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SUNY Geneseo ENGL 237 - syllabus

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Rutkowski, Asian American Literature, page 1 ENGL 237: American Voices Asian American Literature Tu/Th 9:55-11:10 | Welles 216 Spring 2006 Professor Alice Rutkowski Office: 230 Welles Office Hours: Tu/Th 11:15-2 and by appointment Office Phone: 245-5290 Email: [email protected] (please note there is no final “i”) Course web site: http://www.geneseo.edu/~rutkowsk/s2006/237/237.html (site has links to: syllabus, course reserves, class contact information, the course email list-serv and copies of all the assignments) Course Description: The category “Asian American” is a strange one – it groups together a huge variety of cultures, with vastly different languages, cultures and histories. But for better or worse, this term has come to be the accepted way of referring to the millions of Americans who are of Asian descent, and writers from these communities have been a vibrant force in twentieth-century American literature, especially in the last thirty years or so. Our course will be divided among three sorts of narratives: immigration narratives, narratives of second-generation identity construction, and narratives emphasizing global or postcolonial perspectives. We'll draw heavily upon Chinese and Japanese American literature--the core of this subspecialty since its founding--and lightly upon texts from the still-forming Filipino, Korean, and South Asian diasporic literature. We'll ask how gender, class, generation, and national/ancestral histories inflect each author's stories, and how these texts use and re-envision existing literary codes and conventions to talk, implicitly, about issues that are not strictly literary. Course Objectives: • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the range of Asian American literature and some of its common themes and concerns. • At the same time, they will be able to account for the complexities in the field due to differences in language, culture, nationality, and religion (to name just a few). • They will demonstrate the ability to think and write critically about literary works. • Students will be able to analyze texts both on the level of formal qualities and thematically. Required Texts: All are available at the campus bookstore, Sundance; if you choose not to buy your textbooks there, please make sure to get the edition indicated. Fenkl, Heinz Insu. Memories of My Ghost Brother. Boleaf Books. Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior. Vintage. 1989 Lee, Chang Rae. A Gesture Life. Riverhead. 2000 Okada, John. No-No Boy. U Washington Press. 2001 Trenka, Jane Jeong. The Language of Blood. Borealis Books, 2003 Wong, Shawn (ed). Asian American Literature. Longman. 1996 Yamanaka, Lois-Ann. Blu’s Hanging. Perennial. 2002 Plus, Electronic Reserve readings (ERes); class password is “asianam” On the days our readings are from ERes, you are required to print a copy of the reading and bring it to class.Rutkowski, Asian American Literature, page 2 Recommended Texts: A good essay-writing handbook, such as The Bedford Handbook for Writers (Diana Hacker, Bedford) or the MLA Handbook for Writers (Joseph Gibaldi, MLA) Evaluation: 30% essays (two 2-pagers, one 5-7 pages) 10% group assignment 25% participation 25% final 10% reading quizzes/short assignments Final grades in my courses are not meant to come as a surprise and the calculations I use to arrive at them should not be mysterious. If, at any point during the semester, you would like to know what grade you have earned up to that point in the course, let me know. The procedure for inquiring about your current overall grade is as follows: 1) let me know you’d like to know your current grade (by email, in person, etc.) and then 2) schedule an office appointment with me. This will give me time to calculate your grade and then together we can discuss your performance in class. Reading Assignments: Reading assignments must be completed by the date they appear on the syllabus. Students are expected to bring the assigned text to class; when the reading is from ERes, students must print a hard copy and bring it to class. Essays: see course schedule for due dates Short papers: Students will write two brief, 1-2 page papers. Each paper is worth 5% of the final grade. More details will be available when the assignments are distributed. Paper proposal and longer essay: The paper proposal will precede the paper and is designed to ensure every student’s paper addresses and interesting and arguable question. The proposal will not be graded, although I will comment extensively on it to help in the writing of the paper itself. Students who fail to complete the proposal will not be allowed to write the paper. The final version of the paper will be worth 20% of the final grade. Format: Papers should reflect attention to the conventions of standard English, including appropriate documentation (MLA). Drafts: I’m happy to read drafts of any paper, provided I’m given enough time; students can turn in a paper early for written comments at least two class meetings before the paper is due or come to my office hours. Late papers: Late paper policy is as follows: penalties begin to accrue at 5 PM on the day the paper is due; up to one day (24 hours) late, penalty is 1/3 letter grade (e.g. A becomes an A-); up to two days late, 2/3; three days, 1 full grade; four days, 1 1/3; five days, 1 2/3; six days, 2 full grades; seven days, 2 2/3; more than seven days late, not accepted for credit without excuse certified by the Dean of Students’ office (this includes Counseling center). Weekends count in calculating lateness – if you need to hand in a paper late, either have a secretary in Welles 226 initial, on the paper, the date/time it was finally handed in or send a duplicate copy to me by email (hard copy still should be handed in to Welles 226 box) to get credit for the time you turned it in. Documenting the time a paper was handed in is YOUR responsibility; given a lack of documentation, the penalty will be calculated based on when I receive the paper. Grading: To receive an “A” on a paper or exam, you must do excellent work in all these areas: original thinking, organization, clear analysis, use of sufficient and specific evidence, and consistent and correct grammar and mechanics. I consider a grade of “B” a very good grade for work that is shy of excellent. Students who earn C’s and D’s fall short in these


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