What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean for the authors of these sources to be an American and what outside ideas of what it meant to be an American may have influenced this perspective?

by | Aug 23, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean for the authors of these sources to be an American and what outside ideas of what it meant to be an American may have influenced this perspective? For this essay assignment, you will read a selection of primary sources and come up with an argument to answer this primary question. Make sure you use evidence from all five of the sources included.
For this assignment you will read primary sources created by an African American, Mexican American, Japanese American, Native Hawaiian, and Puerto Rican. The list of sources is below.
Additional questions to consider that can help you answer the primary question above: How does the author struggle with the issue of identity? How does the author talk about trying to reconcile various parts of their identity? How does the author define Americanness? How does this author address how a particular group has been kept out of being American? Does the author want to claim an American identity? Why or why not?
Here is some quick context on identity to also help you with this essay. Identity is generally based on the idea of a common origin or shared characteristics with another person, group, or ideal. Identity exists through difference in relationship with others. Many argue that identity is an ongoing process that is never complete, and that identity can be multilayered. Identity is also a combination of self-identification and the perceptions of others. (Source: Hilary N. Weaver, “Indigenous Identity: What Is it, and Who Really Has it?” In Native American Voices: A Reader, second edition)
Your essay needs to be 4-5 pages. Double spaced, 12 pt font, with one-inch margins.
Please use my writing guide download as a reference for information on style and format, including details and examples for citation style. You will do in-text citations similar to what you have done in your weekly reading responses.
I will also provide a more in depth video and document on writing tips by August 20.
Here is the list of sources you will use for this paper. You can also find these under the Files tab:
Ernesto Galarza, “Life in the United States for Mexican People” (1929) download
Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter (1953) (available through the Library on Hathitrust). I will recommend specific chapters to use by August 20.
Martin Luther King, Jr., “A New Sense of Direction” (1968) download
Haunani-Kay Trask, “Women’s Mana and Hawaiian Sovereignty,” excerpt in From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai‘i (1993) download
Frances Negrón-Muntaner, “Why Calling Puerto Ricans ‘Americans’ Will Not Save Them” (2018 download )

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