English 153T

Topics in Asian American Literature and Culture: World, Nation, City

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2021 Leong, Andrew Way
TTh 9:30-11

Book List

Bulosan, Carlos: America is in the Heart; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior: Memoir of a Girlhood Among Ghosts; Ma, Ling: Severance; Mukerji, Dhan Gopal: Caste and Outcast; Okada, John: No No Boy

Other Readings and Media

Additional short readings will be posted and made available on bCourses.


This class (previously listed under "English 166/5" in Spring 2019) provides a foundation for reading Asian American literature at three levels of scale: world, nation, and locality. At the world scale, we will discuss the political origins of the phrase “Asian American” in the late 1960s and how associations with radical forms of political activism such as the Third World Liberation Front informed the invention of the concept of "Asian American literature." We will also look back to short texts from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries to see how a larger, world historical perspective of Asian American literature from the Manila galleon trade through the Spanish American War can illustrate the limitations of historical and literary narratives that focus too heavily on the North Atlantic. At the national scale, we will examine how Asian American writers confronted the anti-Asiatic creation of national borders through immigration exclusions and origin quotas from the 1880s to 1920s. We will trace how the legacies of these exclusions informed later works written during and after ghettoization, internment, and refugee resettlement. Finally, at the scale of "city," we will focus on ways of reading texts situated in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York.

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