Current Courses

Fall 2016



Asian Am 203



As the 2016 federal elections arrive on our doorstep, much of the popular commentary has revolved around “conservatism,” especially the phenomenon of racial minorities embracing social, economic, and political forms of conservative ideology. But what is “conservatism,” and what are conservatives, especially those who are people of color, trying to conserve? In this course, we will explore the ideological content of various strains of American conservatisms as a way of exploring what ideology itself is and how it operates in communities of color. To do this, we will read texts in the “conservative tradition,” compare them to texts and events produced by minority conservatives, and discuss their relationship with the racial justice tradition of ethnic studies, especially (but not limited to) Asian American studies. In the first part of the course, we will read Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind in relation to student activist movements since the 1960s, the communities that they created, and the minority conservatives who challenged them. In the second half, we will read Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution to compare “the conservative tradition” with contemporary articulations of minority conservatism. We will also spend some time on the stereotype of the “model minority,” which is why this course will be of special interest to those in Asian American studies. This course should also appeal to students in ethnic studies more broadly, as well as those interested in political philosophy.




Asian Am 210/American St 310

PROF. DOUGLAS ISHII | MW 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM


Asian American Studies, as a part of Ethnic Studies, emerged from the interracial social movements and global solidarities of the 1960s and 1970s, and sought to value the histories, experiences, communities, and people who had been excluded from classrooms and curriculum.  In this course, we will focus on the experiences of Asian and Asian American people from the 19th to the 21st centuries through an interdisciplinary lens.  Our week-to-week explorations will ask key questions that characterize Asian American scholarship and activism, paying attention to intersections of identity and difference, as well as interracial and intraracial conflict and cooperation.  What can we learn about race, rights, national metanarrative, agency, imperialism, capital, and diversity by centralizing Asian Americans?





Asian Am 360/Gender St 382


Social and behavioral sciences distribution requirement


Lotus Blossoms, Yellow Fever, Asian Geeks: U.S. popular culture is filled with gendered images of Asian Americans that speak not only about race, but sex.  As “model minorities” and “forever foreigners,” Asian and Asian American people are thought to have regressive views on gender roles and sexual norms and identities; these preconceptions make Asian American feminisms and LGBTQ organizing incomprehensible to many.  Yet, many Asian Americans may have experienced gendered, sexual, or homophobic violence in their own lives.  We will begin this course by reading through the rich writings of Asian American feminism for a historical and theoretical basis.  Then, through multidisciplinary scholarship and cultural texts about Asian American genders and sexualities, we will discuss issues including, but not limited to, masculinities, femininities, feminisms, LGBTQ identities in Asian America, interracial and intraracial relationships, dating and marriage, queer of color critique, and families.  We will end the course by conducting original interdisciplinary research on social and cultural questions at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality.



Asian Am 303/Anthro 390


Social and behavioral sciences distribution requirement


What is Asian American advertising, how can we understand cultural production and consumption practices among Asian Americans? This course will examine ethnographic approaches to advertising, fashion, food, and expressive culture among Asian communities in the United States. The first portion of the class will examine the creative and production processes involved in creating ads for specific Asian ethnic groups, as well as other cultural production in Asian American industries, including fashion. The second will look in depth at various studies of consumption that document the ways in which Asian Americans engage with popular culture and commodities, including food and art. The course will also draw relevant connections between advertising and consumption in the US with China, India, Japan, and other Asian nation-states. The course will be grounded in anthropological perspectives of advertising and cultural production as well as theories of consumption, and consider the effects of these on meanings of ethnicity, race, gender, class, nation, and diaspora. 



Asian Am 370/History 300

PROF. JI-YEON YUH | MW 9:30–10:50 AM


The 20th century has been marked by upheaval and consequent migration for the people of the Korean peninsula. As a result of these migrations, substantial communities of ethnic Koreans exist in Central Asia, China, Japan, the United States and Canada, South America and Europe. How and why did Koreans go to these places? What kinds of communities and identities did they construct? How do these Koreans fit into the history of Korea, particularly in the context of a country divided into two opposing states? How do they fit into the history of their host countries? By examining the histories of ethnic Koreans outside the Korean peninsula, we will examine issues of migration, diaspora, race relations, and colonialism. We will also take a fresh look at modern Korean history by examining how these “overseas Koreans” view and relate to the history and ongoing politics of their divided homeland.



Spring 2016


Asian Am 214/Hist 214

Introduction to Asian American History

Laura Fugikawa

MW 2:00 - 3:20 p.m.

