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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 314V • Asian American Literature and Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33650 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
GAR 2.108
Haupt, M

Course Description

What does it mean to be "Asian American"? What nuances are lost beneath that broad designation? This course examines literature, memoir, poetry, drama, film, and critical essays in order to understand the historical contexts and cultural forces that shape Asian American identity as it is represented in these forms. The course covers a diverse range of diasporic and first-generation Asian American experiences, and we will pay specific attention to the formation of Asian American subjectivities at the intersections of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class.

The objective of this class is to critically examine the literary formation and political import of the category "Asian American," especially when the concepts of America and American-ness are far from static. The novels, short stories, plays, and films we study in this class will track the movement of Asian American literature from narratives of immigrant assimilation to more complex considerations of nationhood and identity. Ideally, students will come away from the course with a more textured understanding of what we mean when we say "Asian American."

Grading Policy

As this course is a substantial writing component, students will be asked to complete a number of writing-based assignments, including five-to-eight reading responses (worth 20% of final grade), three mid-length critical textual analyses (20% each), as well as reading quizzes (10%). Students are also expected to participate actively in class (10% of grade) discussion, as sharing our various interpretations enhances our understanding of the texts.


Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri; The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini; Stealing Buddha's Dinner, Bich Minh Nguyen; Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi; Grass Roof, Tin Roof, Dao Strom; Course packet; The Wedding Banquet (Lee); Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (Leiner); The Namesake (Nair)


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