ENGL349J - Asian American Literatures; New World Arrivals: Literature of Asian American Migration and Diaspora
0101 - Edlie Wong

This discussion-based course explores the literature of Asian migration and settlement in the Americas over the longue durée. Initially, as indentured laborers—a replacement labor force for the outlawed system of African chattel slavery—and later as emigrants seeking new homes, migrants from China, India, Japan, and Korea played significant roles in the making of the Americas, spanning the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. However, their political claims upon these countries, especially in the U.S., proved to be a far more divisive matter. This class explores these often forgotten or erased multiethnic stories of New World arrival. Over the semester, we will investigate a diverse range of fictional and nonfictional writings charting these complex interwoven histories of Asian American migration and diaspora, paying particular attention to literary forms as vehicles for cultural expression. Writers we will consider include, Wong Chin Foo, Yan Phou Lee, Edith Maude Eaton, Younghill Kang, Maxine Hong Kingston, Karen Tei Yamashida, Chang-Rae Lee, Cristina García, Amitav Ghosh, Ruthann Lum McCunn, Gaiutra Bahadur, Kerry Young, and Jhumpa Lahiri. In our readings, we will ask, among other things, how these writers responded to the conditions of minority experience in the Americas while contributing to and challenging ideas about gender, class, and race and what counts as the “American experience.”