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This seminar continues our close reading of short stories, exploring the ways they shed light on different aspects of our individual and collect identities as Americans. In each class we will discuss two or three stories, thematically rather than chronologically, discovering how American writers over the last two hundred years grapple with issues such as womanhood, race, war, the immigrant experience, and other cultural concerns that continue to define us. Students will find all the stories collected in "The Oxford Book of American Short Stories," second edition, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Some additional stories will be provided by the instructor. Prior to the first class session, participants should read Stowe's "The Ghost in the Mill," Freeman's "Old Woman Magoun," and Erdrich's "Fleur." NO PREREQUISITE: Students who have not taken the first session are welcome.