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English 381/AC 324
Introduction to Asian American Literature:
The Literatures of Hawai’i


Winter 2002



Times: M, W 1-2:30

Room: G251 Angell

Telephone: 764-6345

Receptionist: 764-6330

Office Hours: Tues. 4-6 pm

Office: Angell 4184

Email: najita@umich.edu

Mailbox: Angell 3161



Course Objectives

As its literature attests, Hawai’i is simultaneously the uniquely multicultural fiftieth state of the Union, a colonial outpost, and the disputed sovereign nation of native Hawaiians.  As might be expected, the literature of Hawai’i is a highly contested terrain ranging from works by native Hawaiian writers, “local” writers, and works by “foreigners.”  This course allows students to read and study the literary and oral traditions of Hawai’i, including works by writers of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Korean descent, through competing paradigms which attempt to place Hawai’i’s literatures and cultures within the historical, social, and political contexts of western imperial expansion, globalization, Asian American literature, and the native Hawaiian movement toward cultural autonomy and self-determination.  This course will examine the ways in which the literatures of Hawai’i have been and can be read through these frameworks as well as how they also problematize and contest these categories.  We will read Melville, London and Twain and look at how Hawaiian and “local” writers such as Balaz, Holt, Trask, Murayama, Pak, Yamanaka, and Cobb Keller respond to European and American representations of Hawai’i and its people.  The course will also include key texts from “mainland” Asian American literature such as those by Bulosan, Hagedorn, and Mori which serve to provide contrast and  comparison with the literatures of Hawai’i.  Requirements include midterm and final exams, one 5-7 page paper, one 7-8 page paper.


Required Texts

Reader – available at Accucopy

Reader, pt. 2 – Accucopy (Holt’s Waimea Summer)

Herman Melville, Typee

Milton Murayama, All I Asking for Is My Body

Lum and Chock.  The Best of Bamboo Ridge

Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu’s Hanging

Yamanaka, Saturday Night at the Pahala Theater

Gary Pak, The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories

Rodney Morales, Speed of Darkness

Toshio Mori, Yokohama California

Carlos Bulosan, America Is in the Heart

Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters

Nora Cobb Keller, Comfort Woman

 (Texts available at Shaman Drum)


Course Requirements

Midterm Exam      15%
Final Exam  


Midterm Paper (5-7 pp.)


Final Paper (7-8 pp.)   




Attendance and Participation 15%



This course requires that students read the assigned material prior to the scheduled class period and that students be prepared and active participants in discussion.  Class participation and regular attendance are central aspects of this course.  As such, 5 absences constitutes a failing grade for the course. 


Written Assignments

All written assignments should be of the correct length, TYPED, double-spaced, with conventional 1-in margins on all sides.  Acceptable fonts include Courier 10 or Times 12.  Citations of secondary sources must follow MLA format. 


Late Paper Policy

Grades for late papers will be reduced a letter grade for each day past the due date.  For example, if the paper’s initial grade was a B and it was turned in one day after the deadline, the final grade will be a C.  (Note: Saturday and Sunday count as two days.)  If you are ill and cannot complete an assignment on time, notify me on or before the due date and provide a doctor’s note when you turn in your paper.  In fairness to other students, in-class quizzes may not be made up at a later date.  You must be in class in order to receive credit for taking a quiz. 


All contestations of grades (whether for a specific paper, exam, or the course as a whole) must be done in writing (no emails accepted).  If you are finding yourself in need of extra guidance in improving your future papers, please visit my office hours.  However, if you feel that your concern is reconsideration of your grade for a paper or exam, you must state your case in writing which means outlining in a clear and objective manner what you feel has been overlooked in the assessment of your work.  After you have placed your paper and its written request in my mailbox or in my possession, I will contact you.



Getting Help with Written Assignments
For conceptual issues with developing your topic towards a paper, I encourage you to visit my office hours or make an appointment to discuss your paper with me.  For help with clarity or the mechanics of writing, I encourage you to visit the Sweetland Writing Center where you may meet with either peer tutors or writing center faculty.  Peer tutors are available on a walk-in basis Sunday-Thursday evenings from 7 to 11 pm and may be found in the computer classroom adjacent to the Angell Hall Computing Site.  If you prefer to make an appointment and meet with a writing center faculty member, call or stop in at the center’s Writing Workshop located in 1139 Angell Hall.  764-0429. 



Note on Plagiarism

The use of work which is not your own without bibliographic citation constitutes plagiarism.  This definition extends to written work or sources found on the internet.  Plagiarism is academic theft and can result in expulsion from the university.  If you wish to use the ideas or words of others, be sure to attribute them to their written source through the use of the MLA Style format which can be found in The MLA Style Manual. 



