ENGL 222 B1: Reading Race and Ethnicity

T. Zackodnik

This course introduces students to the critical concepts and methods key to the study of race, ethnicity, and their representation through a primary focus on the United States, where critical race theory first emerged. Aiming to examine race and ethnicity as cultural constructions producing historical and material realities, we will work to understand the implications of race and ethnicity as historical, social, and analytical categories for literary study. When does ethnicity emerge as a concept and to what does it respond? How have definitions of racial difference shifted in the United States and with what effects? How are terms like "blackness," "people of color," "Asian American" strategic identifications and political articulations in particular historical moments? We will consider such questions as we examine how literary and cultural texts might be shaped by and respond to constructions of race and ethnicity.