Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies Courses

AAS 310 • Asian Amer Creative Arts

35460 • Shorb, Katherine
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM JES A205A
(also listed as T D 311T, WGS 301)
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Writing

This course examines theatre, dance and performance art by and about Asian Americans. We analyze these media in social, political, and historical contexts. We also use these sources as models for creating our own original work. As such, this class is focused on praxis--the marriage of theory and practice. In other words, this course combines analysis of writing and media with learning basic methods for collaboration and devising performance. We define Asian America broadly, including both immigrants and people of Asian descent who have lived in the Americas for multiple generations. We engage with both documented (via text, video, or description) and live performance to examine how performance as a medium and mode of making meaning affects our perception of the world. We employ strategies from gender studies, queer studies, performance studies, and critical race studies to discuss how Asian Americans make meaning through performance, and how performance represents Asian America. Finally, we use our critical analysis to discover and apply creative strategies toward building meaning around Asian America that reflects our own political and social beliefs and hopes. This class is open to anyone who finds Asian American identity, identity more broadly, and/or performance of interest. No previous experience with Asian American studies or performance studies required.

Potential authors, companies, and texts include: Josephine Lee, Karen Shimakawa, Esther Kim Lee, Yutian Wong, Young Jean Lee, Ayad Akhtar, Chay Yew, David Henry Hwang, Jessica Hagedorn, Aasif Mandvi, D'Lo, Eiko and Koma, Ananya Chatterjee, Ma-Yi Theatre, East-West Players, Mu Performing Arts, Silk Road Theatre, Kristina Wong, Damon Chua, Pangea World Theatre, Teresa Cha, Yoko Ono, M.I.A., Qui Nguyen, and David Eng.

AAS 310 • Mixed Race Identities

35455 • Allen, Angelica
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as AFR 317D, AMS 315)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the US

This course serves as an introduction to the study of ‘multiracial identity’ and the ways that it has been experienced, represented and contested in American society. We will study issues of history, culture, and activism as they relate to the multiracial community.  Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, we will examine a variety of media in the form of art, print and film. Students will be exposed to a range of voices from scholars working in disciplines including, Asian American Studies, African Diaspora Studies, anthropology, visual arts and women’s and gender studies. While the initial focus centers on the experiences of multiracials in the U.S., we will explore a range of topics which travel internationally as we examine the lived-realities of individuals, including the Amerasian community (mixed-heritage children and adult progeny of American military men and Asian women) living in various parts of Asia. Some key questions guiding this course include the following: What is “race,” and what does it mean to be “mixed”? What is the historical situation and tension of “mixing” in the United States, and why is it significant? How do such issues vary from national to transnational contexts? Can one exist in two or more categories at the same time? Why do categories matter? Isn’t everyone “mixed” somehow? Where do you fit in?


Gloria Anzaldua Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Cherrie Moraga Loving in the War Years

Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

The Latina Feminist Group Telling to Live (excerpts)

Fred Ho and Bill Mullen Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections Between African Americans and Asian Americans (excerpts).

Jayne O. Ifewunigwe Mixed Race’ Studies: A reader (excerpts).



Left by the Ship. Dir. Emma Rossi Landi and Alberto Vendemiatti. (2011), Film.

Loving. Dir. Jeff Nichols. (2016) Film.

Dear White People. (2017) TV series. (episode 1).


AAS 312 • Intro To Asian American Hist

35465 • Vong, Sam
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 216
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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This course introduces students to the histories of people of Asian descent in the United States, from the late sixteenth century to the present. Through historical works, literature, films, primary sources, and popular culture, students will explore the making of Asian America as a dynamic site of identity construction, political protest, community formation, social movement building, and a vibrant field of intellectual and historical inquiry. The course will focus on four broad themes: 1) the causes and effects of migration and settlement in the development of Asian American communities; 2) the role that Asian Americans have played in shaping U.S. social, political, and cultural institutions; 3) the diverse individuals and groups which make up this broad category of people we designate as Asian Americans, and their unique and sometimes shared experiences of oppression, marginalization, racism, and political empowerment; and 4) the ways in which the experiences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class have intersected with other marginalized groups in U.S. society. Throughout the course, we will explore these themes within global and transnational contexts to identify shared connections across borders—physical, imagined, and otherwise.

Required course materials:
Erika Lee, The Making of Asian America: A History
Additional reading assignments will be available for download on Canvas.

