An opportunity to gain interdisciplinary perspectives on the diversity of Asian American and Pacific Islander histories, cultures and contemporary experiences, the course of study focuses on the formative emergence of this pan-ethnic group in the United States. It also highlights Asian America’s transnational connections and contexts, including the dynamics of globalization, migration, imperialism and post-coloniality.
Join the Program
The program is open to students from all departments. Students may enroll in the Asian American studies certificate program at any time, including the first year. There are no prerequisites, and courses taken prior to enrollment may count towards the certificate requirements. Students may take the gateway course AMS 101 at any time during their studies, including after enrollment in the certificate program. To enroll in the program, students should complete the online enrollment form. Students should plan to meet with the associate director or program coordinator before the end of their first year of enrollment, to review their plans for fulfilling the certificate requirements.
Students may earn a certificate in Asian American studies by successfully completing the following requirements, consisting of five courses:
- AMS 101: America Then and Now
- Three courses in Asian American studies (ASA), either originating in the program or cross-listed, and preferably representing disciplinary breadth in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. No more than one course taken in fulfillment of the student’s concentration may be counted toward the certificate. With the approval of the associate director, a student may substitute a comparative race and ethnicity course that contains substantial Asian American studies content for one of these courses.
- An advanced seminar in American studies, preferably taken in the senior year.
Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate in Asian American studies upon graduation.
Spring 2023 Courses
This course will analyze and evaluate through a psychological lens the psychosocial causes and consequences of significant current events that impact different Asian groups in the U.S., such as pandemic-spurred anti-Asian sentiment and educational policy (e.g., the debate over magnet schools moving to lottery systems rather than test based), as well as long-standing "everyday" experiences common to Asian Americans (e.g., navigating biculturalism, microaggressions and model minority stereotypes) that may impact identity and mental health.
Asian Americans have experienced a long history of contestation regarding gender and sexuality. To examine this saga, we will begin with Black and Asian feminist critiques of normative gender and sexuality. We will then turn to sociocultural history, analyzing legal cases policing intimacy, and the construction of the gendered and sexualized Asian woman in late 19th C. San Francisco. We will then examine histories of normative forms of sexuality, politics and social worlds of queer and trans communities, gendered labor, representation and the post-911 era.
"Identity politics" has become a derogatory term across the political left and right to name divergent ills shaping contemporary US political culture. Yet present usages stem far from those of the Black queer feminists/socialists who coined the term in 1977. Why have "identity politics" become such a malleable anti-hero? How do Asian Americans figure in these debates? Through the work of Black feminists, postcolonial theorists, and activists, we will explore the liberatory and fraught nature of identity-based movement, tracing how negotiations of difference across gender, racialization, immigration status, and ability shape political culture.
This course will focus on the Asian American arts, culture and youth activist movements in New York City from the early 1970s-1990s. Invited guest speakers--filmmakers, visual and literary artists--will engage with students in talk-story, bridging their cultural practices to present day. We will examine how Asian Americans used their struggle for self-determination and talents to build art, literary and independent film organizations and the projects that they have produced. Students will have the opportunity to produce a creative final project based on oral history interviews with members of Asian American organizations.
This course works through Asian American writings, criticism, ethnography, and cultural production, to explore the persistent identification of Asian American people with nonhuman, disembodied, and dangerous entities. It explores both how Asian American racialization has developed in tandem with figures of contagion, animality, and machinery that undergird and pre-figure the explosion of Covid-era anti-Asian hate crimes; and also how Asian American and other thinkers, ethnographers, and artists chart spaces outside of conventional human-ness through reappropriation of non-human and dehumanizing tropes.
This course examines "dangerous bodies" - bodies that transgress existing gender and racial norms in Chinese and Sinophone cultures. Situated at the intersection of literary, film, performance, gender and ethnic studies, this course provides an introduction to the shifting social meanings of the body in relation to historical masculinity, femininity, and Chineseness. We examine different cross-dressed figures, ranging from Mulan, cross-dressed male opera singer, WWII Japanese/Chinese spy, to experimental queer cinema, in a study that unpacks whether these transgressive bodies represent social change or a tool for restoring traditional norms.
This course examines literature and film by South Asians in North America. Students will gain perspective on the experiences of immigration and diaspora through the themes of identity, memory, solidarity, and resistance. From early Sikh migration to the American West Coast, to Muslim identity in a post 9/11 world, how can South Asian American stories be read as symbolic of the American experience of gender, class, religion, and ethnicity more broadly? Students will hone their skills in reading primary materials, analyzing them within context, writing persuasively, and speaking clearly.