English R1A

Reading and Composition: Transpacific Routes and Asian America

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2018 Choi, Jeehyun
MWF 1-2 50 Barrows

Book List

Lahiri, Jhumpa: Interpreter of Maladies; Lee, Chang Rae: A Gesture Life; Okada , John: No-No Boy; Yamanaka, Lois-Ann: Blu's Hanging; Yang, Gene: American Born Chinese


The field of Asian American literature has long been contested: what are the dialogues that have shaped the unstable definition of “Asian American,” and how might we think about Asian American literature as more than an additive category of panethnic inclusion? In this course, we will investigate literary texts by Asian American authors that urge us to turn our gaze to transnational configurations of identity, born out of both physical and imagined journeys across the Pacific. We will discuss the long-standing transpacific imperial histories, ethnic nationalisms, as well as colonial/postcolonial solidarity and fissures that mark our Asian American/diasporic texts. While engaging the political and historical content of our texts, we will also lend consideration to the relevance of literary forms and aesthetic choices. The texts will be accompanied by secondary criticism that engages in ongoing debates in Asian American studies.

The primary aim of this course is to develop critical skills for close reading and effective argumentative writing. We will practice responding to a variety of texts across nations, time periods, and genres, by writing and rewriting several analytical essays over the course of the semester.

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