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, Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines played significant roles in the making of the Americas. However, their political claims upon the “West,” especially in the U.S., proved to be a far more divisive matter. This class explores these complex multiethnic stories of New World arrival. Over the semester, we will investigate a wide range of fictional and nonfictional writings charting these interwoven histories of Asian American migration and diaspora, paying particular attention to literary forms as vehicles for cultural expression. Writers we will consider may include, Wong Chin Foo, Yan Phou Lee, Edith Maude Eaton, Younghill Kang, Maxine Hong Kingston, Karen Tei Yamashida, Cristina García, Amitav Ghosh, Mine Okubo, Le Thi Diem Thuy, Eugene Gloria, Carlos Bulosan, 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.”