- Nella Larson, Passing. Penguin Classic 2003 edition. Link to purchase on Amazon
- Nella Larson, Passing. 1st edition, 1929. From Internet Archive.
- Anna Deveare Smith, Twilight Los Angeles, 1992 (Anchor Books, ISBN 9780385473767)
Introduction: Identities in Context
- Langston Hughes, “Theme for English B” (handed out in our first class)
- Jewelle Gomez, “The Event of Becoming” (1997) (handed out in our first class)
- Aurora Levins Morales, “Child of the Americas” (1986) (handed out in our first class)
Nation, Refuge, Empire: America’s Contested Identity Stories
- John Winthrop, excerpt from “A Model of Christian Charity” (1630) and “What Warrant Have We to Take this Land?” (1629)
- Ronald Takaki, excerpt from “The ‘Tempest’ in the Wilderness: The Racialization of Savagery,” from A Different Mirror (2008)
- New York Times video (5 min): “National Identity is Made Up”
American Freedom, American Slavery
- Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence” (draft and final, 1776)
- Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (1852)
- Mark Lamont Hill, “Preface,” from Nobody (2016)
America is a Poem
America is a Settler Society
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, “Introduction: This Land,” from An Indigenous People’s History of the United States (2015)
- Zitkala-Sa, “School Days of an Indian Girl” (1900)
- “Prologue,” from There There by Tommy Orange (2018)
- Nikole Hannah-Jones, “America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One,” The New York Times, August, 2019, in “The 1619 Project”.
“Wretched refuse of your teeming shore”: America and Immigrants
- Sui Sin Far, “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian” (1909)
- Theodore Roosevelt, “True Americanism” (1894).
- Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (1882).
- Excerpt from Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (1946).
- Excerpt from John Okada, No-No Boy (1957).
- Kat Chow, “’Model Minority’ Myth Again Used as a Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks”
Film: Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 3: The House We Live In
America is a Land of Black, White, and In-between
- Brooklyn College Listening Project: Introduction, Part 1 Before class, watch: New York Times “Hyphen Nation” video.
- Brooklyn College Listening Project: Introduction, Part 2: Before class, listen to one interview of your choice from the Brooklyn Historical Society oral history collection.
America is a Borderzone
- Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Chapters 1 & 5, 7.
- Anzaldua, Borderlands Ch.1
- Anzaldua, How to Tame a Wild Tongue Ch. 5
- Anzaldua, La Conciencia de la Mestiza Ch. 7
America is a Prison
Tu (11/5) • Mine Okubo, excerpts from Citizen 13660 (PDF to be supplied) Th (11/7) • In-class film: The Prison in 12 Landscapes (dir. Brett Story, 2016)
Tu (11/12) • Michelle Alexander, excerpts from The New Jim Crow (PDF to be supplied) Th (11/14) • TBA
Performing American Identities
Tu (11/19) In-class film: Paris Is Burning (dir. Jennie Livingston); Second paper due
Th (11/21) Anna Deveare Smith, Twilight Los Angeles
Tu (11/26) Smith, Twilight Los Angeles
Th (11/28) No class – Thanksgiving
Tu (12/3) Smith, Twilight Los Angeles
Th (12/5) Smith, Twilight Los Angeles
America: Diaspora Nation?
Tu (12/10) Henry Yu, “Los Angeles and American Studies in a Pacific World of Migrations,”
American Quarterly 56.3 (Sept. 2004)