Asian American populations have been deeply impacted by restrictive immigration legislation and American foreign policy, putting its peoples in a unique position for defining Americanness. How do artists with an Asian ancestry challenge a country that ostensibly celebrates diversity yet looks with suspicion on the foreign? We’ll look at the creation of “Asian American literature” as a category to examine this question. Why was Asian American literature created? Who is Asian American literature for? What does this genre do for re-defining a sense of self in relation to otherness and difference for everyone?
The course material is organized thematically, and not regionally. In other words, texts have not been chosen based on the ethnic affiliation of the authors. Rather, each work has been selected based on its wrestling with themes and images common to Asian American cultural production.