Ethno–Racial Identity Configurations in American Narratives. Cross–Cultural Encounters
Instructor: Dana Mihăilescu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This course investigates different stances of ethno-racial identity configurations and cross-cultural encounters in American literature throughout time, focusing on the relations between collective and individual memory and trauma, mainstream and minority tensions, as well as ethno-racial and ethical dilemmas. The course looks at identity as a contextually based-fluid category, the result of spaces of negotiation. By examining moments of struggle and power imbalance in the relation between mainstream and minority groups, the course also explores the fundamental role of literature in mourning and historical reparation. Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Theories of identity, assimilation, and ethnic writing in the U.S. [melting pot, 100% Americanism, cultural pluralism, multiculturalism, affiliation / post-ethnicity; transcultural autoethnography, cultural zone] David A. Biale. “The Melting Pot and Beyond.” Best Contemporary Jewish Writing. Ed. Michael Lerner. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2001. 8–14.
Mary Louise Pratt. “Criticism in the Contact Zone.” Imperial Eyes. Travel Writing and Transculturation. New York: Routledge, 1992. 1–12.
Matthew Frye Jacobson. “Introduction. The Fabrication of Race.” Whiteness of a Different Color. European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. 1–12. Case studies: Art Spiegelman, “The Eye-Ball”; Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture, 1993 Week 3: Ethno-racial Identity Configurations and the Work of Memory. Theoretical Considerations Types of memory: Mieke Bal. “Introduction.” Acts of Memory. Cultural Recall in the Present. Eds. Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe and Leo Spitzer. Hanover: Dartmouth College University Press of New England, 1999. VII– XVII.
Postmemory and “points of memory”: Marianne Hirsch. “Surviving Images: Holocaust Photographs and the Work of Postmemory.”...
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