Topics in Asian American Literature: Identity and Self-Image


What's queer about "Asian America"? All too often, queerness typifies signs of injury and victimization for this racial formation (e.g., emasculation, feminization, hypersexualization). Historically, the legal and symbolic parameters for who counts as an American were fortified against the Asian alien as a threatening racial Other. Cultural discourses invoked notions of deviant genders and perverse sexualities as proof that Asian/Americans are unassimilable to the heteronormative domestic ideals of the nation. Since these depictions substantiated exclusionary policies, Asian Americans often unwittingly refute queerness in order to make claims to national belonging. Yet, this strategy effectively marginalizes LGBTQ groups among Asian American communities and further stigmatizes non-normative genders and sexualities. Countering these tendencies, David Eng and Alice Hom postulated "queer Asian American Studies" in their influential 1998 collection Q&A, arguing that we must be "unwilling to bifurcate our identities into the racial and the sexual." Likewise, we've witnessed a proliferation of Asian American creative works with LGBTQ protagonists that center the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality. Among such artists, this course may include readings by Maxine Hong Kingston, SJ Sindu, Kai Cheng Thom, Anthony Veasna So, and Ocean Vuong. Guided by the theoretical insights of these literary texts and scholarly writings, we will approach queerness not as an identity category, but rather as a critical paradigm that elucidates and interrogates the inequities of citizenship. Moreover, we'll explore how Asian American literatures envision queerness as a creative force for activating convivial practices, desires, and socialities that exceed disciplinary norms of the nation-state. This course may fulfill the global or minority literatures requirement for students who declare an English major in the fall 2021 semester and beyond. This course fulfills the 20th Century h
Course Attributes: BU Hum; AS HUM; AS SD I; FA HUM; EL TC; EL GML; AR HUM; EN H

Section 01

Topics in Asian American Literature: Identity and Self-Image
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