It is often falsely assumed that Asian and Asian American theatre is a theatre for specific ethnic communities. However, its significance in the US and in broader world theatre scenes has reverberated with audiences of diverse backgrounds, leading to a production of vibrant artistic and scholarly discussions on its power in shaping cultures and politics in America and in other global regions. This course engages with these very discussions, centering on understanding the complexity of contemporary Asian and Asian American theatre by situating them in the context of Asian diasporas. Key inquiries include the following questions: What causes the circulation of peoples from Asia and people of Asian descents from their "home" countries to another country?; how do experiences of war, international marriage, adoption, political oppression, refugee, and marginalization in "new" countries impact the psyche of diasporic subjects?; the notion of "Asia" as Other has been integral to the formation of the US national identity from the country's inception, but what exactly is "Asia," and what is the role of theatre in challenging the relentless othering of Asians?; and finally, how might the framework of Asian diasporic theatre and performance help us move beyond the bifurcation between Asian Studies and Asian American Studies?
In exploring these questions, we will engage in analyzing plays, production videos, interviews with artists, and scholarly writing, learning from artists who examine lives and histories of Asian descents (Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese among others), as well as from thinkers that have been foundational to the development of Asian and Asian American theatre and performance studies. By the end of the semester, students will have read plays, documentaries, musicals, and interdisciplinary arts from the contemporary Asian and Asian diaspora theatre and be able to engage in an informed debate on the role of Asian and Asian
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; AS SC