ASIAN 332 - South Asian Identity: Writing Home from Away
Section: 001
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In this course we will read 20th-century works of literary nonfiction by writers with South Asian links—the people write about a different place than they write from. This course encourages you to think about these issues first-hand with your own creative, as well as produce critical exercises in writing about place. We begin by comparing four short accounts of Mumbai/Bombay to see how narrative personality affects the portrait of a place, and then in subsequent weeks, develop a critical vocabulary for discussing these rhetorical decisions by having you talk about your own writing experiences, and pairing travel writing with travel theory. How do writers’ identities impact the way we construct a narrative “I” as our traveling selves and as our writing selves? What do we assume we have in common with our readers and what do we assume readers won’t share with us? What preconceptions of “here” and “there” (as “desh” and “videsh”) do we rely on to construct narrative authority? How is South Asian identity created in diaspora?

This course emphasizes the honing of skills both in expository writing and in the close reading of literary texts. Special attention will be paid in both the reading and writing exercises to the special case of literary nonfiction, and how the creative and the critical elements necessarily come together in the ways we approach this genre.

Crs Requirements: You are expected to formulate and pursue your own questions to the course materials in a series of 1-page responses to the assigned reading (one for each class session), in 3 short creative writing exercises (graded C/NC), and in one 15-minute presentation of research related to that day’s discussion. The work you do in your reading responses and class presentation should serve as preparation for an 8-12 page essay focusing on one central question (of your choosing) that serves as the final for this course.

Intended Audience: Upper-level Asian Studies concentrators who need to fulfill their “major track” or “breadth” requirement; students looking for Humanities distribution courses; American Studies concentrators; English Department concentrators; other concentrators with interest in South Asia.

Class Format: Discussion of readings, in-class writing exercises, workshop discussions of student writing, and oral presentations.

ASIAN 332 - South Asian Identity: Writing Home from Away
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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