Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Fall 2020

203San Diego
Illness and Disability in Asian America

Description: Remote/Synchronous. How have historical and contemporary discourses of law, medicine, and media constructed certain bodies as “healthy,” “disabled,” or even “human?” What are the political and ethical implications of sharing illness experiences as an of resistance and act of care? In this class, students will compare memoirs, essays, and visual culture produced by Asian Americans living with illness and disability alongside and against texts written by “experts” working in hospitals, public health, and psychology. Potential themes/topics may include: scientific racism, biopolitics, neurodivergence, environmental racism, medical humanities, sexuality, and the politics of care.

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
TTh11:20 AM - 12:40 PM
210San Diego
Introduction to Asian Am Studies

Description: Remote/Synchronous. In the midst of a global pandemic and upcoming national election, what is the role of Asian American Studies? How has its mission and vision changed since its inception 50 years ago? Throughout this course, we will question the limits and possibilities of Asian American Studies as a field, method, theoretical approach, mode of critique, political orientation, and platform for social justice. Potential themes and concepts may include: intersectionality, critical race theory, the politics of knowledge production, hate crimes, popular culture, drag queens, identity, electoral politics, and strategies of survival and resistance.

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
TTh1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Asian Americans and Pop Culture

Description: Remote/Synchronous. Asian Americans and Popular Culture surveys a history of Asian/American race relations, experiences, and subject formation in the United States from the 1800s to the present day through cultural production. Students will study how Asian Americaness is performed, caricatured, and reimagined through popular culture including film, comics, television, theatre, music, literature, public protest, sports, and social media. The course will offer language that allows students to analyze and develop creative work to respond to and re/frame debates on the politics of representation, exoticization, cultural appropriation, transnationalism, hybridity, and U.S. immigration laws.

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
TTh9:40 AM - 11:00 AM
Black Studies, Native Studies, and Asian Settler Colonialism

Description: Remote/Synchronous. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor. Black Studies, Native Studies, and Asian Settler Colonialism looks at the dialogues and tensions between these three fields. Through books and articles, we analyze the debates and intersections of indigeneity and race, native/settler, and Indigeneity and settler colonialism in the Americas and with a special focus on the Pacific. Why do we tend to view Black and Native peoples as separate, with distinct geographies, identifications, politics, and imagined futures? And how does the analysis of Asian settler colonialism that emerges out of the scholarship on Hawai'i expand, disrupt, and unsettle the native/settler debate in North America?

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
W2:00 PM - 4:50 PM
Asian Persuasion: Asian American Advertising and Consumption

Description: Remote/Synchronous. What is Asian American advertising? How can we understand cultural production and consumption practices among Asian Americans? This course will examine ethnographic approaches to advertising, fashion, food, and expressive culture among Asian communities in the United States. The first portion of the class will examine the processes involved in creating ads for specific Asian ethnic groups, as well as other cultural production in Asian American industries, including fashion. The second will look in-depth at various studies of consumption that document the ways in which Asian Americans engage with popular culture and commodities, including food and art. We will also draw connections between advertising and consumption in the U.S. with China, India, Japan, and other Asian nation-states. The course will be grounded in anthropological perspectives of advertising and cultural production as well as theories of consumption, and consider the effects of these on meanings of ethnicity, race, gender, class, nation, and diaspora.

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
MW1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
360-0-20San Diego
Queer/Trans Ethnic Studies

Description: Remote/Synchronous. Queer/Trans Ethnic Studies examines discourses shaping communities as produced by and producing unequal power relations across geographic sites, social networks, and strategic alliances. By focusing upon social inequalities generated from various social structures: the government, the school, the prison, the media, and the hospital, we’ll explore how webs of power both indirectly and directly inform our everyday lives. How do critical race, feminist, and queer analyses of these institutions highlight areas of oppression and opportunities for resistance across shifting hierarchies of race, sexuality, gender, class, nationality, and ability? How have various queer/trans of color communities been affected by these institutions what strategies and tactics have they pursued in the quest for intersectional social justice?

Distribution Requirement: Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro
TTh4:20 PM - 5:40 PM
Trans Surgeries in Transnational Contexts

Description: Remote/Synchronous. This course explores Gender Affirmation Surgeries offered to non-Thais by Thai surgeons. Within the context of Asian American studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies, we approach this topic from three axes: comparative culture, data and digital imaging, and medical-juridical texts. Comparative culture studies considers the sex/gender system in Thailand and differences from western presumptions of normal, as well as how Queer and Trans* theory have positioned trans bodies. The study of data and digital Imaging applies visualization tools to an archive of websites. We examine how digital images influence our understanding of the medical travel industry. The medical-juridical section of the course includes publications written by international organizations concerning medical Standards of Care and sexual and human rights.

Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro
MW11:20 AM - 12:40 PM
War and Memory in Asian American Performance

Description: Hybrid. This course examines the history of US involvement in wars in Asia and the Pacific alongside Asian American cultural productions that emerged in response to colonization, militarization, internment, migration, and displacement. Our objective is to understand how theatre, performance art, spoken word, and social performances as reflected through memorials, film, and graphic novels are critical storytelling practices in engaging with histories of wartime violence. The course will also explore the relationship between gender and memory, particularly how women employ memory to make political claims and to articulate silenced histories. We will read key works in Asian American literary and cultural studies, along with critical readings from trauma and performance studies.

Literature and Fine Arts Distro
MW11:20 AM - 12:40 PM
Fire & Ice: Performances in Citizenship

Description: Remote/Synchronous. Fire & Ice: Performances of Citizenship examines U.S. immigration policy and the carceral state alongside a history of the movement to protect undocumented citizens and racially, religiously, and sexually marginalized groups. Throughout the course we will explore how citizenship is defined, deformed, and reimagined through the elements of fire and ice, as aesthetic form, institutional shapes, and key material in political struggle. Readings for the course will draw from critical ethnic studies and performance studies including work from A. Naomi Paik, Dylan Rodriguez, Mae Ngai, Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Sandra Ruiz, Nicole Fleetwood, and James Baldwin; Policy/Community Organizing Toolkits from the National Immigration Law Center and Immigration Defense Project; and a range of multimedia artwork from Maria Gaspar, In Plain Sight, and For the People’s Artist Collective. The purpose of the course is to delve into how citizenship is defined/performed in relationship to U.S. foreign and domestic policies shaping contemporary struggles for immigration and prison abolition, and the fight for freedom in immigrant and refugee communities.

Literature and Fine Arts Distro
Th5:00 PM - 7:20 PM

Winter 2021

ASIAN AM 203-0-1 / MENA 290-3-20 Yalzadeh
Race and Nation in the US: Belonging, Longing and Resistance

Description: Remote/Synchronous. This course examines how representations of race continue to be critical to the formation of the American nation. We will look at cultural and historical texts that grapple with how “race” is used to (1) define who does and does not belong to the U.S., (2) configure feelings of longing for a homeland, and (3) resist dominant narratives of national inclusion through activism and representation.

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
TTh11:00 AM - 12:20 PM
ASIAN_AM 216-0-1 / HISTORY 216-0-20Yuh
Global Asians

Description: Remote/Synchronous. This is a comparative course that will examine the international migration histories of different Asian groups in the 20th century and the development of community and identity of those groups in different national contexts. We will interrogate the concept of diaspora versus migration versus immigration, and the different notions of identity implicit in each framework (diasporic community, sojourner, etc.). We will examine the immigration policies of host countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, and the settlement histories of Asians within these countries. We will discuss notions of group belonging and ideas of citizenship, nationality and ethnicity, and also compare how different ethnic groups and different national societies have handled ethnic/racial/cultural diversity. We will, in short, be examining the crossing and construction of multiple borders, the cultural encounters and the mixings, of various Asian groups in various socioeconomic and political contexts in different nation-states.

Distribution Requirement: Historical
MW9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
ASIAN AM 275-0-1 / ENGLISH 275-0-1 Huang
Introduction to Asian American Literature

Description: Remote/Synchronous. This class has two goals—first, providing an overview of literature written by Asian Americans in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries and placing these texts in conversation with key concepts from Asian American culture and history. Second, interrogating the constructed, pan-ethnic nature of Asian American identity, a category that came into use only in the 1960s as a coalitional entity defined by shared histories of labor, discrimination, and national and cultural unbelonging.

Distribution Requirement: Lit & Fine Arts Distro
TTh9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
ASIAN_AM 320-0-1 / AMER_ST 310-0-30Yalzadeh
Transnational Asian American Activism

Description: Remote/Synchronous. This course is meant to provide students with a greater understanding of Asian diasporas in the United States and strategies of activist resistance from the beginning of the twentieth century into the present. Special attention will be paid to the role of student activism—both Asian American and Asian immigrant—as well as the role of historical and ethnographic methodologies in studying such paths for change.

Distribution Requirement: Soc/Behav
MW 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
ASIAN_AM 320-0-2 / HISTORY 392-0-20Yuh
Legacies of the Korean War

Description: Remote/Synchronous. Vietnamese refugees and Korean immigrants came to the United States with experiences of war that are passed to younger generations as both silence and memory. How can we understand and represent the experiences of both the older and younger generations? How do their experiences transform the history of Asian Americans as well as the broader history of the United States? What does war mean in the American experience? This research seminar focuses on Vietnamese American and Korean American communities in the Chicago area in an attempt to answer these and other questions through focused oral history research and public presentations.

