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

Fall 2009

ANS 378 • Senior Seminar in Asian Studies-W: Let Me Tell You About Asia: Perceptions of Asia in Fiction, Travelogues, and Memoirs

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31175 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
WCH 4.118

Course Description

Let Me Tell You About "Asia" - Perceptions of Asia in Fiction, Travelogues, and Memoirs The focus of this senior seminar is on “perceptions of Asia” as addressed in greater literature originally written in English (with a few exceptions), especially in the genres of fiction, travelogues, and memoirs, dating from as early as the writings of Marco Polo up to works published in contemporary America. Works selected for the seminar are to be read and discussed within the broad context of “travel literature” by visitors to Asia – travelers that include missionaries, colonizers, journalists, scholars, students, and tourists. Through a sampling of these selected works, a main focus will be on the approach to the concept of “Asianness” in the distant and recent past as treated from the perspective of a “cultural outsider.” Some major concepts and themes that emerge from these works concern Asian stereotypes, self-discovery and cultural identity formation, and exoticization of Asia and all things Asian (or “Oriental”). We will pose open-ended questions about these perceptions of Asia not as literary critics, but rather more as readers, or as fellow travelers to Asia. Thus, the course focus will be on primary, rather than secondary, sources and materials. Students will choose from the selected works below for oral panel presentations, leading class discussion, which in turn will form a focus for essays.

Grading Policy

20% Class discussion, leading in-class discussions, in-class and online discussion and class "preparedness."* *ATTENDANCE POLICY - More than 3 absences, final class participation grade deducted half a grade (e.g. A- to B+); additional half grades deducted for each additional 2 absences. 60% Critical and Analytical Writing (Discussion Questions, 3 essays) 10% Two Panel Presentations 5% “Book Club” selection of secondary source (Online Discussion on Blackboard) 5% Travelogue or Memoir Writing


REQUIRED: John Van Maanen, Tales of the Field -- On Writing Ethnography (Chicago, 1988) EXCERPTS FROM: Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess (1905); novella Sara Crewe (1888); Leslie Chang, Beyond the Narrow Gate; Chitra Divakaruni, Arranged Marriage; Duong Van Mai Elliott, The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family; Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha; Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Around the Bloc - My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; Bill Holm, Coming Home Crazy - An Alphabet of China Essays; Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies; Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth Ronald Latham, The Travels of Marco Polo; Chang-rae Lee, A Gesture Life; Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian – Notes of a Native Speaker; Kyoko Mori, The Dream of Water; David Mura, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei; Paisley Rekdal, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee – Observations on Not Fitting In; Orville Schell, In the Peoples Republic – An American's Firsthand View of Living and Working in China; Jonathan D. Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci; Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses Amy Tan, Saving Fish From Drowning; Janwillem van de Wetering, The Empty Mirror – Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery


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