Asian American History is American History. This course is an introductory survey of historical experiences of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. What roles do colonization, global politics and American Expansionism play in Asian and Pacific Islanders' experiences of immigration to the U.S.? How did Asian Americans wield political influence and circumscribe exclusionary and racist policies to build their lives in America? How does looking at Asian American history change the way we understand American history?

Historical Studies Distro


Asian Am 251/Af Am 251

The Mixed Race Experience

Nitasha Sharma

TuTh 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Growing numbers of interracial marriages and children of mixed racial descent have contributed to the increasing diversity of 21st century America. In this course, we will evaluate the experiences of self-identified multiracials. This class will explore the interracial and inter-ethnic marriage trends in various Asian communities in the U.S. Additionally, we will compare the experiences of multiracials representing a range of backgrounds, including those of Asian/White and Asian/Black ancestry as well as Asian/Black heritage. Some of the specific topics that will be covered in this course include: racial and ethnic community membership and belonging; passing; the dynamics of interracial relationships; identity, authenticity, and choice; and the gender identities of the mixed race individuals.

Social and Behavioral Sciences Distro


Asian Am 275/Eng 275

Introduction to Asian American Literature

Andrew Leong

TuTh 3:30 - 4:50 p.m.

This course is an introduction to foundational works of 20th century Asian American literature. We will begin with the revolutionary autobiographies of anarchist Dhan Gopal Mukerji and labor organizer Carlos Bulosan, continue with John Okada's hard-hitting novel No-No Boy, and conclude with the genre-defying experiments of Maxine Hong Kingston and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. If you are interested in the political power and legacies, daring creative experiments, or the multi-generational history of Asian American writing, this is the course for you.

Literature and Fine Arts Distro


Asian Am 310/Af Am 310

Contemporary Asian and Black Relations

Nitasha Sharma

TuTh 2:00 - 3:20 p.m.

This course explores the relations between Asian American and Black people in the contemporary U.S. Picking up where Asian and Black Historical Relations in the U.S. (Asam/Afam 218) left off (not a pre-req), this course covers the historical racialization of these two groups. In the first meeting of each week, we analyze and discuss the set of readings and films. The second meeting each week is structured around a student-led debate about the topic of the week. These include: the differential and overlapping racialization and sexualization of Blacks and Asians; Black and Asian labor in the U.S.; reparations; affirmative action; the 1992 L.A. riots; martial arts and Bruce Lee in African American communities; Asian/Black intermarriage; multiracial Blasians; and Asian Americans in hip hop.

Ethics and Values Distro


Asian Am 320/HIST 393-0-28

Memories of War

Ji-Yeon Yuh

MW 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Vietnamese refugees and Korean immigrants came to the U.S. with experiences of war that are passed to younger generations as both silence and memory. How can we understand and represent the experiences of both the older and younger generations? How do their experiences transform the history of Asian Americans as well as the broader history of the U.S.? What does war mean in the American experience? This research seminar focuses on Vietnamese American and Korean American communities in the Chicago area in an attempt to answer these and other questions through focused oral history research and public presentations.

Historical Studies Distro


Asian Am 370/Soc 376

Studies in Diaspora: S.E. Asian American Experience

Jennifer Huynh

TuTh 3:30 - 4:50 p.m.

The diversity of the Asian American experience includes the outpouring of refugees who arrived to the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s while fleeing war, revolution, and exile. How do Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Laotians fit the model minority myth? Is there inter-generational transfer of trauma and war to the second generation? This course focuses on the experiences of Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao, Hmong and ethnic Chinese from Southeast Asia. We will examine political and economic factors for their exodus and how they reconstruct their identities, families, and communities in the U.S. We will look at issues such as refugee camp experiences, education, occupational options, and homeland relations.

Social and Behavioral Sciences Distro


Asian Am 392/Eng 385/Comp Lit 375

Manga & the Graphic Novel

Andrew Leong

TuTh 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

In this seminar, students will develop their own research projects on manga, comics, or graphic novels while working together through a reading list of Jewish, Japanese, and American graphic narratives. Although the course readings will focus primarily on documentary, historical, and realist works, students are encouraged to pursue interests in other genres and styles. We will also examine the psychological and physical displacements wrought by Japanese and Jewish immigration to the U.S., Japanese American internment, and the Holocaust.


Asian Am 394

Asian American Arts in Practice

Tatsu Aoki

Tu 6:00 - 8:50 p.m.

Students will examine the cross cultural work of Asian American artists through a survey and research-based class structure, focusing mainly on the development of Asian American visual and performing arts in the last 10 years, both nationally and locally with Chicago area artists. Materials include YouTube videos, internet-based performances and other online pieces. We will study the formation of cultural and artistic communities and their impact on the mainstream culture, as well as study the collaboration between these communities and cultures on local and transnational levels.




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