Curriculum

The Program in American Studies and partnering departments are proud to present a series of courses focused on or have a significant component in Asian American/Diasporic Studies.

  • AMS 101: America Then and Now
  • HIS 270 / AMS 370 : Asian American History
  • EAS 338 / AMS   356:   Asian Wars, American Politics, Hollywood Cinema
  • AMS 360/ ENG 387: Afro-Asian Masculinities
  • AAS 324: Race, Sex, and the Marriage Plot in American Film Comedy
  • AAS 223: Literature, Food, and the American Racial Diet
  • AAS 225: Introduction to Asian American Studies: Law, Bodies, and the Everyday
  • AAS 225: Introduction to Asian American Studies: Too Cute and American Asia-mania
  • AAS 329: Chinatown, USA
  • MUS 225 / EAS 355 Taiko Drumming Workshop: Japanese and North American Perspectives

Spring 2017

AMS 307          Introduction to Asian American Studies: Race, War, Decolonization
                        Laurel Mei-Singh, Program in American Studies
This course employs the central premise that multiple racial projects contribute to Asian racial formation, and that warfare plays a central role in these co-constitutive enterprises. As such, this course will examine war, its entanglement with capitalism, and decolonization in relation to anti-Black racism, settler colonialism, and anti-Asian racism. As an introduction to Asian American Studies course, we will use comparative, transnational frameworks to interrogate Asian Americanism. In order to accomplish this, we will develop critical perspectives of the Pacific while exploring the intersections of race and indigeneity.

AMS 349          Making History with Multimedia: Asian American and Asian Migration Storytelling through Film
                        Henry Yu, Program in American Studies
The stories of Asian Americans and global Asian migrants have commonly been told through film and multimedia rather than textual representations. Underrepresented in narratives of U.S. history, activists and community-based filmmakers have often turned to film and digital media forms to document and story-tell about neglected subjects. This course examines a selection of Asian American films and at the same time asks students to create projects using multimedia tools. We will work together to learn basic filmmaking techniques through weekly workshops with the goal of being able to produce your own short film by the end of the term.

SAS 328/AMS 329        South Asian American Literature and Film
                                      
Sadaf Jaffer, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

This course examines literature and film by South Asians in North America.  Students will gain perspective on the experiences of immigration and diaspora through the themes of identity, memory, solidarity, and resistance.  From early Sikh migration to the American West Coast to Muslim identity in a post 9/11 world, how can South Asian American stories be read as symbolic of the American experience of gender, class, religion, and ethnicity more broadly?  Students will hone their skills in reading primary materials, analyzing them within context, writing persuasively, and speaking clearly.


Spring 2016

AMS 362           "Yellow Peril" -- Documenting and Understanding Xenophobia
John K. Tchen

Fears of "yellow peril" (and "Islamophobia") run deep in the present and past of U.S. political and commercial culture. SARS fears, charges of Chinese "pirating" and "hacking," the profiling of Arab or Muslim "looking" peoples, and Asians "taking over" U.S. higher education all illustrate contemporary forms of Asian "peril." Americans remain particularly vulnerable to its ideological and affective power.

Seminar students will learn historical research skills and collaboratively document historical and contemporary case studies. We'll explore what can and must be done to counter these fallacies and practices.


Fall 2015

AMS 360 / ENG 387      Afro-Asian Masculinities
Kinohi Nishikawa, Departments of English and African American Studies

The course undertakes a comparative, cross-cultural analysis of African American and Asian American social formations.  In doing so, it aims to highlight when and how seemingly distinct racial and ethnic experiences have come together on matters of labor, citizenship, international politics, and especially gender and sexual ideology.  It attends to cross-cultural dialogue as well:  for example, in the martial arts (Bruce Lee) and hip-hop (Wu-Tang Clan).  The course offers a unique opportunity to bring ethnic studies, black studies, and gender studies into dynamic conversation.


Fall 2014

MUS 255 / EAS 255     Taiko Drumming Workshop: Japanese and North American Perspectives
Noriko Manabe and Kaoru Watanabe, Department of Music

This course explores the socio-cultural meanings of taiko (Japanese drum) from its uses in traditional Japanese music (gagaku, kabuki, festival music) through its development as a choreographic ensemble in postwar Japan and a site for Asian-American identity.  Students participate in hands-on workshop, learning techniques and three pieces of traditional modern styles, and in seminars on the history and cultural implications of taiko in the Japanese and Asian-American experience.


COMING IN SPRING 2015:   (more information tba)

"Introduction to Asian American History," Beth Lew-Williams, Department of History

"Asian Wars in American Film," David Leheny, Department of East Asian Studies

"Literature and Food," Anne A. Cheng, Program in American Studies; Department of English; Center for African American Studies


Spring 2014

AAS 225 / ENG 224 / GSS 225 Introduction to Asian American Studies: Too Cute! and the New Asia-Mania
Anne Cheng, Department of English and African American Studies

What does a minute and shallow category like "cuteness" have to do with a serious subject like race? This course offers an introduction to key temrs in Asian American Studies through the lens of the seemingly insatiable American appetite for "Asian cuteness." How do we reconcile this craving with the history of anti-Asian sentiments in this country? Are other races or racial styles cute? If not, why not? We will explore cuteness as commodity, globalization, aesthetics, affect, and politics. Above all, we want to understand the relationship betwen race and style.


Fall 2013

AMS 354   Asian Americans and Public History/Memory
Franklin Odo, Department of History

This seminar focuses on two major events in American History, the WWII incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans and the impact of the 1882 Chinese Exclusions Act, as well as Congressional apology or expression of regret for having enacted racially damaging legislation.  We review the process of legislation, roles of executive and judicial branches, and immediate and long-term impacts on targeted populations.  We trace development of successful redress efforts and meanings for American history and memory, especially through public history venues.


Fall 2012

ENG 224/AMS 304   Asian American Law, Bodies and the Everyday
Anne Cheng, Department of English; Program in African American Studies

This course studies the relationship between law and literature by focusing on the roles that Asian Americans played in US constitutional history.   We will examine cases involving Asian Americans that reflect on American policies on citizenship, immigration, civil rights, human rights, and foreign policy, and we will explore novels, plays, poems, and films that respond to these cases.   We will also consider the invisible ways in which the law shapes our everyday lives:   how it structures our feelings, bodies, spaces, and the sense of the quotidian.

AAS 340/ENG 391/AMS 340   Shades of Passing
Anne Cheng, Department of English, Program in African American Studies

This course studies the trope of passing in 20th century American literary and cinematic narratives in an effort to re-examine the crisis of identity that both produces and confounds acts of passing.   We will examine how American novelists and filmmakers have portrayed and responded to this social phenomenon, not as merely a social performance but as a profound intersubjective process embedded within history, law, and culture.   We will focus on narratives of passing across axes of difference, invoking questions such as:   To what extent does the act of passing reinforce or unhinge seemingly natural categories of race, gender, and sexuality?