AMST 403
New Asian American, African American, Native American, and Latina/o Writing Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed AMST 403

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Critics reading minority writing often focus on its thematic–i.e., sociological–content. Such literature is usually presumed to be inseparable from the “identity”/body of the writer and read as autobiographical, ethnographic, representational, exotic. At the other end of the spectrum, avant-garde writing is seen to concern itself “purely” with formal questions, divorced from the socio-historical (and certainly not sullied by the taint of race). In the critical realm we currently inhabit, in which “race” is opposed to the “avant-garde,” an experimental minority writer can indeed seem an oxymoron. In this class we will closely read recent work by Asian American, African American, Native American and Latino/a writers which challenges preconceptions about ethnic literature, avant-garde writing, genre categorization, among other things. The writing done by these mostly young, mostly urban, poets and fiction writers is some of the most exciting being written in the United States today; their texts push the boundaries of aesthetic form while simultaneously engaging questions of culture, politics, and history. Reading them forces us to re-think our received notions about literature. Authors to be read include Will Alexander, Sherwin Bitsui, Monica de la Torre, Sesshu Foster, Renee Gladman, Bhanu Kapil, Tan Lin, Tao Lin, Ed Roberson, James Thomas Stevens, Roberto Tejada, and Edwin Torres.
The Class: Format: seminar; seminar/discussion
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3026
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on either one 16- to 18-page seminar paper or two shorter papers (one 7-8 pages and one 9-10 pages); short response papers; participation
Enrollment Preferences: American Studies majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST 403 Division II
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST 400-level Senior Seminars
LATS Comparative Race + Ethnic Studies Electives

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