Getting Started

Obtain Your Books and Materials

Purchase them at the De Anza College Bookstore, or online, at:
  1. Du, Nguyen. THE TALE OF KIEU, trans. Huynh Sanh Thong. Yale: Yale University Press, 1983.
  2. Halberstam, David. THE MAKING OF A QUAGMIRE. Revised Edition. New York: Knopf, 1988 [Available at Campus Bookstore and/or printing services].Note-Do NOT buy the earlier, longer edition.
  3. Swensson, John. Swensson's Argumentative Apocalypse, 12/09 Ed. [Available at Campus Bookstore and/or printing services].

and obtain ONE of the following two choices of books:

  • Hayslip, Le Ly. WHEN HEAVEN AND EARTH CHANGED PLACES. New York: Plume Books, 1993.
  • Pham, Andrew. CATFISH AND MANDALA. New York: Picador, 1999.

(Note: Le Ly's book is her story from being a 12 year old Viet Cong scout to coming to the US and returning to Viet Nam to set up a birthing clinic in her village of Ky La. Oliver Stone made the movie HEAVEN & EARTH about Le Ly. Andrew's memoir is about being a Boat Person, growing up in San Jose, and returning to Viet Nam on his bicycle; it won the Kiriyama Prize for the Best Asian-American literature. Note also that there is a lot of reading in this course.) 

BUT. . .  for great students there is an EXTRA CREDIT BOOK, Dr. Dang Thuy Tram's LAST NIGHT I DREAMED OF PEACE (Trans Andrew X. Pham). New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007. Dr. Tram was a Communist Doctor killed in an American ambush--her diaries were discovered recently in Texas and returned to the family.That book is also for sale at the De Anza Bookstore,

Attend the First Class Meeting

All class meetings the first week are required (And if the course is being taught in a traditional or hybrid mode you must attend all required meetings except for two. After two absences your grade points will start to decline in view of an absence penalty. We will typically meet four days/week, but some weeks three days and some five--Ill let you know a week in advance where possible.  Students have the opportunity to meet with the instructor and receive specific information about how to proceed through the course. If you are on a waiting list you also must attend the First Class Meeting in order to add the class.

Last Day to Add the Class (if space is available):  To add the class after the First Class Meeting day you must contact the instructor by email. Students will not be reinstated in the class after being dropped for non-attendance.

Validate Your DASB Card

  • A valid DASB Photo ID Card is necessary for checking out course materials from the Media Lab and the Library, and using campus computer labs.
  • Photo ID Office (Lower Level, Hinson Center): Monday through Thursday: 11:00AM - 5:00PM
  • At the Photo ID Office in the Campus Center: Obtain a DASB Photo ID Card with your DASB fee sticker.

Developing Your Study Plan

Study Tips

Get Organized
A three-ring binder with dividers is a great tool to use to store the Homepage, file your notes, and keep track of any materials mailed to you during the course.
Preview Your Textbooks
Scan the Table of Contents, major chapter headings and subheadings of your textbook.
Develop a Study Schedule
Many students report that they benefit from a regular study schedule. Rough-out a schedule for when during the week you'll read your textbook assignments, complete your writing assignments, communicate with your instructor and classmates.
Keep Good Notes
Create a good set of notes for each unit of instruction. By doing this you will be able to review your material without "cramming" everything in at the last minute.
Avoid Interruptions
Let your family and roommates know about your study schedule, and ask that you not be disturbed while you are studying.
Ask for Help if You Need It
Contact your instructor when you have questions about the material or assignments.


Computer Hardware:
It is required that you have access to a computer that provides you with your own email address and with which you can send and receive daily email and browse the World Wide Web. If you have access issues, I will attempt to assist you with a solution.
Writing Text:
The writing text, SWENSSON'S ARGUMENTATIVE APOCALYPSE (aka The Writing Guide) contains material on how to write effectively.
Instructional Units are:

Unit 3: The Body Paragraph
Unit 4: The Argumentative Theme
Unit 5: Logic
Unit 6: Documentation/Grammar Guide
Unit 7: Student Success
Unit 8: Multiculturalism
Unit 9: Editing Skills
Unit 10: Analyzing & Writing About Literature

Dates of the Viet Nam Conflict are at:

The Course Research Page is at:

Another GREAT Research Page is at

The TALE OF KIEU Webpage is at:

Email Tip: If you have not done so already, take the time to create a signature line in your email software. A signature line contains your name and any other contact information you'd like to include in your e-mail messages (e-mail address, phone #, etc.). It is attached to the bottom of your e-mail messages automatically when you send them.

Peer Editing Groups

Each student will be assigned to a five-person peer editing group. Using the address-book function of your e-mail software you will each create a mini-listserv for your group. You may receive other assignments to be accomplished at the Peer Editing Group level throughout the quarter.

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