Current Courses

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AAS 1100 : Introduction to Asian American Studies
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Christine Balance
This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to the study of Asian/Pacific Islanders in the U.S. This course will examine, through a range of disciplines (including history, literary studies, film/media, performance, anthropology, sociology), issues and methods that have emerged from Asian American Studies since its inception in the late 1960s, including the types of research questions and methods that the study of Asians & Pacific Islander peoples in the U.S. as well as politics and historical relations in the Asia/Pacific region have to offer. In this course, we will pay particular attention to the role of culture and its production in documenting histories, formulating critical practices, and galvanizing political efforts. Topics and themes include: war & empire; queer & feminist lives and histories; refugee, adoptees, transnational families, and other forms of kinship & belonging; anti-Asian violence; settler colonialism and postcolonial critique.
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AAS 2100 : South Asian Diaspora
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 2410 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Viranjini Munasinghe
This interdisciplinary course (with an emphasis in anthropology) will introduce students to the multiple routes/roots, lived experiences, and imagined worlds of South Asians who have traveled to various lands at different historical moments spanning Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius, Britain, Malaysia, United States, Trinidad, and even within South Asia itself such as the Tamil-speaking population of Sri Lanka. The course will begin with the labor migrations of the 1830s and continue up to the present period. The primary exercise will be to compare and contrast the varied expressions of the South Asian Diaspora globally in order to critically evaluate this transnational identity. Thus, we will ask what, if any, are the ties that bind a fifth-generation Indo-Trinidadian whose ancestor came to the New World as an indentured laborer or "coolie" in the mid-19th century to labor in the cane fields, to a Pakistani medical doctor who migrated to the United States in the late 1980s. If Diaspora violates a sense of identity based on territorial integrity, then could "culture" serve as the basis for a shared identity?
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AAS 2130 : Introduction to Asian American History
Crosslisted as: AMST 2640, HIST 2640 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Derek Chang
An introductory history of Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians, Filipinos, and Koreans in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1990s. Major themes include racism and resistance, labor migration, community formation, imperialism, and struggles for equality.
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AAS 2620 : Introduction to Asian American Literature
Crosslisted as: AMST 2620, ENGL 2620 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Sunn Wong
This course will introduce both a variety of writings by Asian North American authors and some critical issues concerning the production and reception of Asian American texts. Working primarily with novels, we will be asking questions about the relation between literary forms and the socio-historical context within which they take on their meanings, and about the historical formation of Asian American identities.
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AAS 2623 : Introduction to Asian American Performance
Crosslisted as: AMST 2622, PMA 2621 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Christine Balance
An introduction to Asian American performance, this course will consider both historical and contemporary examples and forms through the analytics of Asian American studies, theatre studies, and performance studies. Throughout the semester, we will pay equal attention to various forms of performance — plays and other staged performances, performance art, as well as everyday performances — as well as both primary sources and theoretical/critical readings. Students will be introduced to key concepts of Asian American performance studies, such as Orientalism, yellow face, radicalized accents, and the performing body, and will begin to not only map a history of Asian American performance but also situate contemporary examples within this tradition.
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AAS 2641 : Race and Modern US History
Crosslisted as: AMST 2645, ASRC 2631, HIST 2641 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Derek Chang
This course surveys modern U.S. history, from Reconstruction to the contemporary period. It will examine how race has been the terrain on which competing ideas of the American nation have been contested. From struggles over citizenship rights to broader meanings of national belonging, we will explore how practices, ideas, and representations have shaped political, cultural, and social power. A key concern for this course is examining how groups and individuals have pursued racial justice from the late-nineteenth century to the present.
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AAS 2910 : It's All Chinese to Me
Crosslisted as: AMST 2910, ENGL 2910 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Sunn Wong
In her memoir Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston identified a conundrum familiar to many US-born children of Chinese immigrants when she asked: "What is Chinese tradition and what is the movies?" What is "Chinese tradition"? Does it mean the same thing to people in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, or to Chinese diasporic communities in North America?  Does "Chineseness" change across time and space? While there will be occasion to discuss what "Chineseness" means in different Asian contexts, this course will focus primarily on how ideas of "China" and "Chineseness" have been historically constructed by, for, and in the West—particularly in the US. Course materials include readings on the concept of "Chineseness," Chinese American literature and film, and historical studies of East/West relations.
