Minorities in Literature
Professor W. Lawrence Hogue
This is a general, upper-division reading course in the literatures of America’s four major racial/ethnic groups: Asian Americans, American Indians, African Americans, and Latinos/Latinas, with acknowledgment of an emerging Muslim community. The current renaissance in these four (or five) literatures is an exciting phenomenon, which is engaging and re-writing America. The course will focus on fiction and will examine the various trends and diverse voices within the literatures of the four groups. It will take a historical and developmental approach to each literature, beginning with the early part of the twentieth century and focusing on the diverse national groups within each and how that diversity impacts the production of the four literatures. As four of America’s major minority literatures, two immigrant literatures and two indigenous literatures, the course is particularly interested in examining how these differences are re-inscribed in the literatures. The American Indian readings will be taken from James Welch’s Winter In The Blood, Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, and Sherman Alexie’s The Toughest Indian In The World and/or Ten Little Indians. The Asian American readings will be taken from John Okada’s No No Boy, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, and Andrew X Pham’s Catfish and Mandala. The African American readings will be taken from Percival Everett’s Erasure, Paule Marshall’s Praisesong For the Widow, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, and William Henry Lewis’s I Got Somebody in Staunton. The Latino/a readings will be taken from Dagoberto Gilb’s The Magic of Blood, Julia Alverez’s How The Garcia Girls Lost their Accents. The Muslim text will be taken from mohja kahf’s the girl in the tangerine scarf. Student is required to take a mid-term exam and a final exam and write a short paper.