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Literary Minorities

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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This course explores selected early works of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Louise Erdrich and Sandra Cisneros. We will also read the poetry of other Black, Native-American and Chicano/a authors, specifically Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez and Joy Harjo. Besides discussing “minor literature” as a concept, the course will focus on concrete themes, such as these writers' concerns with language, community and history.


Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands: La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999. (selections)

Bowen, Larniers L. et al., "A Hemispheric Approach to Black Activism." NACLA Report on the Americas 49.1 (2017).

Chavkin, Allan Richard. "Vision and Revision in Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine." The Chippewa Landscape of Louise Erdrich. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1999.

Christian, Barbara. "The Contemporary Fables of Toni Morrison." Black Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892-1976. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1980.

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Knopf, 1996.

Doyle, Jacqueline. "More Room of Her Own: Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street." MELUS 19.4 (1994).

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. London: Flamingo, 1994.

Gonzalez, Rodolfo "Corky." "I Am Joaquín." Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings, ed. Antonio Esquibel. Houston: Arte Público Press, 2001.

Hardt, Michael and Matthew Pulver. "The American Empire is Fading Out: #BlackLivesMatter, Bernie Sanders & the Secrets to a Better Tomorrow." Salon 26 July 2015.

Harjo, Joy. In Mad Love and War. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1990. (selected poems)

-----. She Had Some Horses. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. (selected poems) hooks, bell. "Reading and Resistance: The Color Purple." Alice Walker: Critical Perspectives Past and Present, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad, 1993.

Lang, Nancy. "'Twin Gods Bending over': Joy Harjo and Poetic Memory." MELUS 18.3 (1993).

Lorde, Audre. "Poetry Is Not a Luxury." Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. New York: The Crossing Press, 1984.

Lorde, Audre. "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action." I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde. Cary: Oxford University Press, 2009.

-----. The Collected Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 2000. (selected poems)

Martínez, Elizabeth. De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century. London: Verso, 2017. (selections)

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. London: Vintage Books, 1999.

Ohmann, Richard. "English and the Cold War." The Cold War and the University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Postwar Years, ed. Noam Chomsky et al. New York: The New Press, 1997.

Reuman, Ann E. "'Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed': Gloria Anzaldúa's (R)evolution of Voice." Violence, Silence, and Anger: Women's Writing as Transgression, ed. Deirdre Lashgari. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.

Rudnitsky. Lexi. "The 'Power' and 'Sequelae' of Audre Lorde's Syntactical Strategies." Callaloo 26.2 (2003).

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Pocket Books, 1985.


To receive their credits, students must attend at least 70% of seminars, deliver an oral presentation and submit an essay of 2000-3000 words. Please consult “Essay Guidelines” at for general writing guidelines and submit an approximately 100-word proposal in advance (a preliminary bibliography should be included as well). Essays must be submitted by June 14, 2024.