Historical reinterpretations of race: breaking stereotypes, creating archetypes

Thumbnail Image
Date
2003-01-01
Authors
Kozar, Meaghan
Major Professor
Advisor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Altmetrics
Authors
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

History
The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

Dates of Existence
1939-present

Historical Names

  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Versions
Series
Department
Abstract

This thesis aims to look at ways race has historically united, rather than divided, marginalized groups (specifically African Americans and Asian Americans). I am interested in ways race has shifted from a demarcation between superiority and inferiority to becoming a political and social weapon. I am interested in ways of empowering nonwhite racial identities through historical reinterpretations seeking to recognize histories of mutuality-with special attention to resistance-despite coming out of specific traditions. Thus, I investigate the construction of Carlos Bulosan's America Is in the Heart and Richard Wright's Black Boy and observe ways in which the author's decision to speak from a collective, rather than an individual perspective parallels, but more significantly, foreshadows the formation of contemporary racial identities (i.e. of African Americans and Asian Americans) who have merged together from a heterogeneity of ethnicities. By embracing the role of "representative" for Asians and Blacks, Bulosan and Wright intended to reclaim the humanity of those who were historically objectified and stripped of their humanity through stereotypes within the dominant society. Both Bulosan's America Is in the Heart and Wright's Black Boy sought to articulate how they perceived themselves rather than how they were perceived by society. Thus, I view America Is in the Heart and Black Boy as creating prototypes or "archetypes" that reveal recurring themes of not only oppression but also of those resisting oppression, aiming to resignify (to use Judith Butler's term) what it means to be Asian and Black within American society.

Comments
Description
Keywords
Citation
Source
Copyright
Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2003