English 196: Asian American Literature


Professor Noelle Williams
Class: MWF 8:30-9:20 DMH 208
Office: FO 110 Office Hours Friday 1:30-3 & by appt.
Phone: 924-4439
Email: awilli@email.sjsu.edu 
Course Objectives

Course Assignments
Later Paper and Grading Policy
Required Texts
Schedule

This course examines major issues in Asian American literature. During the course of the semester, we will explore a variety of literary genres or forms including poetry, prose, drama, oral narrative and screenplay from a variety of Asian American communities. The course reading schedule for this sample syllabus is organized roughly along geographic lines, starting with texts set in California and moving to texts set in places such as New York and Hawaii. While the second section focuses on second generation experiences, the final third of the course explores new patterns of migration, assimilation and narration, continuing the geographic focus out into representations of Asia and back again with first (and 1.5) generation representations of Asian American experience in California with which the course began.

Course Objectives:

1. To gain an awareness of the range of cultural experiences and productions that make up Asian American literary and cultural history.

2. To explore various literary genres.

3. To strengthen our abilities to engage literary text and to analyze both its form and content as well as its social and historical contexts.

Grading:

Coursework includes reading assignments (see schedule below); two five to six-page formal literary analyses; a final exam composed of both essay and identification questions; and approximately ten informal assignments which may include handwritten questions or comments. Your attendance and participation in class will also affect your grade and will be partially determined by scores on reading quizzes.
 
Paper One 5-6 page analysis 20%
Paper Two 5-6 page analysis 30%
Final Exam essay and I.D.ís 30%
Questions/Comments Approx. 10 informal assignments 10%
Class Particip./Attendance Approx.  10% 
Total   100%

The following statement has been adopted by the English department for inclusion in all greensheets:

In English Department Courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System"). Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure. Courses graded according to the A,, B, C, No Credit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC (No Credit) shall replace D or F. In such classes, NC shall also substitute for W (Withdrawal) because neither grade (NC or W) affects students' GPA.

In written assignments for English 196, this scale is based on the following criteria: A [90-92=A-, 93-96=A, 97-100=A+] = Excellent: The "A" essay is articulate and well developed with fluid transitions and a clear and persuasive use of evidence, which is drawn from the literary text itself, lecture materials (when appropriate), and research materials. An "A" essay contains a fresh insight which teaches the reader something new about the subject matter.

B [80-82=B-, 83-86=B, 87-89=B+] Above average: The "B" essay demonstrates a good understanding of its subject, a clear and persuasive use of evidence, a certain level of ease of expression, and solid organization. However, it usually lacks the level of originality and creativity that characterizes the insight found in an "A" essay.

C [70-72=C-, 73-76=C, 77-79=C+] = Average: The "C" essay makes a good attempt at all the assignment's requirements. It has a reasonable understanding of its subject matter but its ideas are frequently simplistic or over-generalized. The writing style is also more bland and repetitive than the style shown by "A" and "B" essays and it often contains flaws in grammar, punctuation, spelling and/or word choice. It may also use textual evidence out of context.

D [60-62=D-, 63-66=D, 67-69=D+] = Below average: The "D" essay is poorly organized and generally unclear. It has inappropriate or inadequate examples, is noticeably superficial or simplistic, and/or contains some serious mechanical and grammatical problems. A "D" essay may also reveal some misunderstanding of the assignment requirements.

F = Failure: An "F" essay has not addressed the requirements of the assignment and is unacceptable work in terms of both form and content.

The misrepresentation of another's work as one's own, whether the original work is published or not, is plagiarism and will result in a failing grade. The incident will also be reported to the dean of students for possible further action. All quotes must be enclosed in quotation marks or, when more than three lines, put in an indented block like the quote above. Full citation of the original author and source must also be included.For all papers, review excerpt from Writerís Handbook at the back of the reader for help with quote integration, formatting & proper citation. Your final requirement in the course is to be courteous and professional to both classmates and the professor. I realize that most people take this as a requirement in their daily lives and this statement does not need to be reiterated here. However, people sometimes forget that the classroom is a professional setting and rules that govern a business meeting in a corporation, apply here. For example, devices such as cell phones and pagers need to be turned off; coming to class late is unacceptable.

Seven Required Texts:

Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart

Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters

Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior

Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies

Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker

Milton Murayama, All I asking for is my Body

Truong Tran, Placing The Accents

Optional:

Barbara Tran, et al, Eds., Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose

Schedule:

Week One

January 24,W: Introduction

January 26, F: Selected poems including David Mura, "Gardens We Have Left"

Part I: California is in the Heart

Week Two

January 29, M: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (part one, chapters I-VII)

January 31, W: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (part one, chapters VIII-XII)

February 2, F: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (part two, chapters XIII-XIX)

Week Three

February 5, M: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (chapters XX-XXVIII)

February 7, W: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (part three, chapters XXIX-XXXVII)

February 9, F: Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (Read part four, finishing book)

Week Four

February 12, M: "Seventeen Syllables," "Yoneko's Earthquake" and "Wilshire Bus" by Hisaye Yamamoto

February 14, W: Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior (to page 53)

February 16, F: Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior (to 109)

Week Five:

February 19, M: Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior (to 160)

February 21, W: Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior (to 209)

February 23, F: Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior discussion continued

Week Six: Part II Second Generation Stories from Across the United States

February 26, M: Louis Chuís Eat A Bowl of Tea (start Wayne Wang movie in class) Paper One Due

February 28, W: Louis Chuís Eat A Bowl of Tea (finish Wayne Wang movie in class). Begin reading Native Speaker

March 2, F: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (to page 99)

Week Seven:

March 5, M: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (to page 155)

March 7, W: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (to page 202)

March 9, F: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (to page 249)

Week Eight:

March 12, M: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (to page 312)

March 14, W: Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker (to end, page 349)

March 16, F: Milton Murayama, All I asking for is my Body

Week Nine:

March 19, M: Milton Murayama, All I asking for is my Body

March 21, W: Milton Murayama, All I asking for is my Body

March 23, F: Milton Murayama, All I asking for is my Body

Spring Break: March 24-April 1

Part III New Patterns of Assimilation, Migration, and Narration

Week Ten:

April 2, M: Paper Two Due. Movie Mississippi Masala in class

April 4, W: Finish movie Mississippi Masala in class

April 6, F: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies : "A Temporary Matter" and "When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dinner"

Week Eleven:

April 9, M: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies : "Interpreter of Maladies" and "A Real Durwan"

April 11, W: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies: "Sexy" and "Mrs. Senís"

April 13, F: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies: "This Blessed House" and "The Treatment of Bibi Haldar"

Week Twelve:

April 16, M: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies: "The Third and Final Continent"

April 18, W: Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (to page 40)

April 20, F: Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (to page 78)

Part III New Patterns of Migration, New Narratives

Week Thirteen:

April 23, M: Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (to page 117)

April 25, W: Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (to page 158)

April 27, F: Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (to page 209)

Week Fourteen:

April 30, M: M. Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (to end, page 251)

May 2, W: Excerpts of Vietnamese American Prose

May 4, F: Excerpts of Vietnamese American Prose continued

Week Fifteen:

May 10, M: Truong Tran, Placing the Accents

May 12, W: Truong Tran, Placing the Accents

May 14, F: Truong Tran, Placing the Accents

Week Sixteen: A Summing Up

May 17, M: Review for Final