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AAS 3030 : Asians in the Americas: A Comparative Perspective
Crosslisted as: AMST 3703, ANTHR 3703, ANTHR 6703 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Viranjini Munasinghe
The common perception of ethnicity is that it is a "natural" and an inevitable consequence of cultural difference. "Asians" overseas, in particular, have won repute as a people who cling tenaciously to their culture and refuse to assimilate into their host societies and cultures. But, who are the "Asians?" On what basis can we label "Asians" an ethnic group? Although there is a significant Asian presence in the Caribbean, the category "Asian" itself does not exist in the Caribbean. What does this say about the nature of categories that label and demarcate groups of people on the basis of alleged cultural and phenotypical characteristics? This course will examine the dynamics behind group identity, namely ethnicity, by comparing and contrasting the multicultural experience of Asian populations in the Caribbean and the United States. Ethnographic case studies will focus on the East Indian and Chinese experiences in the Caribbean and the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, and Indian experiences in the United States.
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AAS 3312 : Afro-Asia: Futurism and Feminisms
Crosslisted as: ASRC 3310, COML 3310, FGSS 3310 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Tao Goffe
Description
AAS 4050 : Critical Filipino/Filipino American Studies
Crosslisted as: AMST 4052, ASIAN 4452 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Christine Balance
Description
AAS 4550 : Race and the University
Crosslisted as: AMST 4550, ENGL 4961, HIST 4551 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Derek Chang
Sunn Wong
What is a university, what does it do, and how does it do it? Moving out from these more general questions, this seminar will focus on a more specific set of questions concerning the place of race within the university. What kinds of knowledge are produced in the 20th- century U.S. university? Why is it, and how is it, that certain knowledge formations and disciplines come to be naturalized or privileged within the academy? How has the emergence of fields of inquiry such as Ethnic Studies (with an epistemological platform built on the articulations of race, class and gender) brought to the fore (if not brought to crisis) some of the more vexing questions that strike at the core of the idea of the university as the pre-eminent site of disinterested knowledge? This seminar will give students the opportunity to examine American higher education's (particularly its major research institutions) historical instantiation of the relations amongst knowledge, power, equality and democracy.
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AAS 4640 : Racial Ecologies of Transpacific Nuclearism
Crosslisted as: AMST 4640, COML 4640, FGSS 4641, FGSS 6641, SHUM 4640, SHUM 6640 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
This course examines the emergence of nuclear energy in Asia and the Pacific after World War Two as a transpacific settler colonial institution and discourse. Building on current environmental humanities scholarship on the nuclear Pacific, this course uses transpacific nuclearism as an anchoring point to explore ways that theories of biopolitics, necropolitics, and comparative racialization can productively inform scholarly approaches to contemporary ecological crises. For longer description and instructor bio visit http://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.
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AAS 4950 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Derek Chang
Viranjini Munasinghe
Christine Balance
Sunn Wong
Independent reading course in topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course work.
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AAS 4950 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Sunn Wong
Christine Balance
Viranjini Munasinghe
Derek Chang
Independent reading course in topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course work.
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AAS 6818 : Race, Performance, and Sound Studies
Crosslisted as: AMST 6818, PMA 6818 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Christine Balance
This course engages with new and foundational writings in sound studies that center the racialized body -- be it of the performer, listener, or critic -- as well as racialized histories, places, and practices. This interdisciplinary course will study methodological tools, critical concepts, and readings drawn from queer, feminist, black, Latinx, Asian American, and postcolonial approaches, to name a few. We will engage with the role of sound and its technologies throughout U.S. history (i.e. slavery, wars and empire, social movements, immigration & migration, militarism) as well as the ways in which racialized performers, listeners, and critics have labored within and against these sonic regimes, imagining new politics, practices, and ways of being.
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