Where did the stereotype of Asian Americans as model minorities — overachieving whiz kids, industrious workers, “tiger mothers,” “crazy rich” Asians — come from? What accounts for the model minority myth’s persistence today? How has its representational scheme changed over time? Does model minoritism have a literary (and not only social) history? By reading across fiction, visual culture, and economic history, this seminar traces the changing definitions of Asians in the U.S. from “yellow peril” to model minorities: from the myth’s wartime origins, to the birth of American neoliberalism, and onward to the global rise of Asia in the 21st century.
Fall 2020 Courses in Asian American/Diasporic Studies
Model Minority Fictions
Instructors: Paul Nadal
Special Topics in Poetry: Race, Identity and Innovation
This workshop explores the link between racial identity and poetic innovation in work by contemporary poets of color. Experimental or avant-garde poetry in the American literary tradition has often defined itself as “impersonal,” “against expression” or “post-identity.” Unfortunately, this mindset has tended to exclude or downplay poems that engage issues of racial identity. This course explores works where poets of color have treated racial identity as a means to destabilize literary ideals of beauty, mastery and the autonomy of the text while at the same time engaging in poetic practices that subvert conceptions of identity or authenticity.
Instructors: Monica Youngna Youn