English 130: American Stories, Multicultural Autobiography & Memoir - Alison Kuehner, Professor - English Department

This class explores the lives of ordinary-and often extraordinary Americans-by reading their life stories written in their own words. The course also follows the history of the United States. Beginning with the dark days of slavery, as retold by Frederick Douglass, we move to the resettlement of the American Indians, as seen from the point of view of Geronimo.

Richard Rodriguez.We will experience life as a second-generation Chinese immigrant growing up in San Francisco's Chinatown with Jade Snow Wong, and understand the trauma of segregation and the violence of the Civil Rights Movement with Anne Moody. Richard Rodriguez recounts growing up Mexican American in California.

Finally, we will see how refugees, like Farah Ahmedi and her mother, come to America with shattered lives and hopes for a better future in America.

Two photos of Geronimo.Readings for the semester include the following autobiographical memoirs:

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, by Frederick Douglass
  • His Own Story: Geronimo, by Geronimo
  • Fifth Chinese Daughter, by Jade Snow Wong
  • Coming of Age in Mississippi, by Anne Moody
  • Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, by Richard Rodriguez
  • The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky, by Farah Ahmedi


Contact Professor Alison Kuehner at akuehner@ohlone.edu for more information about this class or how to register.