Spring 2014

Anne Cong-Huyen

“Ethnic Los Angeles”
Asian American Studies 191D Seminar-Topics in Comparative Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality

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.

Tentative Course Schedule:

(Students will have 1 short paper-length blog post due, and blog responses due each week. Original blog post will also include presentation and leading of class discussion)

Week 1-Introductions: Introduction to existing scholarship on Los Angeles. Course policies and schedule

Week 2-Constructed LA – The City as Text

Boosters, official media of LA (historical and contemporary), Archival media, recognized histories and unseen histories. Selections from Ethnic LA by Roger Waldinger, The Power of Urban Ethnic Places by Jan Lin, Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends by Charlotte Brooks, and Miwon Kwon

Week 3-Presentation of Project Proposals and in-class feedback

Week 4-Literary LA – LA Times “Literary L.A.” Literature (group presentations); criticism by David Fine, Mike Davis, Frederic Jameson, Kandice Chuh

Week 5-Literary LA (continued)

Week 6-Cinematic LA –Los Angeles Plays Itself (watch prior to class), clips from Little Tokyo, USA (1942), Chinatown (1974), Blade Runner (1982), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), Jean Baudrillard, Max Horkheimer and Theodore Adorno, Mike Davis

Week 7-Cinematic LA (continued)

Week 8-Digitized LA – Mobile HiFi, VozMob, 626 Night Market Blog, The Fung Brothers, selections from AsianAmerica.Net, Lisa Nakamura, Lisa Lowe, Wendy Chun

Week 9-Digitized LA (continued) and Group workshops

Week 10-Presentations and peer evaluation of Final Projects (Peer grades will be averaged with instructor grade)

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

“Global Temporalities: Cultural Time Zones”
Comparative Literature 191

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”?