfield Center: Greenfield Review Press, 1978.
---. The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.
Krupat, Arnold. Red Matters: Native American Studies. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2002.
---. The Turn to the Native: Studies in Criticism and Culture. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1996.
Lame Deer, John, and Richard Erdoes. Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972.
Momaday, N. Scott. The Gourd Dancer. New York: Harper, 1976.
---. In the Bear's House. New York: St. Martin's, 1999.
---. In the Presence of the Sun. New York: St. Martin's, 1992.
---. The Names: A Memoir. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1996.
---. The Way to Rainy Mountain. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1969.
Neihardt, John. The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt.
        Ed. Raymond J. DeMallie. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1984.
        [Note especially DeMallie's wonderful introduction(s).]
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Conversations with Leslie Marmon Silko. Ed. Ellen L. Arnold. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2000.
---. Laguna Woman: Poems [1974]. 2nd ed. Tucson: Flood Plain Press, 1994.
---. Storyteller. New York: Arcade, 1981.
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigeneous Peoples. London: Zed, 1999.
Swann, Brian, and Arnold Krupat, eds. I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers.
        Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1987.  [incl. "important" biogr. essays by Hogan & Vizenor]
Vizenor, Gerald. Fugitive Poses. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1998.
---. Interior Landscapes: Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1990.
---. Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1999 [1994].
---, and A. Robert Lee. Postindian Conversations. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1999.

ATTENDANCE is highly recommended, not only because you'll learn more, but because graded in-class activities may be a significant part of your final grade—and, of course, good attendance will go far in helping me determine your "Participation" points (see below). Most importantly, an inordinate number of unexcused absences (>4) will result in your final course grade being lowered by one letter grade. Also, the only way you can make up graded in-class work is if you provide documented proof of an excused absence—preferably in advance. (NOTE: official documentation for an excused absence must be provided within a week of that absence. Also, informing me after a missed class that you were sick or otherwise absent, without documentation from a doctor, coach, or Student Health, etc., does not constitute an excused absence. In other words, email me in advance that you're sicker'n'a dog, and I'll believe yu'.) A few more "rules": if you're not here during my (either oral or silent) roll-taking, you are LATE; an inordinate number of tardies, too, will also be considered in determining your Participation points.

        NOTE: "Pop" quizzes cannot be made up, unless you have notified me BEFORE the beginning of class that you qualify for an excused absence. If the excuse is okayed by yours truly, I will assign you a brief writing assignment regarding the reading(s) in question so that you can make up the points.


AssignmentNumber of ~PointsTotal Points
Formal Essays2250500
Informal Responses380240
Pop Quizzes440160
Total:- - - - - - - -- - - -1,000
Final Point Total -> Final Grade:
970-1,000 = A+930-969 = A900-929 = A-- - - -
870-899 = B+830-869 = B800-829 = B-- - - -
770-799 = C+730-769 = C700-729 = C-- - - -
670-699 = D+630-669 = D600-629 = D-0-599 = F

    The three informal written RESPONSES will be graded holistically, and be assigned a point total (out of 80 possible) comparable to the final-grade schema above: e.g., an A- = 72 or 73 or 74, a C = 59, 60, or 61, etc. For the formal ESSAY assignments, each component of the assignment (content, organization, and grammar/mechanics)—the detailed guidelines of which will be eventually spelled out below on this web syllabus—will be assigned a grade (translated into a point total) based upon the following rubric:
  A: "You are to be applauded for 'going beyond' most or all of the required criteria in an outstanding fashion!"    8-)
  B: "Not only did you meet the required criteria but, for at least some of these criteria, you went 'beyond the call of duty' in some noteworthy manner!"    :-D
  C: "Okay! You fulfilled the required/minimum criteria for this component!"    :-)
  D: "You failed to meet at least some of the minimum criteria for this component."    :-(
  F: "Your lack of attention to the minimum criteria for this component reveals a basic misunderstanding of the assignment and/or a lack of class attendance."    :'-{

