Fall 2012 Courses

AAS R2A: Reading and Composition (Anna Leong)

Asian American Studies R2A is a course in critical thinking and writing in which students will gain a basic introduction to contemporary issues in the work of Asian American writers.  For this semester we will focus loosely on the theme of “war.” Under what circumstances, if any, can war be justified?  How might Asian Americans stand in a unique position when evaluating America’s military engagements?  More than anything, this course is devoted to your writing, so there will be a strong emphasis on learning to identify essay topics that interest you.  You will write extensively in order to give power to your voice through the written word. You will spend a great deal of time reading and revising student work, as well as considerable attention to the mechanics of argumentative prose.  To this end, you will learn how to analyze, with care and precision, such varied forms of writing as short stories, poetry, and novels.

AAS R2B: Reading and Composition (Anna Leong)

The purpose of hardboiled APA journalism is to provide students with an introduction to Asian Pacific American print journalism through the actual hands-on experience of participating in the production and distribution of an APA newsmagazine. In order to achieve the aforementioned objective, students will research and develop story ideas, compose layouts, and distribute issues to students, faculty, and community members. Students will participate in weekly workshops that cover topics including APA history, health in the APA community, APAs in law and politics, and APAs in the media as well as current and pertinent issues in the campus, local, national, and international community. As a field studies course, students will receive an introduction to the local and campus Asian Pacific American communities by providing them with opportunities to meet community leaders, by attending and participating in community organizations and events, and by being a part of UC Berkeley’s Asian Pacific American Coalition, a coalition of APA organizations on campus. hardboiled not only produces over 3,400 copies per semester of a professional newsmagazine covering relevant, timely, and insightful topics, but also provides staff with a community of like-minded students active in the APA community. At the conclusion of the course, students will have learned the ins and outs of print journalism, increased their political awareness of APA issues, and received experience working within the APA community.

AAS 20A: Introduction to the History of Asians in the U.S. (Michael Omi)

Depending on the historical period in question, Asian Americans have been envisioned in the popular imagination as either an insidious social and economic threat to the white race or as a “model minority” successfully assimilating into mainstream American society. This course examines how and in what ways Asian Americans have been racially constructed, through their interactions with and within social structures and prevailing ideologies of the time. The overall goal of the course is to understand how Asian American experiences have been shaped by and have shaped the broader contours of American history. It is also hoped that students’ proficiency in social science research methods, academic writing, and analysis will be enhanced.

AAS 121: Chinese American History (Harvey Dong)

This course will examine the history of the Chinese in the U.S. from the Gold Rush period in the mid-19th century to the present, with attention to the diversity and hybridity of the Chinese American population as the result of larger influences including colonialism, war and globalization, which have helped shape the Chinese diaspora.  Finally, the course will look at how the local Chinese American population played important roles in fighting for their rights in the past and present, and how they were thereby able to change their status in society and social political conditions within the U.S. itself.

AAS 122: Japanese American History (Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani)

This course will map out the contours of the Japanese American experience through the study of major historical events and turning points.  Attention will be given to such topics as immigration and community formation; incarceration and displacement during World War II; shifting identities and politics since the late 1960s; and selected contemporary issues.  Both local and diasporic perspectives will be used to explore variations in the Nikkei experience, particularly the salience of ethnicity in the new millennium.

AAS 125: History, Memory and Citizenship: Key Issues in Southeast Asian Migration and Community Formation in the US (Khatharya Um)

The Southeast Asian refugee communities (defined here as populations that were resettled in the US in the aftermath of what is commonly known as the “Vietnam War”) have emerged as the fastest growing Asian communities in the US. Close to four decades after their resettlement, this highly diverse community, comprising three source countries and at least 8 major ethnic groups, remains marginalized and under-served in numerous areas. This course will introduce students to the issues and concerns facing this particular subset of the Asian American community, that include postwar trauma, educational challenges, poverty and other forms of social vulnerability. It will also underscore the agency and resilience of these multiply displaced communities as they work to rebuild lives, families and communities from the ravages of war, genocide and forced migration, and effectively contribute to the socio-economic, cultural and political vibrancy of the US. In addition to classroom-based learning, students will also have the opportunity to directly engage the community through the conduct of community-oriented research and documentation projects.

