Introduction to Asian American Literature



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English 2620 (cross-listed with Asian American Studies and American Studies)

Spring 2016

TR 2:55-4:10 - 236 Goldwin Smith Hall

Instructor: Shelley Wong

Office: 282 Goldwin Smith Hall – 255-9310 (ssw6@cornell.edu)

Office Hours: W 3:00-4:00, R 12:30-1:30 (or by appointment)


Introduction to Asian American Literature

This course will introduce both a variety of writings by Asian American authors and some critical issues concerning the production and the reception of Asian American literary texts. We’ll be asking questions about the historical formation of Asian American identities and about the aesthetic forms of representation explored by Asian American writers and artists. While we’ll devote most of our time to literary texts, we’ll also direct some of our critical attention to the role of popular culture in the ongoing construction of Asian and Asian American identities.



Required Readings:
Carlos Bulosan, America Is In the Heart

Marilyn Chin, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen

Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies

Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker

Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

John Okada, No No Boy

Frank Chin, "The Year of the Dragon"

Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine


Additional short readings and films (both documentaries and feature films) will be available on Blackboard.


Course Requirements:


  • Regular attendance and completion of assigned readings by the date we begin our discussion of a given text as noted in the syllabus. More than two unexcused absences will affect your final grade

  • Regular participation in class discussions (attendance and participation: 25%)

  • Three 2-page informal writing assignments that will take the form of a close reading of some part of a given literary text. These are not meant to be synopses or broad generalizations about a given text. These responses may function as points of departure for your essays. (10%)

- Formal writing assignments: one 6-page mid-term essay (25%); one 8-10-page final essay (40%)

Plagiarism:
All the work you submit in this course must have been written for this course and not another and must originate with you in form and content, with contributory sources fully and specifically acknowledged. Make yourself familiar with Cornell’s Academic Integrity Code, distributed to students in the Policy Notebook and available on-line at http://www.cornell.edu/Academic/AIC.html. The code, together with a guide to Acknowledging the Work of Others, can be downloaded from http://www.cornell.edu/UniversityFaculty/docs/main.html. In this course, the normal penalty for a violation of the code is an “F” for the term.


Syllabus (subject to change)
Week 1
R – January 28Introduction
Week 2
T – February 2

- R. Radhakrishnan, “Is the Ethnic ‘Authentic’ in the Diaspora?” The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s,” Ed. Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Boston: South End Press, 1994. (Blackboard)


R – February 4

- Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, "'Loveliest Daughter of Our Ancient Cathay!': Representations of Ethnic and Gender Identity in the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Beauty Pageant"

- “Miss Chinatown, USA” and “Slaying the Dragon” – both these documentaries are available on Blackboard.
Week 3
T – February 9

- Frank Chin, “The Year of the Dragon”


R – February 11

- Frank Chin, “The Year of the Dragon”


Week 4
T – February 16

- winter break – no class



R – February 18

- Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine

- First 2-page assignment due today in class

Week 5
T – February 23

- Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine


R – February 25

- Carlos Bulosan, America Is In the Heart


Week 6
T – March 1

- Carlos Bulosan, America Is In the Heart


R – March 3

- Carlos Bulosan, America Is In the Heart

- Second 2-page assignment due today in class

Week 7
T – March 8

- John Okada, No No Boy



R – March 10

- John Okada, No No Boy


Week 8
T – March 15

- Marilyn Chin, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen


R – March 17

- Marilyn Chin, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen


Week 9
T – March 22

- tba
R – March 24

- no class meeting

- Essay #1 (6-page) due today by electronic submission


Week 10
T – March 29 – spring break
R – March 31 – spring break
Week 11
T – April 5

- Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker



R – April 7

- Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker


Week 12
T – April 12

- Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker

- Third 2-page assignment due today

R – April 14

- Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You


Week 13
T – April 19

- Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You


R – April 21

- Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies



Week 14
T – April 26

- Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies


R – April 28class to be rescheduled
Week 15
T – May 3

- film discussion



R – May 5

- film discussion


Week 16
T – May 10

- film discussion



Tuesday – May 17

- final 8-10-page essay due today in class


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