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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2009

AMS 315 • Introduction to Asian American Studies

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29910 MWF
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
jes A203A

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course is designed to introduce students to key cultural moments in the history of Asian and Asian-Americans in the U.S. Using a transnational framework, students will be asked to think critically about patterns of immigration, citizenship, racial formation, and gender/sexuality as they operate in Asian-American communities. By examining historical, literary, and popular cultural texts, we can move into an interrogation of sites of cultural negotiation for Asian-Americans. In identifying and engaging with these patterns, we can conceptualize how the field of Asian-American studies enables an understanding as well as a problematizing of issues facing the Asian-American community: globalism, legacies of colonialism and warfare, assimilation, stereotypes and other popular representations, socio-economic struggles for justice, etc. Moreover, students will be asked to think how the field of Asian-American studies enters into the debate with other communities of color (ie Area Studies) along axes of race, ethnicity, and migration. What are major sites of commonality, as well as points of departure unique to those that claim ethnic Asian identity in the U.S.?

Grading Policy

Attendance & Participation (20%) Mid-Term Exam (15%) 2 Reading Responses (10% each) Short Essay (15%) Final Paper (30%)


Possible Texts Madeline Hsu, Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration Between the U.S. & South China, 1882-1943 Sucheng Chang, Asian-Americans: An Interpretive History Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore Yen Le Espiritu, Asian American Women and Men


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