"American Places" will focus on a variety of issues (regional stereotypes; cultural, racial, and gender identity; the impact of media on community life; rural versus urban values; environmental crisis; etc.) in the light of literary treatments of place by contemporary American authors. The course will be organized as a tour of American places and regions, including the Northeastern Metropolis, the Old and New South, Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest, Indian Country, and Suburbia. Readings will include novels by Don DeLillo (WHITE NOISE), Thomas Pynchon (VINELAND), Ernest Gaines (A GATHERING OF OLD MEN), James Ellroy (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL), Maxine Hong Kingston (THE WOMAN WARRIOR), and Louise Erdrich (TRACKS). In addition, we will read some literary non-fiction and one long poem (A.R. Ammons's GARBAGE, inspired by a landfill in Florida). We will also view the films VERNON, FLORIDA and LENINGRAD COWBOYS GO AMERICA. Two papers of moderate length, mid-term and final reading quizzes.