PARTICIPATION: Oral Participation points will be allotted twice, at midterm and at semester's end, based on the quality of your contribution to at-large oral discussions of the readings and to various small-group activities involving said readings. Consider it your standing informal assignment, for each day's readings, to come to class with at least three points about the reading(s) that you could (at least potentially) bring up in discussion; these might be 1) "+'s": passages that you find especially enlightening or entertaining; 2) "-'s": occasions where you are disturbed by the reading, even to the point of irritation or anger; 3) "?'s": places in the text that you find very confusing, even incomprehensible. (You don't have to write these down, unless I'm reduced to the point of requiring it: simple annotations in the text's margins will do. Ultimately, I'm asking you to read carefully & critically, not just to go through the motions.) . . . To reinforce a previous if obvious point, attendance per se is essential to acquiring a decent point total for this component of your final grade. A less obvious point (to some previous students, apparently): coming to class without the assigned readings (texts, Canvas PDFs, etc.) is nearly as useless as not coming to class at all, and will also be noted and taken into account in determining your participation score.

        Digital Text Policy: Only dedicated eReaders (e.g., Nook, Kindle, even the iPad) are allowed as substitutes for hardcopy texts (if applicable) and PDF printouts. Accessing the material on a mobile phone is, frankly, absurd (and reveals an ad hoc unpreparedness); also, accessing course PDFs on your laptop in class says to me that you may not have read them in the first place. Finally, I'm requiring that assigned PDFs be printed out & brought to class, in good measure for the reasons above. Call me "old school," but experience has taught me that a digital reading (of assigned "literature," anyway) is more often than not an unreflective reading.

For "POP QUIZZES," I will simply ask you to write about the day's assigned readings for six minutes; such responses can certainly include your evaluation of the texts (liked? disliked? why?), but should above all demonstrate that you've done the reading(s) through frequent reference to textual specifics. Points will then be assigned on a holistic basis.At last, this aspect of the course serves as a simple reading check. I've only recently resorted to this evaluative measure, after over 20 years of teaching; but it's finally struck me (I'm really slow!) that some English majors are not as in love with words as I was as an undergraduate. (It's been a long, slow, painful lesson, as I've said.) . . . Ah, so I should remind you, then, to bring paper & a pen or pencil to every class meeting, especially if you're inclined to take all your notes on your laptop.

INFORMAL Written RESPONSES: Every few weeks (see schedule below), you will engage a specific group of course readings in a TWO-page (or more) written response, in reaction to (a choice of) prompts provided by your instructor. While computer print-outs are preferred, I will accept legible hand-written responses. And in contrast to the formal essays, these will be evaluated (almost) solely on CONTENT; however, egregious organizational or mechanical problems that militate against a facile understanding of said content may result in a lower score. . . . While I will eventually provide possible writing prompts (both analytical & creative) for each response before it is due, a major grading criterion is that you demonstrate that you have done the assigned readings for the time span covered. In fact, one option will always be the simple keeping of a "reading journal" in which you respond to the readings as you see fit. (Again, creative reactions are allowed, even encouraged.) Much of this may consist of brief paragraph responses to each of (or most of) the readings. I might even suggest doing these right after you read, and before class discussion, to the profit of your oral participation.. . . Finally, graduate students—and undergraduates who want a high score—should also incorporate at least one non-assigned "outside" reading in their responses. (Note, again, the texts on reserve, above.)

        NOTE: "Response #3" for graduate students will be replaced, instead, with an oral presentation to the class at large, regarding a specific research topic (usually their research regarding Essay #2).

FORMAL ESSAYS: Guidelines for the formal essays will be presented later, on a detailed handout for each (and will also be available on this web page [below]). I plan to provide you several choices for each essay, to allow different personality types and learning styles to shine. While this is not a "writing" class in the strictest sense of the term, a small percentage of your essay point total will be based on yr speling, punktuashun, sentens struktures, and adherence to the MLA stylesheet. . . . NEW (2019): To save a tree or two, please upload Essay #1 and Essay #2 to CANVAS; graded (& commented-all-up in WORD) essays will later be re-uploaded to Canvas for your perusal and edification.

