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HUM 2319 OC American Minority Studies Discussion

HUMA 2319: Week Two Lecture, Notes, and Materials—

Now that we have an overview of minority struggles in a broader context, we can turn our attention to specifically American minorities and how both the existence and label creates a space or place that is equally unique and oppressive. Many of you have probably already taken a “history” course, but I intentionally misuse the term here because history is nothing more than a record of the those who conqueror and dominate a culture and society.

In other words, subjected peoples do not have the opportunity to tell their story in fashion that is considered “true” because they have no voice—they only exist in the margins. And it is here that we hope to explore who these people are and how to help them speak. Thus, for this week, we will address texts by ‘double minorities’ in order to ground our examination in a sub-group within a sub-group. Gloria Anzaldua defines such a label as both a woman and woman of color. Therefore, the person is placed in a position that implies two types of inferiority within the greater social context: they are not male and not Caucasian. Where then does Our/Their America exist? Does it exist? For some, it can only occur within the confines of literature and theory. With that idea in mind, the required reading this week includes secondary pieces on Leslie Marmon Silko and an interview with Ana Castillo. Furthermore, the required theoretical and Erdrich articles are specific to how stories can heal, but we need to think more complex than “healing”; we need to think in terms of communal catharsis: the ability to not just purge but deal with pain, subjection, etc. via its appearance in art—literature, in this case

Discussion Board Question: For your discussion board assignment this week, you are required to respond to one of the readings and evidence your argument with ONE other scholarly source. This assignment serves two purposes. First, it tests your analysis of the material, and two, it prepares you for the mid-term exam. Exact criteria will be given next week, but the syllabus already clear indicates the assignment requirements.

Before you respond, ask yourself some guiding questions: what do the authors want the audience to learn, and how can we review the information as a cultural artifact—i.e. how is Silko’s excerpt or Castillo’s interview a representation of their own peoples’ experiences in America? In other words, are they providing the audience with a new and specifically minority “history”? (Remember, think within the context that narratives can be cathartic.)

Discussion of the required readings and/or materials is crucial to understanding the historical, social, political, linguistic, and/or philosophical aspects of each piece and how they represent an investment in or critique of culture through mimesis. Therefore, students are required to answer weekly discussion board questions in a minimum of 150 words and respond to at least two of their classmates in 75 words each. Initial posts are due by 11:59 on Friday of each work week, and responses to classmates are due by 11:59 on Sunday of each work week. At least one additional scholarly source is required to support students’ initial claims each week, and each source must be correctly cited in-text (as a parenthetical reference) and in the Work Cited in MLA style and format. (The materials I provide in the course DO NOT count towards your secondary sources. Outside research is required for every assignment).


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