Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies Courses

AAS 310 • Asian American Film History

35069 • Nault, Curran
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm CMA 5.190
(also listed as AMS 315)
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FLAG:Cultural Diversity


This course will consider Asian American film from a historical perspective, from the pioneers of the silent era, to the YouTube stars of today. Students will explore Asian American films from a number of cinematic genres (romance, melodrama, comedy) and forms (Hollywood, independent, documentary, experimental), as well as their attendant constraints and freedoms. Foundational to this course is the belief that film history can only be understood in relation to dominant social structures and the workings of the film industries and, as such, textual, reception and industrial analysis will all be employed. Key issues discussed will include: politics of representation in classic Hollywood cinema; the rise of Asian American independents; oppositional practices of Asian American spectatorship; intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality in Asian American films; exhibition and distribution strategies of Asian American film festivals; and transnational Asian (American) cinema. While this course will focus primarily on cinema, students will also have the opportunity to examine related forms of Asian American mediamaking, including the contemporary turn to web series and television shows like ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat.


Hamamoto, Darrell and Sandra Liu, eds. Countervisions: Asian American Film Criticism. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 2000.

Mimura, Glen M. Ghost Life of Third Cinema: Asian American Film and Video. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Nguyen, Hoang Tan. A View from the Bottom. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.

Ono, Kent A. and Vincent Pham, eds. Asian Americans and the Media. Polity, 2008.


Short Response Essays…25%Midterm Paper…30%Final Paper…30%Attendance/Participation…15%


AAS 312 • Intro To Asian American Hist

35075 • Hsu, Madeline Y.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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This class introduces key themes in Asian American history by exploring the crucial roles Asian have played in framing American ideas and institutions regarding citizenship, national belonging, border control, and multiracial democracy.  Seen as inassimilable aliens and essentially foreign, Asians were the first targets of legal immigration restrictions and enforcement.  Asian Americans persevered in continuing migration to establish communities and forge ethnic identities and cultures by claiming the promise  of equality in America.  We will consider variations on Asian American history and culture through memoirs, legal documents, cultural productions, media representations, and reinterpretations of mainstream tropes of American identity.



Erika Lee, The Making of Asian America: A History (Simon and Schuster, 2015)

Gary Okihiro, Margins and Mainstreams (UW Press, 1994)

Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian (Vintage, 1999)

AAS 320 • Race, Internet, & Soc Media

35090 • Nault, Curran
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm GAR 2.112
(also listed as AMS 321)
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FLAGS: Cultural Diversity and Writing


From its earliest incarnations, the Internet has been celebrated as a place where bodily 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 as well as (dis)ability.


Lisa Nakamura, “Cybertypes”

Henry Jenkins, “Convergence Culture”

Radhika Gajjala, “South Asian Technospaces”

Madhavi Mallapragada, “Virtual Homelands”

Wendy Chun, “Orienting Orientalism”

Mizuko Ito, “Networked Publics”

Liz Ellcessor, “Bridging Disability Divides”

MiaMcKenzie, “Black Girl Dangerous”

Aymar Jean Christian, “The Web as Television Reimagined?”



Final Research Paper: 30%Online written reading responses: 20%Paper 1: 25%Quizzes: 15%Attendance: 5%Participation: 5%

AAS 325 • Global Economies: Asia & US

35101 • Mays, Susan
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 220
(also listed as ANS 361)
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FLAG: Global Cultures

COURSE DESCRIPTIONThis 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, 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.

AAS 325 • Global Hong Kong

35105 • Hamilton, Peter
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm GAR 0.128
(also listed as ANS 361, HIS 364G)
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FLAGS: Cultural Diversity in the U.S., Global Cultures, and Writing


This course examines the history of Hong Kong from a global perspective, stretching from the First Opium War (1839-42) to the present day. Through lectures, discussions, films, and readings, we will foreground Hong Kong’s place on the world stage—as a trading entrepôt, a migration hub, a political sanctuary, and an economic powerhouse. We will study the evolution of the British colonial regime, the lives of diverse Hong Kong residents, and the trades and industries that have sustained the territory. We will pay keen attention to the world migrations, economic developments, and catastrophes in which Hong Kong has played an important role, such as the opium trade, the Chinese diaspora, China’s political upheavals, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and mainland China’s post-1978 economic reform and takeoff. Finally, as the historic embarkation point and logistical nexus for Chinese migrants to the United States, Hong Kong holds a special significance for Asian American studies. Throughout the course, special attention will be paid to Hong Kong’s links with the United States.