        DUE DATES, PAPER LENGTH, & ESSAY FORMAT:Unless special arrangements have been made, LATE written responses & essays will be docked 10% (= one letter grade) of their assigned point total for EACH DAY LATE, including all non-class days. (This includes Saturdays & Sundays. To prevent untoward accidents, save multiple copies of your work on a flash drive or cloud, etc.; and don't wait until the last minute to print out that response.) . . . Because of problems in the past in this regard, all written work is due by/at the BEGINNING of the class period of the day it is due. If you will be absent (and EXCUSED) on a particular due date, email me a copy of your assignment by the beginning of class to demonstrate its completion; then provide me with a hard copy later, for me to grade. . . . While there is no "short" penalty per se, an assignment that obviously fails to meet the assignment's minimum length guidelines will no doubt fail to gain a goodly number of points in criterion areas such as adequate development and support. Note, too, that a page padded with margins > 1" and a font > 12 pt. type does not equal "one page." Formal essays should follow the MLA stylesheet format, including the documentation of sources via parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page (which, however, doesn't count as a "page" towards the length requirement). (See my WORD template on the SYLL page as a guide, if you're new to MLA.)

PLAGIARISM is the undocumented use of another's words or ideas as your own, whether it be an entire paper that you didn't write or an almost word-for-word "paraphrase" from an outside source. Don't do it. Not only are you cheating yourself by wasting your time and money, but plagiarism is one of the most serious of academic offenses and will result, at a bare minimum, in a score of 0 for the assignment. You may also be failed from the course and be subject to further University sanctions, as the incident warrants.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: I would like to hear from anyone who has a disability that may require some modification of seating, testing, or other class requirements so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please talk with me before/after class or during my office hours.
        [Official SSD Statement:] Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) provides individualized academic support for students with documented disabilities. Support services can include extended test time, textbooks and handouts in alternative formats (electronic texts, Braille, taped texts, etc), classroom notes, sign language interpreters, and transcriptionists. SSD not only accommodates students that have visible disabilities, but students with other varying types of disabilities that impact college life. If you have a documented disability that is impacting your academic progress, please call SSD at 472-3787 and schedule an appointment. If you do not have a documented disability but you are having difficulties with your coursework (such as receiving low grades even though you study more than your classmates or find you run out of time for test questions when the majority of your peers finish their exams in the allotted time), you may schedule an appointment to discuss the challenges you are experiencing.




    (—specific pp.#'s provided for only the first few weeks—)
Class Notes page at any time for the next class's immediate assignments—)

WEEK 1 (Jan. 8th, 10th):: Syllabus, course introduction;
Black Elk Speaks: Vine Deloria, Jr.'s foreword (xiii-xvi)1; Neihardt's various prefaces (xvii-xxvii); Appendices 2 & 4 (2 letters from 1930: 181-183 [also PDF], 237-238); BES 1-4 (chpt. 1)
[optional, and especially recommended for grad students: DeMallie's essay in back:242-266];
1If you have an edition without this foreword, it's also in Deloria's For This Land (232-234). Likewise, the 1930 letter to House & P Deloria's new 2014 intro are now PDFs on BB, under BLACK ELK/Neihardt.

WEEK 2 (Jan. 15th, 17th):: ESSAY #1 assignment (below); BES (continued): 5-120 (chpts. 2-16)

WEEK 3 (Jan.22nd, 24th):: BES (continued): 121-172 (to end [incl. "Author's Postscript"]), Philip Deloria's new intro (xxix-xxxv [also PDF]); poetic interlude

WEEK 4 (Jan. 29th, 31st):: Vine Deloria, Jr.'s For This Land—1-43, 69-91, 119-144
    [TU: Response #1 Due]

WEEK 5 (Feb. 5th, 7th):: FTL (continued)—145-174, 187-213, 218-231, 235-249

WEEK 6 (Feb. 12th, 14th):: FTL (finish-up): 250-282; poetic interlude; N. Scott Momaday's The Man Made of Words

WEEK 7 (Feb. 19th, 21st):: TheMMofW (continued)
    [TU: Response #2 Due]

WEEK 8 (Feb. 26th, 28th):: TheMMofW (finish-up); poetic interlude; Leslie Marmon Silko's Yellow Woman & a Beauty of the Spirit

