EN358: Studies in Asian American Literature: Postmodern Narrative

Instructor:       Jennifer Ho

Seminar:          Tuesdays 1-3:50pm, Kendade Hall 203

Office:             8 Park Street (The Auden House), Room 11

Phone:             358-2103

E-mail:             jho@mtholyoke.edu  (this is my preferred method of communication)

Office Hours:  Tuesdays 10-12pm and Wednesdays 10-11am

This course will focus on contemporary Asian American postmodern narratives. We will examine just what the term "postmodernism" means and how we can apply this concept to a study of contemporary Asian American fiction. Although the concentration of this course will be on Asian American writing, we will begin the course with selections and short works by key postmodern writers—Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo, Paul Auster, etc…—before turning to longer works by Asian American postmodern writers such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lois Ann Yamanaka and others.

(pre-req. 8 credits in the dept. or permission of the instructor)

Required Texts:

Introducing Postmodernism— R. Appingnanesi and C. Garratt

Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Athology (Reader)— P. Geyh, F. Leebron, A. Levy

Dictee— Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

History & Memory— Dir. Rea Tajiri  (Film, in-class)

Fixer Chao— Han Ong

Father of the Four Passages— Lois Ann Yamanaka

Chan is Missing— Dir. Wayne Wang (Film, in-class)

Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book— Maxine Hong Kingston

The Golden Gate— Vikram Seth

Honk if you Love Buddha or My America  Dir. Renee Tajima Pena  OR

Old Man River Dir. Cynthia Gates Fujikawa (Film(s), in-class)

Yellow: Stories— Don Lee

All texts (excluding films) are available for purchase through Odyssey Books.


Recommended Texts:

MLA Handbook (most recent edition—it is available at the Reference Desk of the Library)

Grammar Book (Easy Writer, The Bedford Handbook, etc…)


Library Reserve Texts:

The Condition of Postmodernity— David Harvey

Beginning Postmodernism— Tim Woods

Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology (Reader)— P. Geyh, F. Leebron, A. Levy

The Bedford Handbook, 6th Edition— Diana Hacker

Sample student research papers and sample student response papers


Course Requirements

Final grades will be determined as follows:

Attendance and Participation (including Web CT) 15%
Response Papers (4), APA quiz, and other assignments 20%
Oral Presentation/Literature Review w/handout  15%
Final Paper  50%


Week 1:           Introduction to Postmodernism and Asian American Literature

Sept. 5             Handouts: Susan Daitch (338-341) & Maxine Hong Kingston (469-470)

Week 2:           Introducing Postmodernism (Part I, 3-55)

Sept. 10           Reader: Don Delillo (526-536), Thomas Pynchon (4-15), Kurt Vonnegut (84-93)

Week 3:           Introducing Postmodernism (Part II, 56-113)

Sept. 17           Paul Auster(443-449), Paul Karasik/David Mazzucchelli (449-457), Lynda Barry (211-215)
                        Web CT Demonstration--go over Oral Presentation assignment

Week 4:           Introducing Postmodernism (Part III, 114-173)

Sept. 24           Ntzoke Shange (42-54), Gerald Vizenor (348-354), Bobbie Ann Mason (271-281)
Example: Oral Presentation with handout in-class

Week 5:           Dictee -- Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Oct. 1              Beginning of Oral Presentations
                        APA Quiz Due in-class

Week 6:           Film: History & Memory -- Dir. Rea Tajiri  (32 min.)

Oct. 8              Library Research Day

Week 7:           Founder's Day Holiday--No Classes

Oct. 15

Week 8:           Fixer Chao -- Han Ong

Oct. 22                       

Week 9:           Father of the Four Passages -- Lois Ann Yamanaka

Oct. 29                       

Week 10:         Film: Chan is Missing -- Dir. Wayne Wang (80 min.)

Nov. 5             list of sources and preliminary thesis due

Week 11:         Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book -- Maxine Hong Kingston

Nov. 12

Week 12:         The Golden Gate -- Vikram Seth

Nov. 19

Week 13:         Film:  Honk if you Love Buddha or My America -- Dir. Renee Tajima Pena

Nov. 26           (87 min.) OR Old Man River -- Dir. Cynthia Gates Fujikawa (73 min.)
                        Abstracts due  (day before Thanksgiving holiday)

Week 14:         Yellow: Stories -- Don Lee

 Dec. 3            

Week 15:         Last day--exchange abstracts--wrap up

Dec. 10            Dinner and movie at my house

Final Paper Due:         Thursday, December 19 at 12:00pm--NOON

All papers are due by this date and time to Jennifer's office at 8 Park Street.  Papers handed in after this deadline will be graded down by one letter grade for every 1/2 hour-24 hours that it is late.