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Special Programs

Interterm Classes

Summer Interterm Courses

ENGL 2708: Native American & Aboriginal Land in Literature

Native American & Aboriginal Land in Literature

ENGL 2708 - 4 credits

Travel Dates: Arrive in Sydney by the afternoon of June 9th, depart on the evening of June 17th or later
Course Dates: June 10 - 17, 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Instructors: Bill Stratton
Registration Deadline: April 14th or when course is full (SPACE IS LIMITED)

Description: For Native, Indigenous, and Aboriginal people landscapes are imbued with sacred significance by a variety of cultural practices. This function is central to sacred histories conveyed through storytelling practice, in acts of naming and describing, and through the time-honored performance of ceremonies that reinforce a reciprocal relationship between people and the land. The inherent responsibilities implied in these practices shape and define conceptions of knowledge, cultural identity, and self in significant ways. Drawing on the work of Native and Aboriginal writers and scholars, this course will consider some of the philosophical, literary, and legal questions posed by Indigenous conceptions of land, territory, and indigeneity. As one scholar observed, “the Lakota . . . often spoke of the disappearance of their people. When I answered that census figures showed their population increasing, they countered that parts of their reservations were continually being lost. They concluded there could be no more Indians when there was no more land.” Similarly, Nyoongar elder, Robert Bropho, commenting on the status of sacred sites in Western Australia articulates a similar understanding of the relation between people and the land, stating, “But ours is a continuation of the sacredness that is with us all the time, there’s man’s, there’s woman’s, there’s a sacredness . . . areas that are so important to us that if you destroy it all, you will destroy us as human beings.” As these examples testify, in both Native American and Australian Aboriginal contexts, the notion holistic interdependence between human beings and the land functions as a prominent aspect of peoplehood and the conception of one’s being-in-the-world. In this course, we will consider the complex ways in which Native and Aboriginal writers and storytellers transform and integrate traditional knowledge concerning landscape, space, and place in order to reinforce communal identity and assert their cultural sovereignty.

Approximate Travel Costs*:

Airfare $1,200 - 1,500 (Students are responsible for making their own flight arrangements.)
Program Fee:  $1,500 (Program fees are applied to tuition bill. Fee covers lodging, two group meals, museum entrance fees, a walkabout in Blue Mountains National Park, and a one week pass for public transit within Sydney.  Program fees are non-refundable.)
Food: $50 per day
Cancellation Fee: $1,500 (Billed to student account in the event the student drops the course.)

*These expenses are estimates subject to change.  Cost of tuition is additional.

For more information, contact Bill Stratton at


INFORMATION SESSION: February 24th at 2pm in Sturm Hall, room 124

Apply for financial aid online at