Asian American Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines the histories, literatures, cultures and lived experiences of people of Asian descent living in the United States and diasporically in other countries of the Americas. This field of study holds an important role in exploring not only the Asian American experience as framed within the larger intellectual inquiries of race and ethnicity in national and global contexts but also issues of transnationality and diaspora. Knowledge in this field is critical in understanding the U.S. society, history, literature, religion, etc. The critical lens of Asian American studies is also helpful for thinking through many other fields and topics such as colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, immigration, globalization, as well as less overtly racially marked topics such as aesthetics and political theory.
Williams College is yet to build an Asian American Studies concentration or program. Before that happens, students interested in Asian American Studies can take the following courses related to Asian American Studies located in several different academic units.
AMST 125 Introduction to Asian American Studies (Kim)
AMST 223 Eating Empire: Asian/Pacific Islander/American Foodways and Culture (Kim)
AMST 243 Asian/American and Black Literary and Cultural Thought (Wang)
HIST 384 Selected Topics in Asian American Studies (Wong)
HIST 468 Race, Empire, and the Birth of the American Century (Wong)
WGSS 316 Feeling Queer and Asian (Huang)
AMST 128 Reading Asian American Literature (Kim)
AMST 382 Transnational Asian/American Film and Video (Kim)
AMST 403 New Asian American, African American, Native American and Latina/o Writing (Wang)
DANC 216 Asian-American Identities in Motion (Tarah)
HIST 381 The Legal History of Asian America (Wong)
MUS 279 American Pop Orientalism (Sheppard)
In addition to the above courses, students are strongly encouraged to take courses on Race, Ethnicity, and Diaspora in American Studies. Students interested in various disciplines about Asia can take courses in Asian Studies.
As of March 2019 when the Course Catalog was finalized, the CPC Asian American Studies Working Group has completed its final report and submitted its recommendations to the senior administration. Based on this report, the Curricular Planning Committee (CPC) and the Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CAP) are actively engaging in discussions about various options regarding possible pathways toward establishing an Asian American Studies program, a concentration, or both at Williams. In the meantime, students interested in pursuing a concentration in Asian American Studies should consult with Professor Dorothy Wang (American Studies) or Professor Vivian Huang (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies).