2/17/2020 2 2014

14106242082'01
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Students should read the assigned texts for class discussion, and bring the course booklet



When President Obama was first elected, some people said America has reached a post-ethnic age. However, it seems that ethnicity is still a major defining category of American identity and of American identity-politics. This course examines literary representations of various ethnic experiences in 20th century America. What is ethnicity and what determines the ways in which ethnicity is defined? How do definitions change throughout the 20th century and why? What makes ethnicity an important category in the US? What marks a certain author an ethnic author, or the text an ethnic text? How do ethnic-American authors grapple with notions of American identity and difference? What can be gained by a comparative reading of ethnic-American texts? This course addresses these questions by analyzing twentieth century literary works written by Native, Asian, Jewish and African American authors


The aim of this course is to introduce students to a variety of literary works written by Native, Asian, Jewish and African American authors, and to challenge their perception of the meaning and the experience of ethnic identity


We will read a selection of literary works written by Native, Asian, Jewish and African American authors throughout the twentieth century, including Yezierska, Far, McNickle, Hughes, Silko, Yamamoto, Ozick, Walker, Alexie, Kingston and Jen


Lecture and class discussion





Active participation, a midterm paper and a final exam

Active participation in class and readers response 10%

A short paper 35%

A final exam 55%



All texts are in the course's booklet


Anzia Yezierska, The Lost Beautifulness (1920), Hungry Hearts, penguin Books, 1999.

Sui Sin Far, Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1910), Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings, U of Illinois P, 1995.

DArcy McNickle, Hard Riding (), The Hawk is Hungry and Other Stories, U of Arizona P, 1992.

Langston Hughes, Slave on the Block (1933), The Ways of White Folks, Vintage 1990.

 Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony, Penguin, 1977.

Hisaye Yamamoto, The Legend of Miss Sasagawara, Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories, Rutgers 2006.

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl, Vintage, 1990.

Alice Walker, The Revenge of Hannah Kemhuff, In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women, New York, 1973.

Maxine Hong Kingston, No Name Woman, The Woman Warrior: Memories of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Vintage 1989.

Sherman Alexie, The Trial of Thomas Builds-the-Fire, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Grove Press, 2005.

Gish Jen, Duncan in China, Whos Irish?, Vintage 2000.