Survey of a body of literature, film, and critical theory about the American West and the concept of regionalism. Explores region in relation to the nation and its borders, global media, coloniality, indigeneity and race, gender, and an ethics of place.
ENGL 369: The American West and Its Others
Mondays & Wednesdays 4-5:15
Instructor: Dr. Comer
Satisfies: CRPG requirement for English majors/ formerly the noncanonical requirement and SWGS Critical Race Theory, Latin American Studies Major Elective
English Department Areas of Specialization:
Culture & Social Change
Science, Medicine & the Environment
We are said in 2019 to be living in an era in which place is not really important. Starbucks looks much the same in London, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Mexico City. Holiday Inns too. Music in international airports has a similar “global sound.” Many people live their most rich moments more in online than in material places. A sense of belonging to material places cannot be taken for granted. What consequences come from these tendencies – say about environment, civic engagement, or relationship to oneself? Our course focuses on questions about “where” in literary study, politics, and knowledge. We do our work by thinking about the US West and about where students are from. Where, when, and who is “the West?” Are we in the West in Houston? Where are students from, what places do students claim?
We read literature, watch films, look at photographs, go on a field trip to Houston’s MFA’s Hogg Brothers Collection of western American art. Some of the concepts that will help us: frontier, settler privilege, sovereignty, placelessness, Global Wests, feminist embodiments, LatinX border critique, queer rurality. Students suggest texts for one week of our course.
Potential Literature/Films: Cormac McCarthy, Larry Watson, Louise Erdrich, Joan Didion, Viet Nguyen, The Houston Flood Museum, Bryan Washington, Masayesva, Imagining Indians, Films: One Winter Story, The Rider, Certain Women, Juanita, The Searchers.
Assignments: 2 papers, short Reading Responses.
This course satisfies the CRPG requirement (Critical Race, Postcolonial and Gender studies) for English majors (formerly the "noncanonical" requirement)