2016 Midterm1 (assignment)

Sample Student Midterm Answers 2016

Part 3. Research Report Topic proposals
(alphabetical order)

LITR 4340 American Immigrant Literature

Model Assignments

Jennifer Alonzo

For my final exam, I am thinking about writing about the challenges that Mexican immigrants face when coming to America. I want to use stories from our reading, and real world examples including stories from people who have been through the struggles of immigrating and assimilating. I have a coworker who I would like to interview about how she immigrated. So I want to tie the classroom readings, real world examples, and the interview together to create my final exam.

I am choosing to write about this topic because somewhere along the way, one of my ancestors immigrated from Mexico to America and I want to know more about what they may have faced when doing so. I also want to learn more about Mexican Literature because I have not read much. I am looking forward to doing this research.

Chandler Barton

Research paper thesis will revolve around the core, central idea that the American Immigrant-Minority Narrative paradigm has shifted and evolved considerably in the 21st century. The primary factors involve the demographics of immigrants, the changing landscape for minorities in America, etc. This change apparent not just from recent research or information; a valid chain of change can be found by also examining the Immigrant-Minority narrative anthology over the decades.

EXCERPT FOLLOWS: The Evolution of the Immigrant-Minority Literature Dynamic in America

          The relation between the immigrant and minority genres of literature is murky at best; the two anthologies have a tremendous amount of overlap and intersection, and attempting to identify the contrast between them can be a bit difficult at times. While it has in the past been easier to typographically distinguish the two literary categories due to the presence of the traditional minority groups (African and Native Americans), the recent waves of Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Caribbean immigrants coming to the United States has produced a conundrum where the noticeable divisions and identifiers are no longer as valid or applicable. Simply speaking, the immigration and subsequent creation of these new ethnic and cultural identities in recent decades has forced the average scholar of the subject to rethink how one not only defines, but examines and classifies, immigrant and minority literature, as well as the immigrant and minority experience.

Amber Boone (Amber Isbill)

          For my research paper, I would like to examine the dominant culture: what defines it, how it has come about, and what elements were necessary for its development to take place. I want to know more about this, because I feel as though people perceive me to be a part of this culture because of the color of my skin, but that is an unfair assumption. Also, there is a lot of anger towards the dominant culture in immigrant narratives, which is understandable. However, I want to know what factors led to this grouping of an entire race being stratified in such a way. I know the Pilgrims, Slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese internment camps during World War Two all helped to shape this narrative, but I want to know what other factors helped shape the concept of the dominant culture, particularly sociological factors, and how these factors have influenced immigrants and minorities.

            Objective one claims the dominant culture as an unmarked territory, which I agree with, but it also states that it is often identified with "whiteness." If the dominant culture is "white," then where do the accounts of European immigration belong? Where do multiculturalist families belong? Oppression of minority groups in American history is very clearly evident, and there is most definitely an evidence for an attempt at assimilation, but what group is this assimilation to? I do not agree that it is with the "white people," and this is a topic I would like to further examine, because I believe that the dominant culture comprises much more than a particular skin color.

Martha Charlemagne

For my research report, I would like to speak about the emotion invoked in today's society concerning the American Indian vs the pioneers invasion and the captivity and enslavement of the African nation. My focus will be based on what we can do to alleviate the aggression in society between the minority group and the dominant group. My research will be based on the emotions and stigma that arises when historical issues are being examined. There is a negative impact that is created in society by the different viewpoints of this historical era that causes disharmony. I will write about my viewpoints on how we can work together to alleviate the problem.

Madi Coates

The Proposal of My Semester

          In my research report I would like to study more about Japanese immigration to America. There is a plethora of literature about Japanese-Immigrants, though one of my favorite immigrant narratives is “No-No Boy” by John Okada which is set around World War Two. I also want to look into the first large wave of Japanese immigration to Hawaii that was signed contracts with sugar cane companies. This immigration only happened after the Japanese were forced to open up trade with the Americans after centuries of denying any resistance. I think the culture that Japanese bring to America is extremely important and not as heavily talked about down in the south as it is in the North.

