There was an explosion of works by Asian American authors published around the turn of the millennium an unexpected consequence of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 which brought an influx of immigrants from Asia and dramatically altered the demographic composition of the US. This course examines the many different genres and forms of contemporary Asian American fiction produced by the diverse group of Asian American authors who are the descendants of these post-1965 immigrants. Asian American literature is often associated with certain themes (inter-generational conflict in families and the fraught nature of immigrant identity) but this course instead emphasizes the formal qualities of contemporary Asian American writing alongside their domestic and global historical contexts. We read works by authors including Chang-rae Lee Viet Thanh Nguyen Suki Kim Ling Ma and Nam Le exploring their aesthetic characteristics and political investments all while seeking to understand from our vantage point what it is that makes them Asian American.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
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