English R1B

Reading and Composition: Note new topic: War, Empire, and Asian American Cultural Critique

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2014 Lee, Amy
MWF 2-3 225 Wheeler

Book List

Ghosh, Amitav: Sea of Poppies; Hagedorn, Jessica: Dogeaters; Hwang, David Henry: M. Butterfly; Okubo, Miné: Citizen 13660; Park, Yongsoo: Boy Genius

Other Readings and Media

A short selection of short stories, poems, and critical essays will be made available online.

Screenings:  A Little Pond (Lee Sang-woo, 2009) 


Dubbed the "American Century," the 20th century bore witness to the rise of the United States as a global superpower, the outcome of American involvement in World War II and the Cold War. From the Philippine-American War to the Pacific War to the Korean and Vietnam Wars, America's strategic accumulation of global power was largely staged at the site of the Asia-Pacific.  In this course, we will survey a wide range of Asian American cultural texts--novels, graphic novels, short stories, plays, essays, and films--that elucidate America's imperial and military engagement with Asia.  We will pay attention to the representational strategies deployed in these texts to narrate and historicize America's encounter with Asia from the varied standpoints of those who bore its consequences.  In addition to the ramifications of war and empire on cultural production, we will learn about the ways in which cultural texts both facilitated and contested received narratives of US incursions into Asia.  Finally, we will consider how Asian American writers have shaped the canon of American literature by inflecting the language of war and empire within American aesthetic practices.

In addition to developing our critical thinking and close-reading skills through in-class discussions and exercises, we will spend a significant amount of time honing our research and writing skills.  Students will learn how to effectively gather research materials and incorporate secondary sources in their writing to strengthen their argumentative positions.  Assignments include short writing exercises, two research papers (including drafts) and class presentations.


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