Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of English
Summer 2019


ENG 320B: Meth Literary History: Region with Sheng-Mei Ma 


ENG 320B: Meth Literary History: Region
Professor Sheng-Mei Ma
Online, 2nd summer session, 7/1-8/15/2019

Unlike its racist “cousin”blackface, yellowface has been worn with relative impunity by West Coast
writers and filmmakers and by Western consciousness at large. Such yellowface “mellows” from erstwhile slant eyes and pigtails to millennial ethnic clowns and perennial aliens. This course opens with “California Dreamin’”—with a touch of evil/yellow—by Bret Harte, Jack London, Beat poets, Philip K. Dick, winding up a bit north with David Guterson. Asian stock characters who used to be pitched down the Gold Mountain (Chinese name for San Francisco or America broadly) begins to stand up straight in Asian American culture, shaken awake from the centuries-old American Nightmare. Yet this off-white, yellow-ish correction to white discursive supremacy comes with its own side effect, exemplified by Crazy Rich Asians, Ling Ma, Patricia Park, Alice Wu, and Lulu Wang. This course studies fiction, film, radio play, graphics, and literary history. Course grade is based on weekly papers.

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