For UW students, faculty, and staff, courses are available on the MyUW Course Search and Enroll.

Visit the Course Guide, for a complete list of ASIAN AM courses.

Many ASIAN AM courses meet the Ethnic Studies Requirement and other general education requirements for undergraduate degrees at the University.  The Guide listing for each course will list its designations, attributes, and requisites.

Spring 2021

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ASIAN AM 101 Intro to Asian American Studies

Instructor: Victor Jew

MW 2:30-3:45 pm

Introduction to the historical, sociological, anthropological, political, and cultural study of Americans of Asian ancestry.

ASIAN AM 102 Intro US Ethnic/Am Indian Studies

Instructor: Timothy Yu

Remote, Asynchronous

Introduction to comparative ethnic studies, examining race, ethnicity, and indigeneity within the United States. Includes perspectives from African American, American Indian, Asian American, and Chican@ and Latin@ studies.

ASIAN AM 121 Asian American Movement

Instructor: Peggy Choy

MW 12:15-1:55 pm

This course introduces a body of movement that has been brought into the United States by Asians, where the forms have been practiced, passed on, sustained and transfigured. All forms studied focus on utilizing internal life-force energy–ki (Korean and Japanese) or qi (Chinese). Meditation and movement techniques will be taught in the context of Asian philosophy and Asian American ethnic, cultural and historical perspectives. Individual and group composition and improvisation exercises are integral to the curriculum. Students practice risk-taking and best effort through the exploration of Asian movement, ethnic history and cultural identity, with attention to different facets and the diversity of Asian American experience.

ASIAN AM 220 Ethnic Movements in U.S.

Instructor: Benny Witkovski

MW 12:05-12:55 pm

Sociological analysis of historical and recent ethnic/racial conflict and movements in the U.S., including the relations between European Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, with additional material on other groups and relations.

ASIAN AM 240 Hmong Refugee History

Instructor: Chong Moua

TR 2:25-3:15 pm

This is an introductory course to Hmong/American Studies, an emerging interdisciplinary field of inquiry that deals with the history, culture, and contemporary concerns of Hmong/American refugees.

ASIAN AM 246 Southeast Asian Refugees of Cold War

Instructor: Michael Cullinane

Remote, Asynchronous

Between 1975 and 1995, over two million Southeast Asians fled from the three former French colonies frequently referred to collectively as Indochina: Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Over 1.3 million of these migrants came as refugees to the Uriited States and added four new major ethnic groups to American society: Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Vietnamese, including among them ethnic Chinese and the children of American military personnel (frequently referred to as “Amerasians”). This course is intended to provide a better understanding of the conditions that led these people, and thousands of others, to flee their homelands in Southeast Asia and eventually take refuge and start new lives in the US, as well as in the other countries that offered them asylum (including Canada, Australia, and France).

ASIAN AM 441 Hmong American Social Movements in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Instructor: Yang Sao Xiong

TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm

Explores the history and circumstances whereby Hmong Americans came together as a political unit to address the domestic and international concerns of the Hmong American community.

ASIAN AM 462 Asian Am Graphic Novel/Comics

Instructor: Timothy Yu

TR 1:00-2:15 pm

Comics have often been dismissed as a simplistic medium meant for children, but in the past few decades they have gained increasing respect as serious literature, often under the label “graphic novels.” And the past two decades have seen an explosion of comics, graphic novels, and graphic memoirs from Asian American creators. We’ll survey this growing body of work, beginning with the question of what comics and graphic novels are and how they differ from other forms of art and literature. We’ll then examine the distinctive contributions Asian Americans are making to the form, considering how Asian Americans use the medium of comics to narrate history, respond to stereotypes, and tell new stories.

ASIAN AM 540 Research in Asian Am Studies

Instructor: LiLi Johnson

TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm

In this course, students will develop an individual research project on a topic within Asian American Studies of specific interest to them. We will explore developing a research question and topic within the field, research methods and methodology, and close reading and analysis. It is expected that students have completed at least 50% of their Asian Am coursework before enrolling.

