ENGL349P - Asian American Literatures: Asian American Poetry and Spoken Word
0101 - Davis, Lawrence Minh

 With a national summit every other year and a fixed presence in nearly every major city in the U.S., Asian American spoken word has grown into a thriving tradition.  Its dynamic marriage of the arts and activism provides a unique window into Asian American communities—spoken word artists have been called “historians for the masses”—but strangely spoken word has received relatively little attention from Asian American studies or literary scholars to date.  This class will begin that necessary scholarly work, examining the spoken word tradition in relation to historical, political, regional, and transnational contexts, asking how spoken word performances at once emerge from, respond to, and create community activism.  It will also consider how spoken word overlaps with and diverges from Asian American poetry—in terms of form, aesthetics, performativity, and politics.  Some artists of interest include Bao Phi, Ed Bok Lee, Ishle Yi Park, Shailja Patel, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Anida Yoeu Ali, Brownstar, Giles Li, Beau Sia, Marlon Esguerra, and Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, as well as the Washington, DC-based spoken word organization Sulu DC.  Long paper, group presentation, choice of creative or analytical “showcase,” final exam.