ENGL 289
Asian American Visual Cultures Spring 2015 Division I;
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One of the most infamously racist images from American cultural archives is an illustration, accompanying an article titled “How to Tell Japs from the Chinese,” that appeared in Life magazine in 1941. Visual media and representations–film, photography, comics, painting, sculptures, etc.–have always been central for shaping, re-shaping, and complicating the ways in which we understand and “see” race. As the Life magazine example demonstrates, our visual cultural archives have served as both reflections of and active agents of social meanings, structures, and ideologies of race. We will approach visual cultures and archives of Asian America as not merely representations of race but as particular vehicles for cultural politics: How have visual cultural texts engaged with and shaped our ideas about Asia/America? How has the visual medium facilitated both normative and counter-cultural ideas about Asian Americans? What are the ways in which visual culture has been and continue to be central to social and political life? We will examine a range of materials, from 19th and early 20th century Orientalia to contemporary Asian American graphic novels and films, both independent and mainstream. The class will also include at least one visit to the WCMA.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3999
Requirements/Evaluation: active and consistent in-class participation, weekly journal entries, 2-3 short response papers, final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-years and sophomores considering a major in American Studies
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or ARTH
Distributions: Division I;

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