ENGL 242 C: Reading Prose Fiction

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
* *
Alan Williams

Syllabus Description:

English 242 C – Reading Prose Fiction: Tracing 20th-Century U.S. Racialization through Fiction

Course Description

As Black Lives Matter critiques the U.S. police state at the same time China is framed as a threat to the liberal international order, the U.S. nationalist narrative of racial progress is revealed as just that: a narrative.

Drawing from works by Sui Sin Far, Jack London, W.E.B. Du Bois, John Okada, Louis Chu, Soon Tek-Oh, Le Ly Hayslip and others, this course traces U.S. racialization across the 20th century through fiction, to make sense of the twists and turns of contradiction in the U.S. nationalist narrative of racial progress. By investigating the past, the present conjuncture becomes clearer.

The course is structured as a discussion seminar (synchronous) + writing workshop (asynchronous). Students will lead discussion of the texts (a novel, a play, short stories and two films) as writing goes through peer review. Two 5-page major papers and four 2-page response papers will be produced.

Note: This course carries the "W" credit.


  • Du Bois, W.E.B. 1928. Dark Princess: A Romance (ISBN-13: 978-0199387434)
  • Eat a Bowl of Tea (film). 1989. Dir: Wayne Wang, based on the 1961 novel by Louis Chu.
  • Heaven & Earth (film). 1993. Dir: Oliver Stone, based on the 1989 novel by Le Ly Hayslip.
  • All other required texts will be made available electronically through Canvas.
Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
September 9, 2020 - 10:50pm