2018-19 Courses in Asian American/Diasporic Studies

Spring 2019

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
Science Fiction and Fact
How does science fiction challenge “facts” about the biology of race, gender, sexuality and other categories of difference? This seminar explores the ways in which contemporary sci-fi that centers the experiences of marginalized communities reconceptualizes the techniques and technologies of social differentiation. The readings couple a sci-fi text with work by scholars across disciplines who have drawn attention to the reemergence of race as a biological rather than social category in genetics and genomics research.
Instructors: Tala Khanmalek
South Asian American Literature and Film
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.
Instructors: Sadaf Jaffer

Fall 2018

The Asian American Family
This seminar examines the emergence and transformation of the Asian American family as a social form. We will investigate how U.S. labor demands and legal restrictions on immigration and citizenship militated against the formation of Asian American families, and how paper sons, military wives, refugees, adoptees, and LGBT family experiences eluded norms of kinship. We will also study the significance of the intergenerational trope in Asian American literature, and how writers responded to neoliberalism’s remaking of the “Asian” family according to the model minority myth.
Instructors: Paul Nadal
Asian American Affect
This course uses major studies of affect as a lens through which to view Asian American literary texts. At the same time, it reads Asian American literary texts as interventions in affect theory. Are there distinctively Asian American modes of affect? Asian American structures of feeling? If so, what ethical and representational dilemmas do they present? What political and aesthetic possibilities do they open up? How have they been shaped by histories of traumatic dislocation, exile, incarceration, and racialization? How do they condition the experience of temporality? What futures might they enable?
Instructors: James Kim
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Race and Ethnicity in 20th Century Popular Performance
This course offers an intensive introduction to the particular tools, methods and interpretations employed in developing original historical research and writing about race and ethnicity in 20th-century popular performance (film, television, theater). Through collaborative, in-depth excavations of several genre-straddling cultural works, course participants will rehearse relevant methods and theories (of cultural history, of race and ethnicity, of popular culture/performance) and will undertake an independent research project elaborating the course's guiding premise and principles of practice.
Instructors: Brian Eugenio Herrera