Asian American Experience

This page is the syllabus outline for my Spring 2016 class at Northeastern. For my previous teaching history, please see the teaching summary page.

Asian American Experience

ASNS 2245, Spring 2016
Tuesday and Friday 3:25-5:05pm
Ryder Hall 159, Northeastern University
Instructor: Lai Ying Yu
Email: laiying.yu@gmail.com
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:15pm-3:15pm & by appt, Asian American Center

Asian Americans have a long history in the United States, and they are currently the fastest growing racial group in the country. Why, then, do Asian Americans continue to be perceived as “foreigners,” “aliens,” and the unassimilable “yellow peril”? And why, at the same time, are Asian Americans held up as a “model minority” to the rest of society? More broadly, what can we learn about U.S. by studying the Asian American experience? This multidisciplinary course explores these questions by examining the contemporary and historical experiences of Asian Americans and their contributions to US political, economic, social, and cultural life. We will read nonfiction and fiction, watch documentaries, review archival materials, and do hands-on work with Google and census-related mapping tools.

As part of this course, we will learn about the forces that brought Asian people to the United States; the roles that Asian Americans have played in the development of American society; the Asian American Movement; recent Asian immigration and settlement; contemporary East Coast Asian American communities; and Asian American transnational cultural ties and its relationship to late twentieth-century global economic restructuring.

Required Texts
  • Erika Lee, The Making of Asian America (Simon & Schuster 2015)
  • Mitra Kalita, Suburban Sahibs (Rutgers University Press 2013); e-version may be available from Snell Library
  • Stephen Fan, ed. Sub-Urbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the

Contested American Landscape (Lyman Allyn Art Museum and Stephen Fan 2014)

  • Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange (Coffee House Press 1997)

All other readings are available on Blackboard.

Films
  • Grace Lee, Off the Menu: Asian America (2015)
  • Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña, Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1990)
  • Curtis Choy, The Fall of the I-Hotel (1983, 2005)
  • Spencer Nakasako and Sokly Ny, aka Don Bonus (1995)
  • Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Sa-I-Gu (1993)
Recommended Text

For an additional resource about Asian American studies, this anthology is very useful: Jean Yu-Wen Shen Wu and Thomas C. Chen, eds. Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader (Rutgers University Press 2010)

Please Note: Syllabus subject to change.

Week 1
Tues, 1/12 Course Introduction: Contemporary Asian America

In-class film: G. Lee, Off the Menu: Asian America (56 min)

 Fri, 1/15 Contemporary Asian America cont’d

Readings Due: E. Lee The Making of Asian America (MAA) “The ‘Rise of Asian Americans’? Myths and Realities” & Epilogue, 373-402

Week 2
Tues, 1/19 “When and Where I Enter”

Readings Due: E. Lee MAA Introduction 1-14; G. Y. Okihiro “When and Where I Enter” 3-20; A. N. Ancheta “Neither Black Nor White” 21-34

Fri, 1/22 Power of Place

Readings Due: D. Hayden, “Contested Terrain” and “Urban Landscape History: The Sense of Place and the Politics of Space” 2-43

In class: PMP Google MyMaps Introduction

 Week 3
Tues, 1/26 Social and Legal Construction of Race

Readings Due: M. Omi and H. Winant, “On the Theoretical Concept of Race”; I.H. Lopez “White Lines,” “Racial Restrictions” 27-34 and “Ozawa and Thind” 56-77

Due 8pm Thursday, Reading Response Post #1 on Blackboard

 Fri, 1/29 Defining Racism

Readings Due: B. Tatum, “Defining Racism”; L. Park “A Letter to My Sister”425-430; H. Zia “Detroit Blues” 35-54

Film: C. Choy and R. Tajima-Peña, Who Killed Vincent Chin? (82 min)

Week 4         
Tues, 2/2 Early Asian America and the Exclusion Acts

Readings Due: E. Lee MAA “Los Chinos in New Spain,” “Coolies,” “Chinese Immigrants” 15-88

Due 8pm Thursday, Response Post #2 on Blackboard:

Response Post #2 Question: In 250-300 words, describe two routes you you enjoyed taking in your hometown: a daily route and a favorite route. For more information, see Personal Mapping Project assignment (PMP).