WEEK 9 (March 5th, 7th):: Yellow Woman (continued)
    [TH: ESSAY #1 DUE]

WEEK 10 (March 12th, 14th):: ESSAY #2 assignment (below); Yellow Woman (finish-up); poetic interlude; Linda Hogan: Dwellings

= = = = Spring Break = = = =

WEEK 11 (March 26th, 28th):: Dwellings (continued)

WEEK 12 (Apr. 2nd, 4rd):: Dwellings (finish-up); poetic interlude

WEEK 13 (Apr. 9th, 11th):: Gerald Vizenor: Shadow Distances
    [TU: Response #3 Due (undergrads. only)]

WEEK 14 (Apr. 16th, 18th):: Shadow Distances (continued)

WEEK 15 (Apr. 23rd, 25th):: Shadow Distances (finish-up); grad.-student presentations (= Response #3); course evals. & farewells
    ["TU: ESSAY #2 DUE"]



ESSAY #1: "Sacred Hoops, & Places, & Words" [but devise your own title!]

ENGL 445N/845N:001—Spring 2019


ASSIGNMENT OPTIONS (Let's jump to #9 first! . . .):

1. "A Failure to Communicate?": Develop a thesis regarding John G. Neihardt's literary reinscription of Black Elk's Lakota "message." I do not expect you to evidence a full-blown background in Lakota ceremonialism, but one might still easily perceive in Neihardt a Modernist agenda that includes an almost-desperate (re-)appreciation of "primitivism." In sum, how much in Black Elk Speaks might be traced to Western cultural projections? (Alternatively, you might also well defend Neihardt's "translation.")

1a.: One apparently glaring contradiction in BES is JGN's concurrent "tolling of the death knell" for Lakota culture and at the same time claiming to find something important & special about Black Elk's Great Vision, etc., worth saving and indeed, worth disseminating to mainstream American culture. How do you reconcile this apparent lack of logic? (This question could be the main subject of your essay, or part of the more general prompt above.)

1b. [new, 2017]: Assume that Black Elk actually knew English all along and eventually learns to write it. On his deathbed, he finally crafts a response to the whole "controversy" surrounding BES, getting a lot of things off his chest. (Feel free to frame this as a letter to JGN. Again, this will probably be a version of prompt #1 proper.)

2. "Jung and aFreud": Since there are often several psychology and/or sociology and/or anthro majors in this class, approaching Black Elk Speaks from one of those disciplines could be most enlightening. Write an essay, then, in which you approach BES as a text fit for analysis via your own academic major.

3. "God Is Red—and White, or . . . ?": Develop a thesis regarding Vine Deloria, Jr.'s apparent love-hate relationship with Western theology. How well does his intellectual negotiation thereof—fraught as it is, necessarily, with cultural hybridity—work for you?

4. "Man Made of Words": Compare & contrast Momaday's notions of orality, naming, and the "Word" with current postmodernist/poststructuralist ideas.

5. "The Oral Tradition": Write your own closet drama, or "philosophical dialogue" (in the tradition of Bishop Berkeley, et al.), between Black Elk, Deloria (cf. his "Foreword" to BES, of course), Momaday, and/or Silko. (Choose at least three.) Have them partake in a (good-natured?!) debate on . . . religion & ceremony?; and/or the "Word"?; etc.

6. "Of Spotted Eagles & Land Ethics": Discuss the Western notion of "ecology" vis-à-vis our four authors to date: Black Elk, Deloria (see especially Section III of For This Land?), Momaday (see especially "An American Land Ethic"?), and Silko.

7. "Crit Theory, Man": Cognizant of the dangers of cultural mistranslation that might inevitably result from such a project, those of you disappointed in the relative lack of Western "theory" to date may apply your own critical-theory bent to any aspect of (any or all of) the works at hand: intriguing approaches include (Neo-)Marxism (Adorno, Althusser, etc.), Poststructuralism (Lacan, Derrida, Baudrillard, etc.), New Historicism (Foucault & followers), and Postcolonial/Colonial Discourse theory (Said, Spivak, M. L. Pratt, etc). (Freudian/Lacanian psychoanalytic theory also seems eminently doable; ecocriticism is implied by Option #6. Above all, options #7 & #9 should allow/encourage graduate students, especially, to continue their own research tacks & interests as much as possible.)