Jan 7 Mon

Introduction to the Course


Jan 9 Wed
Introductory lecture: historical context and competing paradigms

Herman Melville.  Herman Melville.  Typee (ch. 1-13).

Sumida, Stephen H.  "Sense of Place, History, and the Concept of the 'Local' in Hawaii's Asian/Pacific American Literatures”


EuroAmerican Representations

Jan 14 Mon

Typee continued

Paul Lyons.  “Fear, Perception, and the ‘Seen’ of Cannibalism . . .”


Jan 16 Wed

“Introduction” to A Hawaii Reader
Jack London.  “Koolau the Leper” and “Chun Ah Chun”

Mark Twain.  Letters from Hawaii (excerpts)

“Act of War” - viewing


Jan 21 Mon MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY – No class


Native Hawaiian Renaissance: Legacies of Contact and Colonialism
Jan 23 Wed

John Dominis Holt.  Waimea Summer (Reader pt. II)

Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa.  Native Land, Foreign Desires, ch. 2

“Explorations of Captain James Cook…” (excerpts)


Jan 28 Mon

Waimea Summer continued

“On Being Hawaiian”

Kame’eleihiwa.  Native Land, Foreign Desires, ch. 8, 10


Jan 30 Wed Hawaian Homes Commission Act of 1920

Michael McPherson.  “Quiet Title,” “Up Mauka” and “The Waking Stone”



Pidgin: Language, Colonialism and the Emergence of Local Literature

Feb 4 Mon

Darrell H.Y. Lum.  “Local Literature and Lunch” (BBR 3)

Darrell H.Y. Lum.  “Paint” (BBR 189)

Eric Chock.  “Tutu on the Curb” (BBR 24)

Diane Kahanu.  “Ho.  Just Cause I speak Pidgin No Mean I Dumb” (BBR 43)

Joseph Puna Balaz.  “Electric Laulau” (in class)



Plantation Colonialism and Early Local Literature

Feb 6 Wed

Milton Murayama.  All I Asking for Is My Body

Milton Murayama.  “Problems of Writing in Dialect and Mixed Languages”

Ed Beechert Working in Hawaii, ch. 2, 3


Feb 11 Mon

Murayama continued

Sumida.  “Hawaii’s Complex Idyll”


Feb 13 Wed

Lois-Ann Yamanaka.  Saturday Night at the Pahala Theater

Candace Fujikane.  “Reimagining Development and the Local . . .”


Feb 18 Mon

Yamanaka.  Blu’s Hanging

Jamie James.  “This Hawaii Is Not for Tourists.” 

Fujikane.  “Sweeping Racism under the Rug of ‘Censorship’”


Feb 20 Wed

Yamanaka continued


Feb 23 – Mar 3 SPRING BREAK



Militourism: Haolewood and Militarism

Mar 4 Mon

South Pacific – viewing

Rob Wilson “Bloody Mary Meets Lois-Ann Yamanaka…”


Mar 6 Wed

Teresia Teaiwa.  “Militourism” article

Eric Chock.  “Poem for George Helm…”

Haunani-Kay Trask.  “Hawaii,” “Waikiki,” and “Colonization”

Puanani Burgess.  “Hawai’i Pono’i.”

Cynthia Enloe.  “On the Beach: Sexism and Tourism.”



“Local” Community Struggles and Subaltern History

Mar 11 Mon

Gary Pak.  Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories


Mar 13 Wed

Pak continued

Darrell Lum.  “Paint”  (BBR 189)


Hawaiian Land Struggles: Kaho’olawe

Mar 18 Mon

Rodney Morales.  Speed of Darkness

Excerpts from Ho’i Ho’i Hou


Mar 20 Wed

Richard Hamasaki.  poems for PKO

Kathy Banggo.  “No Mindless Digging”

“Troubled Paradise”


Asian American Subaltern History
Mar 25 Mon

Toshio Mori.  Yokohama California

Hisaye Yamamoto.  “The High-Heeled Shoes: A Memoir”


Mar 27 Wed: AJA Internment Newspapers

guest lecturer


Filipino American Experience: Abroad and at “home”
Apr 1 Mon

Carlos Bulosan.  America Is in the Heart.


Apr 3 Wed

Bulosan continued

Oscar Campomanes.  “Filipinos in the United States and Their Literature of Exile”


Apr 8 Mon

Jessica Hagedorn.  Dogeaters.


Apr 10 Wed

Hagedorn continued

Lisa Lowe.  “Decolonization, Displacement, Disidentification…”


International Connections & Asian Pacific America

Apr 15 Mon

Nora Cobb Keller.  Comfort Woman.

guest lecturer


Apr 17 Wed

Keller continued

Final Paper due


FINAL EXAM: Monday, April 22, 4-6 pm




Upload: 4/11/2003

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