Grading breakdown:
20% Exam 1
20% Exam 2
20% Exam 3
20% Group project
20% Attendance and participation

AAS 320 • Global Indian Literature

35472 • Doherty, Brian
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM JES A218A
(also listed as ANS 361, E 360L)
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E 360L  l  Global Indian Literature


Instructor:  Shingavi, S

Unique #:  35060

Semester:  Spring 2018

Cross-lists:  AAS 320, ANS 361

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No


Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  Two important historical trends have marked the development and recognition of “Indian literature” as a global (rather than a strictly national) phenomenon.  First, the patterns of migration of South Asians since the beginning of the Raj moved Indians to various parts of the British Empire and created a network of ambassadors and webs of affiliation throughout the world for South Asian culture; the fact of colonial schools which produced English-speaking Indians is not incidental.  Second, the celebrity of Rushdie as the premiere Indian writer helped to produce a niche market within the publishing world for books about and by South Asians (usually represented by the big, national novel).  To this must also be added the contemporary rise of India as a leading world economy which has raised the demand for and curiosity about Indian culture within the global marketplace.  This course will investigate the production of a “global Indian literature” – paradoxically cosmopolitan and national – as made up of the intersecting experiences of Indians outside of India and the demands of the literary market (international publishing houses and the big literary prizes).  All of the writers that we will consider have won major national and international prizes (the Nobel, Man Booker, Commonwealth Writers, Pulitzer, etc.), and this will allow to think about what kinds of issues, what kinds of histories, and what kinds of forms tend to predominate in this body of writing.


Texts:  Tagore, Home and the World; Rushdie, The Golden House; Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness; Mistry, A Fine Balance; Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies; Naipaul, House for Mr. Biswas; Chatterjee, The Mammaries of the Welfare State; Ghosh, Sea of Poppies; Seth, Golden Gate; Desai, Clear Light of Day.


Requirements & Grading:  Weekly blog posts, 250 words (20%); Midterm (20%); Final (30%); Paper, 6-7 pages (20%); Participation (10%).

AAS 320 • Race, Internet, & Soc Media

35475 • Nault, Curran
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.122
(also listed as AMS 321, RTF 359S)
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Writing


From its earliest incarnations, the Internet has been celebrated as a place where corporeal concerns such as race “don’t matter.” A sizable body of research and recent popular online trends have since proven otherwise. This course gives students the vocabulary to critically articulate the relationships between Internet technologies and embodied cultural practices of use that affiliate around “race.” Topics range from early text-‐based Internet identity tourism to the phenomenon of Asian American YouTube stars to the cultural discourses of “Black Twitter.” The course adopts an intersectional politics and includes attention to gender, sexuality and (dis)ability. Finally, this course, like new media more generally, is participatory by design and will encourage students to explore course topics through both critical thought and practical experience.

Grade Breakdown:

30%     Course blog
20%     Midterm Essay/Post
20%     YouTube Assignment
20%     Group Creative Project
10%     Attendance/Participation

AAS 325 • Global Economies: Asia & US

35480 • Mays, Susan
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM SAC 5.102
(also listed as ANS 361)
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Flag: Global Cultures

This course introduces key trends in the economies of the US and Asia, with emphasis on the links between these two major trading blocs. The class addresses the rise of China and India as well as the development of Japan, the “Tiger” economies (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong), and Southeast Asia. The course examines the connections between Asia and the US in trade, technology and knowledge transfer, and outsourcing, considering key sectors such as manufacturing, technology, finance, and infrastructure. Importantly, the class addresses professional and labor migration between Asia and the US, including the growth of the Asian American population and a globalized professional class. The approach is historical and comparative (quantitative analysis is not required), and the reading includes scholarly works and case studies as well as articles by business leaders, industry analysts, and journalists.

The course features three modules: 

I. The Making of the Global Economy
II. Asia as the World's Largest Trading Block
III. Global Economies: Asia and the U.S.


