Course Description

This is the digital archive of ENGL/AAS 428: Archiving Asian American Literatures.

Course Description

This semester, we will explore contemporary Asian American literary production by reading a wide variety of texts structured around the concept of the archive. Given the obstacles to creating coherent “Asian American archives”—including questions of panethnic representation, linguistic difference, institutional power, diasporic communities, and so on—our exploration will be defined as much by the absences, gaps, and contradictions of the archive as by what is found “within” it. By figuring the relationship between notions of Asian America and of “the archive”—as receptacles for histories and memories, as the process of assembling an archive, and as the genesis for fictional counterarchives—this course encourages us to think about the importance of textual origins to issues such as identity, belonging, authenticity, national formation, aesthetics, globalization, diaspora, and genre in Asian American literatures. In the process, we will familiarize ourselves with the richness and diversity of Asian American literature by considering a variety of genres, including drama, poetry, novels, memoirs, comics, and film. Additionally, as group, you will take part in a digital archive assignment on a topic of your choosing.

Book List

  • “(Re)Collecting the Vietnam War” Fall/Winter 2015 issue of the Asian American Literary Review (REVN; available in Penn State Bookstore)
  • Legends from Camp, Lawson Inada
  • Citizen 13660, Miné Okubo
  • Dark Blue Suit, Peter Bacho
  • The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Vietnamerica, GB Tran
  • The Book of Salt, Monique Truong
  • Anil’s Ghost, Michael Ondaatje
  • Dictée, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

*Additional readings available on ANGEL