Women’s Studies 611: Gender and Diaspora Spring 2013 Instructor: Dr. Anh Hua

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Women’s Studies 611: Gender and Diaspora

Spring 2013

Instructor: Dr. Anh Hua

Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies

Office: Arts and Letters Building, Room #313

Office Phone: 619-594-7146

Email: ahua@mail.sdsu.edu

Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., or by appointment

Thursday 4:00 – 6:40 p.m., HH 128

Diaspora Studies examine the dispersions of populations and cultures across various geographical places and spaces. This discipline is emerging as a cutting-edge area of research alongside studies on transnationalism, globalization, nationalism, and postcoloniality. Diaspora is one of the most debated terms today, especially within scholarly discussions about migration, displacement, identities, community, global movements, and cultural politics. In this graduate course “Gender and Diaspora,” we will explore the historical and interdisciplinary perspectives on gendered impact of forcible migration, such as African, Jewish, Asian and other diasporas. We will analyze the scholarly debates concerning gendered experiences of diaspora on political identities, social movements, and cultural production. Some of the themes we will explore include: characteristics and types of diasporas; the relation between feminism and diasporas; issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and identities in diasporas; forced migration, the history of slavery, Holocaust and other genocides; digital diasporas; rites of return; homeland and nostalgia; exile and displacement; diaspora poetics and politics of memory; diasporic art and cultural productions; diasporic women’s writing and film; and the future of diasporic imaginings.

Required Texts (available for purchase at KB Books):
Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur, ed. Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. Malden, MA and Oxford UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff. Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Marianne Hirsch and Nancy K. Miller, ed.  Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 2011.
Vijay Agnew, ed.  Diaspora, Memory and Identity: A Search for Home.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.
Other readings will be posted on Blackboard.


Creative Project 20%

Major Essay 30%

Presentation 20%

Seminar Facilitation 20%

Attendance & Participation 10%


Readings that are listed on the course outline are to be completed by class time on the day for which they are listed.


Hard copy of all assignments must be given to your instructor in lecture of the due date. They must be typed, stapled, double-spaced and on one side of the sheet only. All papers are to be done in MLA style and have a complete bibliography. All essays must have a clear thesis statement that is supported by the body of the paper. Electronic submissions of work will not be accepted. Guidelines for papers will be given out closer to each paper’s due date.

Attendance and Participation:

Students are expected to attend every class, keep up with readings, and participate in in-class discussions and activities. The final attendance and participation grade will be determined based on attendance and participation in class discussions.

Late work/Makeup exams:

Students are expected to turn in all work on time. Late papers will only be accepted in the case of documented illness, emergency, or other misadventure.


Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism is the use of anyone else’s ideas as your own in your written work. When using another individual’s ideas in your work, you must acknowledge this by using the appropriate citations. Students who violate the university’s policies on plagiarism or academic dishonesty will receive disciplinary and/or academic sanctions, according to university provisions. Penalties for plagiarism range from an F in the course to expulsion from the university. (See SDSU General Catalogue)

Course Objectives

Your progress throughout the course will be demonstrated in various ways. Learning should occur both inside and outside of the classroom, through assigned readings, in class discussions and activities, group work, films, written assignments, and critical self-reflection.
Anticipated Learning Outcome:

  • to become familiar with the theoretical, historical and political issues in diasporic scholarship

  • to explore the impact of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class as analytical categories in the field of diaspora studies

  • to develop critical thinking, oral and writing skills

  • to analyze the role of social and historical location in shaping identities, theories, and research questions

  • to critically analyze some of the diasporic cultural productions such as literature, film and the arts

Class Policies

  • Students are responsible for all assignments and announcements presented in class. If you are late or absent, it is your responsibility to contact another student.

  • Be in class on time and prepared to participate in class discussion.

  • Racist, sexist, homophobic, crude, or inappropriate remarks of any kind will not be tolerated. Respect your classmates and instructor. Always use civil discourse in class.

  • Please turn off and stow away all electronic devices, such as cell phones, text messengers, iPods, pagers etc. at the beginning of the class.

  • Computer laptops will not be permitted in class.

  • If you are caught texting in class, I may have to ask you to leave the classroom. Grades will also be deducted if caught texting in class.


Most handouts given in class, as well as announcements, will be posted on Blackboard. If this is your first time using Blackboard, go to the Blackboard login page at http://blackboard.sdsu.edu and enter your username and password. If you have questions, visit SDSU e-Services at http://sdsu.edu/e-services.

Contesting Your Grade

If you choose to contest a grade you received on an assignment you must first submit in writing an explanation of why you think your grade should be improved along with a copy of the assignment in question within 2 weeks after the graded assignment was returned to you. Please bear in mind that when seeking a change in grade it is possible that your mark will be lowered just as well as increased.
Students with Special Needs

Students who need accommodation of their disabilities should contact me privately to discuss specific strategies for accommodation; however, they must have received authorization beforehand. If you have a disability, but have not contacted Student Disability Services (619-594-6473, Calpulli Center, Suite 3101), please do so before making an appointment with me.


