AMST 125
Introduction to Asian American Studies Spring 2025 (also offered Fall 2024)
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

Who or what constitutes the term “Asian American”? Leading with this provocation, this course offers an introductory overview of the interdisciplinary discipline of Asian American Studies, tracing its formation and evolution from the late 1960s onward. Focusing on an array of foundational texts, cultural production, and primary sources, we will ask who has been included/excluded from this term, what the bounds are (if any), and how others approach and negotiate this term. As such, we will analyze its shifting constructions and enactments alongside other markers of difference from the nineteenth century to the present. In particular, we will be attentive to how these constructions have been shaped both relationally through other racial formations as well as overlapping systems of power, including settler colonialism, U.S. war and empire, capitalism, and globalization within and beyond the U.S. With this, we will examine how this term has been widely undone and remade via political activism, visual and performance art, plays, media, poetry, etc. The aim of this course is not to identify a single or right definition of the term “Asian American” but to collectively assess and explore the limits, reaches, utility, and expansiveness of it.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 18
Class#: 3951
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly readings, in-class discussions, weekly discussion posts, two papers, and a final paper or creative project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students, AAS concentrators or prospective concentrators, AMST majors or prospective majors
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course examines "Asian" and Asian American" as categories of racial difference constructed through various structures of power. Students in the course are asked to unpack how constructions of this difference have changed over time and produced uneven power relations and access to resources.
Attributes: AAS Core Electives
AAS Gateway Courses
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora

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