Instructor: Dr. Mary Magoulick                                                    Office Phone: 445-3177

Office: A&S 3-21; email: mary.magoulick@gcsu.edu                    Hours: MF 9-10, TR 2-3 (or by appt.)


Texts (available at the bookstore; there may also be some Xeroxed readings)

Allen, Paula Gunn. Spiderwoman's Granddaughters. New York: Fawcett Columbine (Ballantine), 1989.

Crow Dog, Mary (with Richard Erdoes). Lakota Woman. New York: HarperPerennial, 1990.

Erdrich, Louise. The Antelope Wife: A Novel. New York: Harper Flamingo, 1998.

Hale, Janet Campbell. The Jailing of Cecelia Capture. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986.

Lurie, Nancy Oestreich (ed.). Mountain Wolf Woman: Sister of Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1966.

Silko, Leslie. Gardens in the Dunes. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2000.


Course Objectives

We will consider various contemporary and traditional works written by Native American women, with special emphasis on socio-cultural contexts of each work. We will pay special attention to issues of gender and identity as they surface in the poetry, fiction, and autobiography we read. We will also consider the extent to which the works bridge traditional and contemporary Native American perspectives, themes, and literary styles. Our consideration of cultural contexts and implications of the literature will lead to larger questions and issues regarding both women's studies and Native American studies. Gender and identity often surface most poignantly in the work of women whose lives are marginalized in the mainstream. Our discussions may lead us to ponder as well more general issues connected to the cannon and contextual studies of literature.


Course Description

This course will involve lectures and discussions of the works students will read outside the classroom as homework. The professor will offer contextual information for the cultures and authors of each of the works to be considered and will lead students in careful textual analysis of the novels we read. You are not required to have any prior knowledge of Native American cultures or women's studies. Most important is a sense of curiosity about Native Americans, women's studies, issues of culture and identity, and a willingness to do the readings and participate in the course. You will write a short critical response to a reading, a final, in-depth, analytical essay, and a final exam that will give you an opportunity to discuss comparatively the works and issues from class.



T         One short critical response to an assigned reading (1-2 pages). You do not have to do any research or additional reading but should merely write detailed analysis of one particular passage from one of our readings in which you interpret that passage.


T         A final exam in which you answer specific essay questions about our readings and discussions. You should show an awareness of class issues, strong analysis of readings, and synthesis of your original insights.


T         An analytical essay (8-10 pages) in which you explore in depth one or more works of Native American literature, either according to a theoretical or contextual framework from class, or an equivalent one you research on your own.

T         Regular, active attendance. Be prepared to ask and answer questions, and to raise and discuss issues of significance to this class.


T         Timely completion of all assignments. Readings are to be completed before the lecture on the day on which they are to be discussed.




Critical Response & Participation:        20%

Examination:                                        30%

Final Essay:                                          50%


Grades on individual assignments will be based on effort and thoughtfulness as well as correctness of logic and development of ideas. Critical responses should use the text as a guide in analysis. Prior to mid-semester, you will receive feedback on your academic performance in this course.




<           E-mail me if you have any questions or concerns about the class, readings, or assignments.

<           It is your responsibility as a student to keep up with work and any changes in the syllabus (even for classes you may miss). Late work will not be accepted and make-up exams will not be possible. Attendance in this class is mandatory. Respectful participation is expected.

<           Cheating and plagiarism are unethical and unacceptable (and a waste of your tuition). Doing your own work helps you learn and makes the most of your experience here. Cheaters will fail.

<           This syllabus is a guide and is subject to revision. It is your responsibility as a student to note and adhere to any changes.




                                                We are ascending through the dawn

                                                The sky blushed with the fever

                                                                                                    of attraction.                    ~Joy Harjo (2000)







Calendar of Classes / Readings



                        NOTE: Readings should be completed before the beginning of class on the date assigned

Week 1   

Tues, 8-18        Introduction & brief history/survey of major geographic and cultural areas

Thurs, 8-20        Begin discussion Paul Gunn Allen, READ: 1-64


Week 2            Read and discuss Paula Gunn Allen, Spiderwoman's Granddaughters

Tues, 8-26        Gunn Allen, 65-126

Thurs, 8-28        Gunn Allen, 127-187


Week 3            Read and discuss Gunn Allen and Lurie, Mountain Wolf Woman

Tues, 9-2          Gunn Allen (concluded), 188-277

Thurs, 9-4          Lurie, 1-83 (appendices optional)


Week 4             Read and discuss Crow Dog, Lakota Woman

Tues, 9-9          Crow Dog, 1-91

Thurs, 9-11        Crow Dog, 92-155


Week 5            Crow Dog (cont.) and begin Diane Glancy, Pushing the Bear

Tues, 9-16        Crow Dog, 156-263

Thurs, 9-18        Glancy, 1-60


Week 6            Read and discuss Glancy

Tues, 9-23        Glancy, 60-118              CRITICAL RESPONSES DUE

Thurs, 9-25        Glancy, 121-161


Week 7             Read and discuss Glancy

Tues, 9-30        Glancy, 165-232

Thurs, 10-2        Art and History of the Trail of Tears


Weeks 8          PAWS to think (both Tues and Thurs -- NO CLASS -- work on papers)


Week 9             Read & discuss Hale, The Jailing of Cecilia Capture

Tues, 10-14      Hale, 1-99

Thurs, 10-16      Hale, 100-142


Weeks 10         Read and discuss Hale (cont.)

Tues, 10-21      Hale, 143-201

Thurs, 10-23      POETRY (handout)        FINAL ESSAY TOPICS DUE (appts. for office conf.)


Week 11          Read and discuss Erdrich, The Antelope Wife

Tues, 10-28      Erdrich, 1-41

Thurs, 10-30      Erdrich, 42-71


Week 12          Read and discuss Erdrich (cont.)

Tues, 11-4        Erdrich, 72-129

Thurs 11-6        Erdrich, 130-181


Week 13          Read and discuss Erdrich and Silko's Gardens in the Dunes

Tues, 11-11      Erdrich, 183-240

Thurs, 11-13      Silko, 13-64


Week 14          Read & discuss Read and discuss Silko's Gardens of the Dunes

Tues, 11-18      Silko, 67-149

Thurs, 11-20      153-197            FINAL ESSAYS DUE


Week 15          Read & discuss Silko (cont.)

Tues, 11-25      201-267

Thursday          THANKSGIVING -- NO CLASS



Weeks 16        Read & discuss Silko (cont.)

Tues, 12-2        Silko, 271-427

Thurs, 12-4        Silko, 431-477


Week 17          FINAL EXAM (in class)

Tues, 12-9        2-4:45 p.m. -- in-class essay exam (no make-ups)