The Diary as Literature through the Lens of Multiculturism in America (Roundtable)

Cultural Studies and Media Studies / Interdisciplinary Humanities

Angela Hooks (St. John’s University)

Diary writing is a quasi-literary genre that includes autobiography, biography, memoir, correspondence, travel literature, and more. The diarist's text matters because it speaks the truth of the appearance of things. The diarist's account is imaginative writing, social and political history. Diary writing includes events that add up to a story with meaning, a theme, and style. Diary writing is creating “real” fictions of one’s self. For the diarist, the diary becomes a transnational space in which an intersection of cultures, languages, and peoples help the diarist understand self and the world they live in.

Through the lens of the diary, this roundtable examines how diarists, writers, and poets reflect on multiculturalism and intercultural relations. Subjects and themes include identity, language, race, class, culture, gender, religion, sexuality, and nationality of American minorities who use the diary to help them find their own expressive language, explore their identity, and understand themselves, their intimate relationships, and the world around them. Since the diary is an autobiographical text the roundtable includes the study of autobiography poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.