AMST 354
Asian American Literature: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Fall 2017
Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed AMST 354 / ENGL 354
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

This tutorial is for students who want an opportunity to explore some of the wonderful fiction and creative nonfiction written by Asian American writers over the past hundred years. This course will be perfect both for students who are already familiar with Asian American studies and literature and want to dive deeper into one strand of the rich Asian American literary tradition (its prose: novels, memoirs, and short stories), as well as for students who are new to Asian American literary studies and want an introduction to this exciting and important (but too-little taught) side of American literature. The tutorial format will make it easy to pair students based on their level of familiarity with Asian American history and literature. Likely readings include: Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart (1946); John Okada’s No-No Boy (1957); Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior (1976); Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker (1995); lê thi diem thúy, The Gangster We are All Looking For (2003); Rajesh Parameswaran, I Am An Executioner: Love Stories (2012); Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You (2014); Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer (2015); and The Celestials (2013) by Williams College’s own Karen Shepard (an historical novel about the experience of Chinese laborers in 1870’s North Adams). As we read, we will attend to the various ways in which the often difficult, and sometimes traumatic, historical experiences of Asian Americans have informed their acts of literary invention. And in order to better understand the broader, ever shifting, social contexts in and against which these literary works were created, we will supplement our primary readings with texts that discuss the experiences of Asian Americans from a historical and sociological perspective. Students who take this course should be prepared to read one book and two or three supplementary historical/theoretical essays each week. This course fulfills the EDI requirement, as it engages questions of power and privilege, and the coded representation of racial or ethnic otherness.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1866
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: quality of tutorial papers and participation during tutorial discussions
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course; not open to first-year students
Enrollment Preferences: none; if the course is over-enrolled, I may ask students to send me an email explaining why they would like to take this course
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST 354 Division II ENGL 354 Division I
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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