Professor’s Bookshelf: Amy Cynthia Tang

Professor’s Bookshelf: Amy Cynthia Tang

The Wesleyan Argus
Middletown, Connecticut

Miriam Olenick, Staff Writer

Assistant Professor Amy Cynthia Tang, of the American Studies and English departments, specializes in Asian-American and African-American literature—most recently, she has been reading satirical Asian-American plays. Professor Tang sat down with The Argus to discuss her favorite authors, her plans for future classes, and her manuscript.

The Argus: What’s on your bookshelf?

Amy Cynthia Tang: So almost everything on these shelves is either a work of American literature or a critical or theoretical text about American literature, mainly Asian-American and African-American. I have some sections on cultural studies, critical race theory, and narrative theory. I have the books for the courses I’m teaching this term—Trauma in Asian American Literature, and Racial Passing in American Literature. And I have a small section devoted to art history.

A: Do you have anything you’re reading just for fun, not related to classes?

ACT: Right now I’m finishing up this collection of plays by Young Jean Lee called “Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven.” It’s a satirical take on what people expect an Asian-American identity play to be about. She’s an experimental playwright, so the characters are non-realist, and she uses stereotypes to engage received ideas of Asian-American identity and push back against them. I was just thinking that it’s sort of related to Theresa Cha’s Dictee—which we’re reading for Trauma—since they’re both by Korean-American women writers, and they’re both very experimental and non-realist. So Lee’s book is both work and pleasure, I guess.

Also I commute from New Haven, so I listen to books on tape—that really is fun. I just finished Jonathan Safran Foer’sExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” I got interested in Foer because I have a thesis student who wrote on “Everything is Illuminated.” And now I’m ready to start Ralph Ellison’s posthumously published, unfinished novel, “Juneteenth.” I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time, and finally broke down and said well, there’s the audio book. And bizarrely, I just started looking at it, and it turns out it’s a passing narrative, and I’m teaching a class on racial passing, so there will be some resonances there…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,