Since the 1970s, writers of color (Native American, African American, postcolonial etc.) have called attention to the problems of members of ethnic and cultural minorities – their difficult positions between cultures, their states of dispossession diaspora – while another line of literature has been exploring, for roughly the same period of time, the destructive – or ecocidal – effects of modernization and industrialization on the environment. In effect, most of the ecological and human cost of the modern lifestyle – the nuclear cycle, hydroelectric mega-dams, coal mining, toxic waste disposal – accrues on indigenous territories and severely threatens the survival of indigenous communities, both within the United States and in the so-called Third World. From a sizeable number of literary texts showing how traditional people live in the ecological shadow of Western modernity, we will discuss four novels by American and postcolonial writers.
Texts to be purchased and read:
- Thomas King (1993) Green Grass Running Water. Bantam.
- Kiana Davenport (2006) House of Many Gods. Ballantine
- Barbara Kingsolver (2012) Flight Behavior. Harper.
- Indra Sinha (2007) Animal's People. Simon & Schuster.
Admission to the class depends on students to sign up electronically. All students, especially those who were rejected by the system or put on a waiting list but want to take this class have to participate in a QUIZ (Lektürekontrolle) on Thomas King, Green Grass Running Water, in the first session. Please read and bring along the novel for that purpose.