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The Literature of the Americas
The course offers a wide-ranging overview of the literatures of the Americas in comparative perspective, emphasizing continuities and crises that are common to North American, Central American, and South American literatures as well as the distinctive national and cultural elements of a diverse array of primary works. Topics include the definitions of such concepts as empire and colonialism; the encounters between world-views of European and indigenous peoples; the emergence of creole and racially mixed populations; slavery; the New World voice; myths of America as paradise or utopia; the coming of modernism; twentieth-century avant-gardes such as the Brazilian Antropofagia or Cannibalist movement; and distinctive modern episodes—the Harlem Renaissance, the Beats, magic realism, Noigandres—in unaccustomed conversation with each other.
While the course is formally organized by lectures, it is unusually dialogic. Professors Greene and Saldívar often question or challenge each other's interpretations, and a major part of each meeting is devoted to an open discussion in response to issues raised by students during the week. Close to the research interests of both professors, the course demonstrates how new contexts—in this case, the hemispheric—change our understanding of literary works and how interpretation emerges out of conversation and debate.
The course welcomes students of all majors and interests.
- Departments & Centers
- Comparative Literature
- French and Italian
- German Studies
- Iberian and Latin American Cultures
- Slavic Languages and Literatures
- BiblioTech Program
- Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
- Stanford Language Center
- Prospective Students