theorizing asian north american studies

globalization and nation

Professor Timothy Yu
Department of English, University of Toronto, Fall 2005
Meets Wednesdays 1:00-3:00 p.m., Room 2000, 7 King's College Circle

This seminar examines the shifting theoretical underpinnings of Asian North American literary and historical studies over the past three decades. In the standard narrative, the “cultural nationalism” of the 1970s, with its essentialist view of identity, is superseded by the pluralist and feminist perspectives of the 1980s, which in turn gives way to the transnational and diasporic paradigms that now dominate the field. We will historicize this process by returning to key texts from each of these moments in Asian North American studies, from the polemics of Frank Chin to the groundbreaking works of Elaine Kim and Sau-ling Wong. We will then turn to more recent texts that look back upon and revise this theoretical history, focusing on the interplay of global and national perspectives in the work of Lisa Lowe, David Palumbo-Liu, and Aihwa Ong. Throughout the course, we will ask what the object of Asian North American studies is, what methodologies it has developed, and how it understands its own intellectual and political function.

Last updated September 25, 2005