Asian American Literature
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT251
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
What is the course about?
This online literature course explores the cultural, literary and historic context of East and South Asian migration to the US and discusses a range of contemporary texts by Asian American writers. It focuses particularly upon the prominence of Asian American literature as a ‘genre’ today and indeed whether this corpus can be categorised with one such monolithic label. We will consider the wide variety of the themes in the work under discussion in this course, with a particular emphasis upon intergenerational legacies, identity and Asian American childhood experiences. This course will encourage learners to critically assess concepts of literary tradition in a global context, particularly with regard to multicultural genres.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• Common themes in Asian American literature, such as intergenerational legacies, language, queerness and the experience of racism
• Explore central questions such as: who is Asian American? How do we define Asian American literature? What are the benefits and drawbacks to grouping often disparate texts under one label?
• The history of Asian American literature as a category and its evolution, focusing upon some of the most popular contemporary texts.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Have an understanding of East Asian migration to the US and the range of texts categorised as Asian American literature, with a focus on its prominence today
• Consider the various themes of the work under discussion in the session, such as intergenerational legacies and Asian American childhood experiences
• Critically assess the concepts of literary tradition in a global context.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
An interest in the texts under discussion is necessary. No prior literary study is required, though the course includes some discussion of literary theory.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Some short contextual lectures with Powerpoints, but this course is primarily an interactive mix of large group work and discussion with some smaller group discussions in breakout rooms. Work outside class is reading the set texts and any necessary secondary reading. We will also engage with interviews and video media.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Severance by Ling Ma (2019, Macmillan USA)
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (2018, Bloomsbury)
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (2020, Europa Editions)
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2020, Vintage)
The tutor will provide digital materials and/or links to any additional secondary reading, particularly secondary reading such as the literary theory of Elaine Kim and others.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other Literature courses under History, Culture & Writing/Literature at www.citylit.ac.uk.
Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott is a PhD researcher and seminar tutor in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth. Her doctoral thesis examines the autobiographies of nineteenth-century magicians and representations of fictional conjuring in Victorian literature. She also worked on the British Library’s ‘In the Spotlight’ research project, contextualising nineteenth-century playbills and periodical reviews. Her other research interests include contemporary Japanese literature, occulture, Romanticism and fantasy fiction.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.