Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 212 Wheeler Instructor: Karina Palau

What makes American history, and why would we want to—need to—remake it? This course explores literary and visual materials produced in the post-Civil Rights U.S. by artists and writers who ponder this question and approach history like a raw material that demands to be refashioned and constantly problematized. What versions of American history have they remade, and what new versions and visions of history are produced in the process? What are the limits to historical revision and reconstruction, and how do these coexist alongside the need to experiment with imaginative modes of repurposing the stories and materials that come to ‘make up’ what we call American history? How can we question the redemptive power of re-making history while battling to recuperate ‘minor’ or silenced histories that might otherwise never be told?

Approaching history as an ever-changing construction, our course will raise questions about ways to revise and multiply America’s histories, but also explore alternative strategies for making history along the way.

Texts and Materials:

Kindred, Octavia Butler*

Hamilton: An American Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Excerpts from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, Harriet Jacobs

Excerpts from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American SlaveWritten by Himself, Frederick Douglass

Excerpts from The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

The Hampton Project art installation, Carrie Mae Weems

“What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” Sherman Alexie

Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian, Dir. Neil Diamond

Art by H. Edgar Heap of Birds & James A. Luna

“Lullaby” and selections from The Storyteller, Leslie Marmon Silko

Zoot Suit, Luis Valdez (play and film adaptation)

Selected poems by Laura Da’, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Cherrie Moraga, & Lorna Dee Cervantes

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz*

Excerpts from Dictee, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

I Am Not Your Negro, Dir. Raoul Peck

Zoot Suit, Dir. Luis Valdez

Excerpts from colonial Mexican codices

Excerpts from Latino, U.S.A.: A Cartoon History, Ilan Stavans and Lalo Alcaraz