English 166AC

Special Topics in American Cultures: Racial Modernity


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Lye, Colleen
Lye, Colleen
TTh 12:30-2 56 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Chin, F.: Chickencoop Chinaman and Year of the Dragon; Bulosan, C.: America is in the Heart; Dubois, W.E.B.: Dark Princess, The Souls of Black Folk; James, C.L.R.: The Black Jacobins; Steinbeck, J.: Of Mice and Men; Wright, R.: Native Son; Yoneda, K.: Ganbatte

Description

It is by now something of a truism that the reason why there is no socialism in the United States is because in this country race matters more than class. Nevertheless, this course will take up as its challenge a serious revisitation of this question. We will do so by situating U.S. race and class relations within an international context of modernization and industrial capitalism. How does U.S. racial formation relate to examples of twentieth-century anti-colonial nationalism around the world? Can an alternative genealogy of Afro-Asian solidarity or Third Worldist thinking be found among U.S. minority writers? What are the legacies left by slavery and colonialism on twentieth-century U.S. culture? How have African American and Asian American writers theorized oppression and imagined emancipation? We will place African American and Asian American writing in critical dialogue with each other, with standard works of Western Marxism, and with postcolonial theory. Our project will be both to consider the theoretical power of U.S. minority contributions to a world canon on revolution and to gain a more comparative understanding of the making of the U.S. working class.

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