English 166AC

Special Topics in American Cultures: Literatures of the Asian Diaspora in America

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2014 Lee, Steven S.
TTh 11-12:30 2 LeConte

Book List

Cha, T. H.: Dictee; Kingston, M. H.: China Men; Lahiri, J.: Interpreter of Maladies; Le, T. D. T.: The Gangster We Are All Looking For; Lee, C.: Native Speaker; Murayama, M.: All I asking for is my body; Okada, J.: No-No Boy; Tsiang, H. T.: And China Has Hands; Yamashita, K. T.: I Hotel


This survey will have two primary aims: first, to interrogate the concept of nationhood and, particularly, what it means to be American.  Focusing on writings by peoples of Asian descent across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, we will examine various strategies for making America more inclusive--from appeals to the country’s founding ideals, to experiments with literary form, to calls for leftist revolt.  The second aim will be to interrogate the concept of race, specifically by questioning singular notions of “Asian America” and “Asian American literature.”  In order to do this, we will adopt a transnational and cross-ethnic perspective in order to connect these literatures to a broad history of global wars, empires, and revolutions.  This perspective will also enable us to compare these writings with those from other branches of the Asian diaspora, for instance, the Koreans in Central Asia and the Japanese in South America.  In short, the survey will provide us with a critical grasp of race and nationhood, as well as the ability of literature to rework these in an increasingly “post-national”, “post-racial” world.
Note: Since the reading list may change, please don’t buy books until after the first class.
This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.

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