This course explores two related concepts-hybridity and authenticity-that underlie contemporary conflicts over cultural identity and representation. While the hybrid is often charged with being inauthentic or fake, claims to authenticity are frequently criticized for being reactionary or exclusive. Such conflicts are increasingly common in a globalizing world where people's lives and livelihoods straddle multiple and often contending communities, where cultural identities are aggressively marketed for consumption, and where paradoxically the desire for authenticity-for home-may be greater than ever. When and why do we feel the need to claim an authentic self? What purposes do such claims serve? And how might we embrace our hybridities as a source of both personal and political identity? We will take the "mixed race" experience as our primary lens while interrogating the ways that racial categories intersect with other axis of power and difference in the making of selves, identities, and communities.
Distribution Requirement: Power, Community and Social Justice
Cumulative Skills: Multiple Cultural Perspectives, Writing and Research