Print Version

Effective: Summer 2014

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: ENGL 1A or 1AH or 1T or ESLL 26.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Description -
An exploration of American identity, focusing on ethnic, cultural, and national affiliations. Analysis of literary works by Native American, European American, African American, Chicano/Latino, and Asian American writers. Readings selected represent a variety of historical periods and literary genres. Emphasis on issues of identity politics, immigration, internally and externally imposed borders, cultural and linguistic power, assimilation, acculturation, and cultural pluralism as expressed through diverse voices.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. identify significant literary, social, historical, cultural and religious issues in the development of multicultural American literature.
  2. differentiate between the issues of identity among major cultural groups in the analysis of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction prose, and other genres, including oral traditions.
  3. compare literature of Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Chicano/Latino Americans, and Asian Americans to establish the complexity and inclusivity of the American literary tradition.
  4. discuss issues of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and religion and their impact on multicultural communities and literature.
  5. examine the impact of multicultural communities and literature on the establishment and definition of an American identity.
  6. recognize and apply basic literary terminologies, theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Historical and literary explorations of an American "self"
    1. Literary perspectives on first contacts between native peoples and Anglo-American settlers
    2. History of immigration patterns and attitudes surrounding different "waves" of immigrants.
    3. Issues of migration, immigration, acculturation, and assimilation in the construction of an American identity
    4. Issues of voluntary vs. involuntary migrations, and colonialism in the construction of an American identity
  2. Developing and maintaining an American identity
    1. Literary perspectives on becoming an American: gaining "insider" status
    2. Literary perspectives on the marginalization of American identities: having "outsider" status
    3. Literary perspectives on the establishment of the "other" in a multi-cultural contexts
  3. Comparative history of multicultural American literary traditions
    1. Pre-Colonial American writings, including Native American, Spanish, and Anglo-American voices
    2. Colonial American writings, including slave narratives, Spanish missionary diaries, and Anglo-American political documents.
    3. Nineteenth century American works by authors such as Ralph W. Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth.
    4. Myths, tales and legends, including Native American creation myths, Mexican folk tales, stories by Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe.
    5. American poetic voices, including slave songs, European American ballads, Mexican corridos, Ghost Dance songs, and poetry by Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Walt Whitman.
    6. Twentieth century American works by authors such as Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston , Robert Frost, Rudolfo Anaya, Sonia Sanchez, David Hwang, N. Scot Momaday.
  4. Perspectives on gender, racial, class, sexual orientation, and religious identities and literary representations
    1. Contemporary European American literary representations of the American identity
    2. Contemporary Chicano/Latino literary representations of the American identity
    3. Contemporary Asian/Pacific Islander literary representations of the American identity
    4. Contemporary African American literary representations of the American identity
    5. Contemporary Native American literary representations of the American identity
  5. Historical and contemporary works by authors of varied ethnicities
    1. Novel and short stories
    2. Poetry
    3. Non-fiction essays and autobiographies
    4. Oral literatures
  6. Relevant literary theories, terminologies, and analytic techniques
    1. Denotative and connotative meaning of words and statements
    2. Structure or development of events, emotions, images, and ideas
    3. Figurative and symbolic language in relation to central theme(s) of the work
    4. Artistic synthesis of literal and figurative details with theme(s)
    5. Historical evolution of genres and styles in appropriate literary, cultural and historical context
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Critical Papers: 2 (4-5 pages in length)
  2. Class Presentations and Reports
  3. Creative writing assignments
  4. Journals and Portfolios
  5. Midterm examination
  6. Final examination/Final portfolios and portfolio presentation
  7. Participation in class discussion in large-group and small-group formats
Representative Text(s) -
When choosing texts for this course, the instructor may wish to choose from a range of genres: history, literary criticism, poetry, novels, autobiography, short story, drama. The following are examples of texts (anthologies and full-length works) which may be appropriate to this course:
Brown, Wesley and Amy Ling, eds. Imagining America: Stories from the Promised Land. New York: Persea Books, 2002.
Joyce, Audrey B. American Contexts. New York: Longman, 2003.
Lee, Robert, Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a, and Asian American Fictions. Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.
Reed, Ishmael. From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003.
Rico, Barbara Roche and Sandra Mano. American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
Shell, Narc and W. Sollors (eds). The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature. New York: New York University Press, 2000.
Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror. NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2008.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Class lectures and mini-lessons: students will take notes and practice identifying and using various literary elements and thematic connections between texts.
  2. Small and large group discussion: students will participate in focused and purposeful group discussions to demonstrate understanding of various literary elements and thematic connections.
  3. Student-led presentations and discussions: students will lead class discussions by creating visual presentations of various literary elements and thematic connections.
  4. Socratic seminar discussions: students will lead and participate in discussions informed by thoughtful and meaningful questioning of texts and their rhetorical elements as well as questions regarding larger thematic connections between and among texts.
  5. Writing and reading workshops: students will participate in workshops to unpack readings, and share and reflect upon their own writing about these readings.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading essays, poetry, short stories, drama, and novels
  2. Reading novels and book-length texts, both fiction and non-fiction
  3. Journal responses to readings
  4. Written analysis of readings
  5. Individual/Group presentations of significant themes in literature