Questioning American Multiculturalism and Multiracialism
Spring Quarter 2015
English 242 G: Questioning American Multiculturalism and Multiracialism
Instructor: Leanne Day
This class will analyze and grapple with understanding race (in particular mixed race), gender, sexuality, class, and identity in America and what we consider American literature. In thinking through questions of immigration, assimilation, and citizenship, we will discuss how authors imagine and narrate American identity. Some of the questions we will engage with over the quarter are: What constitutes the body of fiction that we identify as organizing and defining American? How do we consider and contest the ways in which literature operates? How does fiction meditate on the boundaries of culture? Over the quarter, we will be reading novels and short stories that focus on how fiction opens up possibilities of imagination that not only reflect social and cultural history, but also consider alternatives to our realities. How do the varying texts individually and collectively resist and reinforces assumptions about America? How does a post 9/11 moment along with an Obama presidency contribute to, complicate, and develop the complexities of understanding ideas of multiculturalism and multiracialism?
We will read a broad range of contemporary fiction as well as some general theoretical texts, most of which will be included in the Course Reader. Other texts will include novels such as:
Celeste Ng’s 2014 Everything I Never Told You (ISBN-10: 159420571X; ISBN-13: 978-1594205712),
Junot Diaz’s 2013 This is How You Lose Her (ISBN-10: 1594631778; ISBN-13: 978-1594631771), and
Paul Beatty’s 1996 White Boy Shuffle (ISBN-10: 031228019X, ISBN-13: 978-0312280192).
Other readings may include in whole or part: Kate Chopin, James Baldwin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Maxine Hong Kingston, Octavia Butler, and Danzy Senna.
Students should expect to actively participate in class activities, including lectures, group presentations, group work, online posts, and discussions. It is crucial to bring an open-minded, curious, and respectful attitude to this class in order to foster engaging and productive discussion.
This class counts for a "W" writing credit, and will require students to write shorter papers (3-4 pages each) and a final paper (6-9 pages). Students can also expect to write semi-formal reading responses throughout the quarter.
*Books will be available at the bookstore, but I encourage you to check online or half price books as well.
*Course pack will be available from Ave Copy