This course offers an introduction to Asian North American Literature and Culture from the late 19th century to the present. Students will become conversant in the historical and cultural contexts of Asian America (and learn why that term itself is highly contested); the major themes, tropes, and formal features of the canon; and the primary debates and current trajectory of the field of Asian American literary studies. Throughout the term, we will explore a range of ethnic traditions and geographical contexts, and a variety of genres, including the novel, memoir, speculative fiction, and comics. This course requires substantial reading and writing and vigorous participation. The goal of the course is to help you engage with Asian American and Asian diasporic literature, particularly in relation to contemporary politics, while improving your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the process.
During the past 20 or so years, we’ve seen a radical increase in the use of the monster figure in contemporary U.S. literature. Whether it’s the vampires of Justin Cronin’s The Passage Series or the zombies of Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, monsters have increasingly served as a mode through which anxieties about climate change, globalization, and neo-liberal multiculturalism are expressed. In this course, we will read a series of “monster” narratives, with a particular eye toward how questions of global climate change and violence are envisioned--especially as they intersect with representations of race and ethnicity.