Professor’s Bookshelf: Amy Cynthia Tang

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2012-04-26 02:57Z by Steven

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.

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Crossing the Color Line: Racial Passing in American Literature

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-01-03 20:57Z by Steven

Crossing the Color Line: Racial Passing in American Literature

Wesleyan University
AMST 322 / ENGL 319
Fall 2015

Amy Cynthia Tang, Assistant Professor of English

Narratives of racial passing having long captivated readers and critics alike for the way in which they provocatively raise questions about the construction, reinforcement, and subversion of racial categories. This course will consider several examples of the “literature of passing” as it has been established as a category within African American literature alongside more ambiguously classified 20th-century narratives of ethnic masquerade and cultural assimilation as a way of exploring how literary and film texts invoke, interrogate, and otherwise explore categories of race, gender, class, and sexual identity.

Key texts will include James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Douglas Sirk’s film Imitation of Life, Richard Rodriguez’s memoir Hunger of Memory, Chang-Rae Lee’s novel A Gesture Life, and Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain.

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