ASIANPAM 311 - Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies and the Humanities
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Is Charlie Chan Dead? The Politics of Asian American Literary Production
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Asian/Pacific Island Amer Std (ASIANPAM)
Department: LSA American Culture
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


In the literary anthology Charlie Chan is Dead, writer Jessica Hagedorn describes the yellow-face movie detective Charlie Chan as part of the “legacy of cultural stereotypes that continues to haunt, frustrate, and--dare I say it?-- sometimes inspire us.”  In this course, we will take this anthology as a launchpad into the political and cultural debates that have shaped and continue to shape Asian American literature.  Students will engage with fiction, poetry, and theory in Asian American studies, as well as draw from historical archives and primary sources to help contextualize our readings.  How have writers used critical moments  in Asian American history (exclusion, internment, imperialism) to explore questions of identity formation?  How has Asian American expressive culture engaged the meanings of race, gender, and sexuality?  And, is there actually a tradition that constitutes the Asian American literature? We will draw from canonical and contemporary writers, likely including Peter Ho Davies, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Maxine Hong Kingston, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Julie Otsuka. 

By the end of the course, students should expect:

  • To have a grasp of the broad historical contours that shaped the lives of Asian diasporas in the U.S. in the 20th c., and to consider the way that these writers have used fiction to shape understandings of these histories.
  • To be able to use analytic tools from literary studies and critical theory to write compelling arguments about the fiction we read.
  • To think comparatively across diasporas, considering the similarities and differences of this diverse history we organize under “Asian American."

Course Requirements:

Short Writing Assignments, Attendance and Participation, 2 Longer Writing Assignments


ASIANPAM 311 - Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies and the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM

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