This course will call into question the very meaning of "American literature" by looking at a wide range of texts from a number of different cultural perspectives. Juxtaposing 12th century Native American petroglyphs with the Declaration of Independence, for example, students will be asked to radically re-think the origins of American identity. The concept of "literature" will likewise by challenged and broadly expanded. The "texts" in the class will range from Navaho sandpaintings to canonical novels by de Crevecoeur and Melville, from slave narratives to film, from Chinese poems carved in the walls of immigration cells on Angel Island to contemporary novels by Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Rudolofo Anaya. There will be three 7-10 page papers.