Fall 2019 Courses in Asian American/Diasporic Studies

'Too Cute!': Race, Style, and Asiamania
What does a minor and shallow category like "cuteness" have to do with the abject histories of race and gender? This course offers an introduction to key terms in Asian American Studies through the lens of the seemingly insatiable American appetite for "Asian cuteness." How do we reconcile this desire with the long history of anti-Asian sentiments in this country? Why aren't other races "cute"? We will explore cuteness as racial and gendered embodiment, commodity, globalization, aesthetics, affect, and politics. Above all, we explore the implications of understanding race as a style.
Instructors: Anne Cheng
Multiethnic American Short Stories: Tales We Tell Ourselves
Short stories have been used by writers to make concise, insightful comments about American national identity and individuality. Taken up by African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and many others, the genre has been used to convey experiences with immigration and assimilation, discrimination and oppression, generational divides, and interactions across difference. Examination of such stories deepens our understanding of America's multiethnic landscape. In this seminar, we will explore stories written by a diverse group of writers to consider the ties that both link and divide multiethnic America.
Instructors: Tessa Lowinske Desmond
Global Novel
How do novels represent the global? How have new media systems and economic exchange transformed not only the way novels are produced and distributed but also the internal form of the literary works themselves? This course examines how writers register the interconnected nature of modern life and the narrative strategies that they invent to make sense of migration, war, urbanization, and financialization. Students will learn interdisciplinary methods for reading literature's potential for sociological and historical knowledge by considering how the global novel grapples with empire and what political futures it forecloses and opens up.
Instructors: Paul Nadal
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