AAS 4555 Race and Time - Asian American Studies Program

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Race and Time – ENGL 4550/AAS 4555/ENGL 6995/AAS 6995 (4 credits)
Instructor: Shelley Wong
Spring 2016 - Wednesday 12:20-2:15 Rockefeller B16
This course will turn on three key terms: race, comparison, and time. What do these terms have to
do with each other? What does it mean to be in time, or out of time? What are some other ways of
inhabiting time, or of being inhabited by time? What is the time of the racialized subject? How might such
a temporality be figured through literary representation? What is the time of comparison? What is the role
of time in the racialization of institutional knowledge production? We’ll take up these and a host of other
questions pertaining to the politics and poetics of time by working our way through writings ranging
across the fields of the literary, anthropological, philosophical, linguistic, psychoanalytic, and sociological.
Office Hours:
Wednesday 3:00-4:00
Thursday 12:30-1:30
282 Goldwin Smith Hall
(or by appointment)
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Required readings:
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
Carlos Bulosan, America Is In the Heart
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, DICTEE
Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin White Masks (the Grove Press edition translated by Charles Lam
Markmann)
Carolivia Herron, Thereafter Johnnie
Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
Joy Kogawa, Obasan
Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine
Additional readings (in the form of essays or excerpted writings) from some of the following authors
will be available on Blackboard: Paul Ricoeur, Michael Hanchard, Cathy Caruth, Sigmund Freud, Ernst
Bloch, Dipesh Chakrabarty, John Bender, David Wellbery, Jonathan Z. Smith, Rey Chow, Osamu
Nishitani, Naoki Sakai, Natalie Melas, Walter Benjamin, W.E.B. Du Bois
Course Requirements:
-
regular and punctual attendance and active participation in seminar discussion (including one
or two stints as a discussant for a presentation) (20%)
one 15-20 minute oral presentation (10%)
informal writing assignments: two 2-page quick takes on a reading of your choice (these 2pagers may be used as the basis of, or incorporated into, one of your formal essays) (5%)
formal writing assignments: one 5-6 page mid-term essay (25%) and one 10-12 page term paper
(40%)
(please see me about the course requirements if you’re auditing the course, taking it S/U, or as an
English graduate seminar.)
_____________
SYLLABUS
(subject to change)
Week 1
January 27 – introduction
Week 2
February 3 – chronopolitics
- Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: chapter 1, “Time and the Emerging Other,” and
chapter 5 “Conclusions”
- Osamu Nishitani, “Anthropos and Humanitas: Two Western Concepts of ‘Human Being’”
- Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Global Transformations: Anthropology and the Modern World,
chapter 1, “Anthropology and the Savage Slot: The Poetics and Politics of Otherness”
(recommended)
2
Week 3
February 10 – the time of comparison
- Natalie Melas, “Versions of Incommensurability”
- Frantz Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness” from Black Skin White Masks
- W.E.B. Du Bois, “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” from The Souls of Black Folk
- James Baldwin, “Introduction,” “Autobiographical Notes,” and “Stranger in the Village”
from Notes of a Native Son
Week 4
February 17 – chronotypes: the poetics and politics of form
- Carlos Bulosan, America Is In the Heart
- Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other, chapter 2 “Our Time, Their Time, No Time: Coevalness
Denied” (recommended)
Week 5
February 24 – narrating otherness
- James Baldwin, “Many Thousands Gone,”
- Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Idea of Provincializing Europe” from Provincializing Europe
- Rey Chow, “The Secrets of Ethnic Abjection” and “On Chineseness as a Theoretical Problem”
- Johannes Fabian, chapter 3 “Time and Writing About the Other” (recommended)
- Informal 2-page writing#1 due today
Week 6
March 2 – time and the ethics of waiting
- Joy Kogawa, Obasan
- Sigmund Freud, excerpt from Beyond the Pleasure Principle
- Cathy Caruth, selections from Unclaimed Experience
Week 7
March 9 – waiting on futures and pasts
- Joy Kogawa, Obasan
- Ernst Bloch, selections from Heritage of Our Times
- Walter Benjamin, “On the Concept of History”
Week 8
March 16 – event and happening
- Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
- Informal 2-page writing #2 due today
Week 9
March 23 – no class today
- 5-6 page paper is due at 12pm on Friday, March 25th. Please email me a soft copy of your
paper and leave a hard copy of it for me in my English Department mailbox (the mailroom is
next door to the English Department main office at 250 Goldwin Smith Hall).
Week 10
March 30 – spring break
Week 11
April 6 – the time of the fathers
- Carolivia Herron, Thereafter Johnnie
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Week 12
April 13 – the time of the fathers
- Carolivia Herron, Thereafter Johnnie
Week 13
April 20 –violence and futures 1
- Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine
- Jonathan Smith, “A Slip in Time Saves Nine: Prestigious Origins Again”
Week 14
April 27 – violence and futures 2
- Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
- (This class may have to be rescheduled and shifted to either Monday, April 25th or Tuesday,
April 26th)
Week 15
May 4 – time and translation
- Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, DICTEE
Week 16
May 11 – the time of the university
- Naoki Sakai, “Dislocation of the West and the Status of the Humanities”
- Osamu Nishitani, “Anthropos and Humanitas: Two Western Concepts of ‘Human Being’”
- Rey Chow, “On Chineseness as a Theoretical Problem”
Week 17
May 17 – Term paper due today by 4:00pm. Please turn in a hard copy of the paper to my
departmental mailbox and email me a soft copy of the paper. The mailroom closes at 4:30pm.
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