Leibman (503 771-1112 x7329); Laura.Leibman@Reed.edu TIME: Tuesdays & Thursdays
10:30-11:50 ETC 205 CLASS EMAIL: English341Native
COURSE DESCRIPTION: How
did Native Americans understand the early American contact period and
in what forms did they record their views? How do pre-contact Native traditions
influence early post-contact texts? This course compares the alternative
literacies of Mesoamerica and the Algonquians of Colonial New England.
We will examine a variety of communicative and textual traditions ranging
from letters, plays, histories, autobiographies, poems, and conversion
narratives, to pictographic works and material culture. This course fulfills
the “before 1700” requirement for English majors. Prerequisites:
two English courses at the 200 level or higher, consent of instructor
OR any one of the following: Anthropology 348, Anthropology 372, History
359, History 386, or Spanish 353. Conference.
R 9.2 Michael Coe, Breaking the Maya Code. 9-72. (Bookstore/On
Assignment for everyone: One page response to Breaking the Maya Code
and the sample of Mayan
writing you translated from Tuesday. This response should include (1)
your translation and (2) a brief
discussion of what you perceive to be the significance of the differences
between writing a text in Mayan
glyphs versus English (or even Mayan in the Roman alphabet).
Weeks 2-7: THE NAHUAS (AZTECS)
T 9.7 Elizabeth Boone, Chapters 1-4, Stories
in Red and Black, 1-86. (Bookstore/On Reserve)
Assignment Group One: Genre Analysis from one Chapter
R 9.9 Thema Sullvian & Timothy Knab, “The Aztec World of Ancient
Scattering of Jades, 15-50.
(Bookstore/On Reserve); Elizabeth Boone, Chapters 9, Stories in Red
Excerpt of the Mendoza Codex (Handout)
Group Two: Announce in class readings for Tuesday from James Lockhart’s
We People Here (on Reserve)
T 9.14 Selection from James Lockhart, We People Here, as chosen
by Group Two (On Reserve)
Assignment Group Two (half of group two): Close Reading
R 9.16 Rosh Hashanah: No Class
T 9.21 James Lockhart, “Language,” Nahuas after the Conquest,
261-325 (On Reserve)
Assignment Group Three: Word Analysis of Word from
Selections from previous two
R 9.23 William Gingerich, “Heidegger and the Aztecs: The Poetics
of Knowing in
Pre-Hispanic Nahuatl Poetry,” Recovering the Word, ed.
Brian Swann, 85-112. (On Reserve)
“Songs of Ancient Mexico,” A
Scattering of Jades, Thelma D. Sullivan & Timothy J. Knab,
160-63. (Bookstore/On Reserve)
Assignment Group Two: Genre Synopsis
Group Three: Announce Poems to be read for Tuesday from A
Scattering of Jades, Thelma D. Sullivan
& Timothy J. Knab (Bookstore/Reserve)
T 9.28 Selection of Poems chosen by Group Three from A
Scattering of Jades,
Thelma D. Sullivan & Timothy J. Knab (Bookstore/On Reserve)
Assignment Group Three: Close Reading
Group One: Announce any new poems to be read for Tuesday from A
Scattering of Jades
R 9.30 No Class: Sukkot
[Readings: Louise M. Burkhart, “Part One: The Setting,” Holy
Wednesday, 11-88. (Bookstore/On Reserve)]
T 10.5 Poem(s) from A
Scattering of Jades
from previous days or as chosen by Group One
Assignment Group One: Word Analysis.
R 10.7 No Class: Shmini Atzeret
Readings: Louise M. Burkhart, “Part One: The Setting,” Holy
Wednesday, 11-88. (Bookstore/On Reserve)
T 10.12 “Part One: Interpreting ‘Holy Wednesday’
“ & “Part Two: The Translations,”Holy Wednesday,
89-164. (Bookstore/On Reserve)
Assignment Group Three: Genre Synopsis
R 10.14 The Translations,” (cont.) & “Appendix: Comparative
Texts,” Holy Wednesday, pp. 105-164; 255-278. (Bookstore/On
Assignment Group One: Close Reading
October 16-24 Fall Break
T 10.26 “Part Two: Commentary of the Plays,” Holy Wednesday,
pp. 165-255 (Bookstore/On Reserve)
Assignment Group Two: Word Analysis.
Weeks 8-13: ALGONQUIANS OF
1. ORAL NARRATIVES
R 10.28 William Simmons, “Introduction,” “From Past
to the Present,” & “Worldview” Spirit of The
Tribes, 3-64. (Bookstore/On Reserve)
William Bascom, “The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives,”
Sacred Narrative, ed. Alan Dundes, 5-29.
In class: Tape of Princess Red Wing
Group One: Genre Analysis
T 11.2 “The First Europeans,” “Christianity,”
Spirit of The New England Tribes, 65-90. (Bookstore/On Reserve)
Dighton Rock (Handout)
Group Two: Close Reading
R 11.4 “Shamans and Witches,” & “Ghosts and the
Devil,” Spirit of The New England Tribes, 91-161.
Group Three: Word Analysis
(Resources on Reserve for Word Analysis: Kathleen Bragdon’s Native
People of Southern New England;
William Wood's Vocabulary of Massachusett; Roger Williams’
A Key Into the Language.)
