English 53

Asian American Literature and Culture: Voice, Text, Image

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2022 Leong, Andrew Way
TTh 6:30 - 8 56 Social Sciences

Book List

Bui, Thi: The Best We Could Do; Hirahara, Naomi: Clark and Division

Other Readings and Media

Other media and course readings will be distributed via bCourses.


Professor Leong's course is listed both as English 53 and as Asian American Studies (ASAMST) 20C. It is the same course (same time, same room; slightly different title). If you cannot enroll directly in English 53, you can enroll via ASAMST 20C. All students who take the course as ASAMST 20C receive credit in the English major without petitioning.

This lower-division lecture with discussion sections provides an introductory survey of Asian American literary and cultural production. We will study a broad range of forms that have served as vehicles of Asian American political and cultural expression, including: political oratory, oral histories, folksongs, popular music, traditional and avant-garde poetry, short stories, novels, graphic memoirs, films, fashion blogs, and web videos. Our emphasis on reading for form is designed to provide a foundation for students who might be interested in taking additional (historical or special topics) courses in Asian American literature and culture. However, the course can also be taken as a stand-alone, as part of a broader program of comparative ethnic studies, or as a gateway towards further studies in English-language literature. This course is especially suitable for students who have never taken a college-level literary or cultural studies course and would like additional time to practice class discussion and essay writing skills.

The course is divided into three parts: Voice, Text, and Image. In Part I, “Voice” we will focus on Asian American speeches, oral histories, and songs. We will work through a series of assignments oriented towards preparation for class discussion and a short, low-stakes oral exam. In Part II, “Text,” we will focus on skills and techniques for close reading and analysis of printed texts, culminating in a take-home midterm that will allow you to demonstrate the development of these skills. In Part III, “Image,” we will focus on the analysis of images of, or images produced by, Asian Americans in comics, film, and digital media. The assignments in Part III will turn to visual outlining and organization strategies for drafting and completing a final paper project.

Discussion Sections

101 Lackey, Ryan
F 1-2 Dwinelle 87
102 Lackey, Ryan
F 2-3 Dwinelle 87

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