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

Spring 2010

E 379N • Intersections Between African-and Asian-American Literature-HON-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35075 MW
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
PAR 210

Course Description

The relationship between Blacks and Asians has often been portrayed as one fraught with conflict and tension. This class will examine why this particular narrative of interracial relations has emerged and how African American and Asian American authors respond to it. What we will discover is that the Afro-Asian relationship is one that has a long and complicated history behind it, and one can see that in the fiction, essays, poetry, and films that producers from both groups have created. Our approach this semester will be an intertextual one that considers how a pair of authors approaches a common topic, and the similarities, differences, and contradictions that arise between the two. The class is organized around a series of dialogues between African American and Asian American authors about a range of topics: interracial romance, assimilation, cultural antagonism, feminism, the Los Angeles Uprising, and nation. Our goal will be to construct a more complex narrative of Afro-Asian relations, one that fully acknowledges and explores the potential common ground, conflicts, and ambivalences that exist between the two groups.

Grading Policy

Class participation: 10%; Two discussion papers of 3-4 pages, each circulated before class: 25% total; Presentation on one secondary source: 10%; an annotated bibliography of five secondary sources: 15% A final research paper of 10 pages that engages in a sustained manner with the primary text(s) and cites at least five secondary critical sources: 40%


1: W. E. B. Du Bois, Dark Princess and Selected Essays; Mira Nair (dir.), Mississippi Masala 2. James Baldwin, "Negroes are Anti-semitic Because They're Anti-White"; Frank Wu, Yellow 3. Frank Chin, The Chickencoop Chinaman; Frank Chin and Jeffery Paul Chan, "Racist Love" from Seeing Through Shuck 4. Richard Wright, The Color Curtain; Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters 5. Alice Walker, The Color Purple; Maxine Hong Kingston, Selections from The Woman Warrior 6. Anna Deveare Smith, Twilight Los Angeles 1992; Paul Beattie, The White Boy Shuffle; Ty Pak, “The Court Interpreter” 7. Patricia Powell, The Pagoda; Don Lee, Country of Origin


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