Jr. Honors Tutorial (Race Relats & Frmtns)

In Andrea Smith’s essay “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of
White Supremacy,” she argues the need to understand US history as
comprising of three pillars:  Slavery/Capitalism,
Genocide/Capitalism, and Orientalism/War. 
Smith contends that these pillars interconnect even as they represent
distinct histories of oppression for African Americans, Native Americans, and
Asian, Latino/a and Arab Americans. 
Using her model, we will read literature by African American, Native
American and Native Hawaiian, and Asian American writers. In our readings we
will analyze similarities and borrowings between these literary traditions (for
example, we will consider ways in which Sherman Alexie’s INDIAN KILLER is a
revision of Richard Wright’s NATIVE SON), as well as differences within
traditions (gendered tensions, for example, between Wright and Toni
Morrison).  As well, we will identify
differences in authors’ responses that we can trace to each group’s distinct
history and processes of racial formation in the United States. As we read
works by Native Hawaiians and Asians Americans situated in Hawai’i, we also
will think about ways literature coming out of Hawai’i supports and also
challenges Smith’s “pillars”—to what extent, for example, do Smith’s
formulations hold for Asian Americans in Hawai’i? As we put the assigned
readings into dialogue, we will analyze similarities and borrowings as well as
tensions (or erasures) and alliances among these literary traditions and among
individual authors within and across traditions.

In addition to
Andrea Smith’s article, to aid us in our analysis, accompanying our readings of
the literature will be additional articles about racial formation and about
each group’s history in the United States. 
As we compare different groups’ distinct histories, students also will
present research on key laws and legislation passed in the United States that
both relate to the literary texts and that contribute to or evidence processes
of racial formation in the United States (for example, students might present
on age of consent laws in relation to the Hawai’i literature, or on zoning laws
when reading Richard Wright, or on the Indian Child Welfare Act when reading
Sherman Alexie).  Alongside our analysis of
race, we also will address the importance of interrelated categories of gender,
class, and sexuality.

A 12-15-page research paper that situates one or more of the texts in its
historical contexts and that also engages Smith or another theorist or
theorists we have read (60%). Creative writers may, with permission, adapt this
assignment to write an autobiographical or fictional narrative that makes use
of the theoretical texts, includes a strong research component, and, if
appropriate, uses class readings as models. (2) Participation in a team journal
(15%). (3) Occasional 1-2 page papers, an individual class presentation, and
other in-class activities (15%). (4) Participation in a group project wherein
each group presents on one of Smith’s three “pillars” in relation to
a literary text or texts (10%).

TEXTS (tentative listing, to be ordered
through Revolution Books):
  Frederick Douglass, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
FREDERICK DOUGLAS; Richard Wright, NATIVE SON; Toni Morrison, BELOVED; Leslie
Marmon Silko, CEREMONY; Linda Hogan, MEAN SPIRIT; Sherman Alexie, INDIAN
KILLER; Maxine Hong Kingston, WOMAN WARRIOR; R. Zamora Linmark, ROLLING THE Rs;
Lois-Ann Yamanaka, BLU’S HANGING; Alani Apio, KAMAU

Candace Fujikane, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, George
Lipsitz, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Orlando Patterson, Andrea Smith,
Haunani-Kay Trask, Wayne Westlake, and Patrick Wolfe