 Fri, 2/5

Readings Due: E. Lee MAA “The Chinese Must Go,” “Japanese Immigrants,” “We Must Struggle,” “South Asian Immigrants” 89-173

In Class: PMP Charting personal routes and POI with Google MyMaps

 Week 5
Tues, 2/9 Exclusion Acts cont’d; World War II: Asian America in a World at War

Readings Due: E. Lee MAA “We Have Heard Much,” “Border Crossings,” “Military Necessity,” “Grave Injustices,” “Good War, Cold War” 174-279

In-class materials:

CB Munson, “Japanese on the West Coast”

Life Magazine, “How to Tell the Japs from the Chinese” (1941)

Time Magazine, “How to Tell Your Friends from the Japs” (1941)

Due 8pm Thursday, Reading Response Post #3 on Blackboard

Fri, 2/12 Post-World War II Inner-City Disinvestment and Suburban Development

Reading Due: J. C. “Teaford, Reinforcing the Status Quo” 49-89

Optional Reading: J. C. Teaford, “Coming Apart” 90-124

In Class: PMP cont’d Charting personal routes and POI with Google MyMaps 

Week 6
Tues, 2/16 Post-1965 Asian Migration to the U.S. and the Asian American Movement

Readings Due: E. Lee MAA “Making a New Asian America” 283-313; K. Umemoto “ ‘On Strike!’ San Francisco State College Strike, 1968-1969: The Role of Asian American Students” 3-41    

Optional Readings: G. Omatsu, “The ‘Four Prisons’ and the Movements of Liberation: Asian American Activism from the 1960s to the 1990s” 56-88; D. Maeda “Black Panthers, Red Guards, and Chinamen: Constructing Asian American Identity through Performing Blackness, 1969-1972” 89-109

Suggested Film: C. Choy, The Fall of the I-Hotel (58min)      

In-Class materials: M. Machida “Art and Social Consciousness” Asian American Art eds. Gordon H. Chang et al.; L. Wong, J. Dong, N. Hom, “Icons of Presence: Asian American Activist Art”

Due 8pm Thursday, Reading Response Post #4 Due on Blackboard

 Fri, 2/19 Local Histories of Activism and Urban Growth: Boston Chinatown and Fields Corner Dorchester

Readings Due: N. Shah, “Public Health and the Mapping of Chinatown,” 168-192, A. Leong “The Struggle Over Parcel C” 565-580, “ K. Aguilar-San Juan, “What’s Good for Business is Good for the Community: Packaging and Selling Vietnamese America” 91-122

2 short articles from the Chinese Historical Society of New England newsletters: P. Kiang and G. Li, “1903 Immigration Raid in Boston Chinatown” (2004) S. Fan, “Chinatown’s Roots in the City of Boston” (2008)

Week 7
Tues, 2/23 Southeast Asian America and Lowell, Mass

Readings Due: E. Lee MAA “In Search of Refuge: Southeast Asians in the United States,” “Making a New Home,” “Transnational Immigrants and Global Americans” (314-372), T. Pho and A. Mulvey “Southeast Asian Women in Lowell” (181-205)

Recommended Film: S. Nakasako and S. Ny aka Don Bonus (55 min)

Due 8pm Thursday, Reading Response Post #5 Due on Blackboard

Fri, 2/26 Post-1965 Asian Enclaves, Ethnoburbs, and New Patterns of Settlement

Readings Due: W. Li and E. Skop “Enclaves, Ethnoburbs, and New Patterns of Settlement among Asian Immigrants” (222-236)

In Class: PMP Introduction to mapping tool and storytelling features of Social Explorer

