Susan Thananopavarn

Writing 101
Spring 2019

From laws like the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act to anti-immigration rhetoric and acts today, Asian Americans have often been understood as “foreigners” in the United States.Asian Americans have resisted this trope through literary, historical, and personal narratives as well as through legal and social activism.This class will examine Asian American experiences through these narratives, concentrating on the relevance of Asian American studies to current policies.Through our writing projects, we will explore how understanding past Asian American resistance may pave the way for a more informed activism today.Texts for the class will include novels, short stories, poetry, and films and will address topics such as representation, the politics of immigration, nativistic or “patriotic” racism, and how Asian American demographics have been shaped by U.S. foreign policy.Our reading and weekly writing about these topics will culminate in three major projects for the class: 1) a 3-4 page analysis of how a literary text responds to an aspect of U.S. history, 2) a short (publishable) opinion essay on the relevance of Asian American history to a current event or policy, and 3) an exploration of Asian American history through narrative.For the last project, you will decide the best form –essay, multimedia presentation, graphic novel, etc. –in which to convey an aspect of Asian American history through the lens of a single person’s story.