ENGL 295: Ethnic Voices in U.S. Literature from 1900 to Present

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2023
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Total Student Learning Hours: 162
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter, Pass/No Pass

Catalog Course Description

This course surveys, interprets, and compares writing from various ethnicities and races in the United States culture, including, but not limited to Indigenous people, Middle Eastern Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Chicanx/Latinx Americans to understand the historical contexts of the various immigrant cultures and to analyze the multiple perspectives of assimilation into the culture of the United States and inter-ethnic bridge building. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • Analyze texts written by and about ethnic Americans of the United States to recognize and compare cultural uniqueness and similarities presented in literature;
  • Evaluate the dynamic notion of ethnic literature and ethnicity: how individuals and ethnic groups struggle to define themselves against values of the dominant cultural group and within their own cultural group, and how authors position and identify themselves in their own cultures and that which represents their culture;
  • Examine the extent to which the cultural context of specific authors is central to interpreting the authors’ works;
  • Analyze the literary genres for their form, content, range of attitudes, including accommodation, protest, and affirmation as well as contextualize the work to current issues;
  • Compare and contrast the way writers define community and culture;
  • Develop new perspectives and notions about race, ethnicity, migration, immigration, assimilation, acculturation, appropriation, and discrimination as presented in the texts;
  • Compose critical analyses that depend on a strong thesis as a focal point, a convincing argument, and evidence from primary texts, secondary sources, and explication of the language of the primary source applying quotations, summaries, and paraphrases of passages with appropriate MLA documentation.

Major Course Content

This course will cover at least the four ethnic literatures (including but not limited to: Indigenous peoples, Middle Eastern Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Chicanx/Latinx Americans).  Instructors are encouraged to teach the various ethnic literatures separately but emphasize what is individual to each ethnicity as well as what is shared across ethnic American literatures.

  1. Defining ethnic literature 
    1. What is “ethnic literature”?
    2. Is it defined by the ethnicity of the author or by subject matter?
  2. Relevant Theories and Literary Criticisms
    1. Critical Race Theory
    2. Ethnic Studies and Post-Colonial Criticism
    3. Cultural Studies
  3. Terminology of ethnic literature and the problems inherent in it
    1. Assimilation vs accommodation vs adaptation vs acculturation
    2. Labeling of dominant culture vs. identity minority culture
  4. Asian American literature
    1. What constitutes “Asian American” literature?
    2. Stereotypes of Asian Americans
    3. Significant historical events
    4. Asian American literary tradition
      1. multiple presences
      2. ambivalent stories
      3. circular, fluid narratives
      4. mixing biography and fiction and its relation to identity discourse
      5. place of silence in raced and gendered relations
      6. use of native language
      7. trickster characters
      8. shifting emphasis from demonstrating successful Westernization to privileging ethnic identity 
  5. Indigenous Peoples
    1. What constitutes Indigenous literature
    2. Stereotypes of Indigenous people
    3. Significant historical events
    4. Indigenous literary history
    5. Indigenous literary tradition
      1. Circular structures
      2. “Homing in”
      3. Accretive structures
      4. Ambiguity
      5. Shifting/multiple points of view
      6. Significance of oral traditions and storytelling styles
      7. Trickster stories/characters
  6. African American literature
    1. What constitutes “African American” literature
    2. Stereotypes of African Americans
    3. Significant historical events
    4. African American literary history
    5. African American literary traditions
      1. Influence of folk elements (storytelling)
      2. Influence of music (spirituals, blues, work songs, and gospels)
      3. Tricksters and masking techniques
      4. Dual consciousness
      5. Call and response
      6. Signifying and testifying
  7. Chicanx/Latinx literature
    1. What constitutes “Chicanx or Latinx” literature
    2. Stereotypes of Chicanx and/or Latinx
    3. Significant historical events
    4. Chicanx and/or Latinx literary history
    5. Chicanx and/or Latinx literary traditions
      1. oral expressive forms, such as corridos
      2. code switching and reproduction of language
      3. significance and influence of religion and spirituality
      4. aesthetics of the border, immigration, migration
      5. construction of Chicanx/Latinx identity
      6. counter mythology of California and US as a garden, a paradise
      7. folklore
      8. magical realism
  8. Middle Eastern literature
    1. What constitutes Middle Eastern literature
    2. Stereotypes of Middle Eastern, Jewish Middle Eastern, and Arab Middle Eastern people
    3. Significant historical events
    4. Middle Eastern/Jewish Middle Eastern/ and or Arab Middle Eastern literary history
    5. Middle Eastern /Jewish Middle Eastern/ and or Arab Middle Eastern literary traditions
      1. Influence of folk elements
      2. Dual consciousness
      3. Realistic approach (full range of terms from formal to colloquial)

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Students will be required to complete the following types of assignments outside of the regular class time:
Answer discussion questions Write essays, research summaries, or journals

Examples of Outside Assignments

Formal Essays: Each student will write two 1,200-1,600 word essays. Essays will show the student's ability to interpret literature studied in class. The thesis for each must be approved by the instructor. All rough drafts and revisions are due with each final, typed essay. All formal and in-class essays will be assessed on content, organization, style, and mechanics.
Unit Exams : Each exam will be part objective and part essay. The exams will call students to analyze literature studied in class and to demonstrate a critical understanding of literary theory and key concepts of a particular period of literature.
Quizzes: Quizzes will be based on readings and lectures to help students monitor their comprehension skills.
Responses: Written responses to readings will be completed weekly. Students will respond to a topic on an assigned reading in order to develop independent critical thinking skills.
Final Exam: A comprehensive final exam will be given at the end of the semester.

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture