The Diasporic Experience: Ethnic Cultures of America


Course Objective

After completing this course, students are able to:
• draw on theories that are relevant for an understanding of the
processes of migration and transculturation as mediated in literary and
visual texts.
• apply theoretical concepts such as nationality, ethnicity and
hybridity to representations of diaspora in American (literary and
visual) texts.
• position themselves vis-à-vis the assigned theoretical and literary
• comparatively analyze diaspora texts coming from different cultural
• explain how diaspora writing is implicated in the processes of
identity formation (both collective and individual) and intercultural
• formulate a research question, locate and interpret sources, and
assess the significance of their own research within the framework of
current debates.
• freely express their ideas in both written work and oral
• exchange ideas with fellow participants and the instructor in
constructive and productive ways.

Course Content

This course examines literary and visual texts that originate in a wide
variety of North American diasporic cultures, and that have triggered
new ways of thinking about life after migration. In their narratives and
imagery of diaspora life, do authors and artists relate similar
(chronological) outlines of displacement, uprootedness, intercultural
encounters, transculturation and cultural hybridization? Or have they
come up with new and innovative (non)plots and imageries? How do gender,
race, ethnicity and nationality intersect in their projects?

Central questions:
• What is diaspora?
• Which variations do we identify in textual and visual representations
of diaspora, i.e. in terms of thematics and narrative strategies?
• How exactly do gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality (and other
markers of difference) intersect in the construction and/or
representation of diasporic identities?
• In which ways do diasporic characters, as constructed in the texts
studied, negotiate processes of community-building, in- and exclusion,
exoticization, globalization, hybridization?
• How do visuals accompanying literary narratives influence and change
the ways in which (ideas of) immigrant identities and experiences are
being formed and disseminated?
• What do the images and narratives suggest about American politics re.
diaspora and migration?

Teaching Methods

Seminar: 2 x 3 hours per week.

Method of Assessment

Class participation: 20%
Group presentation: 10%
Canvas posts: 30%
Final essay: 40%
Detailed instructions will be uploaded on Canvas before the course
Students will not be allowed to compensate a final essay grade that is
lower than 5.5 with other partial grades.


Novels, short stories, memoirs, graphic novels, academic articles.
Titles will be on Canvas before the course starts.

Target Audience

MA and RMA students.

Additional Information

Attendance required: 80%. Students who miss more than 20% will not
receive credits for the course.

General Information

Course Code L_ELMAENG014
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. B. Boter
Examiner dr. B. Boter
Teaching Staff dr. B. Boter

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

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