ASIAN AM 540 Transnational Asian Am Pop Culture

Instructor: Lisa Ho

TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm

For the 2021 Grammys, BTS became the first KPOP group to receive a Grammy Nomination in the category of Pop Duo/Group Performance. BTS was not the first KPOP group to achieve commercial success in the United States nor will it be the last. Our globalized economy (and its accompanying technologies) has made it possible for cultural imports like KPOP to circulate across the United States and abroad with ease. In the last decade or so, American-based streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu have begun to offer films, television serials, and documentaries from South Korea, Mainland China, India, Japan, Thailand, and other Asian countries; radically challenging the geographical boundaries of the cultural content that is available to Asian Americans and segments of the Asian diaspora that have settled in English-speaking countries. Consequently, the popularity of these cultural productions has led to a noticeable increase of tourism to Asian countries by Asian Americans and non-Asians as well. Similarly, Asian American content has featured and emphasized the transnational connections between Asian Americans and their geographical origins in Asia and other places of the Asian diaspora. This overlap has created conditions for Asian Americans to develop identities that emphasize the global dimensions of their experiences, histories, and communities. As such, these transnational influences have complicated how we think about race, gender, sexuality, and other categories of identity; an impact that requires us to link the processes of global capitalism to the formation of identity politics. Lastly, this course examines how the consumption of these Asian cultural imports allows for larger conversations about how the histories of American imperialism, colonization, and militarism provided an infrastructure to facilitate this circulation in the first place.

ASIAN AM 540 Critical Refugee Studies

Instructor: Lisa Ho

TR 2:00-3:15 pm

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines refugee “as someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.” This definition represents the refugee as a victim, whose statelessness compels the need for resettlement within the nation-state. In the context of Asian America, this narrow construct of the refugee has overlapped with how Asians have been racialized, gendered, and sexualized in the United States. In response, this course utilizes the framework of critical refugee studies to expose how the violence of empire and militarism has created the conditions of mass displacement by centering the figure of the refugee as a disruptive force to the normalization of the nation-state. In addition, we will use the lens of critical refugee studies to center refugees as social actors whose lives are filled with complexity and intention. We trace these lives of intention and complexity through topics such as resettlement, assimilation, cultural representations, incarceration, and the second generation. The purpose of this course is to practice the analytics of critical refugee studies to better understand how the refugee populations of Asian America have empowered themselves to remember and resist the forces of empire and militarism.

ASIAN AM 560 Afro-Asian Improv: Hip Hop & Martial Arts Fusion

Instructor: Peggy Choy

TR 11:00 am-12:50 pm

The course explores African-American and Asian-American connections and the creative possibilities of these connections through investigation of practice and theory of the following martial arts, exercise and dance forms: 1) chang quan (hard-style Chinese martial arts), 2) qigong (Chinese vital exercise form), 3) American boxing, and 4) urban vernacular dance (particularly breaking and house).

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Spring 2021 Course Preview

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Fall 2020

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ASIAN AM 150 Literature & Culture of Asian America

Remote, asynchronous | Instructor: Timothy Yu

Since the 19th century, “America” has often been defined by its relationship with “Asia,” through cultural influence, immigration, imperialism, and war. Traces the role of Asia and Asians in American literature and culture, from the Chinese and Japanese cultural influences that helped shape literary modernism to the rise of a distinctive culture produced by Asian immigrants to America and their descendants.

ASIAN AM 152 Asian American Literary and Popular Culture: Race, Fantasy, Futures

Explores fantasy as a conduit of political meaning in Asian American fiction, graphic novels, anime, and art. Analyzes race as it circulates in visual mediums and literary texts. Engages issues such as stereotyping, caricature, and microaggressions; whitewashing, yellowface, and passing; race fetishism; cultural appropriation; multiracialism; kawaii or cute style; techno- orientalism and virtual Asians. Foregrounding fantasies of bodilessness, the course examines race as it is grafted onto nonhuman forms-objects, digital avatars, robots-at the borders of science and fiction. Examines how projections of the future reflect cultural anxieties about race, immigration, and Asian Americans.

ASIAN AM 160 Asian American History: Movement and Dislocation

TR 8:00- 9:15 am | Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

Examines the impact of colonialism, war, and capitalism on the movement of Asians to the U.S. Considers how racial, gendered, class, sexual, and national formations within the U.S. structured Asian immigration to North America.

ASIAN AM 170 Hmong American Experiences in the United States

TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm | Instructor: Yang Sao Xiong

Explores how Hmong’s participation in the Secret War that the U.S. waged in Laos shaped their experiences in the U.S., heightening the importance of Hmong Americans’ social, cultural, and political self-definition and in making known their contributions to the advancement of U.S. society.

ASIAN AM 240 Asian American Activism

MW 4:00-5:15 pm | Instructor: Jan Miyasaki

This course examines the history of Asian American coalition building. We will look at the formation of community organizations and pan-Asian organizations to promote political effectiveness in response to discrimination based upon race and national origin in order to promote and protect their constituents, as well as to provide the mutual assistance needed to survive in America. Transformation of individual identity will be explored.

