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Restrictive immigration legislation and American foreign policy have deeply impacted Asian American populations, 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?
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 commonly used to define Asian American experiences.