Week 8
Tues, 3/1 Model Minority, Ethnoburbs, and Edison, NJ

Reading Due: S. M. Kalita Suburban Sahibs 1-106

Recommended: Y. Chang, “Indian Edison: The Ethnoburbian Paradox and Corrective Ethnography” (176-200)

 Fri, 3/4 South Asian America

Reading Due: finish Suburban Sahibs

Midterm Exam

Week 9          Spring Break
Week 10
Tues, 3/15

Reading Due: Sub-Urbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape 10-167

PMP Due: 3-4 Bibliographic resources for your Personal Mapping Project Essay

Due 8pm Thursday, Response Post #6 Due on Blackboard

Response Post #6: Provide a short summary of the main points for two of the articles you are using for the Personal Mapping Project essay (a paragraph for each summary). Include a paragraph explaining why each source is useful for this essay.

Fri, 3/18

Reading Due: Sub-Urbanisms 167-215

Recommended Reading: Sub-Urbanisms 216-251

In Class: PMP Outline and development of Social Explorer hometown maps

Week 11
Tues, 3/22 Affirmative Action and Multiethnic Identities

Readings Due: M. Omi and D. Takagi, “Situating Asian Americans in the Political Discourse on Affirmative Action” 118-125; J. Lee and F. D. Bean, “Intermarriage and Multiracial Identification” 381-392; P. R. Spickard “What Must I Be? Asian Americans and the Question of Multiethnic Identity” 393-407

Due 8pm Thursday Response Post #7 Due on Blackboard

Response Post #7 1-2 page rough draft outline or brainstorm of your PMP essay

Fri, 3/25 Sexuality in Asian America

Readings Due: A.Y. Hom, “Stories from the Homefront: Perspectives on Asian American Parents with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons” 303-313; M. F. Manalansan IV “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men in New York City” 314-325

In Class: PMP Peer review of rough drafts; Outline and development of Social Explorer hometown maps continued

Week 12
Tues, 3/29 1970s-1990s Asian Immigration and Global Restructuring, Los Angeles

Readings Due: K. Yamashita Tropic 1- 96; P. Ong, E. Bonacich, and L. Cheng “The Political Economy of Capitalist Restructuring and the New Asian Immigration 3-38

Due 8pm Thursday, Response Post #8 Due on Blackboard

Response Post #8: 2-4 pages draft of PMP essay

Fri, 4/1 Tropic of Orange and Global Restructuring cont’d

Readings Due: K. Yamashita Tropic 97-174; P. Ong and T. Azores, “Asian Immigrants in Los Angeles: Diversity and Divisions” 100-132

Recommended Reading: R. G. Lee, “The Cold War Construction of the Model Minority Myth” 469-484

In Class: PMP Peer review of drafts

Week 13
Tues, 4/5 Tropic and the Transnational Family, LA

Readings Due: K. Yamashita, Tropic finish; R. P. Parreñas “New Household Forms, Old Family Values: The Formation and Reproduction of the Filipino Transnational Family in LA” 206-221

Fri, 4/8 Sa-I-Gu and the 1992 LA Uprisings

Readings Due: P. Ong, K.Y. Park, and Y. Tong, “The Korean-Black Conflict and the State” 264-294

Film: Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Sa-I-Gu (38 min)

Week 14
Tues, 4/12 Post-9/11 and Racial Profiling in the War on Terror

Readings Due: S. Maira, “Racial Profiling in the War on Terror: Cultural Citizenship and South Asian Muslim Youth in the United States” 431-448

Fri, 4/15 Multiplicity and Interracial Politics and Class Presentations Cont’d

Readings Due: L. Lowe, “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity: Marking Asian American Differences” 505-525; C.J. Kim and T. Lee “Interracial Politics: Asian Americans and Other Communities of Color” 542-555

 Class Presentations begin, see PMP assignment sheet for more information

Week 15
Tues, 4/19 Class Presentations cont’d

 

Final Exam Date TBA