In this era of globalization, many of us have multi- or bi-cultural, multilingual or bilingual backgrounds, and even if we don’t have such a background, we need urgently to understand the experiences of people who do. You will very likely work outside the United States at some point in your future; you will almost certainly work with people who speak more than one language, whose ancestry or origins are in a country other than the U.S., who have crossed borders of nation, language, culture, class to amalgamate into the large and diverse culture that is America. In this class we will read the personal narratives of bilingual and bicultural writers, some of whom have struggled to assimilate, others of whom have celebrated their own contributions to a culture of diversity. You will write four personal essays of your own for the class, each of which will receive workshop discussion in class and response from me; you will then revise the essays to polish them for possible publication. One of your essays will be an investigative one, where you will focus on a subject of your choice, investigate it thoroughly, and then write with authority about it. The process of the class will encourage you to both improve your writing significantly and gain a greater understanding of experiences of people who are in some way like you as well as those who are in some way different.
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