English R1B

Reading and Composition: Advocacy and Abilidad: Filipino American Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
19 Spring 2005 Jean Vengua Gier
TTh 3:30-5, 2062 VLSB

Other Readings and Media

"Carlos Bulosan: America is in the Heart

Eileen Tabios: Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole

Marianne Villanueva & Virginia Cerenio, editors: Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas

Brian Ascalon Roley: American Son

Nick Carbo, editor: Pinoy Poetics

Films (in-class):

Pennee Bender, Joshua Brown and Andrea Ades Vasquez, Savage Acts, Wars,Fairs & Empire

Curtis Choy, Fall of the I-Hotel

Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro, the Debut

(other films to be announced) "


"This course examines selected texts in Filipino American literature, with emphasis on elements of advocacy and abilidad (the latter is a Filipino term for creating with found and scavenged resources) as expressed through media (newspapers, magazines, film), short stories and novels for a minority literature. We focus on how Filipinos in the United States have utilized newspapers and magazines in order to advocate for political change during the early 20th century, when it was difficult or almost impossible to publish in the mainstream press. Many of the texts that we will read during the first half of the class will be from periodicals. We will begin by looking at the historical (colonial) contexts of Filipino writing in the Philippines, at the cultural transitions of Filipino writers who migrated to the United States in the early 20th century, how they advocated for change, and how they managed to produce a body of writing with few material resources. We will read documents -- essays, speeches, letters -- of the Philippine Independence movement published in the United States, in relation to texts written by American authors - for example, Mark Twain -- involved in the Anti-Imperialist movement. These early documents form the framework for a literature that expresses a strong transnational awareness, and a concern for both local and global community action. Close reading and discussion of stories, essays, speeches and reportage will allow us to discuss and write about what makes an essay or speech convincing, and a short story or novel meaningful within various personal and social contexts. There will be equal emphasis in this class on both critical reading and essay writing.

Online: The World Wide Web is providing new venues and reading constituencies for minority writers that is unprecedented. We will become part of this online community in our class ""weblog,"" (online journal), where we can ask questions and discuss the assigned texts. You are encouraged to browse authors' websites and blogs, and Filipino American writers will also be invited to ""visit"" online and participate in our discussions. "

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