Indigeneity, Kinship, Sexuality in the Nineteenth-Century US Novel
In this seminar we will cover three areas of concern in the field of nineteenth-century US fiction studies: 1) the novel and American indigeneity; 2) the legal “kinlessness” of African diasporic subjects as it shaped the development of American novels, and 3) the role of the novel in articulating new kinds of sexual subjectivity.
How did the history of the United States as a settler society in close contact with Native Nations shape the way novels depict kinship? How did the legal “kinlessness” of African diasporic subjects shape the development of American novels? How did the emergence of regionalism and urban fiction matter for the way fiction articulated ways of dwelling and desiring? We will pursue these and other questions to investigate the ways that novels articulate indeterminate forms of biopolitics, social renewal and belonging.
Primary texts may include: Cooper, Last of the Mohicans, Sedgwick, Hope Leslie, Hawthorne, House of Seven Gables; Victor Séjour, “The Mulatto”; William Wells Brown, Clotel, Chesnutt, Marrow of Tradition, Ruiz de Burton, The Squatter and the Don, Wakefield, Six Weeks in the Sioux Teepees, Sui Sin Far, Mrs. Spring Fragrance, Jewett, Country of Pointed Firs, James, The Bostonians. Theoretical texts may include Foucault, McKeon, Spillers, Berlant, Butler, and Povinelli.