Print Version

Effective: Summer 2011

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Honors Institute Participant
Advisory: Advisory: Not open to students with credit in ENGL 40.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: United States Cultures & Communities, Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students will gain an advanced understanding of Asian American literature's place within the American literary canon, will identify and assess social issues, including dynamics of family, gender, class,and ethnicity. Students will also identify and analyze historical and legal contexts (such as immigration) shaping literature by Asian Americans.
Description -
Introduction to Asian American literature. Readings in twentieth-century works, with an emphasis on three relevant themes: problems of identity as they relate to class, gender, mixed heritages, and sexuality; politics and the history of Asian American activism and resistance; and diversity of cultures within the Asian American community. Honors work challenges students to a greater sophistication of scholarship through extensive research and literature reviews, critical essays, and opportunities for scholarly presentation. This honors course offers students an enriching and rigorous environment through learner-centered pedagogy, student-generated discussions, and self-directed projects. Students will also actively engage in in-depth analysis and critical evaluation of literary texts.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Identify significant literary, social, cultural, and political issues in 20th century Asian American writing.
  2. Differentiate between the historical and cultural content of Chinese American, Japanese American, Filipino American, Korean American, Pacific Islander American, South Asian American, and Southeast Asian writings.
  3. Recognize American governmental policies, such as Asian immigration and World War II internment and their effects on 20th century writers.
  4. Examine various writing styles with relation to audience and purpose.
  5. Compare fundamental elements of Asian American writing to traditional American literary works.
  6. Recognize and apply literary terminologies, critical theories, motifs, and genres appropriate to a college-level discussion of literature.
  7. Situate a text within a specific historical movement and critical period.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Identification of issues specific to twentieth-century Asian American Literature
    1. Literary issues such as Asian American literature's place with the traditional American literature canon.
    2. Social issues such as family dynamics, gender roles, issues of labor and class, media representation.
    3. Cultural issues, including multi-ethnic identities, acculturation, connections to the "homeland."
    4. Political issues such as immigration and naturalization policies, Affirmative Action, identity politics.
  2. Exploration of and differentiation between Asian American historical and cultural contexts
    1. Chinese American historical contexts such as sugar making in Hawaii, Paper Sons and Daughters, and Angel Island.
    2. Japanese American experiences including World War Two Internment, agricultural labor.
    3. Filipino American issues such as Filipino Veterans?? equity and U.S. colonialism.
    4. Korean American historical contexts--Japanese colonialism, comfort women, Korean adoptees.
    5. Historical and cultural circumstances of American Pacific Islander groups, including Hawaiian and Chamorro cultures.
    6. Southeast Asian American contexts such as the Vietnam Conflict, Hmong immigration, and connections among Southeast Asian American groups.
    7. South Asian American histories including British colonialism and post 9/11 profiling.
  3. Identification and discussion of U.S. governmental policies and their impacts on Asian American writers.
    1. Asian immigration contexts including chain migration, post 9/11 immigration policies, and citizenship rights.
    2. Executive Order 9066 and Japanese American internment.
  4. Examination of writing styles considering audience and purpose.
    1. Construction of the literary Self.
    2. Revision of Asian American history.
    3. Cultural resistance, including identity politics and community-based activism.
    4. Literary or artistic resistance.
  5. Exploration of the fundamental elements of Asian American writing in connection with the traditional American literary canon
    1. Construction of an Asian American literary tradition.
    2. Issues of language and rhetorical use of non-English languages.
    3. Issues of voice and aesthetics within specific Asian American cultural contexts.
  6. Appropriate use of the conventions and theories of literary study
    1. Literary motifs and themes within Asian American literature
    2. Critical / literary theories (e.g., race, gender, queer, and postcolonial theories) and their specific application to Asian American texts
  7. Situate a text within a specific historical movement and critical period.
    1. Identify the historical contexts and forces shaping Asian American literary texts
    2. Critical connections of those contexts among the diverse range of Asian American literary texts
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Critical research essays
  2. Class presentations and reports
  3. Response papers
  4. Midterm examination
  5. Final examination
  6. Class discussion in large and small groups
Representative Text(s) -
Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2008.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior. New York: Vintage, 1989.
Okada, John. No-No Boy. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.
Srikanth, Rajini and Esther Yae Iwanaga, eds. Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers UP, 2001.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Reading literary texts in the gay and lesbian literary canon, lectures on the texts and their historical and social contexts, class discussion regarding those issues and texts, small group projects and presentations, analytical writing projects.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading from representative literary texts as assigned by instructor.
  2. Quizzes on reading comprehension of assigned literary texts.
  3. Individual and small group presentations on the literature and its historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts.
  4. Analytical and reader response journal assignments on readings.
  5. At least one formal literary analysis writing project demonstrating comprehension and critical thinking.