Fall 2013

Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François

“French and Francophone Theater”
Department of French and Francophone Studies
This course will begin with a discussion of drama both as a literary genre and a performing art. An overview of the history of French and Francophone Theater will further focus on aesthetic and political influences having a direct impact on the evolution of theater, both as art of writing and performance, with regard to its role, practice and understanding. For the study of literary texts, we will focus mainly on 20th century plays dealing with struggles of individuals and social groups in particular historical, political, and cultural contexts. Themes such as violence, revolt, political power, race and identity as represented in 20th century plays will also be discussed. Finally, we will reflect on the distinction between modern and classical theater through the reading of a classical French play. Literary texts studied will include works of Albert Camus, Jean Genet, Aimé Césaire and Jean Racine.
We will further discuss the importance of staging as an essential part of Theater, by referring to the works of contemporary directors such as Patrice Chéreau and Ariane Mnouchkine.

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

"The Migration-Development Nexus: Diasporas and Return Migration"
International Development Studies Program

This course examines the recent concentration of the UN, World Bank, governmental entities, non-governmental organizations and scholars on the relationship between labor migration and social and economic development.  In an era of hyper-mobility we will first come to a working definition of “migration” and examine different notions of what constitutes “development”? How does the migration-development nexus rethink what used to be called “brain drain,” “under-development” and “uneven development”?

Using an interdisciplinary assortment of readings, we will try and tease out how transnational migrants to industrialized countries are helping to develop their countries of origin through diasporic engagement and return migration whilst simultaneously examining critiques of this development paradigm.  We will pay special attention to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to analyze how much their strengthening economies are related to increases in FDI (foreign direct investment), skills transfer, social and financial remittances, more environmentally-sustainable and gender-equitable policies and the return migration of their (highly-skilled) diasporas.

Alvin Wong

"Sinophone Literature in Literary World Systems"
Department of Comparative Literature
This seminar introduces students to literature written in Chinese or about the Chinese in the Sinophone world at the margin of China and outside of China. It focalizes the relationship between nation-state and linguistic nativism, colonialism, settler colonialism, and their asymmetrical relations to diasporic movements, as well as new literary force that emerges within creolization of cultures. Students will read works by early writers who imagine and at times racialize the South Seas (present day Southeast Asia) during the 1920s. Work by well-known authors like Shen Congwen, who writes from the geographical margin of China, will be studied alongside the colonized linguistic politics of the Tibetan writer Alai. We will study other authors from Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Anglophone Caribbean whose Sinophone articulations map both horizontal and vertical scales in the longue durée of global migrations, mix-raced ancestry, histories of colonialism, and new urban forms in globalization. Students will also become well versed in current theories and approaches in world literature.


Anne Cong-Huyen

“Asian Migration and Global Cities”
Department of Asian American Studies
This intensive, student-centered, multi-modal seminar will take the “global city” as its starting point, primarily Los Angeles, Dubai, and Ho Chi Minh City. Alternatively known as the alpha-city, world city, or mega city, we will examine the global city as the site of Asian migration, labor, and cultural production. Such cities are broadly defined by their networked connectivity, industries, capital, large populations, in-migration, and so forth. Students will be asked to actively engage with the defining and reworking of the these terms within an Asian Pacific framework, decentering the supremacy of the West or Hemispheric North, which have long boasted the top tanked global cities by such sites as Foreign Policy, Forbes, or A.T. Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. This interdisciplinary course will draw from urban studies, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. Students will be engaging with critical scholarship as well as primary cultural texts ranging from literature, film, new media, and contemporary art. Each mode of scholarship and production will inform the others, and students must be prepared to actively contribute to and maintain an online class community that will directly inform classroom activities. By the end of the course, students will also be expected to produce a detailed case study of one global city and its Asian and ethnic migrants and populace.

Chase Smith

“Women Authors and the Postcolonial Americas”
Department of English
This course explores twentieth-century literature about the postcolonial Americas by women authors. We will analyze how these authors represent legacies and ongoing forms of colonialism in different parts of the Americas, broadly conceived, including the United States and Latin America. Our focus will be especially on issues of gender, feminism, racial identity and national belonging, as thematized and theorized in our selected literary works. Authors may include Jean Rhys, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, Julia Alvarez, among others.

Alvin Wong

“Queer Asia”
Department of Comparative Literature
“Queer Asia” is an interdisciplinary course that explores queer cultures in various regions in Asia that emerged either before, coeval with, or after the sexual liberation of the late 1960s in the modern West. When queerness and non-heteronormative desires are re-envisioned outside of the developmental teleology of Western modernity, the possibilities also serve as provocations for the following questions: what is the relationship between local modes of capitalism that enable “gay” identities vis-à-vis global capitalism? What if the “homosexuality as cultural imperialism” thesis is re-examined under the rubric of Japanese imperialism? How do queers without formal legal rights and liberal “freedom” imagine other modes of survival in places like China, Hong Kong, and Singapore? And how do queer global cultures travel through Inter-Asian routes?


Anne Cong-Huyen

Seminar: “Ethnic Los Angeles” 
Department of Asian American Studies
This course will ask students to examine city of Los Angeles as a site of ethnic spatialization, for example the famous Little Tokyo, Koreatown, or Historical Filipinotown. Drawing from urban studies, sociology, cultural and media studies, we shall examine Los Angeles as construct and as built space through the study of archives, narratives, visual culture, and space. Integral to this endeavor will be analysis the historical importance of the city’s ethnic populations and the ways in which they have carved out spaces for enterprise, community, and cultural production within the urban landscape. Throughout the course, students will be engaged in multi-modal scholarship that requires active classroom and online interaction. Ultimately students will choose one specific community and site to produce an in-depth research project, including personal observation from site visits. Students will also be encouraged to attend events hosted by the Urban Humanities Institute and participate with community organizations like PDub Productions, a civic engagement group in Historical Filipinotown, or the Little Tokyo Historical Society.

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

“Global Temporalities: Cultural Time Zones”
Department of Comparative Literature
This interdisciplinary course combines insights from world literature, literary theory, the humanities and the social sciences to investigate the contested relationship between post-1990 cultural globalization and time and space with the goal of constructing our own heuristic analytics for studying “capitalist-modernity.” We aim to ask questions about how to understand the contemporary world paying close attention to the decline of the middle classes in the “overdeveloped world” of the Global North and the burgeoning middle classes in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the subsequent change in notions of which locales will become the land of opportunity and the (technological) future.
Can we designate certain spaces like airports, malls, gyms, gated communities, cafés etc. as transnational “cultural time zones” (CTZs)? Are there subnational CTZs which we consider to be outside modernity or the “time of the global”? Can the contemporary world be understood as a constellation of disjunctive temporalities in which the hypermodern exists simultaneously with what we call the “traditional”?