"[...]Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin' rock
Afrika Bambataa shit, home of the hip-hop
Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back
For foreigners it ain't for, they act like they forgot how to act
Eight million stories, out there in it naked
City is a pity, half of y'all won't make it..." (Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z feat. Alecia Keys)
"The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds into a small island....The collision and the intermingling of these millions of foreign born people representing so many races and creeds make New York a permanent exhibit of the phenonmenom [sic] of one world." (E.B. White, 1949)
The quotations above attest the diversity that has characterized New York City from the seventeenth century until today. In this seminar we will be analyzing exactly that concept of diversity as it applies to The Big Apple from various perspectives: literary studies, cultural studies, and sociolinguistics. We will look at demographic and immigration flows in the city that never sleeps, concepts of imagined space throughout the five boroughs and the multilingualism of its denizens. We shall further investigate questions of authenticity, power, (self-)identity formation, style shifting, media and their audiences.