Introduction to U.S. Minority Literature: The Myth of the Melting Pot

Course Number: ENGL 50
Prerequisites: None
General Education Areas Fulfilled: GE Area G Requirement, Writing Requirement, Ethnicity Requirement
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 50
Quarter: Summer B 2013
Instructor: Cannon, Nissa
Day(s): MTWR
Time: 5:00 PM - 6:25 PM
Location: GIRV 2127
Description:

Throughout the 20th century, the United States has frequently been referred to as the great “melting pot” and envisioned as a country where immigrants’ cultural identities are subsumed into the fabric of the nation and everyone comes out “American.” Despite this, modern America reveals a plurality of traditions that have done anything but disappear in the face of some culturally dominant conception of “Americanness.”

This course will critically examine the idea of the “melting pot” by looking at multi-ethnic sites of cultural diversity, hybridity and intersectionality in works produced in the 20th century. Through fiction by authors including Jean Toomer, Paule Marshall, Sherman Alexie and Junot Diaz--and  accompanying critical and theoretical readings--we will question the validity of the “melting pot” metaphor and explore new methods of talking about both multi-ethnic American identity and American literature.