First Year Seminar Healing Literature: Edwidge Danticat and Her Beloved Haiti Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 1pm Chapin 204 Professor Lucía M. Suárez 104 Barrett Hall firstname.lastname@example.org 413-542-2102 Description Through close textual readings of select texts from the literary oeuvre of HaitianAmerican author, Edwidge Danticat, this class aims to introduce students to the rich history of Haiti’s people, the deep violence that has afflicted the nation, the trauma that its diaspora carries, and the channels for healing made available to Haitian and Haitian-American communities through literature, theater, and traditions such as oral story-telling and religion. In particular we will examine: What is the function of literature? Can literature perform healing for its writers and the communities therein represented? Can it function as a tool of memory and human rights action? How does diaspora literature affect life on the island? How does the recent hurricane get addressed in new writings on the subject? Supplemented by historical and theoretical essays, and special visits, we will attempt to understand the Haitian condition in its complexity and astonishing beauty. The course has three primary objectives. First, students will be exposed to the examination and understanding of literary genres, memoir, historical fiction, creative fiction, short stories, theater, and oral storytelling. Second, the students will have short writing assignments in which they come to better understand the form and function of different writing styles. Finally, students will learn interpretive reading, learning to read at face value (emotional response) and also to read for meaning (fact-finding, synthesis evaluation, multiple interpretations). Course Pack The course pack is sold at the main office of the Spanish Department, second floor Barrett Hall. In Class Handouts Due to copyright arrangements, some of the material will be handed out in class. Books Books can be purchased at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, Amherst, MA 01002. ***ALL BOOKS are also all on reserve at Frost Library. *** By Edwidge Danticat: Create Dangerously, 2010 Krik? Krak!, 1991 The Farming of Bones, 1998 Breath, Eyes, Memory, 1994 Brother, I'm Dying, 2007 Other texts available on reserve at Frost Library Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark Edwidge Danticat: A Reader's Guide by Martin Munro The History of Haiti by Steeve Coupeau Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture, and the Earthquake of 2020 edited by Martin Munro Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People, 1492-1995 by Heinle and Heinl Grade Distribution Class attendance and participation 20% Class presentations 10% Essays 30% Thesis statement 5% Outline of final essay 15% Final Essay 20% Academic Honesty In compliance with FYS policy, students will sign a waiver. Please review the Amherst College online policy for academic honesty ***I invite the class to become active learners in which, as a community, we engage in the process of discovery, editing, and uninhibited class discussions, without worries about grades or producing “perfection.” Process is hard, valuable work that will direct our energies in the best direction: our own work in process.*** Editing All students will be asked to edit the first version of their essays, and grades will be given to the second version. Difficult Materials Some of the materials might be emotionally difficult, triggering fears or memories of personal experiences. If any student is having any kind of difficulty with the readings or discussions, please either speak with the professor, or contact the Amherst College Counseling Center, 542-2354, immediately.