CMLT679B - Topics in Comparative Studies; US Multiethnic Literature

(This course is cross-listed as ENGL659 - it is the same course with the same content)

The U.S. operates under a national fiction of multiculturalism. The American melting pot, or perhaps even its newest iteration, the mixed salad, functions through the reinforcement of narratives of cultural exceptionalism and a reification of identity politics.

Multiculturalism, however, is rooted in broader histories and theories of racial, ethnic, and cultural contact, which include miscegenation (U.S.), the Cosmic Race (Mexico), and transculturation (Cuba) to name a few. In this class, we will read a series of texts that reflect and shape literary multiculturalism. The primary and secondary texts in this course also question the politics of identity formation and affiliation. The goal of this course is to trace the origins of multiculturalism, as well as the problematics of utilizing this term.

Some operating key terms in this course include, but are not limited to, immigration, assimilation, miscegenation, race, ethnicity, pluralism, essentialism, and cultural exceptionalism.