Spring 2020 - ENGL 457W D100

Topics in Asian North American Literature (4)

Class Number: 4435

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    RCB 8104, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2020
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    One 300 division English course. Reserved for English honours, major, joint major and minor students.



Investigates topics in Asian-Canadian and/or Asian-American literature. The course may vary according to theoretical, historical or geographical focus. Writing.


English 457W: The Cold War in Asia: Asian American and Asian Canadian Responses                                                                               

Course Description: The period post-WWII until the 1980s is conventionally understood in the West as the Cold War. Marked by events such as the Cuban missile crisis, the war in Vietnam, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, these years are remembered as a tense time when it seemed that the conflict between communist and capitalist democratic ideologies might result in the outbreak of nuclear war. At the same time, it is important to remember that these same tensions played out very differently in Asia and took the form of multiple bloody and violent wars.  This course will return to this historical period in order to rethink what is conventionally remembered in the West as a conflict between the US and the USSR as a struggle that also involved—and, indeed, was staged in—Asia.  

By reading literature that moves us through the Chinese civil war, Korea, and the wars in Southeast Asia, we will explore the legacies of Cold War logics and the afterlife of the wars in Asia for Canadians and Americans. How do these contradictory memories and competing historical narratives shape how Asians in North America imagine themselves and are understood by non-Asians? How does what critic Jodi Kim calls the “protracted afterlife” of the Cold War continue to influence current conversations about migration, citizenship, and global events and politics? We will contextualize our discussions of these literary texts with critical and theoretical material and documentary films in order to think critically about these competing cultural representations and the narratives they produce.  

This is a W course so we will spend time developing writing and revision skills.


  • First essay and revision (5-6 pages) 25%
  • Research Seminar Presentations (in groups of 3-4) and Writeups to be posted (20 minutes, 5-6 pages + 2 discussion questions) 25%
  • Final essay proposal, draft (to be revised) and final submission (10-12 pages) (includes mandatory participation in peer review session) 40%
  • Active participation and attendance 10%



Samantha Lan Chang, Hunger
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
Han Kang, Human Acts
Madeleine Thien,Dogs at the Perimeter
Ocean Vuong,On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Souvankham Thammavongsa,Found

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html