SOC 321K • Asian American Issues--Family Politics
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
There is nothing "natural or innocent" in romance, love, and family; and though we may be agents of our own lives, we are to a large degree products of our cultural, political, and economic histories. I intend this course to be a sociological reflection on the intersections of race, class and gender, and the ways families get made, with a specific focus on Asian Americans.
Nuclear family arrangements in the United States arise with the massive industrializations of the mid-1800s, until they become the (white, middle class) standard by the mid-20th century where television shows such as Leave it to Beaver or Ozzie and Harriet have left us with powerful visions of what ideal, traditional American families looked like. However, the tradition of the nuclear family is a recent invention. The heterosexual nuclear family is so normalized that we fail to understand it is a fairly recent social arrangement.
In this course we will study what is family from a socio-political perspective. The kinds of laws and regulations the American nation-state passes in consolidating itself as a nation affects immigration patterns, and the ways in which immigrants and their descendants are inserted into the national polity, where they live, what kinds of properties they can/ cannot own, whom they may marry/ not marry, and the ways in which their labor is deployed. All these factor into how Asian Americans make their families.
Class discussion 20%
Selected readings and films