Quarterly Courses Guide

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018

Fall 2017

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Instructor
Title
Day
Time
210Ishii
Introduction to Asian American Studies

Description: Asian American Studies emerged from the interracial social movements and global solidarities of the 1960s and 1970s to value the histories, people, and communities who had been excluded from university curriculum. This course will focus on Asian American experiences from the 19th century up until the present day, to tell us about race, rights, nationhood, agency, imperialism, capitalism, and diversity. This course will pay special attention to scholarship, activism, and inter/intra-racial conflict and cooperation.

MW11:00 AM - 12:20 PM
214Tse
Introduction to Asian American History

Description: “Asian America” is often considered to be a composite of ethnic communities formed by migration from the region of “Asia,” and the study of “Asian American history” is usually taken to be concerned with the identities of each of these groups. This course proposes that Asian American history matters regardless of personal identification, because the writing of mainstream Asian American histories often revises the global histories in which Asia and the Americas are located. Instead of a personal history of identity, such an approach considers Asian American history as an integral part of the history of ‘modernity,’ a term that this course will address by Asian American historiography and the study of primary source documents.

MW2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
276Ishii
Asian American Film and Media

Description: The complaint is that Asian Americans are invisible in U.S. film. While this is true, it also conceals how Asian Americans have told their stories to change the Hollywood image. In this course, we will survey key Asian Americans in film from periods including the U.S. silent era, the activist media of the 1970s, the transnational directors of the 1990s, and today’s digital filmmaking. We will use an intersectional lens to examine what this history of expression can tell us about race, citizenship, and activism today.

MW3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
303Sharma
Race & Indigeneity in the Pacific

Description: Since the so-called Age of Discovery, the Pacific has been conceptualized as a crossroads between the East and the West. By the twentieth century, places like Hawaiʻi came to be idealized as a harmonious multicultural society. This class examines how race and indigeneity are constructed within the Pacific using an interdisciplinary approach. Drawing from works within indigenous studies, ethnic studies, and critical race studies, students will address themes of sovereignty, settler colonialism, diaspora, and migration in order to interrogate and problematize the concept of the multicultural ‘melting pot’ across time. We focus on the impacts of U.S. plantation economies, militarism, and tourism in shaping the triangulation of indigenous, Black, and Asian groups in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific. STUDENTS MUST APPLY FOR THIS CLASS; PLEASE CONTACT PROFESSOR SHARMA n-sharma@northwestern.edu AND PROFESSOR HOBART hiilei.hobart@northwestern.edu. STUDENTS MUST BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN A WEEK-LONG RESEARCH TRIP TO HAWAI‘I THE WEEK BEFORE CLASSES START. DETAILS FORTHCOMING.

TTH2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
376Huang
Techno-Orientalism

Description: Techno-Orientalism names a variant of Orientalism that associates Asians with a technological future. This seminar will explore how Techno-Orientalist tropes are used by, played with, and rewritten by Asian American authors. We will study how twentieth-century and contemporary issues of technology, globalization, and financial speculation collide with a history of yellow peril and Asian Invasion discourse, as well as how these tensions manifest in figures and tropes such as robots, aliens, and cybernetics. Texts will drawn from drama, poetry, novels, short stories, comics, and film.

MW2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
380Son
War, Gender, & Memory in Asian American Performance

Description: This course examines the history of U.S. involvement in wars in Asia and the Pacific alongside Asian American cultural productions that emerged in response to colonization, militarization, internment, migration, and displacement. Our objective is to understand how theatre, performance art, music, spoken word, and social performances (for example, pilgrimages by adoptees and family history projects) in particular are significant sites and critical practices in negotiating these histories. We will have a particular focus on the relationship between gender and memory, particularly how women employ memory to make political claims and to articulate histories of violence that have long been silenced.

MW9:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Winter 2018

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Instructor
Title
Day
Time
203Cable
Introduction to Arab American Studies

Description: This class examines the formation of Arab-American cultural identity and the social and political issues at the heart of the Arab-American community. What are the historical circumstances that have shaped Arab immigration to the U.S.? How has U.S. foreign policy impacted Arab-American experiences? Where do Arab-Americans "fit" within the U.S.' racial classification system? What is anti-Arab racism and where does it stem from? What is Islamophobia? Why are the categories of “Arab” and “Muslim” collapsed in popular and political rhetoric?

TTH12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
247Ishii
Asian American Pop Culture

Description: Using frameworks from Ethnic Studies and the study of popular culture, we will study the compromises and negotiations that go into Asian Americans representing themselves and being represented through U.S. mass culture and locally based cultural production. We will pair popular culture “texts” with scholarly theories to think about race and power at the intersection of class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship. What is Asian American popular culture, and who is producing and consuming it? How does this shape our understanding of Asian American communities?

MW2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
276Huang
Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature

Description: This class explores race, gender, and sexuality in twentieth and twenty-first century Asian American literature through “experimental embodiment,” meaning both the representation of non-normative bodies as well as experimental modes of representing embodiment. Analyzing how racial formation is subtended by discourses of gender and sexuality, we will explore Asian America’s multifarious relationship to categories such as “woman,” “sex,” “gender,” “queer,” and “LGBTQ.” In the process, we will familiarize ourselves with several genres of Asian American cultural production, including film, novels, drama, and poetry.

