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Home > Academics > Undergraduate > Ethnic Studies >
Ethnic Studies
Course Description

ETHS 154
Writing the Self: Autobiographies of People of Color in the US

This course is an examination of the genre of autobiography that focuses on contemporary writers of color in the US. As we read, we will investigate the aims of autobiography, with special attention to how texts can construct a counterhegemonic self-identity. One of our goals throughout this semester is to cultivate our intellectual curiosity regarding how texts theorize subjectivity. We will approach such topics as the relationships between history, story, and the narrative construction of self as we study a variety of forms of autobiographical writing and critical essays, and as we produce analytical essays. An important question we will ask is: How does an autobiographical narrator establish authority and credibility?

Reading List (Provisional)
George Jackson, Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson
Li-Young Lee, The Winged Seed: A Remembrance
Audre Lorde, Zami
Deborah A. Miranda, Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir
Richard Rodriguez, Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography
Sister Souljah, No Disrespect
Articles on ereserves

Course Requirements
Two 8-10 page analytical essays (50%)
Presentations, participation (15%)
Written assignments (10%)
Final examination (25%)

Please note that more than three absences will lower your grade.
Your complete physical and intellectual presence is required during class times.
This means:
be prepared: do the reading and the assignments on time
participate in discussions.
It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you are intellectually present during each class session.

Please note: Late assignments will not be accepted unless a student has specific accommodations with SSD.

The Department of Ethnic Studies takes plagiarism very seriously. Plagiarism is a serious breach of trust. Any paper that includes plagiarized material will receive an F grade. Additional consequences include receiving a failing grade for the entire course and being reported to college authorities. If you have any questions about how to cite secondary material, including internet resources, please ask your professor.

Course offered Fall 2014

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P: 510.430.2080
F: 510.430.2067

Last Updated: 6/22/17