          Part of the reason I want to this as my research topic is because my grandmother immigrated to America when she was only 22 years old. She left behind her entire village in Okinawa with a new born baby. I want to tell her story and learn what others like her went through in their lives. I think it is important we remember those who have struggled and conquered this land for us to flourish.

Ashley Cofer

Judith Ortiz Cofer

          I would like to write about the life and works of Judith Ortiz Cofer. It’s fascinating how she drew from her experiences as a Puerto Rican American when writing her works. (I am also interested in her because she shares my last name.) She seems like a strong woman and I would like to know more about her and her experiences. It is my hope to learn about the challenges associated with her assimilation into the American society.

Austin Green

The Graphic Novel: Illustrating Immigration

For my research report I would like to study the American Immigrant story as told through graphic novels. I want to see if I can find traces of the same terms or history that our class readings have shown us in a few different graphic novels. I have enjoyed the readings so far in class, and enjoy reading comics and graphic novels on my own time, so I thought it would be an interesting idea to combine the two. I have enough experience with graphic novels that I feel I can recognize the way the creators can manipulate images and the pages to tell a story a certain way, the same way a writer can manipulate the language used to tell a story a certain way. 

I would like to read 1 or 2 different graphic novels, depending on what I feel I can write about after reading. I did a quick internet search and have found a few graphic novels about immigration that seemed to be critically well received. Titles such as "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan, which features no dialogue; the story progresses only through images. Also "American Born Chinese" by Gene Luen Yang. The author was recently (September 22, 2016) named one of the 2016 MacArthur "Genius Grant", so I feel confident that I will be able to find plenty to write about from his graphic novel. 

Ana Harms

I would like to research a Hispanic Author names Cristina Henriquez. She is a Hispanic author who writes immigrant narratives. Her new book The Book of Unknown Americas is a book to read. She has written a few other books about migrating from Panama and the trial and tribulation of growing up in America. I feel like I could relate, being Hispanic but I am Mexican and she is from Panama and I think that it would be interesting to learn some difference as well as similarities.

Thomas Kibodeaux

I think for my research assignment I would like to cover the Palestinian-American immigrant narrative from WW2 onto the modern era. I feel that the Arab immigration to the west is a heavily relevant topic in today’s world. I am half-Palestinian, so I do possess somewhat of a personal connection to this topic as well. The immigrant narrative in itself is an interesting one, since it was driven by religion and violence. This mass exodus of Arabs into some western countries has had various problems with assimilation, this along with the west’s interference in Middle-Eastern affairs as far as war is concerned. I didn’t necessarily want this assignment to become a “my grandparents” narrative, but the Palestinian one proves more complex than your average immigration narrative.

 Alexander Leleux

As a Cajun and a descendent from French-American immigrants, I would like to focus my studies for this project on immigrants from France, their historical motivations and fluctuation of numbers across the years into the country. What limited knowledge I do know of my ancestors is that their patterns of immigration has some centering around southern states that already have a larger number in French-American immigrants due to their former position as French or Spanish colonies. Another note of knowledge was that there was a heavy influx in French immigrants towards the beginning of World War 2 in the wake of German invasion to escape the persecution and the Nazi regime.

Kim Loza

The Mexican-American Assimilation

Since I am a Mexican-American I thought that it would be interesting to explore the idea of how Mexican-Americans view assimilation and which culture to they assimilate to. This is something that I have struggles with throughout my life. I am proud to be an American but, I am also proud to be Latina. I like to think of one of my favorite movies (Selena) when talking about this subject. It had to do with being a Mexican-American and how it is harder to identify with two different culture in which one of the characters states,“we have to prove to the Americans how American we are and we have to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are; both at the same time”. It is almost like we have to be two different people to satisfy the corresponding culture; instead of being just one person and accepted since a half of you is a part of it. So, I thought that it would be interesting to look further into this idea of how people mixed with two culture chose to assimilate or embrace their multicultural lifestyle.

Mayra Morales

Immigrant children.

          For my Research Report I would like to look into the history and try to find some stories on the Mexican American or Hispanic immigrants, however I would love to focus on the children of immigrants. I am a child from Hispanic immigrants and I have been lucky enough to be able to learn about my culture, to be able to keep that part of my history with me, growing up mostly in Texas but having traveled a lot to my parent’s homeland I did not assimilate into American culture as much as my Hispanic friends did.

