- Course Number: ENGL 134AA
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- Advisory Enrollment Information:
May be repeated for credit providing letter designations are different.
- Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 134AA-ZZ
- Quarter: Summer A 2021
This introductory course on Asian American literature is guided in part by the belief that the form and content of literature in given historical contexts are inseparable, that both carry historical significance that would elude us if we understood literary representations as merely cultural symptoms or products and not as producers of culture. We will study a wide range of literary texts, supplemented by history, film, and visual art, that have shaped our imagination of the Asian Americas. We will pay special attention to the politics of representational forms, such as the poetics of error enacted by Angel Island poetry, the freak show of the original Siamese Twins, the yellowface of Charlie Chan, the deliberate demarcation of documentary history from what Lawson Inada calls “legends” in his internment camp poems, and the code-switchings between standard English and Hawaiian pidgin in Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s performance poetry. The goal of the course is not simply to master an Asian American literary tradition, but to use the provisional mastery as a means to question, or de-master, the American canon. Hence, we will move beyond an America-centered and (standard) English-only approach and relocate the cultural meanings of the Asian Americas in transnationalism, diaspora, yellowface, bilingualism, and translation.