Week 1: Jan 17

Introduction to the Course

Week 2: Jan 24

Theorizing Diaspora
Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur. “Nation, Migration, Globalization: Points of Contention in Diaspora Studies.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. Ed. Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur. Malden, MA and Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2003. 1-22.
Arjun Appadurai. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 25-48.
Paul Gilroy. “The Black Atlantic as a Counterculture of Modernity.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 49-80.

Week 3: Jan 31

Ethnicity, Identity, and Diaspora
Daniel Boyarin and Jonathan Boyarin. “Diaspora: Generation and the Ground of Jewish Identity.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 85-118.
R. Radhakrishnan. “Ethnicity in an Age of Diaspora.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 119-131.
Lisa Lowe. “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity: Marking Asian-American Differences.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 132-155.

Week 4: Feb 7

Sexuality, Gender, and Diaspora
Rey Chow. “Against the Lures of Diaspora: Minority Discourse, Chinese Women, and Intellectual Hegemony.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 163-183.
Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe. “Returning(s): Relocating the Critical Feminist Auto-Ethnographer. Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 184-206.
Martin F. Manalansan IV. “In the Shadows of Stonewall: Examining Gay Transnational Politics and the Diasporic Dilemma.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 207-227.

Week 5: Feb 14

Cultural Production and Diaspora
Stuart Hall. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 233-246.
Kobena Mercer. “Diaspora Culture and the Dialogic Imagination: The Aesthetics of Black Independent Film in Britain.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 247-260.
Gayatri Gopinath. “Nostalgia, Desire, Diaspora: South Asian Sexualities in Motion.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. 261-279.

Week 6: Feb 21

Gender, Film and Diaspora I

Film Screening: Haile Gerima, dir. Sankofa. Mypheduh Films, 1993. Videocassette. 125 min. (VTC – 2743)

* Creative Project due

Week 7: Feb 28

Digital Diasporas and Transnational Communities
Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff. Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. (Chapters 1, 2 & 8)

Week 8: March 7

Feminism and Diaspora
Avtar Brah. “Diaspora, Border and Transnational Identities.” Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities. London and New York: Routledge, 1996. 178-210.
Tina Campt and Deborah Thomas. “Gendering Diaspora: Transnational Feminism, Diaspora and Its Hegemonies.” Feminist Review 90 (2008): 1-8.
Jemima Pierre. “‘I Like Your Colour!’ Skin Bleaching and Geographies of Race in Urban Ghana.” Feminist Review 90 (2008): 9-19.

Week 9: March 14

Gender, Film and Diaspora II
Film Screening: Ang Lee, dir. The Wedding Banquet. Metro Goldwyn Mayer Home Entertainment, 2004. DVD. 108 min. (DVD – 919)

Week 10: March 21

Rites of Return and Diaspora Poetics
Marianne Hirsch and Nancy K. Miller, ed.  Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 2011.

Week 11: March 28

Homing Desire, Double Consciousness and Diasporic Encounters
Samir Dayal. “Diaspora and Double Consciousness.” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 29.1 (Spring 1996): 46-62.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf. “Rethinking Diasporicity: Embodiment, Emotion, and the Displaced Origin.” African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 1.2 (2008): 147-158.
Anh Hua. “Homing Desire, Cultural Citizenship, and Diasporic Imaginings.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 12.4 (2011): 45-56.

Week 12: April 4

Spring Recess: No class

Week 13: April 11

Gender, Film and Diaspora III
Film Screening: Shirin Neshat, dir. Women Without Men. 2011. DVD.
* Major Essay due

Week 14: April 18

Diaspora, Memory, and Identity: A Search for Home
Vijay Agnew, ed.  Diaspora, Memory and Identity: A Search for Home.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. (Introduction, Chapters 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11)

Week 15: April 25

Diasporic Women’s Writing
Anh Hua. “Black Diaspora Feminism and Writing: Memories, Storytelling, and the Narrative World as Sites of Resistance.” African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal (2012).
Anh Hua. “What We All Long For: Memory, Trauma and Emotional Geographies.” Emotion, Place and Culture. Ed. Mick Smith, Joyce Davidson, Laura Cameron, and Liz Bondi. London, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2009. 135-148.
Gay Wilentz. “Toward a Diaspora Literature: Black Women Writers from Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.” College English 54.4 (April 1992): 385-405.
Sneja Gunew. “Serial Accommodations: Diasporic Women’s Writing.” Canadian Literature 196 (Spring 2008): 6-15.
* Presentations

Week 16: May 2

The Future of Diasporas: Why We Come Back to Diasporas
Daphne Winland. “Why We Come Back to Diasporas: Heterogeneous Groups and the Persistent Dream of Political Action.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 16.1/2 (Spring/Fall 2007): 254-264.
Lily Cho. “The Turn to Diaspora.” Topia 17: 11-30.
* Presentations

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