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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2007

E 314L • Approaches to Ethnic and Minority American Literatures

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34920 MW
4:30 PM-6:00 PM
WAG 308

Course Description

The main goal of this course is to equip future English majors with the necessary skills to engage a broad range of ethnic and minority American literatures. We will approach the works of African American, Chicana/o, Indian (Bengali) American, Chinese American and Native American authors from cultural, formal, and historical perspectives. Students should also expect to develop some understanding of the specific political contexts that inform these literatures as this background information will enhance our readings of each text. In particular, we will look at ways that readings generated from within the authors' respective communities produce different interpretations than readings generated from outside that community.

In addition, students will develop skills that will aid them as they continue in the English Department. We will pursue such topics as how to write successfully about literature, how to discuss literature in a classroom setting, how to incorporate secondary sources into one's own written arguments, and finally, students will spend considerable time learning how to do close readings of various texts.

Grading Policy

10 one-page reading responses 20%
2 three-page essays worth 15% each
1 five-page final essay 25%
Peer reviews of formal essays 5%
Quizzes, in-class writing, participation, and attendance 10%
Individual presentations 10%


Alexie, Sherman, Reservation Blues, New York: Warner, 1995
Hong Kingston, Maxine, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, New York: Knopf, 1976
Lahiri, Jhumpa, Interpreter of Maladies, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999
Morrison, Toni, Sula, New York: Knopf, 1973
Viramontes, Helena Maria, The Moths and Other Stories, Houston: Arte P├║blico, 1985
Film clips from Smoke Signals, (1998) Dir. Chris Eyre
Supplemental primary and secondary readings TBA


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