AAS 325 • Taiwan: Colniz/Migratn/Ident

35110 • Hsu, Madeline Y.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am JGB 2.202
(also listed as ANS 340T, HIS 340T)
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Taiwan: Colonization, Migration, and Identity

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)
Course Reader prepared by the instructor, available on Blackboard


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 325 • Hist Se Asian Diasp In US

35117 • Vong, Sam
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 0.120
(also listed as HIS 365G)
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Which groups comprise the Southeast Asian diaspora in the United States? How has labor migration, war, and imperialism historically shaped the formation of various Southeast Asian communities in the U.S.? How does the history of a Southeast Asian diaspora in the U.S. complicate the idea of Asian America as a social project and a political critique?

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the history of Southeast Asians in the United States. Chronologically, the course will begin in 1898, with the history of U.S. empire in the Philippines, and the course will end with a discussion of the recent migration of refugees from Myanmar in Texas. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify important dates and events that have shaped Southeast Asian diasporas in the U.S. Students will also be able to define and discuss the following core concepts of the course: racial formation and racism; war and militarization; labor and class; gender; ethnicity; diaspora; and citizenship. 

This course carries the flag for Cultural Diversity in the United States. Cultural Diversity courses are designed to increase your familiarity with the variety and richness of the American cultural experience. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one U.S. cultural group that has experienced persistent marginalization.



Bich Minh Nguyen, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir (New York: Penguin Books, 2007).

Lynn Fujiwara, Mothers without Citizenship: Asian Immigrant Families and the Consequences of Welfare Reform (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008).

George Herring, America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996 [1979].


Attendance & participation                10%

First paper (4-page essay)                  15%

Midterm Exam                                    25%

Second paper (8-page essay)              25%

Final Exam                                          25%

AAS 330 • Anthropology Of The Himalayas

35120 • Hindman, Heather
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 0.118
(also listed as ANS 361, ANT 324L)
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This course looks at the history and culture of the Himalayan region, including Northeast India, (briefly) sections of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Tibet but especially Nepal. Some understanding of Asian history, politics and religion will be helpful (but not necessary) as our attempt will not be a comprehensive survey of the region. The Himalayas have been the site of a great deal of anthropological attention and as such we will be simultaneously be exploring several key theoretical, historical and methodological issues within the discipline of anthropology as we learn about places and people in the region. Particular attention will be paid to the area as a site for negotiating identity (caste and indigeneity), development politics, the environment, tourism, diasporas as well as the current political tensions in the region. At the conclusion of the class, students should have a stronger idea of the important role this area has played in the political, religious and social imagination of the world and an appreciation of concepts such as ritual theory, social movements, modernity and gender studies

AAS 330 • Reproductive Justice & Race

35125 • Rudrappa, Sharmila
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CLA 0.122
(also listed as SOC 321K, WGS 340)
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Since the Cairo Conference on Population and Development in 1994 state policies concerning women’s health around the world have taken a turn away from population control to reproductive health. Within this context, activists and scholars alike have turned their attention to reproductive justice that envisions the complete physical and mental well-being of women and girls, which can potentially be achieved when they have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction. In this class we ask: how do various social movements define reproductive justice? How is access to reproductive rights stratified by race and class? Through drawing students’ attention to specific case studies, this course illuminates on the specific challenges faced by women of color in the U.S., as well as women in developing countries across the world. Topics we will cover are forcible sterilization, access (or lack of access) to birth control, population control policies, prenatal and postnatal care, maternal and infant health outcomes in various parts of the world, sex selective abortions, new reproductive technologies, and stratified reproduction. As part of the final part of the course the students will think through the reproductive health issues facing women of color on campus, through conducting a survey. 

AAS 335 • Brdg Comm Thru Serv Learn

35135 • Shah, Sona
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GDC 2.410
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FLAGS: Cultural Divsersity and Ethics and Leadership


This course is designed for students who are interested in learning more about community organizations through academic service-learning. We will examine the nonprofit sector, communities, individuals, intersectionality, and how self-empowerment brings about social change. We will also explore the importance of culture in community life and how it affects the collaboration of service providing entities. Special emphasis will be given to understanding Asian/Asian American communities and multiculturalism in community services.

A primary focus of the course will be to examine the relationship between service learner, client population and the organization through a social justice lens. The course will provide students an opportunity to study, assess, research, and experience community service-learning by working with a community based organization.


  1. Understand the philosophy of service-learning and apply academic service-learning strategies.
  2. Develop a social justice framework and learn how to apply this perspective in community work.
  3. Demonstrate basic understanding of community research methods and techniques.
  4. Develop awareness of different aspects of the Asian/Asian American and other marginalized communities including cultures, intersectionalities, resources, issues and sensitivity.
  5. Develop relevant skills in becoming a more effective and engaged community member and agent of social change.


Class Attendance & Participation (15%)Weekly Journal (25%)Service-Learning at Organization (30%)Presentation (10%)End of Semester Research paper (20%)