ENGL356                                                                                                                                                                               Prof. Fatima Mujcinovic

Mon, Wed 12-1:50                                                                                                                                                                  Office hrs: M, W 10-12

Converse 102                                                                                                                                                                          Foster 213; Ph: 832-2370

Spring 2007                                                                                                                                                                            fm@westminstercollege.edu







Course Description

This course will provide a study of twentieth century U.S. minority literature, focusing on African American, Latino/a, Asian American, and Native American writers. Our class lectures and discussions will focus on identity politics presented in these works in an attempt to examine the interplay of different social and psychological factors that impact minority identities. While examining marginality, minority, and hybridity as sociopolitical and cultural concepts, we will pay close attention to the intersecting categories of class, race/ethnicity, gender, and geopolitics that inform these narratives. To complement class readings, we will also watch several videos and films that portray minority experiences from various perspectives.

You are expected to finish assigned readings by the posted due date, which will enable you to follow lectures and participate in class discussions. The primary class assignments are two exams (midterm and final), one presentation, and a final research paper (9-12pgs). The midterm and final exams will test your knowledge of the course readings and all lecture material. They will include essay questions and textual excerpts for identification/analysis. The aim of the research paper is to perfect your writing skills and your ability to analyze literary texts in depth. I will suggest specific topics for the paper, but you are allowed to write on your own topic if you discuss it with me prior to your draft. Finally, the presentation will allow you to research specific topics on your own and present them in a multi-media format. There will be no make-up exams or deadline extensions for any class assignment.

Attendance, and participation dependent on your attendance, will significantly affect your final grade. Note that each three unexcused absences will lower your final grade for a 1/3 (for example, after three absences an A- goes down to a B+), while more than seven absences will prevent you from earning the required four credits and thus passing this class. When you miss a class, you are responsible for getting from your classmates (not from me) class notes and all pertinent class information of that day. To maintain a professional, academic atmosphere, please do not bring cell phones, iPods, food, or anything else inappropriate for the classroom.

Finally, for the College’s statement on academic honesty, please refer to the Academic Catalogue or the Student Handbook. If you have a disability for which you will need accommodations in this class, please let me know as soon as possible. You will also be required to provide documentation of your disability to the Services for Students with Disabilities program in the START Center in Carleson Hall at 832-2280.



Grade Distribution

--midterm exam                                   25%

--final exam                             25%

--research paper                                   30%

--presentation                           20%



Required Texts

Toni Morrison, Beloved.

Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban.

Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior.

Sherman Alexie, First Indian on the Moon.

Xeroxed material provided by the instructor



Student Presentations:

Wk 2: Slavery in the US

Wk 4: The Civil Rights Movement

Wk 6: The Chicano and Puerto Rican Movements in the 1960s

Wk 6: The Cuban Revolution and Exile to the US

Wk 10: Asian American Poetry

Wk 12: Discussion of Mississippi Masala

Wk 13: Native American Poetry

Wk 15: Discussion of Smoke Signals




Syllabus (subject to change)


Week 1                        Introduction               

Mon, Jan. 8                  Class Goals and Methodology

Wed, Jan. 10                US Minority Experiences


Week 2                        African American Literature

Mon, Jan. 15                Martin Luther King Jr. Day (college closed)

Tue, Jan. 16                 academic Monday: Slavery in the US (SP); F. Douglass

Wed, Jan. 17                T. Morrison, Beloved


Week 3           

Mon, Jan. 22                continue Beloved        

Wed, Jan. 24                continue above


Week 4           

Mon, Jan. 29                conclude Beloved

Wed, Jan. 31                Civil Rights Movement (SP); Poetry


Week 5           

Mon, Feb. 5                 R. Wright, J. Baldwin

Wed, Feb. 7                 G. Naylor


Week 6                        Latino/a Literature

Mon, Feb. 12               Latino Movements (SP); Poetry, E. Galarza

Wed, Feb. 14               Cuban Revolution (SP); C. Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban


Week 7           

Mon, Feb. 19               Presidents’ Day (College closed)

Wed, Feb. 21               continue Dreaming in Cuban


Week 8                        Spring Break


Week 9           

Mon, March 5              conclude Dreaming in Cuban; midterm essay topics

Wed, March 7              G. Gomez Peña, G. Anzaldúa; midterm due


Week 10          Asian American Literature

Mon, March 12                        Poetry (SP); S. Sin Far, J. Okada

Wed, March 14                        H. Yamamoto, B. Mukherjee, (R. Martinez, “From India to Silicon V.”)


Week 11

Mon, March 19                        M.H. Kingston, The Woman Warrior

Wed, March 21                        continue above


Week 12         

Mon, March 26                        Mississippi Masala (film screening)

Wed, March 28                        discussion (SP)


Week 13          Native American Literature

Mon, April 2                Poetry (SP); Zitkala-Sa, L.M. Silko

Wed, April 4                B. Cameron, J. Forbes, P. Allen Gunn


Week 14

Mon, April 9                S. Alexie, First Indian on the Moon

Wed, April 11              continue above


Week 15         

Mon, April 16              Smoke Signals (film screening); research paper due

Wed, April 18              discussion (SP)


Week 16         

Mon, April 23             final exam