Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL2400 MORGAN, MEGAN T R 3 :30 PM 0269


This course will examine the central roles of food and family in the many cultures of America. Are we really what we eat? How do we shape our cultural identities through what we eat, and with whom we share our daily bread?

In this class we will examine the writings of a variety of American authors, all with their own ideas of how they fit into this notion of “Americanness.” One of our principal goals in this course will be to consider the many ways to define the concepts of “multicultural” and “American.”

This course has been designed to include the four major cultural groups stipulated within the Franklin College multicultural curriculum: African American, Asian American, Latin and Hispanic American, and Native American/American Indian. However, it is impossible to cover even a portion of literary expressions by America’s many cultures in a single semester, so do not assume this course will teach you everything you need to know about multicultural American literature. Instead, I’d like you to consider this course as a kind of tapas experience: we will sample many different sorts of works by a variety of authors, some of which may be more to your taste than others, but (hopefully) you will end your semester having tasted at least a few things you found so delightful that you’ll return for more.


• Class participation (20%): Active participation and discussion is crucial to this class, and your participation will be noted and graded. This portion of your grade will also include quizzes and other daily assignments.
• Reading blog (10%): Your blog is a place for you to reflect on our readings, to ask yourself questions, to make connections, and to raise ideas that you might bring up later in discussion. It need not be perfect, but it should show an effort to engage with the text. You may use any standard blogging platform (tumblr, Blogger, etc.; no Twitter or other micro-blogging platforms), but I must be able to access your posts. Posts are due before class each day unless otherwise specified.
Journals will be checked periodically throughout the semester, so be sure to stay current.  Lackadaisical journal entries will not receive credit.
• Food report (10%): You will write a report of a dining experience, approaching it as a cultural observer. Further details will be given in class.
• Short response essays (30%): You will write two short essays (2-4 pages, double-spaced) responding to a text we have read. You must have completed at least one of these essays by midterm. Each is worth 15% of your grade.
• Final project (30%): You will write a personal narrative (6-8 pages) engaging with your own ideas of food and culture as they have manifested in your life. We will discuss this in more detail as the deadline approaches.


Stealing Buddha's Dinner, Bich Minh Nguyen (ISBN 0670038326)

Caramelo, Sandra Cisneros (ISBN 978-0679742586)

Crescent: A Novel, Diana Abu-Jaber (ISBN 978-0393325546)

The Antelope Wife, Louise Erdrich (ISBN 978-0061767968)

You may purchase ebook copies of these texts if you prefer.

Other readings will be posted on eLC. We will also watch several films for the course.


Makeup Policy

Except in the case of genuine emergency, of which the student is responsible for informing me, I do not allow make-up assignments. Late work will be penalized by 5 points per calendar day.