Popular culture, sometimes denigrated as “low culture,” is often dismissed in favor of “high culture,” yet its ubiquity means it has massive social influence in the formation of personal, community, and national identity. This course will ask students to critically engage with and problematize definitions of “popular” and “culture,” while introducing students to representations of Asian Americans in U.S. popular culture and Asian American cultural production. We will start with some major contemporary depictions of Asian Americans, then work backward to accomplish a historical survey of how Asians and Asian Americans have been represented in U.S. media in 19th and 20th century popular imaginary, ultimately focusing on contemporary modes of representation, production, and engagement. Media covered will be diverse (including literature, film, television, graphic narrative) and require development of flexible and critical reading practices specific to each media. Similarly, emphasis will also be placed on genre and its limitations and potentials for the production of representations and narratives that complicate, counter, or subvert those commercially accepted my mainstream U.S. culture. The variety in form and content encompasses a wide breadth of Asian American cultural production and situates it within a larger U.S. social, historical, and cultural framework.

Professor: Anne Cong-Huyen
Summer Session A, 2013
MTW 2pm – 3:20pm
Location: 387 104
Office Hours: @W, 3:30pm – 4:30pm at Nicoletti’s in the UCen and by appointment