Description: We will explore one of the most enduring and flexible genres in American popular culture – film and literary noir. Film noir, or “black film,” and its literary corollary, the hard boiled crime fiction, is distinguished by a style and theme that focuses on blackened frames and darkened lives. The genre plays with tropes of light and dark in order to demonstrate how people become “black” because of their immoral behavior. And yet the specifically racial overtones of noir has not been explored by critics. In this course we will consider how racial difference plays a constitutive role in the American imaginary and suffuses one of the most popular genres in American culture. And in doing so, we will also explore some of the most enduring themes in American culture: lust, sin, crime, greed and regret in the multiracial city.
|MW||9:30 AM - 10:50 AM|
|203-0-21||Sharma|Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area
Description: This course provides a historical, thematic, and contemporary analysis of the lives of South Asians in America, or desis. South Asian Americans include people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Burma and their U.S.-born children. What are the experiences of desis, and what have been their primary concerns? We will first review the immigration histories of South Asians to the U.S., analyzing how desis’ lives, including their immigration, settlement patterns, marriage, occupations, and racial status, have been impacted by U.S. law. Turning to contemporary experiences, we focus on the rise of second and third generation desi youth. In this section, we cover topics including: negotiating family expectations of gender, sexual, marital, economic, and career goals; desi musical subcultures of bhangra and hip hop; inter-racial relations; and their political worldviews and activism. Throughout, we will evaluate popular depictions and scholarly theories of South Asians through the lenses of assimilation and cultural retention and characterizations of desis as model minorities, hybrid beings, and as American, ethnic, and racial beings. Are these accurate depictions? We conclude by considering the impact of 9/11 and the future concerns of South Asians in the U.S.
|MW||11:00 AM - 12:20 PM|
|275-0-20||Kim|Literature & Fine Arts Sciences Distro Area
Description: This course examines literature, film, and critical theory created by Asian Americans in order to examine the development of “Asian America” as a literary field. We will explore how Asian American literature and theory engages themes and questions in literary studies, particularly related to questions of race, nation and empire, such as sentimentalism, the autobiography, buildungsroman and genre studies. For example, how does Carlos Bulosan draw on tropes and images of 1930’s American depression to draw equivalence between Filipino colonial subjects and domestic migrant workers? How does Siu Sin Far use sentimentalism as a strategy to evoke empathy for her mixed race protagonists? How does Hirahara manipulate conventions of literary noir to contest dominant recollections of WWII? Thus we are also learning to ‘deconstruct’ the text and understand how Asian American literature and culture offers a parallax view into American history, culture and political-economy. Starting from the premise that Asian America operate as a contested category of ethnic and national identity we will consider how Asian American literatures and cultures “defamiliarize” American exceptionalist claims to pluralism, modernity, and progress. The novels, short stories, plays and films we will study in this class chart an ongoing movement in Asian American studies from negotiating the demands for domesticated narratives of immigrant assimilation to crafting new modes of critique highlighting Asian America’s transnational and postcolonial history and poesis.
|MW||12:30 PM - 1:30 PM|
|335-0-20||Shankar|Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area
Description: This course will examine ethnographic approaches to language use among Asian communities in the United States. Focusing on both “heritage languages” (mother tongues) as well as varieties of English, we will explore topics of language socialization, bilingualism, code-switching, language retention and loss, style, stereotypes, the social dynamics of English as a Second Language, and slang. Connections between these topics and broader dynamics of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality will be made. Special attention will be paid to processes of racial and ethnic formation through language ideologies and use, especially in the context of English monolingualism, the model minority stereotype, and the white public sphere.
|TTh||11:00 AM - 12:20 PM|
Description: This seminar takes up “race war” as an analytical concept for thinking about the question of empire in U.S. culture. From the conquest of native peoples across the American continent to the Spanish American War, from World War II to the U.S. War in Vietnam, from the Cold War to the “war on terror”—wars have been waged not only in the name of territorial acquisition and diplomacy, but have also profoundly shaped ideas about race and nation in U.S. society. We therefore approach the study of race beyond U.S. borders, using interdisciplinary methods to interrogate its formation in transnational and imperial contexts. How have racial ideologies worked to rationalize U.S. conquest, “pacification,” and occupation overseas? In turn, how have these processes reinforced and reified racial concepts, representations, and practices in the United States? In examining these questions, we will pay attention to how historically marginalized subjects have responded to wars, from proclaiming their loyalty and patriotism to engaging in more critical acts of protests, within and beyond the United States.
|MW||9:30 AM - 10:50 AM|
|370-0-20||Enteen|Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area
Description: Current scholarly work on globalization, particularly in the area of same-sex desire in non-western locations, is struggling to understand local appropriations of seemingly western signs—like gay and lesbian rights and identity politics—in the context of increasingly expanding transnational communication, late-capitalist flow of commodities and people, and economic development. Some have argued that sexuality is now globalized, construing categories like gay and lesbian as universals that travel across space and time. In these approaches, what is seen to be happening is the importation of western cultural practices to non-western places, where local cultures, seen as traditional, authentic, and in many cases, pre-modern, are recipients of the spread of western cultures. The West is thereby equated with the global, and local gay and lesbian scenes and practices are interpreted as copies of “real” non-heterosexual identities.
In this course, we will analyze the term globalization and the idea of a “global gay” culture. We will then consider some critiques of queer theory, examining its lack of a wider social and economic perspective and of the material and social components of sexualities, its relationship to a Euro-American rights-based discourse of sexual difference, and a post- modernist approach to sexuality. Ethnographic investigations and popular productions of same-sex cultures outside the West will also be examined. Special emphasis will be placed on the studies and representations of non-heterosexuality in Thailand.
|T||2:00 PM - 3:20 PM|
Description: This course examines the history of U.S. involvement in wars in Asia and the Pacific alongside Asian American cultural productions, which emerged in response to colonization, militarization, internment, migration and displacement. Our objective is to understand how theatre, performance art, spoken word and social performances (for example, pilgrimages by adoptees and family history projects) in particular are significant sites and critical practices in contesting these histories of imperialism. We will have a particular focus on the relation of gender and memory, particularly how women employ memory to make political claims and to articulate histories of violence that have long been silenced. Our investigations will be guided by these inquiries: How do migrants and displaced people construct, inhabit and reproduce memories of war through cultural productions? How have embodied Asian American cultural expressions served as a site to counter the familial, cultural and historical amnesia that surround traumas of war? We will read key works in Asian American history and cultural studies, along with critical readings from (post)colonial, trauma, feminist and performance studies. Previous knowledge of Asian American performance is not necessary.
|TTh||10:00 AM - 11:20 AM|