ASIAN AM 240 Asian Am Power & Politics

TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm | Instructor: Lisa Ho

This course examines the conditions under which Asian Americans have sought political power, and the different forms of activism—electoral, cultural, radical—that they have engaged in to create alternative futures for themselves and for allied communities. While the course begins with the creation of Asian American Studies, the course will explore how Asian America has positioned itself within the current political landscape. In particular, we will focus on topics such as affirmative action, #blacklivesmatter, new media, #metoo, and other related matters.

ASIAN AM 240 Asian Am Family and Kinship

MW 4:00-5:15 pm | Instructor: LiLi Johnson

This course examines theories and formations of family and kinship for Asian Americans across a range of historical, theoretical, and contemporary sites. Within Asian American Studies, the family is often assumed as a social unit of community formation defined by heterosexual reproduction. However, in this course we will examine how family and kinship have been used as sites for defining the very categories of race and gender that constitute Asian America. We ask, what is family and kinship and how is it affected by Asian American racial formation? How is race constructed through state policies and the meaning of the family, and vice versa? In what ways do constructions of kinship embody, reproduce, or challenge racialized constructions of gender and sexuality?

ASIAN AM 240 Eating Asian America

TR 4:00- 5:15 pm | Instructor: Lisa Ho

This course focuses on how the food culture of Asian America is an entryway point to understand the vibrant communities, complex politics, and rich histories that constitute this demographic. This course will explore the following questions: How does food allow for ethnic communities to express their identity? How does food allow for different generations to express their unique experiences while preserving the roots of the culture? How does food allows us engage in conversations about assimilation, community, and social constructions of difference? By using food to understand the complex formation of identity, we can also understand how the practices of systematic exclusion, racism, and xenophobia has influenced how Asian America has used the medium of food to cope, remember, and ultimately document these moments. Aside from consumption, we will also examine how Asian America has contributed to the agricultural culture and entrepreneurial tradition of the United States through their racialized and gendered labor. Lastly, the goal of this course is to use food as an avenue to bring attention to how Asian America has powerfully used the medium of food to crave a place for itself in the United States.

ASIAN AM 240 Asian American Food Worlds

MW 2:30-3:45 pm | Instructor: Victor Jew

This one semester course is about food and Asian America(s), but it is about so much more. It’s about food processes that leave us clueless about where and how food gets to us. It’s about fetish. It’s about how different Asian derived communities get “stamped” with certain food items so some food dishes become equated with people. It’s about how Chinese immigrants in the 1870s were presumed to live on nothing but rice and were thereby deemed as living threats to the U.S. body politic. It’s about how Asian derived communities attempt to re-tell the narrative of their characterization in public culture and how they’ve used food to do so.

ASIAN AM 240 Feelings: Queer and Asian

This course is an opportunity for students to study the specific qualities of queer and Asian emotional life in the United States. It asks questions like, How do those held by the categories of queerness and/or Asianness feel about themselves and the world, and how do others in the world feel about them in turn? Why do all of these people feel this way? And what historical, political, economic, and social circumstances have given rise to those feelings? Over the course of the past few decades affect theory—basically, the study of feelings, their ontology, their causes, and their effects—has emerged as a key explanatory framework for understanding what it is to affect and to be affected, to move and to be moved, to feel and to be felt. Students will spend the semester engaging with affect theory, alongside queer and Asian Americanist critique and cultural production through close readings, conversations, critical writing, and creative projects.Key theorists covered in the course include Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, José Esteban Muñoz, Karen Shimakawa, David Eng, Audre Lorde, and Martin Manalansan.Taking seriously the political stakes of studying affect and emotion, the ultimate aim of this course is to provide students with the tools to discuss how people feel, why they feel that way, whether they should feel otherwise, and how to make it so.

ASIAN AM 240 Hmong & Refugee Texts

Using a variety of refugee texts, including memoirs, film, poetry, and art, this course explores these themes further. Focusing mostly on Southeast Asian American women writers, with a few exceptions, the course will examine:

  1. How Southeast Asian American history intersects with U.S. Cold War and immigration history
  2. How war, trauma, and forced displacement affect refugee memories and what they choose to remember/forget
  3. How refugees conceptualize “home” and “belonging” within and beyond the U.S
  4. How race, gender, and class structure the lived-realities and experiences of refugees in the U.S.
  5. How refugee writing and refugee texts are sites of trauma and healing

ASIAN AM 560 Afro-Asian Improve: Hip Hop & Martial Arts Fusion

TR 11:00 am-12:50 pm | Instructor: Peggy Choy

The course explores African-American and Asian-American connections and the creative possibilities of these connections through investigation of practice and theory of the following martial arts, exercise and dance forms: 1) chang quan (hard-style Chinese martial arts), 2) qigong (Chinese vital exercise form), 3) American boxing, and 4) urban vernacular dance (particularly breaking and house).