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Foreigners and Citizens in Asian American Literature

ENGL 272.402
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

This class explores the relations of the foreigner and the citizen in the U.S. cultural imaginary through Asian American literature. We will examine the changing relations between "Asian" and "American" in the meaning of "Asian American" from the late nineteenth century when Asian exclusion laws prevented Asians from naturalizing to the contemporary moment of transnationalism. In each of these periods, we will also look at the how inclusion and exclusion of Asians worked in relation to other minorities. Writers we will read and discuss include Maxine Hong Kingston, Han Ong, Chang-rae Lee, Ha Jin, and Ruth Ozeki. In addition to literary texts, we will also read theories of race, ethnicity, and globalization, including Robert Park's thesis of the Marginal Man, Aihwa Ong's notion of flexible citizenship, and the middleman minority formation.