English 4640G: Construction of Racial Identity in Post Civil War America

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2014-01-16 15:29Z by Steven

English 4640G: Construction of Racial Identity in Post Civil War America

Huron University College at Western University
London, Ontario, Canada
Winter 2013

Neil Brooks, Associate Professor, English

Course Description: Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination argues that the canonical American literary tradition can only be understood after recognizing the presence of an often silenced, but almost ubiquitous Africanist persona. This persona served as a negative stereotype against which the dominant American identity could define itself. However, even Morrison’s groundbreaking work re-inscribes the binary between Black and White in America and fails to theorize adequately the ways in which bi-racial and multi-racial identity have complicated the ideologies she discusses. This course will begin with Morrison’s analysis and then look at several novels and stories which the explore the instability of any color line between Black and White in America.

Course Objectives: This course addresses the examination of how racial identity, particularly mixed race identity, is constructed in America through close engagement with selected literary works written by Americans since the end of the Civil War. By the end of the course students should have improved their critical reading and writing in ways which will enable their success in a wide variety of University courses. Further, students will have learned American historical background, feminist literary theory, patterns of racial construction, theories of performativity, and skills in analyzing artistic achievement within the works. Finally, the course aims to provide the framework for applying these skills and knowledge in engaging with the narratives students will encounter and create outside the classroom.

Course Material:

For more information, click here.

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Literature and Racial Ambiguity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2012-10-13 01:25Z by Steven

Literature and Racial Ambiguity

320 pages
8.7 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
Hardback ISBN: 978-90-420-1428-2 / 90-420-1428-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-90-420-1418-3 / 90-420-1418-0

Edited by:

Teresa Hubel, Associate Professor of English
Huron University College in London, Ontario

Neil Brooks, Associate Professor of English
Huron University College at Western University, London, Ontario


  • Neil Brooks and Teresa Hubel: Introduction
  • 1. Peter Clandfield: “What Is In My Blood?”: Contemporary Black Scottishness and the work of Jackie Kay
  • 2. Neluka Silva: “Everyone was Vaguely Related”: Hybridity and the Politics of Race in Sri Lankan Literary Discourses in English
  • 3. Teresa Zackodnik: Passing Transgressions and Authentic Identity in Jessie Fauset’s Plum Bun and Nella Larsen’s Passing
  • 4. Myriam Perregaux: Whiteness as Unstable Construction: Kate Pullinger’s The Last Time I Saw Jane
  • 5. Bella Adams: Becoming Chinese: Racial Ambiguity in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club
  • 6. Jennifer Sparrow: Strategic Créolité. Caliban and Miranda after Empire
  • 7. Jennifer Gibbs: White Identity and the New Ethic in Faulkner’s Light In August
  • 8. Elizabeth DeLoughrey: White Fathers, Brown Daughters: the Frisbie Family Romance and the American Pacific
  • 9. Rita Keresztesi Treat: Writing Culture and Performing Race in Mourning Dove’s Cogewea, The Half-Blood ‘(1927)
  • 10. Kathryn Nicol: Visible Differences: Viewing Racial Identity in Toni Morrison’s Paradise and “Recitatif”
  • 11. Yvette Tan: Looking Different/Rethinking Difference: Global Constants and/or Contradictory Characteristics in Yasmine Gooneratne’s A Change of Skies and Adib Kalim’s Seasonal Adjustments
  • 12. Margaret D. Stetz: Jessie Fauset’s Fiction: Reconsidering Race and Revising Aestheticism
  • 13. Paul Allatson: “I May Create A Monster”: Cherríe Moraga’s Transcultural Conundrum
  • 14. Michele Hunter: Revisiting the Third Space: Reading Danzy Senna’s Caucasia
  • Notes on the Authors
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