L374 2090 CHANG
Ethnic American Literature

1:00p-2:15p TR (30) 3 CR.

TOPIC: “Ghettos or Communities: Literature of Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo and other Asian American Communities”

In this class we will examine how Asian American urban enclaves – sites familiarly known, for example as Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo – are represented in literature and film. We will look at mainstream representations of Chinatowns in popular crime and martial arts films as well as online tourism sites that offer “insiders’” views into crime, culture, curios and cuisine. We will read short stories, poetry and novels that reinforce and critique these stereotypical images of urban life and work, paying close attention to the strategies of representation deployed by the authors in imagining these spaces. The literature will be read against the socio-political and economic context leading to the creation of the original U.S. Chinatowns as well as the related pre- W.W. II Little Tokyos or “Nihonmachis” on the West Coast, today’s Koreatown in Los Angeles made infamous by the 1992 riots, and the multi-ethnic “Chinatowns” around the nation that function variously in the transnational global economy. Texts and films may include Big Trouble in Little China (dir. John Carpenter), Chinatown (dir. Roman Polanski), Frances Chung, Monica Sone and Chang-rae Lee.