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Lecture with

Dr. Patrick Erben

(University of West Georgia)

Migration, Exile, Imperialism: The Non-English Literatures of Early America Reconsidered

June 15, 2016; 10 am (10 Uhr c.t.)
S 1, Hörsaal des Sportinstituts

Since the early 2000s, American literary studies have witnessed a surge in textual and critical scholarship on the non-English literatures of early America and the Atlantic world. Yet, few non-English texts and authors enjoy true staying power in the pantheon of American literature courses and scholarship, with instructors clinging to the English-only canon.

The reluctance to teach and study the non-English literatures of early America goes beyond the lacking familiarity of U.S. based instructors with other languages. The field has not squarely faced a troubling question: what do Spanish, French, Dutch, German, and other early American writings have to offer beyond the familiar tropes of imperial conquest, and settler colonialism already dominating English-language texts? This lecture posits that reading the non-English literatures of early America as both diasporic and imperialist allows us to acknowledge that writers, texts, and communities may carry the guilt of conquest while espousing genuine sentiments of displacement, alienation, and loss of community.

Download the poster here.