Multiethnic American Literature

Multiethnic American Literature

Choose approximately forty primary texts, across a wide range of genres.

Narrative and Novel:

Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano . . . Written by Himself (1787)

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845)

Harriet Wilson, Our Nig, Sketches of the Life of a Free Black . . . . (1859)

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)

Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

Frances E. W. Harper, Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted (1892)

Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition (1901)

Mary Antin, The Promised Land (1912)

Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), Miss Spring Fragrance and Other Writings (1912)

James Weldon Johnson, An Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)

Abraham Cahan, The Rise of David Levinsky (1917)

Zitkala-Ša, American Indian Stories (1921)

Anzia Yezierska, Bread Givers (1925)

Mourning Dove, Co-ge-wea; the Half Blood (1927)

Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)

Henry Roth, Call It Sleep (1934)

William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom (1936)

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Younghill Kang, East Goes West (1937)

Pietro di Donato, Christ in Concrete (1939)

Americo Paredes, George Washington Gomez: A Mexico-Texan Novel (1990, circa 1940)

Carlos Bulosan, America Is in the Heart (1943)

Richard Wright, Native Son (1940), Black Boy (1945)

Ann Petry, The Street (1946)

Toshio Mori, Yokohama, California (1949)

Hisaye Yamamoto, Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories (circa late 40s, 50s; republished 1988)

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

John Okada, No-no Boy (1979; circa 1957)

James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), Giovanni’s Room (1956)

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Collected Stories (1982; circa 1940s to 70s)

Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959)

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

Saul Bellow, Herzog (1964)

Malcolm X with Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)

N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1968)

Bernard Malamud, The Complete Stories (1997; circa 1950s to80s)

Grace Paley, Collected Stories (1994 ; circa 1950s to 80s)

Malcolm X with Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)

Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint (1969), The Human Stain (2000)

Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo (1972)

Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima (1972)

Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1975), China Men (1980)

Gayl Jones, Corregidora (1975)

Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)

Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979)

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl (1980), The Messiah of Stockholm (1987)

Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale (1982)

Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory (1982)

Audre Lorde, Zami. A New Spelling of My Name (1983)

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1984)

Lore Segal, Her First American (1985)

Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John (1985)

Art Spiegelman, Maus I and II (1986, 1991)

Ronyoung Kim, Clay Walls (1987)

Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven (1987)

Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992)

Bharati Mukherjee, The Middleman and Other Stories (1988)

Julia Alvarez, Dreaming in Cuban (1992)

Ana Castillo, So Far From God (1993)

Edwidge Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994)

Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father (1995)

Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu’s Hanging (1997)

Lan Cao, Monkey Bridge (1997)

Danzy Senna, Caucasia (1998)

Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988), The Round House (2012)

Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (1990), ed., Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Asian American

Fiction (1993)

Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (1995)

Gish Jen, Mona in the Promised Land (1996), The Love Wife (2004)

Junot Diaz, Drown (1996), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)

Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange (1997), I Hotel (2010)

Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats (1998)

Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), Unaccustomed Earth (2008)

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated (2002)

Edward P. Jones, The Known World, (2003)

Nicole Krauss, The History of Love (2005)

Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story (2010)

Teju Cole, Open City (2012)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

James McBride, The Good Lord Bird (2013)

Non-narrative Prose:

W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Alain Locke, The New Negro (1925)

Jose Vasconcelos, The Cosmic Race (1925)

Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926)

Zora Neale Hurston, “How it Feels to be Colored Me” (1928)

Isaac Rosenfeld, “The Situation of the Jewish Writer” (1944)

Alfred Kazin, A Walker in the City (1951)

James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (1955)

Ralph Ellison, Shadow and Act (1964)

Cynthia Ozick, “America: Toward Yavneh” (1970)

Roberto Fernandez Retamar, “Caliban: Notes Toward a Discussion of Culture in Our America”


Frank Chin, et al., Introductions to Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Asian American Writers (1974)

             and The Big Aiiieeeee! (1991).

Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers (1976)

Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera: the New Mestiza (1987)


Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

Claude McKay (1889-1948)

Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976)

Sterling Brown (1901-1989)

Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978)

Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

Robert Hayden (1913-1980)

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

A.K. Ramanujan (1929-1993)

Amira Baraka (1934-2014)

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

Lucille Clifton (1936–2010)

Simon Ortiz (b. 1941)

Louise Gluck (b. 1943)

Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)

Joy Harjo (b. 1951)

Rita Dove (b. 1952)

Ai (1947-2010)

Agha Shahid Ali ( 1949-2001)

Gary Soto (b. 1952)

Alberto Ríos (b. 1952)

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952)

Lorna Dee Cervantes (b. 1954)

Cathy Song (b. 1955)

Marilyn Chin (b. 1955)

Dionisio D. Martínez (b. 1956)

Li-young Lee (b. 1957)

Natasha Tretheway (b. 1966)

Sherman Alexie (b. 1966)

Terrance Hayes (b. 1971)

Drama and Film:

D.W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Eugene O'Neill, The Emperor Jones (1920)

Alan Crosland, Jazz Singer (1927)

Victor Fleming, Gone With the Wind (1939)

Douglas Sirk, Imitation of Life (1959)

Lorraine Hansbury, A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

Rodgers and Hammerstein, Flower Drum Song (1961 (based on C.Y. Lee's 1957 novel))

Amiri Baraka, Dutchman (1964)

Francis Ford Coppolla, The Godfather (1972)

Ivan Dixon, The Spook Who Sat By the Door (1973)

Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf


Frank Chin, Chickencoop Chinaman (1974)

Charles Burnett dir., Killer of Sheep (1977)

Luis Valdez, Zoot Suit (1979)

Wayne Wang, Chan is Missing (1982), Joy Luck Club (1993)

Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena, Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1985)

August Wilson, Fences (1986)

David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly (1988)

Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing (1989)

Trinh T. Minh-ha, Surname Viet, Given Name Nam (1989)

Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Phillip Kan Gotanda, Yankee Dawg You Die (1991)

Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles (1992)

Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Part One and Two (1992)

Guillermo Gomez-Pena, various performance pieces (1990s-present)

Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play (1994)

Renee Tajima-Pena, My America, or Honk If You Love Buddha (1996)

Velina Hasu Houston, Kokoro (True Heart) (2011)

Steve McQueen, Twelve Years a Slave (2013)


Criticism and Theory (choose 6 of the following):

Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

Gerald Vizenor, Earthdivers: Tribal Narratives on Mixed Descent (1981)

Werner Sollors, Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Culture (1986)

Hortense Spillers, “Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe, An American Grammar Book” (1987)

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988)

William Andrews To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography (1988)

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (1988)

Robert Stepto, From Behind The Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative (1991)

Toni Morrison, Playing In the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992)

Eric Sundquist, To Wake The Nation: Race in the Making of American Literature (1993)

Edward Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), Culture and Imperialism (1993)

Thomas J. Ferraro, Ethnic Passages: Literary Immigrants in Twentieth-Century America (1993)

Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (1993)

Rey Chow, Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies (1993)

Amy Kaplan and Donald Pease, Cultures of U.S. Imperialism (1993)

Michael North, The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and 20th Century Literature (1994)

Deborah McDowell, ‘The Changing Same’: Black Women’s Literature, Criticism, and Theory


Robin Wiegman, American Anatomies: Theorizing Race and Gender (1995)

Arnold Krupat, The Turn to the Native: Studies in Criticism and Culture (1996)

Lisa Lowe, Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (1996)

Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (1996)

Stuart Hall, “Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms” (1980), “Who Needs ‘Identity’?” (1996)

Sandra Gunning, Race, Rape, and Lynching: The Red Record of American Literature, 1890-1912


Jose David Saldivar, Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies (1997)

Susan Stanford Friedman, Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Power (1998)

Paul Gilroy, from Against Race: Imagining Political Culture Beyond the Color Line (2000)

Barbara Smith, Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (2000)

Anne Anlin Cheng, The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief


David L. Eng, Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America (2001)

Brent Hayes Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora (2003)

Kandace Chuh, Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist Critique (2003)

Marlon Ross, Manning the Race: Reforming Black Men in the Jim Crow Era (2004)

Jonathan Freedman, Klezmer America: Jewishness, Ethnicity, Modernity (2008)

Min Hyoung Song, Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, As an Asian American (2013)