HENKE1906U English - Free topic 6: Travel, Communication and the Novel and Recent Asian American Writing

Volume 2019/2020

Travel, Communication and the Novel (Maria Damkjær)

Novels thrive on delays, and so as soon as you introduce travel -- even local travel -- information will filter through only intermittently. This course explores novels where letters, secrets, and the meaning of language itself, are bent out of shape by distance and delay. We will discuss critical theory of imagined communities through information, of letters and fiction, and of transport fiction, and read novels from Austen to the present.


Recent Asian American Writing (Kiron Ward)

As a category, ‘Asian American’ is an especially problematic one. It pulls together languages, cultures, and histories from across a vast area—from the South Asian subcontinent to the Pacific Islands—and can assume a simplistic similarity between them. For better or worse, the term has become the accepted way of referring to Americans of Asian descent and of categorising their extraordinary literary production. Drawing on contemporary writing by Americans of South-East Asian descent, this course will introduce students to the exceptional variety and diversity of ‘Asian American’ literature. In particular, we will explore the ongoing formation and contingency of ‘Asian American’ as an identity, and interrogate how gender, sexuality, class, generation, and history shape each text. 

Travel, Communication and the Novel

Preliminary reading list:

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers

Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters

Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things


Recent Asian American Writing

Likely primary texts:

Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu’s Hanging

Chang-Rae Lee, A Gesture Life 

Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel 

Ocean Vuong, Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.
This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline January 8th 2020
Take-home paper (10-12 pages) for Travel, Communication and the Novel (counting 50 % of the final grade)
Take-home paper (10-12 pages) for Recent Asian American Writing (counting 50 % of the final grade)
Criteria for exam assesment