Race, Robots, and Asian/American Literature (LIT2603.01)

Franny Choi

From Blade Runner to Ex Machina, visions of robotic futures are populated with Asian bodies, settings, and cultural forms. How is it that robots became so closely linked to the racialization of Asian/American people? What might we learn about the latter by examining how the former shows up in our cultural imagination? And how have Asian diasporic writers handled these uncomfortable entanglements in literature? In this 2000-level literature course, we will examine works of fiction, poetry, and film that engage connections between Asian/American identity and artificial life. In doing so, we will build close reading skills, practice constructing arguments about texts, and explore key concepts in Asian American Studies. Course readings will include a few foundational works of Asian American literature; contemporary works by writers like Larissa Lai, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Bhanu Kapil; critical essays by Edward Said, Vijay Prashad, and King-Kok Cheung; and several films. For the final project, students will have the option to either write an essay about a piece of media featuring robots, or do a creative project with a critical introduction. This course may appeal to students with who are interested in Asian American Studies, 20th and 21st Century Literature, Feminist Studies, and/or Speculative Fiction.


Learning Outcomes:
-To closely read literary texts in conversation with critical theory, considering historical and sociopolitical context
-To become familiar with foundational texts in Asian American literature
-To explore key concepts in Asian American Studies, including Orientalism, assimilation, exclusion, the model minority myth, and objectification
-To analyze works of speculative literature (specifically, those that involve robots, cyborgs, and other forms of artificial life) through the lens of race, gender, and postcoloniality


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Literature , Fully In-Person
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