English | Ethnic American Literature
L374 | 2223 | Chang
2:30p-3:20p MWF (30) 3 cr.
TOPIC: INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: IDENTITY AND BEYOND
This class offers a general introduction to Asian American literature
from the pre-W.W.II era to the present. We will explore central
questions of Asian American identity: Who is an Asian American? Who
is an Asian American writer? What makes a text Asian American? The
primary texts include fiction and non-fiction across genres
(poetry, autobiography, novel, "anti-novel," short story,
literary criticism), with close attention to how the subject is
shaped by her social and political contexts (e.g. Japanese American
internment, impact of the 1965 immigration reforms, shifting
influences of gender, race and class). Through close readings of the
texts, we will explore major themes like assimilation, racism,
community and segregation through authors who present diverse and
often contentious positions on these issues, as well as examine the
conflicts among texts in representing Asian American identity. We
will pay close attention to literary strategies authors'
deploy to express these ideas to their "communities" as well as the
popular American consciousness. We will also attempt to understand
Asian American identity beyond a cultural understanding (Who am I?)
and as a politicized subject position that instigates social change
(What can I do?).