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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Spring 2007

ANS 301M • Identity and Memory in Asian American Literature-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30425 MW
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
PAR 206

Course Description

This course is a thematic treatment of issues raised in fiction in contemporary America. A main focus will be on the approach to the concept of "Asianness" in the distant and recent past as treated in the context of a Western cultural identity being adopted, assimilated, reinvented and/or rejected. How do fiction and film construe cultural modernity for those in the category of Asian American and Asian Pacific descent? Experimentation with voice and image are seen in fiction and film, and writers and directors work both abroad and in North America. In essence, these writers and directors do not create solely in the space of one geopolitical entity, nor do they deem their work as projections of any one cultural product, namely, not to be classified as either Western or Asian.

In examining the edges of varied literary mediums, the forms of expression in fiction and memoirs will be carefully analyzed. How do words weave a composite of imagery, and how do imagery relate narrative? We will return again and again to the questions - what do the writers want to tell us, how do they express their voice, and why do they choose the format or medium that they do? We will pose these basic but open-ended questions not as literary critics, but rather more as readers, in short, as the intended audience for these short stories, novels and memoirs. Thus, the course focus will be on primary, rather than secondary, sources and materials. We will view some films for contemporary reference and cultural context. Major Concepts and Themes (for consideration): Identity and memory of the Asian American literary persona Self-discovery and cultural identity formation Race and gender Eroticization and exoticization

Grading Policy

15% Class discussion, informal presentations, in-class and online discussion and class "preparedness." 65% Critical and Analytical Writing (Formal and Informal 10% Creative Writing 10% Midterm and Final Oral Presentations


Jessica Hagedorn, ed. Charlie Chan Is Dead - Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction (Penguin, 1993) Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian : Notes of a Native Speaker. (Vintage Books, 1999) Lan Cao and Himilce Novas, Everything You Need To Know About Asian-American History (Plume/Penguin, 1996)


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