T 11.9 Sacvan Bercovitch, “Puritanism and the Self,” Puritan
Origins of the American Self, 1-34.
Arnold Krupat, “The Indian Autobiography: Origins, Type, and Function,”
Smoothing the Ground, ed.
Brian Swann, 261-82. (On Reserve)
“Japheth Hannit,” Indian Converts (Handout)
Group Two: Genre Analysis
R 11.11 The Hannit Family, Indian Converts (Handout)
Group Three: Close Reading
T 11.16 Selected Dream Biographies, Indian Converts (Handout)
Ann Marie Plane, “Falling Into a Dreame,” Reinterpreting
New England Indians, ed. Calloway &
Salisbury, 84-105. (On Reserve)
Group One (one half): Word Analysis
R 11.18 “Samuel Coomes, Indian Converts (Handout)
Documents Relating to Fornication & Intermarriage (Handout)
Ann Marie Plane, “In their Families,” Colonial Intimacies,
96-128. (On Reserve)
Group One (other Half): Word Analysis
T 11.23 Tammy Schneider, “This Once Savage Heart of Mine,”
Reinterpreting New England Indians, ed.
Calloway & Salisbury, 232-63 (On Reserve)
Konstantin Dierks, “The Familiar Letter and Social Refinement in
America, 1750-1800,” Letter Writing as a
Social Practice, ed. David Barton & Nigel Hall, 31-41 (On Reserve)
Hezekiah Calvin, Letters to Eleazar Wheelock (Handout)
Group Three: Genre Analysis
R 11. 25 Thanksgiving
T 11.30 Samson Occom, “Short Autobiography” & “An
Account of the Montauk Indians” (Handout)
Mary Occom, Letter (Handout)
Group One: Close Reading
R 12.2 Ruth Herndon and Ella Sekatau, “Colonizing the Children,”
Reinterpreting New England Indians, ed.
Calloway & Salisbury, 137-161. (On Reserve)
Simon Children, Letters (Handout)
Group Two: Word Analysis of Letters from Previous
Days (or from Occom’s Writings)
(Resources on Reserve:
Lederer’s Colonial American English and the OED).
T 12.7 Final Assignment Due: Bring to class a revision
of one of your Genre Analyses. In class: discussion of
Genre Analyses. Make sure you bring enough copies to class for Laura and
everyone else in the class.
of the assignments for this class are short ones: 1-2 pages. In addition
to a short response due the second day of class, there are six of these
papers per semester and a revision of one of the genre analyses due at
the end of the semester. You will be asked to sign for a group and each
group will turn in their papers on the above assigned days. Each group
is asked to do three types of papers (two each). All papers should be
emailed to the class via the class email list at least 24 hours before
the assigned day. You should paste these into the body of your email and
NOT send them as an enclosure because enclosures can spread viruses and
make your paper difficult to open. Please make sure you read your classmates’
papers before class, as these will be the starting point of our discussion.
These types of papers are described below:
1. Genre Analysis.
Your genre analysis should provide a brief description of the Native America/Early
Modern genre we are discussion for that day (for example letters, autobiography,
Aztec poetry). You should identify what distinguishes this Native Genre
from the genre more generally. For example, how are Aztec histories different
from Western histories that you have read? You should hypothesize what
you think are the sources of this difference wherever possible. Don’t
worry that you don’t know enough yet to fully answer this question:
you will have the chance to revise one of your genre analysis papers for
the final paper.
For your close reading, choose a short passage (one paragraph to one page)
of text and analyze the details of the passage. You may want to think
about all or some of the following:
1. GENRE. What is the genre in which the passage or longer work was
written? How do the details of the passage relate to our expectations
for genre? You will want to refer to the previous group’s genre
2. PURPOSE. What is the purpose of the passage in the work as a whole?
Does it introduce the work? Provide closure? Provide the emotional climax?
Serve as a bridge? What elements help it achieve this function and how?
3. LANGUAGE. What kind of language is used? High or low? Figurative
or literal? Native or colonial? What does the language tell us about
the audience and speaker? How does the style enhance the message?
4. TONE. What is the tone of the passage? How is this tone conveyed?
5. SPEAKER. Who is speaking? How does the speaker establish his or her
authority or deference?
6. NARRATEE. Who is the ideal audience? Is anyone excluded (deliberately
or not) from this audience?
7. CHARACTERS. Who are the characters appearing in the passage? What
are their main attributes? Are we meant to sympathize with them or not?
How does the writer create (or dispel) sympathy?
3. Word Analysis
This is a more in-depth close reading that focuses on the connotations,
denotations, and resonances of a particular word in a text. You should
pay attention to how the word was used both in the Native community and
in the colonial era more generally. There are a number of Native dictionaries
on reserve to help with this task, as well as the OED
and Lederer’s “Colonial American English.” You may want
to discuss how the word differs in Native languages and English and/or
Spanish and how this different meaning changes the meaning of the passage
Revised Genre Analysis (due Dec 7th, the last day of class)
For your final paper I ask you to submit a revised version of one of your
genre analyses that reflects your more sophisticated understanding of
the genre following our discussion of that genre. This paper should be
slightly longer than your previous one and should include quotations from
examples we have covered that support your generalizations. Please bring
enough copies for me and for everyone else in the class to the last day.