Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


An exploration of American identity, focusing on ethnic, cultural, and national affiliations. Analysis of literary works by (including among others) Native American, European American, African American, Latino/a, Arab American, Asian American, and mixed race writers. Readings selected represent a variety of historical periods and literary genres. Emphasis on issues of identity politics, immigration, internally and externally imposed borders, cultural and linguistic power, assimilation, acculturation, and cultural pluralism as expressed through diverse voices.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Identify significant literary, social, historical, cultural and religious issues in the development of multicultural American literature.
B. Differentiate between the issues of identity among major cultural groups in the analysis of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction prose, and other genres, including oral traditions.
C. Compare literature of (including among others) Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Chicano/Latino Americans, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, and mixed race writers to establish the complexity and inclusiveness of the American literary tradition.
D. Discuss issues of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and religion and their impact on multicultural communities and literature.
E. Examine how identity and genre intersect in multicultural literatures.
F. Recognize and apply basic literary terminologies, theories, motifs, and analytical techniques appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature.

Course Content

A. Literary, social, historical, cultural, and religious explorations of American multiculturalism
1. Literary perspectives on first contacts between native peoples and Anglo-American settlers
2. History of immigration patterns and attitudes surrounding different "waves" of immigrants
3. Issues of migration, immigration, acculturation, and assimilation in the construction of an American identity
4. Issues of voluntary vs. involuntary migrations, and colonialism in the construction of an American identity
B. Developing and maintaining an American identity
1. Literary perspectives on becoming an American: gaining "insider" status
2. Literary perspectives on the marginalization of American identities: having "outsider" status
3. Literary perspectives on the establishment of the "other" in a multi-cultural contexts
C. Comparative history of multicultural American literary traditions
1. Pre-Colonial American writings, including Native American, Spanish, and Anglo-American voices
2. Colonial American writings, including slave narratives, Spanish missionary diaries, and Anglo-American political documents
3. Nineteenth century American works by authors such as Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth
4. Myths, tales and legends, including Native American creation myths, Mexican folk tales, stories by Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe
5. American poetic voices, including slave songs, European American ballads, Mexican corridos, Ghost Dance songs, and poetry by Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Walt Whitman
6. Twentieth century American works by authors such as Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Frost, Rudolfo Anaya, Sonia Sanchez, David Hwang, N. Scott Momaday
7. Twenty-first century American works, especially post 9/11 works by writers such as Marjane Satrapi
D. Perspectives on gender, racial, class, sexual orientation, and religious identities and literary representations
1. Contemporary European American literary representations of the American identity
2. Contemporary Latino/a literary representations of the American identity
3. Contemporary Asian/Pacific Islander literary representations of the American identity
4. Contemporary African American literary representations of the American identity
5. Contemporary Native American literary representations of the American identity
6. Contemporary Arab American literary representations of the American identity
7. Contemporary mixed race and other literary representations of multicultural American identity
E. Historical and contemporary works by authors of varied ethnicities
1. Novel and short stories
2. Poetry
3. Non-fiction essays and autobiographies
4. Oral literatures
F. Relevant literary terminologies, theories, and analytic techniques
1. Denotative and connotative meaning of words and statements
2. Structure or development of events, emotions, images, and ideas
3. Figurative and symbolic language in relation to central theme(s) of the work
4. Artistic synthesis of literal and figurative details with theme(s)
5. Historical evolution of genres and styles in appropriate literary, cultural and historical context

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment needed.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access, ongoing access to computer with email and basic software capabilities.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Critical papers: 2 (4-5 pages in length)
Class presentations and reports
Creative writing assignments
Journals and portfolios
Midterm examination
Final examination/final portfolios and portfolio presentation
Participation in class discussion in large-group and small-group formats

Method(s) of Instruction

During periods of instruction, students will attend class lectures and mini-lessons; take notes and practice identifying and using various literary elements and thematic connections between texts; participate in small and large group discussion; deliver presentations; write various informal assignments; and compose analytical essays
Student-led presentations and discussions: students will lead class discussions by creating visual presentations of various literary elements and thematic connections
Socratic seminar discussions: students will lead and participate in discussions informed by thoughtful and meaningful questioning of texts and their rhetorical elements as well as questions regarding larger thematic connections between and among texts
Writing and reading workshops: students will participate in workshops to unpack readings, and share and reflect upon their own writing about these readings

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Although some texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal texts in this area of study.

When choosing texts for this course, the instructor may wish to choose from a range of genres: history, literary criticism, poetry, novels, autobiography, short story, drama. The following are examples of texts (anthologies and full-length works) which may be appropriate to this course:
A. Brown, Wesley, and Amy Ling, eds. Imagining America: Stories from the Promised Land. New York: Persea Books, 2002.
B. Bui, Thinh. The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir. Abrams ComicArts, 2017.
C. Joyce, Audrey B. American Contexts. New York: Longman, 2003.
D. Lee, Robert. Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a, and Asian American Fictions. MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.
E. Levine, Robert S., ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter 9th ed. Norton, 2017.
F. Mazer, Anne. America Street: A Multicultural Anthology of Stories. Revised ed. Persea, 2019.
G. Orange, Tommy. There There: A Novel. Knopf, 2018.
H. Reed, Ishmael. From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas 1900-2002. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003.
I. Rico, Barbara Roche, and Sandra Mano. American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
J. Shell, Narc, and W. Sollors, eds. The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature. New York: University Press, 2000.
K. Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008.
L. Woods, Jamila, et al., eds. The BreakBeat Poets, Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. Haymarket Books, 2018.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Reading essays, poetry, short stories, drama, and novels
B. Reading novels and book-length texts, both fiction and non-fiction
C. Journal responses to readings
D. Written analysis of readings
E. Individual/group presentations of significant themes in literature