Distribution Requirement: Historical
MW12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
ASIAN_AM 380-0-1 / THEATER 346-0-20Son
War, Gender and Memory in Asian American Performance

Description: Remote/Synchronous. This course examines the history of US involvement in wars in Asia and the Pacific alongside Asian American cultural productions that emerged in response to colonization, militarization, internment, and migration. Our objective is to understand how theatre, performance art, spoken word, and social performances are critical storytelling practices in engaging with histories of wartime violence. The course will also explore the relationship between gender and memory, particularly how women draw on memory to make political claims and to articulate silenced histories.

Distribution Requirement: Lit & Fine Arts
MW11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Spring 2021

103-2San Diego
Critical Hope

Description: The events of the past year have brought to the attention of many the importance of critiquing and dismantling multiple and intersecting forms of institutional oppression. Just as important, however, is the capacity to dream, build, and hope. But how do we do find and pursue hope in such toxic times? This interdisciplinary seminar explores the worldmaking and healing practices Asian Americans engage in with an emphasis on gender, sexuality, and media.

T/TH12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
214San Diego
Intro to Asian American History

Description: This class introduces students to a broad survey of migratory and displacement patterns of those living in Asia as agitated by militarism, capitalism, imperialism, war, racism, sexism, classism, and nationalism stemming from within the region and abroad. What are the multiple and competing narratives of how these histories and experiences are produced? Once in the United States, how did similar—although not identical—processes of racialization, economic and labor exploitation, legislative and political exclusion, social and cultural othering, and strategies for survival and resistance work together to transform these heterogeneous populations into “Asian Americans”?

Distribution Requirement: Historical
TTH 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM
Asian Americans and Third World Solidarity

Description: In this course, we will explore the concepts and theories for analyzing the historical study and legacies of Third Worldism and its relationship to Asian America. The course begins with laying the historical foundations for the emergence of Third World solidarities in the 1960s and 1970s, before turning to the components of Third World feminisms and the movements’ contemporary legacies. The course’s final project will be to create an Instagram resource guide, as we engage critically with the possibilities and limits of social media throughout the course.

Distribution Requirement: Historical
MW 11:00 AM - 12:20 AM
Interracial Encounters

Description: This class brings contemporary Asian American, African American, Native American, and Latinx literature into relation with a focus on interracial dynamics. We will develop an analytical framework attuned to how American racial identity has been differentially and unevenly constructed through history, culture, and politics. A central goal of the course is decentering whiteness as the primary locus of literary analysis, to allow for more nuanced interpretations of topics such as U.S. imperialism, mixed race identity, activism, labor history, and immigration.

Distribution Requirement: Social and Behavioral Sciences Distro
MW3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
360San Diego
Pleasure Activism

Description: “Pleasure Activism” explores how sexuality, race, gender, class, dis/ability, and citizenship function as mutually imbricated vectors across multiple sites such as the media, the family, the school, the government, the clinic, the nightclub, and “the everyday.” This interdisciplinary course interrogates how “Asian American sexualities” are taken up as a problematic and/or analytic to discuss diaspora and migration, activism and HIV/AIDS, intimacy and pornography, gender and labor. Following the work of queer and feminist scholars of racialized sexualities who move beyond the false binaries of “good and bad” or “right and wrong,” this course asks, “What are the possibilities and potentialities of Asian American sexualities? How do Asian American sexualities inform our thinking about how we understand, relate to, and imagine the world and what we want it to be?”

Distribution Requirement: Soc & Behav
TTH 3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
U.S. Media Representations of the Middle East

Description: In this course, we will explore the evolving ways in which the Middle East is visually represented in the United States from the mid-twentieth century to the present, post-9/11 era. Through discussing film, television, and photographic journalism alongside critical works of cultural analysis, we will work through how cultural objects come to function as salient social and political texts that pervade U.S. publics and how they deploy issues of race, gender and sexuality. We will begin with foundational theoretical texts that will shape our readings of representations of Southwest Asia/North Africa throughout the course. The majority of the term will then revolve around cultural objects and critical texts that shape meanings of Southwest Asia/North Africa in the United States. We will then end with a look at ways in which Southwest Asians/North Africans in the diaspora use visual culture to counter these monolithic representations.

Distribution Requirement: Soc & Behav
TTH2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
Memory + Identity in Asian American Literature

Description: How can writers represent inaccessible stories, ones lost to the passage of history? This class explores how literature functions as repositories of minority histories and memories, as meditations on the process of assembling and collecting stories, and as imaginings of alternative histories and futures. Given the difficulty of assembling a coherent Asian American identity, our examinations will be defined as much by the absences, gaps, and contradictions of Asian America’s collective memory as by what is found within it.

Distribution Requirement: Lit & Fine Arts
MW2:00 PM - 3:20 PM