Ethnicity and Diversity in American Literature, 1950-2000

Module code: AM2013

American and literary studies has been transformed in recent decades by a new emphasis on the work of writers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and the different perspectives they offer on American culture. At the same time, contemporary writers from such backgrounds have started making a great literary and cultural impact both in the United States and abroad.

This module will focus on a range of ethnic writing published in the second half of the 20th century, ranging from major work by Jewish American, African American and gay writers to examples of Native, Asian and Hispanic literature. The module will concentrate on issues of alienation, integration and multicultural identity by exploring the ways in which writers have responded to their particular cultural circumstances. It will look at parallels as well as contrasts between different ethnic perspectives.

The module covers various kinds of writing: novels, short stories and poems. A recurrent focus will be literary genre and style and in particular how African, Native, Hispanic and Asian American writers have adapted and/or challenged stylistic and generic conventions for their purposes.

Learning

  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 128 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Passage analysis, 1,000 words (40%)
  • Essay, 1,500 words (60%)