8. Read the movie Avatar (2009) as an allegory of the "Indian Wars," full of resonances from the "Native spirituality," etc., of Black Elk Speaks and/or the writing-back-against-the-colonizers protest-prose of Vine Deloria, Jr. OR perform a similar colonial-discourse critique of another film: there are several other movies with Native "ramifications" that have come out in recent years (e.g., The New World (2005) and—ugh—The Lone Ranger (2013)!: just ask me for permission, à la Option #9. [Finally/however: NO Disney's Pocahontas! I've read too many essays on that particular vid.])

9. "Write-your-OWN" thesis/topic that incorporates at least TWO of our authors to date (thru Silko). I'm also allowing a creative nonfiction (or even closet drama) option; however, you must still (somehow, cleverly) incorporate the "scholarly" requirements (that is, at least 2 of our our authors, plus outside sources & citations) into your essay (or "screenplay"). (Any "Write-your-OWN" topic/strategy must be okayed one week in advance of essay due date [that is, TH, February 28th]. Email me a paragraph-proposal on what you intend to do.)


** LENGTH & FORMAT: Undergrad. Students: at least 1,250 words (approx. 5 pages); Graduate Students: at least 2,500 words (approx. 10 pages); ALL: word-processed/printed and double-spaced throughout according to MLA specifications; in a pocket folder [NOT a report cover or ring binder or sheet protector or manila envelope], with xeroxes of pages from 2ndary sources (including web pages) cited. (Xerox EXCEPTIONs: I don't need xeroxes from our texts, or from the books on reserve, or from the PDFs on Blackboard.) NEW: please upload as WORD doc to CANVAS.

** DUE DATE: Thursday, March 7th (uploaded to Canvas by midnight [er, 11:59 pm]) **

* Content60%—
150 pts.
—incl. quality & development of thought; support from primary & secondary sources; fulfillment of specific option requirements; also . . .    
Undergrad. Students: 
    * to qualify for an "A" on Content: at least TWO non-web** 2ndary sources    
    * to qualify for a "B" on Content: at least ONE non-web 2ndary source    
Graduate Students: 
    * to qualify for an "A" on Content: at least SIX non-web 2ndary sources    
    * to qualify for a "B" on Content: at least THREE non-web 2ndary sources    
**NOTE: Reputable "academic" sources found on the Web count as "non-web" sources, of course: e.g., EBSCO articles, online versions of newspapers and lit. journals, etc., etc. My "non-web" caveat is ultimately a battle against such ungodly efforts as "Jim-Bob's Leslie Marmon Silko Fan Page" and "The Four Lakota Directional Colors: Cosmic Spiritual Guidance for All!" (most likely NOT reputable sources). Instead, I would point you now to a great online, searchable version of the "main" NatAmer Lit academic journal, Studies in American Indian Literatures (Search page). Oops, the search engine is now defunct, but the issues are all still online.(I still need printouts of any such online sources: JUST the page[s] that you quote/paraphrase.) 
* Organization—20%—
50 pts.
—incl. effective intro & coda; body cohesion/"flow," via clear org. strategies    
* Grammar, Mechanics, & Format—20%—
50 pts.
—incl. spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, & MLA format    
    (incl. in-text parenthetical citations & Works Cited page; non-"plagiarism" in handling of sources)    

My Essay Gradesheet, if you want to see the actual form!


ESSAY #2: Yellow Women, Spiritual Ecologists, & Postindian Crossblood Tricksters

ENGL 445N/845N:001—Spring 2019



1. Your OWN topic/thesis, okayed at least two weeks in advance (TU, April 9th) of the due date; but must concentrate upon at least one of the last three authors on the syllabus (Silko and/or Hogan and/or Vizenor).

