English N1A

Reading & Composition: Racial Metaphors of Global Capitalism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
2 Summer 2012 Lee, Amy
MW 2-4 221 Wheeler

Book List

Hacker, Diana: Rules for Writers; Hagedorn, Jessica: Dogeaters; Ng, Fae: Bone; Truong, Monique: The Book of Salt; Yamashita, Karen: Tropic of Orange

Other Readings and Media

Wong Kar-Wai, Chungking Express (1994)

Course Reader


From myths of the Yellow Peril to contemporary discourses on the model minority, representations of Asian American subjects have long been intertwined with metaphors of economic exchange and capitalist excess.  More than simply agents of capitalism, Asian Americans often function as proxies of American capitalist expansion and globalization.  This course will examine the ways in which Asian American literature has traced and challenged this economically-inflected emergence of the Asian American subject.  We will consider the relationship between literary representation and economic representation by paying attention to the use of postmodern aesthetics (characterized by fragmentation, surface aesthetics, commodification, etc.) within Asian American novels to portray the effects of capitalist globalization and racialization on the construction of Asian American subjectivities and spaces.  Topics we will explore may include the transpacific, transatlantic, and hemispheric contexts of Asian American literature, the influences of American military and economic presence in the Asia-Pacific, the relationship between the circulation of commodities and social and linguistic exchange, literary navigations across “spaces of capital,” and the role of race, gender, and sexuality in mediating capitalist and revolutionary desires. 

Students will develop their critical thinking, close-reading, and expository skills through in-class discussions and exercises.  There will be a series of in-class workshops on thesis development, effective argumentation, and the mechanics of essay writing. Students will be expected to write and revise a series of short papers.

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