Asian American Literature

English 372 / Asian American Film and Television, Prose and Graphic Narratives, Poetry, Architecture

(DL) (WI & O) –

delivery format — ONLINE

Dr. R. Hsu /


Note that this course has both a writing intensive and oral focus designation. If you make a strong effort to stay on track, I’ll do what I can to help you meet the requirements of this class.


The exciting and courageous artists, filmmakers, performers, and writers in this course are Asian ancestry, born in or live primarily in the United States; and they imagine “America” and “American identity” to be complex, heterogenous, dynamic.

We’ll be reading convention-busting and provocative texts, for example, the against-all-odds film career of Anna May Wong in the first half of the twentieth-century, the work of artist, Cyrus Wong, when he worked at early Disney, most notably on Bambi; a speculative novel on the appearance of a large piece of plastic in the Brazilian rain forest; architects who have re-imagined the connections between nature and human, time and chronology; and poets of revolution in terms of politics and American letters. Presently, when the artistic expression of “people of color” are under attack by all types of partisans, “reading” and engaging with their work is worth the effort. 

Required assignments include:    completing reading and viewing assignments before class; a bi-weekly discussion post on the reading assignments; three 5 to 10-minite class presentations; one research-based essay. Amount of writing must total a min. of 4000 words or 16 pages.

Required texts include:

Television/streaming: Kim’s Convenience (sit-com; Canada; on Netflix);

Poetry:           Kimiko Hahn, Foreign Bodies; Al Robles, Rappin’ with 10,000 Carabaos in the Dark

Films: Bitter Melon (H. P. Mendoza): Minari (Lee Isaac Chung); The Half of It (Alice Wu)

Prose: Susan Choi, Trust Exercise; Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous; Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (speculative fiction)

Graphic Novels: Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese; Shaun Tan: The Arrival


Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):

  • Gain an understanding of shared themes as well as the heterogeneity of Asian American plays, films, and art;
  • Gain an understanding of the ways that Asian American cultural texts and identity transform, complement and otherwise engage with differing “Americas”;
  • Enhance the ability to think, to discuss and to write independently about literary and cultural texts.