2. Silko as "Yellow Woman" (see Yellow Woman 70-71): how might Silko's own work be said to be a fulfillment of her identification with Yellow Woman (or not)? ("2ndary"/outside sources should no doubt include other writings by Silko. Maybe you don't have time for Almanac, but the Yellow Woman casebook [ed. Graulich], at least, seems very much in order.)

3.Native "Woman-Speak"?: consider the stylistic differences between Silko's (or Hogan's?) prose and that of the male Native essayists previously read (i.e., Deloria and Momaday). Draw your own conclusions regarding gender and style—and political efficacy? (That is, if we might deem Silko [or Hogan] as a Native feminist or even a Native ecofeminist, what do such stylistic differences—whether gender-determined or not—"do" in terms of her political radicalism? [vaguely expressed, intentionally].)

[Feel free to do some (focused) combination of Options #2 & #3.]

4. Linda Hogan, Ecologist: examine Linda Hogan via the Western schools of Deep and/or Spiritual Ecology and/or Ecofeminism (e.g., Arne Naess, Annette Kolodny, etc., etc.); for one thing, what does her Native/Chickasaw heritage & point-of-view add to this general discourse? Another angle/sub-topic might involve how her often explicit (though highly qualified) allegiance to Western—scientific—ecology makes her ruminations on the land and other animals different from the more traditional expressions on the subject by Black Elk, Deloria, Momaday, and even Silko.

5. Vizenor and the "postindian": explore Vizenor's attitude towards (post-)Indian "identity" vis-à-vis such Vizenorian notions as "manifest manners," "native survivance," "postindian," the ("mixedblood") "trickster," etc. (A seemingly requisite outside source: the first chapter—"Postindian Warriors"—of Vizenor's Manifest Manners [on reserve at the Love!].)

6. "The Art of the (Native) Essay": Compare/contrast the essay output of TWO of our last three authors in terms of rhetorical/artistic success: argue for the relative superiority, then, of Silko's impassioned, often political essays that are self-proclaimed structural "webs," or of Hogan's feeling-laden & intuitive, nearly "prose-poem" essays, or of Vizenor's architectonic, multi-vocal "circles" of postmodernist discursivity.

7. "Ideas & Visions": Again, using at least one of our last three authors in some concerted fashion, what do you now make of the class's subtitle, "Ideas & Visions"? Obviously, Black Elk is the most vision-ary, but there are also quite visionary (that is, non-rational, intuitive, even mystical) moments in ALL of our subsequent authors, I would claim. Of the subsequent five, who, then, would you dub the most visionary? Who the least so—that is, by extension, the most "ideational"? (A final possible consideration: is Native American "Lit" becoming more "idea" than "vision"? If so, why? Or have Native "visions"—via sublimation, as it were—taken different routes, explored different "maps," seen different vistas, imagined different "sacred hoops"? [I speak metaphorically, of course.  ;-}  ])


** LENGTH & FORMAT  (à la Essay #1): Undergrad. Students: at least 1,250 words (approx. 5 pages); Graduate Students: at least 2,500 words (approx. 10 pages); ALL: word-processed/printed and double-spaced throughout according to MLA specifications; uploaded to CANVAS (as an MS WORD doc, please!)

** DUE DATE: "Tuesday, April 23rd" **



Grad. Student Presentations (last week or so of classes)
        [Note: this activity is in lieu of Response #3, and is worth the same 80 points.]
Choose ONE of the following options (for a 15-20 minute presentation [and a 5-min max Q&A]), plus a hard-copy WORD or PDF outline* emailed to me at least 48 hrs. before your presentation (for Canvas):

Option I: a presentation/outline of your Essay #2 topic/thesis (or one aspect/angle thereof if desired)
        —Please indicate your "topic" choice (at least author[s] emphasis) by Friday, midnight, April 12th so that I can schedule your presentations in some semblance of sequential or logical order—and notify you as soon as possible about which day you'll be presenting.


