Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for ENG 244 Summer 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
ENG 244
Course Title:
Introduction to Asian-American Literature
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Studies writings in English by American writers of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Pacific Islander, and other Asian ancestry. Considers the writings in their historical, cultural, political, and social contexts. Emphasizes development of Asian and Pacific American perspectives, values, and identities. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Recognize distinguishing characteristics of the various Asian-American literatures and relate the writings to their historical, cultural, and political contexts.
  2. Recognize the tensions in the writings between assimilationist attitudes and separatist attitudes, and between individual and representative presentations of Asian-American life.
  3. Explain how culturally based assumptions influence perceptions and behaviors in the writings, with particular attention to the function of stereotyped caricatures.
  4. Analyze the role of gender in Asian-American literature.
  5. Trace the incorporation of Asian folktales, stories, parables, proverbs, and other old-world literary material into Asian-American literatures.
  6. Assess the role of audience, or intended readership, in the presentation of Asian-American life and the assumptions about cultural differences the writers are making.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Cultural Literacy

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze and evaluate how cultural systems relate to broader social dynamics.

Course Activities and Design

Class meeting time consists of lecture, group discussion, and various other activities—small group discussion, in-class writings, and perhaps some guest speakers and viewing and listening to videotape and audio recordings.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Instructors vary on methods of assessment, but generally instructors employ some combination of quizzes, exams, essays, and reading notebooks. The final grade is generally based upon the quality and extent of students' understanding of the course readings and discussions, as demonstrated in writings, discussion in class, and conferences.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Texts may be designated by the instructor based on the objectives outlined in this course content and outcomes guide. The reading list should attempt to represent the wide range of Asian American cultures producing English language literature in America. The following items are intended as descriptions of instructors' choices of texts in the past as an aid to choosing texts in the future. This is not intended as a prescribed or recommended list of texts. A good, extensive bibliography of anthologies and primary texts may be found in King-Kok Cheung’s An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature listed below. Some of the many possibilities:

1. Anthologies

Chan, Jeffery Paul, et al., eds.  The Big Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature.

Hagedorn, Jessica, ed. Charlie Chan is Dead:  An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction.

Hongo, Garrett, ed.  The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America.

Lai, Him Mark, Genny Lim, and Judy Yung, eds.  Island:  Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island 1910-1940.

Lim, Shirley Geok-lin, and Mayumi Tsutakawa, eds.  The Forbidden Stitch:  An Asian American Women’s Anthology. 

Wong, Shawn, ed.  Asian American Literature:  A Brief Introduction and Anthology.

2. Works by Individual Authors

Bulosan, Carlos. America Is in the Heart: A Personal History.

Chin, Frank.  Donald Duk.

Chu, Louis.  Eat a Bowl of Tea.

Hongo, Garrett.  Volcano:  A Memoir of Hawai’i.

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki, and James Houston.  Farewell to Manzanar. 

Jen, Gish.  Typical American.

Kingston, Maxine Hong.  The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts.

Kogawa, Joy.  Obasan.

Lee, Chang-Rae.  Native Speaker.

Mori, Toshio.  Yokohama, California.

Mukherjee, Bharati. The Middleman and Other Stories.

Nguyen, Ngoc Ngan.  The Will of Heaven.

Okada, John.  No-No Boy.

Tan, Amy.  The Joy Luck Club.

Tyau, Kathleen. A Little Too Much Is Enough.

Wong, Jade.  Fifth Chinese Daughter.

Yamamoto, Hisaye.  Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories.

3. Background Readings

Baker, Houston A., Jr., ed.  Three American Literatures.

Cheung, King-Kok, ed.  An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature.

Kim, Elaine.  Asian American Literature:  An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context.

Lim, Shirley Geok-lin, and Amy Ling, eds.  Reading the Literatures of Asian America.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown, and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Redefining American Literary History.

Wong, Sau-ling Cynthia.  Reading Asian American Literature:  From Necessity to Extravagance.

Instructors new to the course should contact the campus literature chair, Comp/Lit SAC chair, faculty department chair, or administrative support person for further information. Other faculty members who have taught the course are also valuable sources of information.