Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies Courses

AAS 301 • Intro To Asian Amer Studies

34945 • Cho, Alexander
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CBA 4.326
(also listed as AMS 315)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

This is an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to major issues in the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian Americans. Accordingly, it also trains students to critically unpack the idea of “Asian American” as containing an ever-shifting multiplicity of peoples and histories and places this category in conversation with issues of power, race, nation, and gender and sexuality. This course also spends substantial time on contemporary Asian American issues and recent histories of migration. Key topics to be explored are: (im)migration, citizenship, imperialism, panethnicity, racial formation, intersectionality, multiraciality, transnationalism, hybridity, mediated representation.

AAS 312 • Intro To Asian American Hist

34949 • Vong, Sam
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm JGB 2.218
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

This course introduces students to the histories of people of Asian descent in the United States, from the late eighteenth century to the present. It examines the migration and settlement of Asian peoples, their inclusion into and exclusion from the nation-state, and their experiences of race and racism. This course places particular emphasis on understanding Asian American history and its key themes within global and transnational contexts. These themes include: Orientalism; citizenship and national belonging; labor and class; comparative racial formation; anti-Asian movements; gender and sexuality; community formation; and political activism. Through engagement with historical writings, films, literature, and primary sources, students will learn to ask informed questions, including the following: what and who constitutes Asian America? Who counts as Asian American? How has the notion of "Asians" transformed over time in American culture and history? How can we re-write the history of Asian America to account for the arrival of new "Asian" groups to the United States, the formation of new political identities and solidarities across borders and nations, and the emergence of new technologies and multimedia? 

Tentative Reading List:

Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans: An Interpretive History (Twayne, 1991)

Daryl Maeda, Chains of Babylon: The Rise of Asian America (Minnesota, 2009)

Coursepack readings


Assignments and Grade Breakdown:

25%     Class participation and attendance

25%     Midterm exam

25%     Final exam

25%     Written essay on community-based project

AAS 314 • Asian American Lit & Culture

34950 • Menon, Sheela Jane
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am MEZ 1.120
(also listed as E 314V)
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Writing

As the United States slowly emerges from the global recession of 2009, debates over immigration, the debt ceiling, education, and development loom large. In many, if not all, of these areas different minority populations bear the burden of changing policies and budgets, even as their labor and cultural production continue to sustain the nation. The 2012 US Census reported that Asians were the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States that year, rising from 530,000 in 2011 to almost 19 million in 2012. As a population that has made and continues to make significant contributions to the American economy and American culture more broadly, Asian Americans face an ongoing struggle to assert a sense of belonging in the United States. As a community and as individuals, they must continually negotiate the tensions between life in the United States and ties to their “cultural homelands.” The intersection of “American culture” and “Asian culture” is further complicated by assumptions about how Asian Americans are or are not “at home” in the United States.

This course will explore how Asian American literature attempts to negotiate these tensions. Through a close reading of selected 20th and 21st century Asian American literature, this course will analyze how Asian Americans have worked to resist their exclusion from American culture and politics. We will attempt to unpack the ways in which literary texts assert belonging, negotiate the immigrant experience, and balance the demands of different cultural traditions. In the process, this course will also explore the very definition of “Asian American,” considering the communities that are included and excluded from this collective. In doing so, we will pay close attention to the socio-political histories that inform this category, as well as how the experiences of Asian Americans are shaped by citizenship, class, gender, and sexuality. Various critical perspectives – such as post-colonialism, US legal history, feminism, and popular culture – will inform our readings and analyses.

Over the course of the semester, students will complete four short reading responses, two short essays, and a final essay, in addition to in-class assignments and quizzes. This course carries both a writing flag and a cultural diversity flag.

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AAS 320 • Asian American Gender & Sexual

34960 • Cho, Alexander
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SZB 330
(also listed as AMS 321, WGS 335)
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Why are Asian female bodies hypersexualized while Asian men are portrayed as emasculated? What can tracing the long history of sexual management of Asians in America reveal in terms of who is included in the category “American”? This course trains students to critically unpack concomitant constructions of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality that have informed the Asian American experience and connects these issues to broader themes of gender and sexual politics throughout American history. The course’s multidisciplinary approach spans the fields of literature, sociology, history, media studies, and anthropology.

AAS 320 • Asian American Media Cultures

34965 • Mallapragada, Madhavi
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm CMA 3.120
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Writing

This course will examine diverse representations of Asian Americans in the US media by focusing on popular film, television, videogames and the World Wide Web. It will critically interrogate stereotypical images of Asian American identities, culture, and politics as well as representations that challenge and contest such stereotypes. In doing so, the course will locate the politics of representing Asian Americans in the US media within a broader historical, political and cultural context that includes issues of immigration, nationalism and citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality and transnationalism.

