Short Paper Assignment (10 pts.)

Over the first few weeks of this course we will examine a variety of Asian American cultural texts of different styles and genres. These media materialize Asian America in very different manners, often a result of how the artists utilize or adapt the conventions of the media or the forms with which they are engaging. For example, Jonathan Tsuei and Jerry Ma use the aesthetics of superhero comics in “9066” to comment on Japanese internment, while Philip Gotanda plays with notions of masculine performance and representation through a theatrical dialogue.

With these examples in mind, write a short paper (3-4 pages, 12 pt Times New Roman font, MLA format) that makes an argument about the strategic use of form and content about one of the following texts from this course:

  1. “Driving Steel”
  2. “9066”
  3. Citizen 13660
  4. American Born Chinese
  5. Better Luck Tomorrow
  6. Shortcomings
  7. Chew
  8. Yankee Dawg You Die

Your argument must be supported through rigorous close reading, using the formal language appropriate to each textual form. Be mindful of the requirements for this paper, as you will be graded on your critical engagement with the text, as well as your ability to respond to the demands of the assignment (i.e. you will be graded down if the paper is too short or too long, if formatting is off, etc.).

You must do all the following things in your paper:

  1. Introduce the text and a specific topic (your choice) within the text. (e.g. coming-of-age in ABC; gender in BLT; etc.)
  2. Respond to the author of that text. Make an assertion or contention about what the author is trying to accomplish and how (media form, rhetorics, genres, etc.).
  3. Present your own close reading of passages, character, scene, or outside to further that argument.

Things you may want to consider in making your argument:

  1. This is potential groundwork for your final paper. It should be substantial, but concise.
  2. What is the author trying to convey and how is this done? Through what voice? What point of view?
  3. How does this text function as an example of Asian American cultural production? To what legacy does it respond?

Due at the start of class on Tuesday, May 1. Papers may be turned in early, but any papers not turned it at the beginning of class will be marked late and lose a 1/3 of a letter grade.

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