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Race versus Gender in the United States

ENGL 290.912
instructor(s):
MW 5:30-8:10

We will read two groups of novels and memoirs written by American women in the twentieth century: one comprises African-American writers, the other Asian- and South Asian-American writers. For white, middle-class and upper-middle class American women, issues of sexism in the second half of the twentieth century remain relatively straightforward--equal pay for equal work, equal educational and employment opportunity, as well as the reformation of certain social and legal biases. This is not the case for American women of color, who struggle not only with their identity and freedoms as women but also their identity and freedoms as non-white Americans. Class discussions and presentations, as well as papers, will examine the relative impact of race versus gender in the novels and memoirs of women, including writers such as Ann Petry, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Requirements: class attendance and participation; one class presentation; and a final paper.