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.
2620 : Introduction to Asian American Literature
AMST 2620, ENGL 2620 Semester offered:
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.
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.
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.
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.