AAS 320 • Documenting Difference

34970 • Nault, Curran
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 0.104
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Writing

This course will explore the theory, history, practice and poetics of minority documentary, as well as the related fields of oral history and archiving. With a particular emphasis on Asian American examples, students will engage documentary (as well as oral history and archiving) as a vital practice of minority self-representation and self-preservation. Students will be introduced to a variety of documentary modes (poetic, expository, observational, participatory, reflexive and performative/personal), as well as key doc topics: jargons of authenticity; inscriptions of science, truth and knowledge; ethnography and colonialism; realism and fictions of objectivity; ethics of responsibility; grassroots political filmmaking and strategies of resistance; depictions of the self. Class projects will be a combination of written and creative work, and students will have the opportunity to create their own short documentaries, oral histories, or archival projects.


AAS 320 • Media Industrs/Entreprenrs

34975 • Chen, Wenhong
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CMA 3.124
(also listed as SOC 352E)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Media industries have been challenged by large social forces such as globalization and technological advancements from analog to digital, wired to wireless, and desktop to cloud. Web 2.0 and social media facilitate former members of the audience to actively participate in media production. While legacy media learn to adapt to a new landscape, new media experiment with and search for viable business models and legitimacy. Great challenges bring unprecedented opportunities and risks for organizational innovations, entrepreneurship, and social change.Drawing on literatures from media studies, management, sociology, and communication, this course helps students to develop a critical understanding of the media industries. We start with a survey of the media landscape. In the second part, we examine the social, political, and economic contexts in which media and culture are produced, distributed, and monetized. Special attention is paid to new media and communication technologies such as Web 2.0, social media, gaming, and mobile phone and apps and the implications of these disruptive innovations for media production and consumption. Cases in old and new media industries from different countries will be analyzed. 

AAS 325 • South Asian Migration To US

34980 • Bhalodia, Aarti
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CMA 3.114
(also listed as ANS 372, HIS 365G)
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This course examines the South Asian diaspora in United States. We will focus on Americans who trace their descent to India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. 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 early twentieth century following the journey of the first South Asian migrants to arrive in California. The second part of the course will focus on the effects of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. Topics covered include economic and social reasons for immigration, 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.

This course may be used to fulfill three hours of the U.S. history component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following four core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: communication skills, critical thinking skills, personal responsibility, and social responsibility.

AAS 325 • Chinese In The United States

34985 • Hsu, Madeline Y.
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as ANS 340S, HIS 340S)
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Considering U.S. history through the lens of Chinese experiences emphasizes the national development of ideas and practices concerning immigration controls, rights to citizenship, multiracial societies, forms of multicultural integration and assimilation, and the relationship of the Constitution to varying conceptions of equality. Chinese as a race were the first targets of enforced immigration restrictions. As such, they have played key roles as the United States determined its powers and priorities in enacting immigration controls and its visions for democracy, along with the underlying racial ideologies and conceptions of national belonging.

This course offers an overview of the history of Chinese in America with an emphasis on Chinese American identity and community formations under the shadow of the Yellow Peril. Using primary documents and secondary literature, we will examine structures of work, family, immigration law, racism, class, and gender in order to understand the changing roles and perceptions of Chinese Americans in the United States from 1847 to the present.

Partially fulfills legislative requirement for American history.

Iris Chang, The Chinese in America; excerpts Yung et al, Chinese American Voices; excerpts, Lai et al, Island; excerpts, Choy et al, The Coming Man; 

 Midterms on lectures and assigned texts. Research paper on Chinese American history.

AAS 325 • Cuisine And Culture In Asia

34990 • Stalker, Nancy K.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm MEZ 1.204
(also listed as ANS 379)
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FLAGS:   GC  |  Wr  |  

This interdisciplinary senior seminar explores historical, cultural, economic, and geopolitical aspects of food in Asian culture.  Food is common to all humankind, but different varieties of foods or cuisine also serve to identify nations, religious groups, classes/castes and other communities, marking boundaries between ourselves and “Others.” Topics include: the relationship between food and national identity and between food and imperialism/colonialism.  We will read histories and ethnographies of representative Asian foods, analyze gender and class dimensions of food, examine the health claims of certain Asian cuisines, read accounts of culinary travel and memoir, and watch food-themed films and documentaries.   


AAS 358Q • Supervised Research

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For Asian American studies majors only. Supervised, student-derived research in Asian American studies. May be repeated for credit when the research projects vary.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing, Rhetoric and Writing 306, and consent of the director of the Center for Asian American Studies.

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