Reading important writers of Asian American descent, this class is concerned with the following: 1. Where is Asian America? 2. What is an Asian American? Is it a racial concept, cultural construct, biological determinant, historical condition, individual choice, political collectivity or a varying combination of these possibilities? 3. Who are determining the meanings of Asian America or what it means to be Asian Americans? The ideal class will be an intellectual dialogue between students and the professor through interpretations of the assigned texts. We hope to gain both a deeper appreciation of Asian American literature as a means of imagining community and a deeper understanding of language and discourse in the shaping of individual, ethnic, and national identities.
Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.
Empire, Race, and/or Ethnicity courses focus on ways that race matters in literature, media, and culture. Recent courses have examined such matters as native American literature and film; nineteenth-century writings by slavers and enslaved people in the U.S. and British colonies; fiction and filmmaking in post-apartheid South Africa; Latinx science fiction and environmental justice, and the novels of Toni Morrison.
Multicultural, Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) courses examine the social construction of collective identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. The purpose of courses in this category is to analyze the general principles underlying tolerance, or the lack of it.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.