Identifying Data 2019/20
Subject (*) North American Literature through its Texts Code 613G03047
Study programme
Grao en Inglés: Estudos Lingüísticos e Literarios
Descriptors Cycle Period Year Type Credits
Graduate 2nd four-month period
Fourth Optional 4.5
Teaching method Face-to-face
Department Letras
Simal Gonzalez, Begoña
Simal Gonzalez, Begoña
General description Este curso está deseñado co fin de que a/o estudiante se familiarice coa literatura multi-étnica dos Estados Unidos. Prestarase especial atención á segunda metade do século XX e ao século XXI. Esta materia complementa as das asignaturas obrigatorias de literatura norteamericana; daquela, se optará por seleccionar un número limitado de "estudos de caso" (p. ex. textos da tradición literaria asiático-americana).

Study programme competencies
Code Study programme competences
A1 Coñecer e aplicar os métodos e as técnicas de análise lingüística e literaria.
A6 Ter un dominio instrumental avanzado oral e escrito da lingua inglesa.
A7 Coñecer as literaturas en lingua galega, española e inglesa.
A8 Ter dominio instrumental oral e escrito dunha segunda lingua estranxeira.
A9 Elaborar textos orais e escritos de diferente tipo en lingua galega, española e inglesa.
A10 Ter capacidade para avaliar criticamente o estilo dun texto e para formular propostas alternativas e correccións.
A15 Ser capaz de aplicar os coñecementos lingüísticos e literarios á práctica.
A18 Dominar a gramática da lingua inglesa.
B1 Utilizar os recursos bibliográficos, as bases de datos e as ferramentas de busca de información.
B2 Manexar ferramentas, programas e aplicacións informáticas específicas.
B3 Adquirir capacidade de autoformación.
B5 Relacionar os coñecementos cos doutras áreas e disciplinas.
B6 Ter capacidade de organizar o traballo, planificar e xestionar o tempo e resolver problemas de forma efectiva.
B7 Ter capacidade de análise e síntese, de valorar criticamente o coñecemento e de exercer o pensamento crítico.
B8 Apreciar a diversidade.
B9 Valorar a importancia que ten a investigación, a innovación e o desenvolvemento tecnolóxico no avance socioeconómico e cultural da sociedade.
B10 Comportarse con ética e responsabilidade social como cidadán/á e profesional.
C4 Desenvolverse para o exercicio dunha cidadanía aberta, culta, crítica, comprometida, democrática e solidaria, capaz de analizar a realidade, diagnosticar problemas, formular e implantar solucións baseadas no coñecemento e orientadas ao ben común.

Learning aims
Learning outcomes Study programme competences
Familiarize themselves with some of the most relevant authors and their corresponding texts. A1
To learn to read critically. To be able to apply a social approach (gender, class, race issues...) to the texts required. To be able to compare and relate these texts with/to those of other literary traditions. A6
Use the appropriate bibliography (books, chapters of books, films, or literary magazines). Research work via internet facilities B1
Be fluent in English (C1/C2). For both written texts and oral presentations, students should make good use of English grammar. Written texts/exercises should be well organized, coherent, and readable. A6
Be able to work in groups, organize the time allotted, set priorities, share knowledge, distribute tasks, establishing individual responsibilities and making good use of the team's diversity. B6
This subject teaches students to reflect upon otherness and our own attitude towards it. The knowledge of the socio-historical background should make students more open to and respectful of differences. B8

Topic Sub-topic
UNIT 1 - Concepts and contexts 1. Concepts of race and ethnicity
2. Race and ethnicity in the US: a socio-historical introduction
3. Asian American literature: an overview
UNIT 2 - Japanese American literature 1. Internment literature (excerpts)
2. Beyond internment (excerpts)
UNIT 3 - Chinese American literature 1. Sui Sin Far’s “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio..."
2. Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (selected chapters)
UNIT 4 - South Asian American literature 1. Mukherjee’s The Middleman (short stories)
2. Divakaruni’s Arranged Marriage (short stories)
UNIT 5 - Vietnamese American literature 1. Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth (excerpts)
2. Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (excerpts)
UNIT 6 - Key issues in multi-ethnic literature 1. Intersectionality: gender and race, ethclass, generation gap (excerpts)
2. Beyond ethnicity?: Gish Jen’s “Who’s Irish?” (short story)
3. Globalization and Diaspora: Andrew Lam’s “Viet Kieu” (essay); Cathy Park Hong’s Engine Empire (selected poems)

Methodologies / tests Competencies Ordinary class hours Student’s personal work hours Total hours
Workbook A1 1 29 30
Oral presentation A6 A8 A10 A15 B10 C4 3 9 12
Guest lecture / keynote speech A7 9.5 0 9.5
Document analysis A9 B3 B8 B9 11 22 33
Mixed objective/subjective test A1 A6 A7 A9 A15 B7 3 12 15
Long answer / essay questions A15 A18 B1 B2 B5 B6 B7 3 9 12
Personalized attention 1 0 1
(*)The information in the planning table is for guidance only and does not take into account the heterogeneity of the students.

