Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
This course examines the South Asian diaspora in United States. We will cover migration of people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal to United States and other parts of the world. While studying the history and culture of South Asian America, we will discuss globalization, transnationalism, migration, assimilation, formation of a diaspora, discrimination, and gender and sexuality, all major themes in Asian American Studies. The course is arranged chronologically and thematically. We will start in the nineteenth century following the journey of the first South Asian migrants to US. We will then move on to studying the Bengali and Punjabi immigrants to U.S. and the formation of Bengali-African and Punjabi-Mexican communities. We will study the effects of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act on South Asian migration to US. Topics covered include economic and social reasons for migration, adaptation to American life, cultural and religious assimilation, changing family structures, and discrimination and exclusion. We will end the semester by discussing South Asian American life in the twenty-first century.
Through the semester we will study more than a century of South Asian American history. A primary goal of this course is to highlight the diversity in South Asian America. We will encounter a diaspora whose members belong to different religious, linguistic, economic and social groups. Many came to the United States forcibly to seek economic opportunities lacking at home. Others came enthusiastically with dreams of making it “big” in the land of abundant opportunities. We will ask ourselves how monolithic is the South Asian community? We will also examine South Asian American interactions with other Asian American groups in the fields of social activism and community development.
Assignments and Grading
15% Attendance and participation
25% Exam 1
25% Exam 2
5% Research paper topic and bibliography
5% Research paper presentation
25% Research paper
Textbook: Karen Isaken Leonard, The South Asian Americans (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997).
Selections from the following:
Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013).
Judith M. Brown, Global South Asians: Introducing the Modern Diaspora (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
Shamita Das Gupta edited, A Patchwork Shawl: Chronicles of South Asian Women in America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998).
Khyati Y. Joshi and Jigna Desai, Asian Americans in Dixie: Race and Migration in the South (University of Illinois Press, 2013)
Susan Kosby and R. Radhakrishnan edited, Transnational South Asians: The Making of a Neo-Diaspora (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Karen Isaken Leonard, Making Ethnic Choices: California’s Punjabi Mexican Americans (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992).