Asian American Studies 101
Asian American Experiences
Spring 2002

Course Description


Asian American Web Sites


Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to Asian American Studies, and as such it presents the major themes and issues in a new and growing interdisciplinary field of scholarly research and cultural production. The primary objective of the course is to engage students with selected aspects of the emerging canon of scholarly literature in Asian American Studies. This course will also provide many opportunities for students to link personal experiences to the larger collective facts of “Asian America,” from the local to the global.

As an interdisciplinary field, Asian American Studies encompasses a wide range of topics and theoretical approaches. Our exploration of the field will involve history, psychology, sociology, politics, economics, literary texts and films. Guest lectures by IDAAS faculty will provide an introduction to the wide range of research and teaching interests of the department. The course will shed light not only on the multi-faceted nature of the Asian American experience, but also on the conflicting and simultaneous trends within the field of Asian American Studies.

The college classroom is one of the few venues in the U.S. society where discussion and debate may freely take place in a sophisticated and informed way. The value of this venue is greatly enhanced by the willingness and ability of each participant to do their own work and to share their insights in constructive ways with others. Throughout the semester, the classroom will become a community space in which the beliefs and attitudes of all participants must be thoughtfully presented and respectfully considered.

The texts for the course include:
Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian, Vintage Books, 1998.
Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.
Min Zhou and James Gatewood, Contemporary Asian America, NYU Press, 2000.
Tim Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience : Beyond the Model Minority, Prentice Hall, 2001.
Jeanne Houston and James Houston, Farewell to Manzanar, Bantam Books, 1973.
All these books are available at Huntley Bookstore, or

The requirements for the course include class attendance and participation, creation of web pages, an essay assignment, a research paper, and a final exam.

If any material is ever unclear, or even if everything is perfectly clear, please come chat with me about Asian American Studies, or anything for that matter. If you have a short question, please feel free to call me. For longer and better explanations, come by my office during office hours or make an appointment to see me at your convenience. I can be reached at the following during the spring semester:

Office:  Fletcher 216
Office Hours: Tues, Thurs 1:15-2:45pm and by appointment
Phone:  607-3769

You can leave voicemail at the office or send email to me 24 hours a day.

Schedule of Topics and Readings

1 Who are Asian Americans? Jan 24
Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian
Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “On the Theoretical Status of the Concept of Race”
Professor Alexandra Shu

2. San Francisco State Student Strike 1968 Feb 5
Karen Umemoto, “On Strike!” San Francisco State College Strike, 1968-1969: The Role of Asian American Students
Glenn Omatsu, “The ‘Four Prisions’ and the Movement for Liberation: Asian American Activism from the 1960s to the 1990s”
The Fall of the I-Hotel, film.
Professor David Yoo

3. Vincent Chin 1982 Feb 14
Christine Choy and Renee Tajima Pena, Who Killed Vincent Chin, film
Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams, “Detroit Blues”
Timothy Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience, “Anti-Asian Violence”
Rita Chaudhry Sethi, "Smells Like Racism" in Karin Aguilar-San Juan, ed., The State of Asian America, 1994.
Deborah Misir, "The Murder of Navroze Mody"

4. Civil Liberties Act of 1988 Feb 26
Satsuki Ina, Children of the Camps, film
Yasuko Takezawa, “Children of Inmates: The Effects of the Redress Movement among Third-Generation Japanese Americans”
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston, Farewell to Manzanar
Professor Lynne Miyake

5. Miss Saigon 1990 Mar 7
Deborah Gee, Slaying the Dragon, film
Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams, “Gangsters, Gooks, Geishas and Geeks”
Timothy Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience, “Charlie Chan No More”
Yoko Yoshikawa, "The Heat is on Miss Saigon Coalition", in Karin Aguilar-San Juan, ed., The State of Asian America, 1994.
Professor Ming Ma

6. Sa-I-Gu 1992 Mar 26
Christine Choy, Sa-I-Gu, film
Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams, “To Market, To Market, New York Style” and “Lost and Found in LA”
Timothy Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience, “Emerging Communities, Changing Realities.”

