Introduction to Asian American Literature and Culture
Treated as “forever foreign,” not quite a minority (a “model”), Asians resurface in U.S. national culture from time to time, remembered anew amid perennial forgetting. What conditions this (dis)appearance and how does it define Asian American identity? To what extent does invisibility betray a constitutive role in U.S. history? After reviewing the rise of Asian American studies, this course will chart the shifting place of Asians in modern America by examining im/migration, empire’s wars, and the interracial future/diaspora. Through literary and cultural texts as well as ethnic historiography and criticism, this course will provide a critical history of Asian America while expanding the field’s foundational concerns and exploring minor adoptions and resistances of America, including of its aesthetic and social movements. Texts may include Crazy Rich Asians, The Year of the Dragon, America is in the Heart, Philippine–American War editorial cartoons, Obasan, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, We Should Never Meet, Tropic of Orange, Robot Stories, I'm Not Saying I'm Just Saying, Homecoming King, Immigrant Acts, Coolies and Cane, Impossible Subjects, Soldiering through Empire, The Oriental Obscene, Alien Capital, Partly Colored, and Dangerous Crossings. Students will be evaluated based on class participation and presentations, written responses, (con)textual analysis, and comparative analysis or genre recreation.