Well, another semester done, leaving me with only one more before I graduate!! This has made me appreciate all my Lit courses even more, since they’re the only ones I enjoy, and I won’t be getting any more of them in my post-Bac work. One course in particular this semester offered me one of the most unique collections of literature I’ve yet come across in my undergraduate career: “Multi-Ethnic American Literature.” Admittedly I was a little put off at the title for a couple reasons: (1)America IS multi-ethnic… isn’t that title a little redundant? What is the professor or the department insinuating by using this title? (2) I was certain it would be a group of white-people haters and I would feel marginalized and uncomfortable amidst the heated race-theory induced arguments that I have no desire to be a part of, and I felt completely assured that there would be no authors I would be able to connect with. I’m glad I was so fatalistic because it made my surprise all the greater. Not only was I wrong about most of the previous sentiments, but it turned out to be my favorite class. So many “I have never..”s popped up for me: I have never studied contemporary literature; I have never really read or studied writers that were not African American or White (American or British); I have never heard SO many and SO different points of view on one text or on one theory WITHOUT having a heated argument; I have never had a Professor so gifted at facilitating discussion and listening and valuing everyone’s opinion without contradicting herself and her beliefs, favoring one over another, or devaluing anyone else’s opinion; I have never thought so deeply about putting myself in someone else’s shoes until some of our class discussions; and similarly, I have never felt truly marginalized before. I was told because I’m white and heterosexual, I’m privileged; and because I’m white and heterosexual I’ve never felt the need to identify with a racial or ethnic community, that I have the “luxury” of simply identifying myself as part of an academic or extracurricular community. I have never thought of that before, and it frustrated me to be boxed into that stereotype…. but ah, isn’t that the frustration of so many other people in this world? Isn’t that frustration a root of hatred between people? On a very basic level I experienced this terrible and universal frustration, and that was only on the second day of class. I could have (and perhaps should have) blogged about all my thoughts and aha! moments, but I’ll spare you my ramblings and give you what the real intention was behind this post: my book list! There are so many wonderful and worthwhile books we read I feel almost obligated to share it with everyone (and some of the author’s are even from the central valley! Big Plus #localpride). The pictures surrounding this post are all the books we read over the semester with links to pages with a plot summary and other info in case you’re interested! [The Halfbreed Chronicles and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue are both writers from the central valley]
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On the last day of classes my Professor asked us why we took the course. I responded that (1)it was recommended to me (2) To get my CA credential I’m required to take a Multiethnic Lit course, (3) I WANTED to take a Multiethnic Lit course. On a personal level, I love books that take me outside of my own experience. Why would I want to fill my head with nothing but experiences I identify with? I’ve got myself figured out, now I want to experience the rest of the world, what are they like, what do they think, what have they done, what are they doing?! On a career-based level, I’m going to be teaching High-school/Middle school students, I like to call them “blossoming readers,” because at this age they NEED to be engaging with texts (and I don’t mean the ones they get on their phone!), not just going through the motions. I won’t get any more pedagogic on you, but my point is I want to give kids books they can connect with, maaaaybe even something they [dare I say it?] enjoy *gasp*! Most of the novels I read for this course is rated R and I’m probably not even legally able to recommend to students, but because I know that this kind of literature is out there and available I can do my own research and reading and make those [age-appropriate] texts known to the students I teach, give them something more to read than the just “rich, dead, white guy” books.
As I said before, I definitely recommend all the texts on this page, but I’ve gotta tell you, these last 3 are my favorites: M. Butterfly, In the Shadow of No Towers, and One Amazing Thing. They’re all completely different genres (a play, a graphic novel memoir, and a traditional novel, respectively), and they are all very engaging!