Ever since Columbus made his first step in the New World, American history has been characterized by pervasive racism. This seminar will attempt to analyze how literature and film have reflected the relations between different ethnicities on the American continent, how racist stereotypes came into being, what kind of functions they fulfilled and continue to fulfill, how they have been perpetuated and how they have been challenged by authors of varying ethnic backgrounds. To this end we will first discuss theories of race by scholars such as Homi K. Bhabha, Stuart Hall, and Tzvetan Todorov and then proceed to analyze a wide variety of texts on issues like slavery, the Indian genocide, immigration, passing, and more by authors such as Thomas Jefferson, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Harriett Ann Jacobs, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, W.E.B. DuBois, and others. Additionally we will discuss the treatment of race in Hollywood films from The Birth of a Nation (1915) to Crash (2004).