ENGL379D - Special Topics in Literature; Reparations and American Literature

This course explores how a wide range of multiethnic and transnational U.S. literature, mostly of the 20th and 21st centuries, works to imagine and effect repairs to problems in American democracy, society, and global relations. In particular, we will concentrate on how literary works from different cultural vantages to imagine and consider specific measures of reparations—i.e., apologies, and various remedies of culture, social policy, financial compensation, political and legal reform, public discussion and education, land restitution, and more—to redress grave historical wrongs that continue to haunt the just possibilities of the present and future. To these ends we will be considering a diverse array of African American, Asian American, Latinx, Native American, and European American literary texts, as well as a couple of global texts concerning reparations and reconciliation in South Africa and Latin America. Some authors may include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Martin Luther King, Jr., Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ana Castillo, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Louise Erdrich, John Steinbeck, Katherine Anne Porter, Gabriel Gracia Marquez, Antjie Krog, and Toni Morrison.