Early American Literature examines the cultures and literatures of the Americas from the colonial period through the early national period of the United States (ca. 1820). Beginning with Native American expressions and oral traditions, it ranges widely across the Americas, from Francophone writings in the north to Ibero-American literature in the south. Interdisciplinary in its origins, early American literature fosters close ties with other departments, including history, religious studies, and romance languages, in order to find the best methodological approaches for grappling with writings that often sit uneasily in any particular genre. The particular strengths at Washington University lie in African American literary traditions, Puritanism, transatlantic sentimentalism, and the role of religion in shaping literature and culture.