TTH2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
304Yuh
Asian American Women's History

Description: This course explores the intersections of gender, race, and ethnicity in the historical experiences of Asian American women. We will consider a variety of themes significant to those experiences, including immigration and citizenship, exclusion and discrimination, family and community structures, paid and unpaid labor, and resistance and activism. We will discuss how these historical experiences shaped the development of Asian American female subjectivities and feminisms.

TTH9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
350Tse
Asian American Religions

Description: Usually, the study of Asian American religions is confused with the study of the practice of “Asian” religions in the United States, especially in popular culture. This situation sometimes produces confusion about how to talk about the everyday religious practices of Asian Americans themselves, including those of Asian Americans who claim to be “nonreligious.” I have assigned some texts that might be able to help us figure out how to study Asian American religions despite the popular ideologies surrounding them. Students will conduct projects on one aspect of one Asian American religious community of their choice.

MW12:50 PM - 1:50 PM
360Enteen
Thai Medical Tourism & Transnational Sexuality

Description: This course examines theoretical, cultural, medical, and commercial online discourses concerning the burgeoning number of gender confirmation surgeries conducted in Bangkok, Thailand. Using “trans” theories: transgender, transnational, translation, this class discusses the adaptions, refusals, and intersections of considering medical travel. We will examine Thai cultural/historical conceptions of sex/gender, debates concerning bodies and diagnoses, and presentations of sex/gender-related surgeries offered online. Comparative cultural studies, medical discourses, and web images—aimed at western clientele—offering surgeries in Thailand, will help us investigate this topic.

MW9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
370Tse
Global Chinatowns

Description: Chinatowns around the world are usually described as historic sites of racialized segregation and contemporary venues for tourism. But what is their place in contemporary urban geographies, especially in what are called ‘global cities’? In this course, students will be invited to theorize what Chinatowns are as urban places by considering case studies of Chinatowns in global cities in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Each student will be asked to work on a specific ‘global Chinatown’ for a final project, which is staggered by weekly reflections, a project proposal, a class fair, and a final submission.

MW9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
370-0-2Parsard
Across the Waters: How Labor, Commodities, and Art Connect the Atlantic with the Indian Ocean

Description: How are ocean geographies connected rather than separated regions? This multidisciplinary course helps students move beyond dominant geo-historical paradigms to gain a new understanding of how Africa, India, and the so-called New World were and are interconnected through the circulation of labor, goods, and aesthetics. Beginning in the early modern period, it addresses processes and events such as trade networks; European imperialism; African enslavement and Asian indenture in the making of Caribbean and Indian Ocean plantation societies; and contemporary artistic and critical discourses on the histories of migration, labor, and cross-racial relations throughout these ocean worlds. The assigned readings include primary sources such as maps, portraits, and travel literature; novels and films; and critical essays.

MW2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
376-0-1Ishii
Queering Asian American Multiraciality

Description: Multiracial Asian Americans are often held up as the “post-racial” future – even in 45’s America – in ways that exclude through white supremacy, gender norms, and heterosexism. This seminar will seek a different visibility, by placing queer theory in conversation with Asian American Studies and Critical Mixed Race Studies. Through scholarship, stories, activism, and art by and about multiracial Asian Americans, the course will cover topics including marriage laws, the rule of hypodescent, blood quantum, settler militarism, and illicit intimacies.

MW11:00 AM - 12:20 PM
377-0-1Doolan
Legacies of the Korean War

Description: The Korean War is called “The Forgotten War” within American historical memory. But to Koreans, the war was too brutal to be forgotten—resulting in nearly 3 million civilian casualties, mass movement, national division, and the militarization of Korean society. Today, Koreans and Americans alike are living with the consequences of a war that is still ongoing. This seminar explores the lasting legacies and human consequences of the Korean War through a look at North Korean, South Korean, US Military, and Korean American History. Some topics we will cover are the war itself, the North Korean state, US military bases in South Korea, camp towns/militarized sex work around those bases, and the Korean War diaspora (Military brides, transnational adoptees, and the third-wave of Korean American immigration to the US).

TTH11:00 AM - 12:20 PM
376-0-2Cable
Film Festivals: Arts and Activism in the Public Sphere

Description: This course focuses on how film festivals have become dynamic sites of group identity formation, political activism, and cultural contest. We will examine how and why people of color, women, and LGBT/Queer folks have used film festivals to resist underrepresentation, express cultural politics, and produce vibrant discourses on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in the public sphere. Readings on the history of film festivals, social movements, and art and media activism will be paired with feminist theory, queer of color critique, and postcolonial theory.

