"Poetry and Poetics Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world" "Poetry makes nothing happen" Between Shelley’s cancelled
The class explores the leitmotif of the double primarily in but not restricted to Asian American literature and cinema. Is there a common reference point in various forms of doublehood in the narratives of double agents, passing, sojourning, cultural transgressing and translating? In this class, we will focus on the theme of “duplicity” to tackle questions pertinent in the heritage of Asian American literature and to make connections to other ethnic literatures. Readings will include Asian American literature from different historical periods as well as other minority literature (such as Nella Larson’s “Passing,” V.S. Naipaul’s Mimic Man, Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer, Dubravka Ugresic’s Ministry of Pain). Primary reading materials will be drawn from the followings (general reading load is one book per week): The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu (Sax Rohmer), East Goes West (Younghill Kang), Farewell to Manzanar (Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston), A Japanese Nightingale (Onoto Watanna), A Gesture Life (Chang-rae Lee), Dogeaters (Jessica Hagedorn), Gold by the Inch (Lawrence Chua), Namesake (Jhumpa Lahira), Tropics of Orange (Karen Tei Yamashita), Comfort Woman (Nora Okja Keller). Limited amount of theories on the double from Freud, DuBois, and Fanon will also be used to accompany literary reading. Attendance to three additional film screenings (“Crossing,” “Hulk,” “Irma Vep”) is required for the sessions on cinema and Asian American popular culture. One presentation, midterm exam, and final paper.