NEH banner

[light] [dark]

Funded Projects Query Form
One match

Grant number like: HB-251276-17

Query elapsed time: 0.031 sec

Export results to Excel
Save this query


Swati Rana
Regents of the University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA 93106-0001)
Eccentric Characters in 20th-Century Ethnic Literature

A book-length study of race and character in American ethnic literature, 1900-1960.

Retrograde Minorities studies the vexed, conservative, and recalcitrant characters that elude the oppositional framework of ethnic literary criticism, which prioritizes resistance to dominant power structures. My chapters range from Ameen Rihani’s The Book of Khalid (1911) to Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959), including work by José Garcia Villa, José Antonio Villarreal, and Dalip Singh Saund. I develop a hermeneutic for reading the problem characters in these works across formal and social spheres, and in so doing enliven the study of race and character both. This project presents a new comparative paradigm for ethnic literature and for the neglected writings of the early twentieth century, itself a retrograde period in a field that generally privileges post-1965 works. My readings reveal a new protagonist of the American dream: the racialized minority whose retrograde disavowal of race represents a crucial archetype of American exceptionalism and postracial ideology.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; Ethnic Studies

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019