Racism and Ethnocentrism in Literature Summary

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Racism and Ethnocentrism in Literature Summary

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and after, American writers, critics, and readers grew more attentive to the issue of racism, blatant or subtle, in literature. In a nation with a history of enslavement according to race and of war against its indigenous population, the United States has a long literary history regarding racism and ethnocentrism. Works by African Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, Jewish Americans, and Latino Americans, among others, have protested racism and ethnocentrism in what has always been a pluralistic society.


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Allport, Gordon W. The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1979. A classic work on the topic.

Bone, Robert. The Negro Novel in America. Rev. ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965. An authoritative, critical study considered by many as an essential guide to the African American novel.

D’Souza, Dinesh. The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society. New York: Free Press, 1995. A controversial best-seller about what to do to end racism.

Gayle, Addison, Jr., ed. The Black Aesthetic. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972. Defines the goals to which black artists should aspire.

Hoffman, Daniel, ed. Harvard Guide to Contemporary American Writing. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1979. A critical survey of American writing since the end of World War II, with chapters on black literature and on Jewish literature.

Kazin, Alfred. Bright Book of Life: American Novelists and Storytellers from Hemingway to Mailer. Boston: Little, Brown, 1973. A critical study of American fiction by a leading American writer and critic.

Rose, Peter I. They and We: Racial and Ethnic Relations in the United States. New York: Random House, 1990. A leading work by a leading scholar.