Option II: a presentation/outline of a story or essay from Vizenor that I don't plan to assign to the class. (But they are readings I've taught in the past and/or still really like.) ("First come, first served," via email.) For brevity's sake, let me simply list the beginning page numbers of the eligible texts:
    Short stories: 115- / 125- / 145- // Essays: †155- / †194- / 210- / 219- / 247- / 260- / 274-
        —Please indicate your essay/story choice by Friday, midnight, April 12th so that I can schedule . . . .
    † This time I've added two essays that I usually teach: "Double Others" (155-) is another excellent Vizenorian critique & deconstruction of "Indian" identity, à la "Unnameable Postindians"; "The Tragic Wisdom of Salamanders" (194-) is Vizenor's postmodern version of an pro-ecology essay that might profitably be contrasted with Hogan, etc.

TH, April 18th: ________ and ________
TU, April 23rd: ________ and ________ and ________
TH, April 25th: ________ and ________ and ________

*: The "outline" can be as detailed as you want, in any outline style, from informal to formal: I just don't want a full "reading text," especially a draft of option #1 (that is, Essay #2). (Oh, but your outline might well also include a bibliography for me and the students [annotated or not].) I will put a PDF file of your outline on Canvas, and ask everyone to print it out in advance. But I need your outline a good two days beforehand. In fact, let me make it a strict 48 hours before the 12:30 class meeting of your presentation. Else my lifelong nightmare reality of waiting on other people will only be painfully extended.

KEY to Correction Symbols/Abbrevs. I Commonly Use on Your Essays:
!great (or hilarious) point
>good point; "yeh, I'm followin' yu'"
?unclear; suspect point; "yu' lost me here"
cscomma splice: Subject+Predicate , Subject+Predicate
awkawkward grammatical/sentence structure
wwwrong word (denotation)
wcword choice (connotation)
/space needed here; especially between the "dots" in ellipses:
NOT: "I came...I conquered...."
INSTEAD: "I came . . . I conquered. . . ."
(If MS WORD auto-removes your spaces, I think you can turn off that reprehensible function in the "Auto-Correct" Preferences [or somethin' like that—sounded good to a Bill-Gates-o-phobe like me].)
paragraph break needed
transtransition needed
cohecohesion problem ("jumbled" or "abrupt" thoughts/sentences/paragraphing)
[other marks:]I can't reproduce here the "insert" and "delete" symbols that I also commonly use, but they should be intuitively obvious in their context.
Note on the DASH:A dash is not a single hyphen; use two hyphens, or a real "em" dash, with no spaces before or after:
NOT: "I - uh - love you."
INSTEAD: "I--uh--love you."
OR: use a real "em" dash ("I—uh—love you"): option/shift/hyphen on a Mac ("Windoz, I know nuttin'.")
Note on Lit./Media TITLES:The general rule is that works that are a "whole" (book titles, etc.) are italicized or underlined (e.g., Moby Dick) and works that are "part" of a whole (e.g., individual poems from a collection, etc.) are put within quot. marks (e.g., "Dover Beach"). The former—that is, italicized—include books, plays, magazine and journal titles (e.g., Newsweek), movies, CDs, and TV shows. The latter—that is, in quots.—include book chapter titles, essays, poems, songs, and TV episodes. (You may underline book titles, etc., rather than italicize them, but do one or the other throughout your essay.) Finally, your OWN essay title should be neither underlined or in quots.; emphasize it instead via bold type and/or caps if you so desire.
Finally:I have a bad habit of grading papers while standing up or pacing the floor (or, more and more, taking your papers for an outside walk!), so if you can't read any of my comments, please ask me. . . . Further note: the "substandard" representation of dashes and ellipses, etc.—in isolation—probably won't cost yu' more than a single point or so in my evaluation of your grammar/mechanix. But I'd think of the bigger picture: doing these little things right in your later academic and business writing will let your peers & superiors know that, yes, you know the fine points of that "grand game" called a college education. [2011 "Queen's-English" add: In formal writing, "quote" is only a verb, not a noun.]

To the Top

 Class Notes/Commentary

 TCG's Nat. Amer. Authors & Readings Links

 TCG's Native American Lit Courses: VIDEO Resources

 TCG's Native American MEMES

 TCG's Great "Indian" Moments in Pop Culture

 TCG's Native American Reading List

ENGL/ETHN 445N/845N SYLLABUS Page--Spring 2019

< >