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Topics in Asian American Literature: Asians in Hollywood

ENGL 272.401
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
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This course examines the appearance of Asians in the grand Hollywood picture. We will begin with DeMille’s The Cheat and Griffith’s Broken Blossoms as foundations for sinister and sympathetic representations. From these early portraits, we will go on to consider a range of representations, from the diabolical fiends of The Manchurian Candidate to the kindly Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid. The course will conclude with controversial recent portrayals alongside independent attempts to represent Asian America. To accompany each of the films, we will read critical essays which explore the perils and possibilities of representing Asian Americans in popular American cinema. Course requirements: in-class presentation, close-reading paper, final research paper.