English R1B

Reading and Composition: Asian American Speculative Realism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
12 Spring 2013 Fan, Christopher Tzechung
MWF 2-3 223 Wheeler

Book List

Choi, Susan: A Person of Interest; Hong, Cathy Park: Dance, Dance, Revolution; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; Yu, Charles: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe


Asian American literature hasn’t always gotten along with realism. As a literature read through the lens of ethnicity, it is saddled with the responsibility of realistically portraying ethnicity. Is Asian American realism therefore ultimately only about something called “Asian America?” This is the central question we will be dealing with in this course. In order to even begin formulating an answer, however, we must first answer some more fundamental questions. What is “Asian America?” Does such a thing exist? If so, when was it invented, and what purpose does it serve? What is “realism,” and what is the “reality” it purports to represent? As the title of this course indicates, we will be approaching this last question in a rather unconventional way: through the paradoxical figure of a speculative realism. Does realism always have to be about an actually existing or past reality? Or do the future and the imagination also constitute our reality in some important way?

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