Program in Asian American Studies

Books read in Program in Asian American Studies courses

Readings in recent Program in Asian American Studies courses include, clockwise from top left: Bengali Harlem by Vivek Bald, Insurrecto by Gina Apostol, Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston, Personal Days by Ed Park, The Asian American Achievement Paradox by Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou, Orientalism by Edward W. Said, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid, Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, Subverting Exclusion by Andrea Geiger, Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang.

Program in Asian American Studies

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Fall 2021 Courses

Introduction to Asian American Studies

This course surveys critical themes in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American studies, including perspectives from history, literature, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. It develops an account of Asian racialization beyond the black-white binary in the context of U.S. war and empire in Asia and the Pacific Islands, settler colonialism, globalization, migration, and popular culture. Who or what is an “Asian American”? How have conceptions of Asian America changed over time? How do cultural forms such as literature and film add to an understanding of Asian American identity as a historically dynamic process and social relation?

Instructors: Paul Nadal

Chinatown USA

This course looks at the construction of "Chinatown" — as historic reality, geographic formation, architectural invention, and cultural fantasy — in the heart of America. We will study novels, plays, films, and photography that focus on or use Chinatown as a central backdrop — or even as a conspicuous absence — in ways that highlight the complex relationship between material history and social imagination when it comes to how America incorporates, or fails to digest, its racial or immigrant “others.”

Instructors: Anne Cheng

Asian American History

This course introduces students to the multiple and varied experiences of people of Asian heritage in the United States from the 19th century to the present day. It focuses on three major questions: (1) What brought Asians to the United States? (2) How did Asian Americans come to be viewed as a race? (3) How does Asian American experience transform our understanding of U.S. history? Using newspapers, novels, government reports, and films, this course will cover major topics in Asian American history, including Chinese exclusion, Japanese internment, transnational adoption, and the model minority stereotype.

Instructors: Beth Lew-Williams

Arab America: Culture, Activism, and Resistance

This course explores the history of Arabs and Arab Americans in the United States beginning from the 1850s to the present and analyzes the political, cultural, and economic conditions that have influenced Arab American communities. In doing so, the course covers a wide range of topics including: issues of citizenship, racial discrimination and exclusion; racial formation; labor, activism, and resistance; transnational networks; and cultural productions and representations of Arab Americans. Alongside academic publications, we will be reading a variety of sources including legal documents, newsletters, court rulings, poetry, and films.

Instructors: Neama Alamri

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