English 250

Research Seminar: Class and Race in U.S. Ethnic Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2007 Gonzalez, Marcial
Gonzalez, Marcial
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 202 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Benitez, S.: The Weight of All Things; Brainard, C. M.: When the Rainbow Goddess Wept; Silko, L. M.: Ceremony; Vea, A.: Gods Go Begging; Wideman, J. E.: The Lynchers


What would happen if we placed class at the center of U.S. ethnic literary studies? Is class analysis obsolete? Does the study of class in literature necessarily preclude the importance of theorizing the specificity of race and racism? How can we critique class consciousness in a literary work so as to enhance rather than limit the theorization of racial formations? In this course, we will be concerned with theorizing the relation between race and class in U.S. ethnic literature. We will begin with a careful examination of essays by Moishe Postone, whose Marxist analysis of anti-Semitism lays the foundation for a theory of race as a reified social form?or as an abstraction of social relations. We will also read selections from Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. Dubois, Barbara Fields, Rosaura S?nchez, Jinqi Ling, Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Ian Haney L?pez, Carl Guti?rrez-Jones, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Etienne Balibar and Theodore Allen, among others. The literary works we will read alongside the theoretical material represent to varying degrees the lives of racial subjects who strive to understand the historicized class character of their experiences. A research paper will be required.

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