7. Campaign Finance Scandal of 1996 Apr 4
Ling-Chi Wang, “Race, Class, Citizenship, and Extraterritoriality: Asian Americans and the 1996 Campaign Finance Scandal”
Timothy Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience, “The Final Frontier”
Professor Thomas Kim

8. IDAAS 1998 Apr 16
Timothy Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience, “The Right to Excel”
Keith Osajima, “Asian Americans as the Model Minority: An Analysis of the Popular Press Image in the 1960s and 1980s.”
Don Nakanishi, “A Quota on Excellence? The Asian American Admissions Debate”
Professor Ruth Chung

9. Wen Ho Lee 2001 Apr 25
Wen Ho Lee and Helen Zia, My Country Versus Me
Timothy Fong, The Contemporary Asian American Experience, “Workplace Issues”
Professor Sharon Goto

Final Exam May 13
Questions for Thought

NOTE: This syllabus is subject to change. If you miss a class, you are responsible for finding out about any changes. Be sure to check in with another student or with me.

Asian American Studies Web Sites

Asian American Resources


AsianWeek, 808 N. Spring St., Suite 628, Los Angles, California.
Frontiers of Asian American Studies: Writing, Research and Commentary, Gail Nomura, et. al, eds., Washington State University Press, 1989.
Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings by and about Asian American Women, Asian American Women United of California, eds., Beacon Press, 1989.
Okada, John, No No Boy, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980.
Reflections on Shattered Windows: Promises and Prospects for Asian American Studies, Gary Okihiro, et. al., eds., Washington State University Press, 1988.
Sue, Stanley and James Morishima, Mental Health of Asian Americans: Contemporary Issues in Identifying and Treating Mental Problems, Jossey-Bass, 1982.
Transpacific subscription, Transpacific Media, Inc., Malibu, California.
Wong, Jade, Fifth Chinese Daughter, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989 (1945).
A Look Beyond the Model Minority Image: Critical Issues in Asian America, Grace Yun, ed., Minority Rights Group, Inc., 1989.
Asian Americans: Comparative and Global Perspectives, Shirley Hune, et. al., eds., Washington State University Press, 1991.
Asian-Americans: Social and Psychological Perspectives, Volume II, Russell Endo, et. al., eds., Science and Behavior Books, Inc., 1980.
Bonacich, Edna and Lucie Cheng, Labor Immigration Under Capitalism: Asian Workers in the United States Before World War II, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Bonacich, Edna and John Modell, The Economic Basis of Ethnic Solidarity: Small Business in the Japanese American Community, University of California Press, 1980.
Daniels, Roger, The Politics of Prejudice: The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion, University of California Press, 1962.
Chan, Sucheng, Income and Status Differences Between White and Minority Americans, Lewiston: New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1990.
Chan, Sucheng, Asian Americans: An Interpretive History, Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1991.
Chan, Sucheng, Asian Californians, Materials for Today's Learning, 1991.
Chan, Sucheng, This Bitter-Sweet Soil: The Chinese in California Agriculture, 1860-1910, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986.
Chong, Ping, et. al., Between Worlds: Contemporary Asian American Plays, Theater Comm., 1989.
Fawcett, James and Benjamin Carino, Pacific Bridges: The New Immigration from Asia and the Pacific Islands, Staten Island, New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1987.
Fugita, Stephen and David O'Brien, Japanese American Ethnicity: The Persistence of Community, University of Washington Press, 1991.
Glenn, Evelyn Nakano, Issei, Nisei, War Bride: Three Generations of Japanese American Women in Domestic Service, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986.
Hakuta, Kenji, Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1986.
Hsia, Jayjia, Asian Americans in Higher Education and at Work, Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 1988.
Ichioka, Yuji, The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants 1885-1924, The Free Press, 1988.
Kim, Elaine, Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Contexts, Temple University Press, 1984.
Kim, Ilsoo, New Urban Immigrants: The Korean Community in New York, Princeton University Press, 1981.
Kitano, Harry and Roger Daniels, Asian Americans: Emerging Minorities, Prentice Hall, 1988.
Light, Ivan, Ethnic Enterprise in America, University of California Press, 1973.
Light, Ivan and Edna Bonacich, Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Koreans in Los Angeles, 1965-1982, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.
Nakano, Mei, Japanese American Women: Three Generations 1890-1990, Mina Press Publishing, 1990.
O'Brien, David and Stephen Fugita, The Japanese American Experience, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1991.
Omi, Michael and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1980s, New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986.
Ong, Paul, ed., The State of Asian Pacific America: Economic Diversity, Issues and Policies, Los Angeles: Asian Pacific Policy Institute and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, 1994.
Sandmeyer, Elmer C., The Anti-Chinese Movement in California, University of Illinois Press, 1991.
Takaki, Ronald, Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii, 1835-1920, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987.
Takaki, Ronald, Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th Century America, Oxford University Press, 1990
Tsai, Shih-shan, The Chinese Experience in America, Indiana University Press, 1986.