TTH3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
394Aoki
Asian Identity in Cinema

Description: This course looks at America's perceptions of Asians through their portrayal in American mainstream media in contrast to those made in Asia by Asian filmmakers. It is a survey and discussion oriented case studies of representation of Asian and Asian American icons. By comparing films made by Asians and those produced by the American mainstream, major differences in their perspectives and approaches are found. In doing this, the class investigates issues of representation and misrepresentation in mass culture stereotypes of Asians to show how they have been rooted in confusions surrounding cultural differences between Asians and Asian Americans. The course presents Hollywood films; mainstream Asian films, independent works from as well as other visual media such as Youtube submissions and commercial application both the Asian and Asian American communities.

Tu6:00 PM - 8:50 PM

Spring 2018

#
Instructor
Title
Day
Time
203Ishii
We Demand: Race and Student Protest

Description: This course will examine the politics of difference through the waves of campus protests since the advent of Black Lives Matter in 2014. Each week, we will focus on a specific campus protest as a way of introducing a central issue including unDACAmented students, police repression, student debt, “affirmative action,” Title IX, “academic freedom,” and the defunding of retention programs. We will ask: How have administrations responded to student demands, and what does this suggest about democracy today? What is the special responsibility of Asian American students?

TTH9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
216Yuh
Global Asians

Description: This course examines international migration histories of different Asian groups in the 20th century and their development of community and identity in different contexts. We will compare diaspora, migration, and immigration, and interrogate how they shape identity. As well as examine the immigration policies of host countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, and the settlement histories of Asians within these countries. We will, in short, examine the crossing and construction of borders, the cultural encounters and the mixings, of Asian groups in socioeconomic and political contexts in different nation-states.

TTH11:00 AM - 12:20 PM
220Tse
Asian American Social Movements

Description: In this course, we will begin with the premise that what we know about ‘Asian America' is founded and sustained by what might be called ‘social movements,' mobilizations of people who have become conscious of an issue or issues that affect them and make them want to do something collectively about it. I propose that our task should be to evaluate whether these movements have been effective. To do that, we will also spend some time reading Gary Okihiro's Third World Studies in relation to the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

MW2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
275Leong
Introduction to Asian American Literature

Description: Since the invention of the category of “Asian American literature” in the mid-1970s, literature has been a crucial arena for imagining, or re-imagining, the pasts and futures of Asian America. This course is a survey of classic works of Asian American literature, from the revolutionary autobiographies of Dhan Gopal Mukerji and Carlos Bulosan to the genre-bending works of Karen Tei Yamashita and Viet Thanh Nguyen. Suitable for majors and non-majors alike, this course will leave students with a stronger understanding of key debates in Asian American literary studies.

MW9:30 AM - 10:50 AM
303Tse
Asian American Geographies

Description: What is ‘Asian America’? Can you put it on a map? Does it even exist? These questions address the problem of referring to ‘Asian America’ as if it were a space and a place, even though it is difficult to locate it. The technical word that might be used for this conundrum is geography, the literal writing of the earth. I have assigned some texts in Asian American studies that have addressed the question of Asian American geographies, how the earth is written by imagining ‘orientals’ and how ‘Asian America’ is practiced in real places. Students will conduct their own research on one practice of placemaking in one place in an attempt to discern what and where ‘Asian America’ is. Accompanied by the weekly readings, this project will be staggered in a proposal, a class fair, and a final submission.

MW3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
320Yuh
Memories of War

Description: Vietnamese refugees and Korean immigrants came to the United States 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 United States? 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.

TTH2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
320Sales
Asian American Activism, 1880s - 2010's

Description: This class is an advanced history seminar on Asian American community organizing and activism from the late 1800s to the present day. We will analyze primary sources and historical scholarship that use activism as a lens in Asian American history and U.S. history, and we will trace the different contexts Asian immigrants and Asian American have asserted their capacities for social and political change. Although not required, this class is highly recommended for students who have taken Asian American Social Movements with Professor Justin Tse.

MW3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
360Ishii
Asian American Sexualities: From Lotus Blossoms to Rice Queens

Description: As “model minorities” and “forever foreigners,” Asian and Asian American people are thought to have regressive views on sex and gender. These preconceptions make incomprehensible the plurality of Asian American positions on genders, sexual identities and practices, and social arrangements. Through pairings of multidisciplinary scholarship and cultural texts, we will discuss issues including masculinities, femininities, race-conscious feminisms, LGBTQ+ identities, interracial and intraracial relationships, and kinship structures. Throughout, students will conduct original interdisciplinary research on social and cultural questions through this intersection of race, gender, and sexuality.

TTH12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
394Aoki
Asian American Arts in Practice

Description: Discover the Asian American cultural diaspora. “Asian American Arts in Practice” is a survey/research based journey. This course will examine the cross-cultural work of Asian American artists along with the influence of national movement. It is recommended for self-motivated and inquisitive individuals. Required class work will include in-class listening, viewing, take home and field assignments. We will learn how to appreciate and interpret art by conducting a historical analysis of music and various kinds of visual/sound arts (i.e. paintings, sculpture, cyber arts, installations and performing arts pieces) created by Asian American artists in the last 20 years focusing on the phenomenal development of these arts.

Tu6:00 PM - 8:50 PM