In this introductory course, we explore how literature has challenged, constrained, and expanded what counts as American. Although we read poetry, novels, essays, film, and music from a range of time periods, geographies, and traditions, this course is not a survey. We focus on fundamental techniques of analyzing literature in order to examine the narratives of belonging central to our concept of citizenship. Careful, creative reading will be our means of participating in debates that animate both literary studies and popular media. While this course will teach you to be a thoughtful and precise writer, it will also prepare you to treat literature as a resource for everyday living in America today. Authors studied include Claudia Rankine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Edith Wharton, James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, John Williams, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, nila northSun, Paula Gunn Allen, and Agnes Martin.