English 100

Junior Seminar: Asian American Melodrama

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
17 Spring 2008 Oyama, Misa
Oyama, Misa
MW 4-5:30 2070 Valley LSB

Other Readings and Media

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Spiegelman, Maus; William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, Illustrated; Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers; a course reader


This course examines melodrama�s role in dramatizing Asians in American literature, theater, and film. Since Madame Butterfly and Fu Manchu, melodrama has been the most popular mode for casting Asians as victims and villains, but it has also been a way for Asian American writers (and more recently directors) to dramatize the heightened emotions of their protagonists and appeal to a wide readership. How has melodrama shaped American cultural ideas about Asians, and how have Asian Americans worked within and against this framework? Students will write two papers for the course: the first on one of the assigned texts or films, the second on their own research topic involving the relationship between racial representation and melodrama. Films will be screened outside of class in the late afternoon or evening; students who cannot make the screening can see the films on their own at the Media Center in Moffitt.

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