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American Ethnic Literature

American Ethnic Literature

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American Ethnic Literature

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  1. American Ethnic Literature World Literature 2 Fall 2005

  2. American Literature • The “canon” • Often seen as predominantly European-American • Authorized by intellectual and academic establishment • …But there’s more to a nation’s literature than meets the eye…

  3. America is multicultural; so is its literature… • Remember our discussion on African literature: • According to Ngugi wa Thiong’o: • there can be multiple literary traditions that can coalesce into a global literary tradition • The “many” enhance each other, teach each other, learn from each other

  4. Some American Authors and their Cultural Backgrounds • Naomi Shihab Nye—Arab-American • Andrew Peynetsa, N. Scott Momaday—Native American • Amy Tan: Chinese-American • William Saroyan: Armenian-American • Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou: African-American • Vicki Xiong, Mai Neng Moua: Hmong American • Edwidge Danticat: Haitian-American • Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee: Indian-American • Cristina Garcia: Cuban-American • Chaim Potok: American Jewish stories

  5. Identity • Identity is a fundamental issue in much American minority literature • Contact between ethnic identity and “American” identity concepts; “home” country vs. “new” country • “concept of “contact zone” • Issues of “fitting in”; belonging • Search for an authentic place and existence

  6. Jimmy Santiago Baca • http://jimmysantiagobaca.com • Modern American Poetry: Jimmy Santiago Baca • Baca on Poemhunter.com • “mestizo”—Native American as well as Hispanic background • Rough early life: • Abandoned as a child • 6.5 years in “the joint”--max. security prison in AZ • BA from U of New Mexico in 1984; PhD in 2003

  7. Importance of language to JSB • “…language, the vowels, the consonants, the syllables all became a sort of pyre which the past was placed on, and burned in the flames of language.” • Language as: • Freedom • Re-creator (or, as JSB says, de-creator) • Medium of forging reality through poetry