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Asian American Posthumanisms: Biopolitics, Ecopoetics, and Literature

ENGL 319
Fall 2024
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 320
Course Cluster and Certificates: Asian American Studies

From 19th-century anxieties concerning subhuman coolies to 21st-century celebrations of suprahuman cyborgs, U.S. discourses have always figured people of Asian descent as peripheral to the category of the human. While Asian Americanist scholarship has often responded by asserting the humanity of Asian Americans, a number of scholars and writers have begun to explore and even embrace the inhuman character of the Asian American. Drawing from recent scholarship in science studies, political ecology, anthropology, and literary studies, this course will consider what it looks like to shift the scale of analysis from the individual, organismal human to the social logics, biopolitical infrastructures, and ecological entanglements that supersede the human, or conversely, to the body parts, molecular processes, and fragments that subtend the scale of the human. We will pay particular attention to the question of what consequences decentering the human has for the ethnic novel, a genre often valued for its ability to affirm the humanity of racialized subjects. For instance, what kinds of aesthetics and politics emerge from an imaginary centered not on the human individual but on systems, landscapes, entanglements, and other imaginative forms and social practices? What does a novel centered not on a human protagonist but on an object, a clone, or an ecosystem look like? To explore these nonhuman centered logics and forms, we will read a selection of theoretical texts by Asian American and other authors, alongside a selection of contemporary (and capaciously defined) Asian/American novels by writers such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Larissa Lai, Ruth Ozeki, and others.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-21-2024
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