As a trade, military, and diplomatic discourse which has been formalized through measures such as the Transpacific Trade Partnership, the transpacific names the connections that have been forged across continents, and resonate with historical routes of Western imperialism. The Transpacific serves as another reminder that promises of global connection are often created by the powerful to maintain their power - only, this time, certain Asian states’ capital and military power are also on the rise. But where there is domination, there is also resistance. To that end, how have artists responded to these power dynamics to imagine new forms of attachment across and with the planet in spite and because of promises of the global?
To answer, this course will analyze theoretical and literary texts by Asian North American, Asian Anglophone, and Pacific Islander authors. Taking up the recent transpacific turn in Asian American cultural studies, we will focus on displaced people, perpetual migrants, oceans, and other figures that challenge U.S.-centric frameworks of model minorities, claiming America, and intergenerational conflict. Key issues will include race and empire, migration and displacement, militarization, ecocriticism, love and kinship, and technology and media. Authors and artists will include Monique Truong, Lysley Tenorio, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Craig Santos Perez, and Shailja Patel.
The course will be conducted asynchronously with optional synchronous elements. You will be tasked with reading between 60 and 120 pages per week and participating in weekly discussions. There are three required course texts and a film you must rent/buy, and all other readings will be available as PDFs. The course will culminate in the completion of some kind of intellectual project.