AAS 128AC: Muslims in America (Hatem Bazian)

The course traces Islam’s journey in America, beginning with an examination of the Columbus’ arrival, then moving toward the first exclusionary acts in the new colonies directed at Muslims of West and North African descent, early arrivals in the 16th century, and finally taking a look at narratives and documents referencing African Muslim slaves. Building on this early history, we deal with the emergence of identifiable Muslim communities throughout the US and focus on patterns of migration, the ethnic makeup of such communities, gender dynamics, political identity, and cases of conversion to Islam. We spend considerable time on the African American, Indo-Pakistani, and Arab American Muslim communities, since they constitute the largest groupings. Also, the course examines in depth the emergence of national, regional, and local Muslim institutions, patterns of development pursued, and levels of cooperation or antagonism. The course seeks an examination of gender relations and dynamics across the various Muslim grouping and the internal and external factors that contribute to real and imagined crisis. The course likewise seeks to conduct and document the growth and expansion of mosques, schools, and community centers in the greater SF Bay Area. Finally, no class on Muslims in America would be complete without a critical examination of the impacts of 9/11 on the communities, the erosion of civil rights, and the on-going war on terrorism.

AAS 138: Hallyu: Understanding the Korean Wave, Korean pop culture and its consumption (Hannah Michell)

This lecture series will examine Hallyu as a transnational phenomenon, the production of Korean pop culture and what this might mean to those who consume it. Using examples from Korean dramas, K-pop music videos and film, we will examine portrayals of Korean life and relationships and discuss what implications this might have for gender, class and political relations. It will also explore the role Korean pop culture plays in our lives and question whether it reflects life or shapes it.

AAS 141: Law in Asian American Communities (Tom Fleming)

In this class, we will seek to understand and critically analyze the law and how it affects Asian American communities.  We will examine selected legal principles in the United States Constitution as well as in state and federal statutes, and the case law interpreting such principles.  Further, we will explore racialization vis-à-vis certain legal areas such as national security, immigration, profiling, hate speech/crimes, criminal law, labor and employment, education, and affirmative action.  We will investigate not only the relationship between law and race, but also that of law and class, gender, politics and economics.

AAS 165: Research Issues and Asian American Communities: Exploring the Use of Visual Recording Media (Jere Takahashi)

This course will examine key issues relevant to conducting research in Asian American communities. After first reviewing the major perspectives that have guided past community research, we will explore such topics as the role of theory, values and “subjectivity,” the politics of research, images as an “evidentiary resource,” and reciprocity. We will then focus on field research strategies (e.g. observation, interviews) that are particularly applicable to community research, with special emphasis on the use of visual recording media/video. This course is also designed to involve students immediately in a community-based research project using video as their primary research tool. Students will be encouraged to work collaboratively in all phases of their project.

AAS 190: Sikh American History (Jane Singh)

Sikhs have been immigrating to the U.S. from South Asia in significant numbers for over a century. This class will look at the impact of British colonialism on the first Sikh migrations out of Punjab, at where people went, and how they came to the U.S. We will look at a number of contemporary issues including diversity within Sikh communities, media representations of Sikhs, culture and identity, the impact of 9/11 and racial profiling, and youth culture.

AAS 190.2: Chinese Americans in Science and Technology (Ling-Chi Wang)

If you are a science or engineering student or a student in Asian American Studies interested in knowing more about Chinese American contributions in science and technology in the U.S., this is the course that will help you understand and become involved in planning a national conference on the same subject. Chinese Americans are aware of their significant presence in science and engineering, but most do not know the degree of their presence in each discipline and above all, what contributions they have made toward American global preeminence in science and technology today.  This course welcomes students interested in the subject and invites their participation an ambitious project that will lead to comprehensive documentation and critical assessment of Chinese American contributions to science and technology in the U.S.  The course will also provide a historical background about how Chinese Americans came to establish their strong presence in all scientific disciplines, what have been their experiences in science and engineering, what contributions they have made, and most importantly, how their contributions can be documented and assessed.

AAS DeCal: hardboiled APA Journalism

The purpose of hardboiled, APA journalism is to provide students with an introduction to Asian Pacific American print journalism through the actual hands-on experience of participating in the production and distribution of an APA newsmagazine. In order to achieve the aforementioned objective, students will research and develop story ideas, compose layouts, and distribute issues to students, faculty, and community members. Students will participate in weekly workshops that cover topics including APA history, health in the APA community, APAs in law and politics, and APAs in the media as well as current and pertinent issues in the campus, local, national, and international community. As a field studies course, students will receive an introduction to the local and campus Asian Pacific American communities by providing them with opportunities to meet community leaders, by attending and participating in community organizations and events, and by being a part of UC Berkeley’s Asian Pacific American Coalition, a coalition of APA organizations on campus. hardboiled not only produces over 3,400 copies per semester of a professional newsmagazine covering relevant, timely, and insightful topics, but also provides staff with a community of like-minded students active in the APA community. At the conclusion of the course, students will have learned the ins and outs of print journalism, increased their political awareness of APA issues, and received experience working within the APA community.