English 166AC

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2017 Lee, Steven S.
MWF 1-2 140 Barrows

Book List

Hamid, M.: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Kingston, M.H.: China Men; Murayama, M.: All I asking for is my body; Okada, J.: No-No Boy ; Shteyngart, G.: Super Sad True Love Story; Yamashita, K.T.: I Hotel; lê, t.: The Gangster We Are All Looking For


This aim of this survey is two-fold: First, to interrogate the concept of nationhood and, particularly, what it means to be American.  Focusing on writings by and about 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 concepts of race and ethnicity by questioning singular notions of “Asian America” and “Asian American literature.”  In order to do this, we will adopt a transnational and cross-racial 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, as well as with other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.  In short, the survey will provide us with a critical grasp of race and nation, as well as of literature’s ability to re-imagine 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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