English | Ethnic American Literature
L374 | 5445 | Samrat Upadhyay

Samrat Upadhyay

8:55a-10:10a D (30 students) 3 cr., A&H, CSA.

TOPIC:  “An Oriental Among Us: Contemporary Asian American

Who are Asian Americans? How are they different from (are similar
to) regular “Joe six-pack” Americans? What is typically “Asian”
about Asian Americans, and what is typically “American”? Through an
exciting range of short stories, poems, novels, essays, and film, we
will tackle these and many other questions. We will explore ways in
which notions of ethnic identities are formulated, challenged, or
confirmed by various Asian American communities, and individual
within those communities. We will also examine the importance of
larger—sometimes global—history and politics that have a direct
bearing on the concerns of the authors we study.

We will read award-winning Asian-American authors such as Jhumpa
Lahiri, Brian Leung, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka who are changing the
landscape of Asian American literature.  When possible, we will
watch movies of novels (e.g. Namesake) to see how the "translation"
from text to film occurs. We will make direct connections between
the literature we study and the lives we lead. In other words, we
will treat literature as if it has something to teach us in our
everyday reality, and not just something we read and analyze.
Student will get opportunities for active participation. They will
be asked to "adopt an author": in groups they will present an author
not in the syllabus, and they will also, if possible, conduct email
interviews of the authors they've chosen and present their findings
to the class. For one of their papers, students will get the option
of writing something creative, perhaps a short story or a poem or
two. They will create their own literature.

Two papers
One group project
One exam