As a result of mass migration, the ethnic composition of western countries has become increasingly diverse. Both inside and outside academia, this development has led to heated discussions about whether ethnic minorities are - or even have to be - assimilated into mainstream society. In Assimilation into the Literary Mainstream, Pauwke Berkers addresses how literary critics, policy makers and textbook editors have dealt with ethnic diversity in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany between 1955 and 2005. How much newspaper coverage has been devoted to ethnic minority authors and how has this changed over time? And to what extent do reviewers discuss the ethnic background of such writers? Moreover, have national literary policy organizations actively stimulated or largely ignored ethnic diversity? Finally, to what degree are ethnic minority authors canonized in national literary histories? Examining the use of ethnic discourse, the numerical representation and the labels used to describe ethnic minority authors, the author demonstrates that ethnic boundaries are relatively weak, moderately strong and strong in the literary fields of the U.S., the Netherlands and Germany respectively. At a macro-level, these cross-national differences are related to different national repertoires of evaluation. However, within national literary fields, ethnic classifications differ, depending on the structural position that different literary institutions hold vis-à-vis the economic and political field.

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M.S.S.E. Janssen (Susanne)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , ERMeCC, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture, Rotterdam
ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Arts & Culture Studies

Berkers, P. (2009, December 3). Classification into the Literary Mainstream? Ethnic Boundaries in the Literary Fields of the United States, the Netherlands and Germany, 1955-2005. ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture. Retrieved from