          I am very interested in learning about other children from Mexican American or Hispanic immigrants who have either assimilated in to their environment right away or have not at all.  

Katie Morin

Research Proposal: The Jewish Immigration to America

          For my research topic, I am interested in examining the progression of the Jewish immigration to America. Up until this point, I’ve primarily studied only certain aspects of Jewish history, particularly pertaining to the Holocaust, but I’ve learned little concerning Jewish Americans. I’d like to learn more about the struggles they faced in trying to adjust to American culture and values, in addition to their role as a “model minority.”

          From a personal standpoint, this topic also interests me because my family is of Jewish descent. I only know this because of stories told to me by my grandfather about how his ancestors changed the spelling of their last name (Isaacks) in order to escape adversity. Apart from this, I know very little of this portion of my heritage, though, so I’m excited to learn more about it.

Dylan Putt

Research Proposal: Final Research Essay 2016

          In our studies of American immigrant literature, I find myself drawn to the stories told by those Jewish Americans who immigrated to the U.S. during the World War II time period. While much is told of the injustices inflicted upon them by the German Nazis during the war, I would like to endeavor to research more into the impact of the aftermath of the war upon American-immigrated Jews, as well as the impact it has upon this minority group today. How was life and adjustment for them after their harrowing experiences during World War II? What difficulties did they face leaving their country behind for the U.S.? How have their descendents impacted us today?

Celia Tijerina Reyna

For my proposal research paper, I chose “You’re not just an illegal Alien, but a hard working human being”. This topic describes how Mexican Americans and other ethnicities are labels as if they were not born in America; the land of the free. I chose this topic because being a proud Mexican American, I was easily stereotyped as being an illegal Alien when I was younger. But today, Mexican Americans are being very highly populated at universities and great jobs. I want to learn; why? Why is it when an “illegal immigrant” wants a better life they taking for granted at the work place, they are call “aliens” and easily stereotyped. I already know, if they are born in Mexico that immediately makes them an “illegal Alien”.

          By writing about this topic, this will open up many new opportunities for me so I can learn more about my heritage and the different struggles an “Illegal Immigrant” has to go through to become a legal American. I know anything new I learn from this point on will forever stay with me and I can pass this knowledge down to my kids and grandkids how important it is to follow your dreams and how lucky they are to live in America.          


Jennifer Robles

Christina Maria Sapp

Research  Proposal  Topic

For  my  research  topic,  I  plan  on  writing  about  how  the  Germans  that  left  their  fatherland  to  the  new  world  became  the  German  Americans.  I  want  to  write  about  this  because  I  am  of  German  ancestry,  plus  my  mother's  relatives  were  some of  the  first  Germans  to  end  up  in  New  Braunfels  TX  during  its  founding  in  1845.  When  I  moved  to  Germany,  I  became  ingrained  in  the  language  and  customs  of  the  German  people.  I  am  also  hoping  to  learn  about  what  influences  did  Germans  have  on  the  dominant  culture.

Zach Thomas

I chose to pursue Objective Six about the immigrant narrative and public education. This interests me greatly as I have encountered this while subbing for teachers in middle school and high school. The American Dream allows for free education as a means for material progress to give students basic educational rights.

          I would like to focus my attention and learn about the America we teach and practice daily. For instance, how is one identified within the school system? Does a minority or an immigrant need to conform in order to achieve success? Ultimately, I believe literacy should be the goal in many economic arenas that could definitely benefit from knowing how to write and read.

Elizabeth Tinoco

          For my research topic I would like to discuss and explore Mexican Literature. I chose this topic in order to further my knowledge about my own culture. I want to learn about the different stories about the process of assimilation and how it differs among immigrants from Mexico. I would also be interested in finding out about Mexican Natives in Texas and how they did (or did not) assimilate to the American Culture.

Jessica Tran

Asian-American Culture Proposal

For my research proposal, I would like to look more closely on Asian-American culture and literature. I would like to see how different generations are changing on whether or not to assimilate and adapt to the American Dream. Not only to the American lifestyle, but also economically and financially as well.