In this course, we will consider a broad range of American environmental literature, assessing the ways in which writers—from Thoreau to Cormac McCarthy—and filmmakers have portrayed the relationship of identity and environment. We will look in particular at themes of sustainability, food/agriculture and landscape, with a particular focus on Michigan. The course will include day trips to organic farms in Gratiot County and regional Superfund sites, and we will spend several days in the Upper Peninsula wilderness romanticized by writers from Ernest Hemingway to Jim Harrison.
Asian American Culture & Literature
Examine contemporary Asian American writers and their historical/cultural experiences through a representative selection of novels, poems and drama. Asian American writers embrace a multiplicity of identities as immigrants/citizens/expatriates, identities requiring complex negotiations in terms of ethnic and political affiliations between one’s “native” and one’s “adoptive” home. Along with the discussion, we will also travel within Michigan—going to a Japanese tea ceremony, to Korean and Indian food fests, to a Buddhist center, etc., to enrich our cultural understanding through real-life connections.