English 203

Graduate Readings: What was Asian American Literature?

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Fall 2011 Lye, Colleen
Lye, Colleen
Tues. 3:30-6:30 186 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Choi, S.: American Woman; Ghosh, A.: Sea of Poppies; Jin, H.: War Trash; Kingston, M. H.: The Woman Warrior; Lee, C. R.: Native Speaker; Ong, H.: Fixer Chao; Ozeki, R.: My Year of Meats; Truong, M.: The Book of Salt; Yamashita, K.: I-Hotel


Adapting the title of Kenneth Warren’s recent intervention in African American Studies, this course explores the history of Asian American literary formation, and the making of Asian American racial formation through literary agencies (specifically the novel’s) since the 1960s. The title is meant to evoke the historicizing perspective with which we will be regarding literary form, with an openness to the theoretical recasting of “Asian American history” that experiments—and utterly conventional iterations—of form may be capable of generating. The title is not meant to render apriori judgment on the terminal point of Asian American literature’s historical life. Nevertheless, we will no doubt be concerned with the extent to which the transnationalization of the values of Asian American Studies since the 1990s has simultaneously suggested the demise of Asian American pan-ethnicity as either an epistemologically valid or politically viable concept. Amidst this uncertainty, literary publishing by U.S.-based authors of Asian descent has proceeded apace, gaining increasing national and worldwide recognition. How is this work to be read? This course should be useful to those interested in pursuing future Asian American projects, as well as those more generally interested in questions of the relationships between the minor and the transnational, between racialization and globalization, and between what is ethnic literature and what is world literature. In addition to the fictional texts indicated in the book list, we will also read recent scholarly works in transnational Asian American and American Studies.

This course fulfils the requirement for a course organized in terms other than chronological coverage.

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