15% -- Class Participation and Canvas Posts
45% -- 3 Quizzes (no final exam)
20%  --  Individual Paper (~6 pages)
20%  --  Group Project

AAS 325 • Refugees In 20th-Century US

35497 • Vong, Sam
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CLA 0.104
(also listed as HIS 350R)
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This course explores the history of refugees in the United States, beginning in 1861 and ending with the Cold War in the early 1990s. The course will examine how states, non-governmental organizations, private charities, and local communities have come together to address the questions of asylum, displacement, statelessness, and humanitarianism. Students will study the causes of particular refugee movements, as well as the experiences of displacement, migration, and settlement of select refugee groups. The course will introduce students to how the "problem" of refugees has been framed by historians and social scientists, policymakers, NGOs, local communities, social workers, and refugees themselves. In doing so, this course will also explore how the question of refuge has shaped U.S. domestic debates and foreign policy agendas.

Required readings will be available for download on Canvas.

Short papers: 30% (15% each)
Final essay: 50%
Presentation: 10%
Participation: 10%

AAS 325 • South Asian Migration To US

35495 • Bhalodia-Dhanani, Aarti
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM ETC 2.114
(also listed as ANS 372, HIS 365G, WGS 340)
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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, and Bangladesh 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 how American immigration laws have facilitated or inhibited South Asian migration to US in the twentieth century. 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.

Karen Isaken Leonard, The South Asian Americans  
Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America
Judith M. Brown, Global South Asians: Introducing the Modern Diaspora
Shamita Das Gupta edited, A Patchwork Shawl: Chronicles of South Asian Women in America
Knut A. Jacobsen and R. Pratap Kumar edited, South Asians in the Diaspora: Histories and Religious Traditions
Susan Kosby and R. Radhakrishnan edited, Transnational South Asians: The Making of a Neo-Diaspora           

Attendance: 5%
Class Participation: 10%
Object Analysis Assignment: 5%
Exam 1: 25%
Exam 2: 25%
Research paper topic and bibliography: 5%
Research paper: 25%

AAS 325 • Taiwan: Colniz/Migratn/Ident

35490 • Hsu, Madeline
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GAR 0.132
(also listed as ANS 340T, HIS 340T)
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Contemporary Taiwan’s claims of an ethnic identity distinct from the Chinese mainland reference a history of multiple colonizations and migrations to and from the island.  This course will explore questions of ethnicity, empire, and modernization in East Asia from the sixteenth century to the present through encounters between aborigines, Han Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese, the imperial Qing, Fujianese, Japanese, mainlander KMT, and the United States on Taiwan.

Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, Maritime Taiwan: Historical Encounters with the East and the West (M.E. Sharpe, 2009)


Denny Roy, Taiwan: A Political History (Cornell University Press, 2003)
Vivian S. Louie, Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education, and Opportunity among Chinese Americans (Stanford University Press, 2004)
Additionalreadings available on CANVAS


Map quiz:  5%

Exam: 30% Short IDs and essay

Class participation and attendance: 15%

Writing assignments: 50% Three 5-6 page essays, with one rewrite required.

AAS 330 • Blacks/Asians: Race/Soc Movmnt

35499 • Bhalodia-Dhanani, Aarti
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JES A217A
(also listed as AFR 374D, ANT 324L)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States making up 6% of the American population. With Asians now making up the largest share of recent immigrants it is important to study the Asian American experience, including Asian interactions with other minority groups. While a majority of Asians are immigrants, people from Asia have a long history in US. The course begins with an overview of Asian and Black history in the US through the lens of critical race theory. We will trace the historical roots of Asian and Black relations in the US and examine past and present racialization of Asian Americans and African Americans. We will examine key points of collaboration and conflict between Asians and Blacks in US history.  


Vijay Prashad, Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity
Gary Y. Okihiro, Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture
Fred Ho and Bill V. Mullen edited Afro Asia: revolutionary political and cultural connections between African Americans and Asian Americans
Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness and Global Race Consciousness


Attendance: 5%
Class Participation: 15%
Exam 1: 25%
Exam 2: 25%
Research paper topic and bibliography: 5%
Research paper: 25%

AAS 335 • Brdg Comm Thru Serv Learn

35500 • Shah, Sona
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM PAR 210
(also listed as S W 360K)
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Ethics & Leadership

Explores culture in community life and how it affects the collaboration of service providing entities. Through service learning, students will take what they learn in the classroom and apply those theories and techniques within the community. Special emphasis will be given to the understanding of the Asian/Asian American community and multiculturalism in community services.

AAS 378 • Community Internship

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Supervised internship in community, civic, or government organization or program that facilitates the economic, political, and social development of the Asian American Community. Prerequisite Upper-division standing and consent of the director of the Center for Asian American Studies.

Restricted enrollment; contact the department for permission to register for this class.