Universität Augsburg, 2013

More than most, the USA is a nation dedicated to continuously defining and re-evaluating its own sense of identity and purpose.

In this course, we will explore such debates in the very beginnings of the American nation through a wide range of texts; we will study the literature of the European settlers but also Native American texts and slave narratives, fictional texts as well as early political writings; this broad range will convey a sense of the heterogeneity of early American culture and the beliefs, tensions and events which formed it. We will question the ways in which literature and textual culture contributed to the shaping of the nation, and try to understand the intricate relation between literature and history in this period.

This seminar will help students to understand the complex and varied world of early North America from the colonial beginnings up to the early 19th century, and offers you  the chance to read some of the most seminal texts of early US literary history; also, you will gain insights into the most central concepts and scholarly arguments in this field.