Cultures and Literatures of the Americas
Program and Minor


     ŠLOTA acknowledges the various migrations that have impacted this continent and, by extension, Europe, Asia, and Africa as well. ŠLOTA thus includes all studies determined by the prefix "trans-": transnational, transatlantic, transpacific, but also transmodern studies. Within ŠLOTA, America is always plural, always the shifting center of attention, always only the name of multiple relations. At the same time, however, ŠLOTA retains the flexibility to engage culturally and geographically specific concerns, such as those that inform multiethnic Buffalo’s particular place on the U.S.-Canadian border.  In short, ŠLOTA responds to the Provost’s initiative to establish interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research opportunities and joint programmatic ventures.

     ŠLOTA is broadly inclusive. Any work produced in or on the Americas, any work that understands the Americas as the effect of or affecting another entity, in any language, would be American. The reconfigurations and reconceptualizations of the Americas and of the cultural productions of the Americas are, perhaps, nearly unlimited. While ŠLOTA requires no changes in already constituted programs, it nonetheless supports and encourages departmental efforts to rethink the limits of cultural production in the Americas. ŠLOTA constellates courses offered in various departments and programs in order precisely to think through the concepts of "culture" and "America." At the same time, ŠLOTA helps departments and programs strategize hiring across fields and periods, indeed, across departments and programs. In every case it discourages isolation and parochialism of any sort. A more inclusive notion of America would perhaps make possible an institutionalized inquiry into all kinds of "-isms" that all too often reproduce themselves within departmental structures.

     ŠLOTA seeks faculty interested in rethinking the formation of the Americas and encourages them to organize already existing courses and to develop new courses within the context of interdisciplinary and interdepartmental course clusters that would fundamentally shift how we account for the Americas.

     ŠLOTA is closely affiliated with other interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research initiatives and academic programs like Caribbean Studies (José Buscaglia), Latina Latino Studies (Augustus Puleo), and Native Studies (John Mohawk). Affiliated faculty are drawn from the departments of American Studies | Anthropology | Art History | Comparative Literature | English | Modern Languages and Literatures | Philosophy.




(in progress; not yet approved)

The undergraduate minor in Cultures and Literatures of the Americas consists in successful completion of the following courses:

I. Two 200-level Core Courses:

    The 1492 Seminar. A content-variable course that takes its point of departure from 1492 and the succeeding century. The course theorizes the Americas as a problem of encounter, taking up the necessary questions of experience and translation, of identity formation across linguistically and culturally diverse terrains. Although it is theoretically informed, this course does not emphasize theoretical readings. Instead, it focuses on the 1000-plus years of documents of nation and culture formation on either side of 1492 that institute European and New World modernities at the same time that they problematize them. The 1492 seminar opens the question of the Americas as a global problem.

    Rethinking the Americas. A theory class that explores one or more of the key-concepts that organize thought of the Americas. Such concepts could include, among others, hybridity, race, ethnicity, borders, sexuality, modernity, post/colonialism, nation, community. This course positions students to do sophisticated critical work in specific American contexts.

II. One ŠLOTA Course Cluster.
     Course clusters are made up four (4) related courses at the 300/400 level that focus on conceptual,geographical,
     historical, and linguistic problems relevant to the formation of the Americas.

    Course clusters include the following: American Colonialisms, American Diasporas, Native Studies, Race and Ethnicity, Canadian Studies, Latin American Studies.

    The ŠLOTA curriculum provides for the intensive study of concepts and issues (whether geographical, historical, or theoretical) relevant to the formation of American culture zones in global, hemispheric, and local contexts. In conjunction with the 1492 seminar and the Theorizing the Americas course, the course clusters make available the necessary armature for rethinking the frame of the Americas.

For more information about the program, contact:

David E. Johnson
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
910 Clemens Hall
SUNY at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260
Email: dj@acsu.buffalo.edu