Methodologies Description
Workbook Students are expected to read every text carefully and critically, and to come to their own conclusions. They are also expected to read the text(s) required for each week before coming to class, as indicated in the weekly calendar, which shall be published and/or handed out during the first session of the course.
Oral presentation This brief class presentation will be carried out by small groups (2-4 students per team). Students will choose topic from the list provided by the teacher at the beginning of the term, when more details will be given. There will be a choice of dates, in April and May, when you can carry out the group presentations.
Guest lecture / keynote speech In these lectures, the teachers will refer to a) the socio-historical and cultural background of authors and readings; b) the most relevant theoretical concepts; c) the way to read critically and make good use of critical tools. Lectures (DE or "docencia expositiva") are designed for the entire group. Occasionally, there may be a lecture by a guest speaker from another university.
Document analysis Close-reading and critical analysis of texts.
Mixed objective/subjective test These tests will be carried out in the exam opportunities (June, July). These tests can include short-answer questions ("objective" test) as well as longer essay questions ("subjective" test). See ASSESSMENT for more details.
Long answer / essay questions In this type of exercise or test students should provide short written essays in answer to questions of a theoretical-practical nature. These exercises will be mostly carried out in class. The teachers will collect and correct them, since they will constitute a substantial part of the assessment of the subject. When the small, seminar groups meet, the teacher will comment on exercises and respond to students' questions and doubts.

Personalized attention
Oral presentation
In general, students find oral presentations to be a challenging task. In order to facilitate their planning and identify specific problems, students will attend small-group or individual tutorials with the teacher before they start working on their respective topics and, if necessary, some guidelines will be provided to improve language and communicative skills.

Methodologies Competencies Description Qualification
Oral presentation A6 A8 A10 A15 B10 C4 This oral presentation will be carried out in class, in either April or May. In these brief presentations, students are encouraged to discuss and express their opinions on a given topic/text. Since these are group presentations, team-work is important, as is the students' language and communication skills. 20
Mixed objective/subjective test A1 A6 A7 A9 A15 B7 This type of test will assess the student's ability to understand and approach a literary text critically by asking questions about those texts analyzed in class. In addition, students will have to prove that they have grasped the main concepts, and that they can apply such concepts and critical tools to literary texts. When assessing and marking these exams, the teachers will also take into account the student's linguistic competence in English. These tests can include short-answer questions ("objective" test) as well as longer essay questions ("subjective" test). 50
Long answer / essay questions A15 A18 B1 B2 B5 B6 B7 In this type of exercise or test students should provide short written essays in answer to questions of a theoretical-practical nature. These exercises will be mostly carried out in class. The teachers will collect and correct them, since they will constitute a substantial part of the assessment of the subject. 30
Assessment comments

To pass the subject, students should obtain 5 points out of 10, after adding up each part of the assessment procedure. In addition, the student needs to have at least 4 out of 10 in each of the three assessment sections or categories. Active participation in the different class activities, as well as additional "extra-credit" activities carried out by the students during the course, could be awarded up to an extra 5% of the final mark (this can include voluntary work, alternative readings or any other activity proposed and accepted by students and teachers).

PLAGIARISM: When assessing the students' essays, the teacher will pay attention to possible cases of plagiarism; to that effect, she can interview the students about their written work or use tools like TURNITIN, in order to detect wrong citations, plagiarism or any other type of fraud. Should this occur, therules for plagiarism will be applied. (See "Normas de avaliación, revisión e reclamación das cualificacións dos estudos de grao emestrado universitario"). TURNITIN recognises papers previously turned in by other people (or the student him/herself) at this university or other universities, as well as other bibliographic and Internet materials.

Grade "NON PRESENTADO": Only those students who do not sit for the June or the July finals, and/or have not completed the 50% will obtain the NP grade. 

SECOND OPPORTUNITY (JULY): Those students who have not reached 4 out of 10 points in each of the three assessment sections, even if the overall addition is 5 or higher, will have to go to the finals in July in order to pass the subject. In this opportunity, students will have to prove they have acquired the required skills by doing the following: 1) a written exam similar to that of the first opportunity (50% of the final mark); 2) a critical essay (30%); 3) an oral test (20%).

EXEMPTION (DISPENSA ACADÉMICA): Those who are officially registered as part-time students, and have been granted permission not to attend classes, as stipulated in the regulations of this University, should contact the teacher at the beginning of the course. These students will be assessed in either of the opportunities according to the same criteria specified for the second opportunity.

Students sitting the December exam (final exam brought forward) will be assessed according to the criteria specified for the July opportunity.

Diversity: the university provides a service known as ADI (Atención á diversidade) specializing in helping "os membros da comunidade universitaria con necesidades especiais derivadas da discapacidade ou doutras formas de diferenza fronte á poboación maioritaria". Those students interested in this service can talk to Prof. Ana Veleiro in our Facultade de Filoloxía or else contact the general ADI office at

Sources of information


  • 3 short stories (by Mukherjee, Divakaruni and Jen).
  • 2 autobiographical essays (by Lam and Sui Sin Far).
  • A total of 7 chapters from three books: Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth, and Nguyen’s The Sympathizer.

Apart from these longer texts, which should be read before class, a few short texts (poems and excerpts) will be provided and analyzed in class.


  • Sau-ling WONG: Reading Asian American Literature: From Necessity to Extravagance (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1993)
  • King-kok CHEUNG: An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997)
  • Begoña SIMAL: Identidad étnica y género en la narrativa de escritoras chinoamericanas (UDC Univ. Press, 2000)
  • Crystal PARIKH and Daniel KIM: The Cambridge Companion to Asian American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015) 

Subjects that it is recommended to have taken before
North American Literature 1/613G03024
Postcolonial Literature/613G03026
English Literature and Literary Criticism/613G03032
North American Literature 2/613G03035

Subjects that are recommended to be taken simultaneously
English Literature and Literary Criticism/613G03032

Subjects that continue the syllabus
Final Dissertation/613G03041

Other comments

(*)The teaching guide is the document in which the URV publishes the information about all its courses. It is a public document and cannot be modified. Only in exceptional cases can it be revised by the competent agent or duly revised so that it is in line with current legislation.