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Asian American Studies

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Program Description and Goals

The Asian American Studies Program offers students interdisciplinary analytical tools to actively study and research the Asian American experience. The Asian American Activities Center provides assistance in programming and recruitment for Asian American Studies to increase visibility of the major and increase student interest in classes and the major.

Asian American Studies courses cover a broad selection of topics and are offered in departments ranging from History to English to Music, representing the breadth of interests among our diverse faculty members. Whether you are a declared Asian American Studies major, interested in learning more, or are curious about what you can do with a degree in Asian American Studies, please feel free to come by and talk with us or explore the program website.

Stanford Journal of Asian American Studies

See more information about the Journal.

Current Asian American Studies Courses

ASNAMST 104: Sexual Violence in Asian America

The course will make connections across historical and everyday violence on Asian American women to think about why violence against Asian women in wartime is hypervisible, yet everyday sexual violence against Asian American women is invisible. Reading texts from Asian American studies and Black and women of color feminism, we will consider the socialization of sexual violence and rape culture historically and within the present.

Instructors: Thaomi Michelle Dinh | SEM | Tues, Thurs 12:00PM - 1:20PM | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-EDP 


ASNAMST 118: Asian American and Settler Colonial Entanglements

Today, the subject of decolonization is at the forefront of a wealth of scholarship as scholars, activists, and institutions grapple with the legacies of colonialism that are far from over. For Asian Americans, there are entanglements with colonialism in both the countries of their heritage and in the United States, complicating the scope of what it means to deal with colonialism. In this class we look at some of these relationships, thinking through the impact of various types of colonialism on history of Asian Americans, and their positionality alongside colonial structures in the United States. In doing so we look to unpack the nuances behind these interrelationships and the murky overlapping and underdiscussed dynamics that they create. We start the quarter with a discussion of what settler colonialism is, and key discussions of its intersections with the Asian American experience that emerged with the publication of Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai¿i. We will then move to read our first two books of the quarter which focus on the intersections of Asian American labor and Indigenous erasure from the construction of the transcontinental railroad to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. From here we will pivot towards the Pacific and look to two books which seek to understand Asian American involvement with US colonial projects, and the wake of wartime and post-war resettlement. These works look past the North American continent to consider the ways in which transnational connections and diasporas become entangled with settler colonial projects. Throughout the course, students will work to develop their writing in formulating a research paper that they will work on in steps.

Instructors: Koji Lau-Ozawa | SEM | Tues, Thurs 10:30AM - 11:50AM | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: None

ASNAMST 169D: Contemporary Asian American Stories (ENGLISH 169D)

This course will examine the aesthetics and politics of contemporary Asian American storytellers, with an emphasis on work produced within the past five years. We will investigate the pressures historically placed on Asian Americans to tell a certain kind of story e.g. the immigrant story in a realist mode and the ways writers have found to surprise, question, and innovate, moving beyond those boundaries to explore issues of race, sexuality, science, memory, citizenship, and belonging. Course materials will consist of novels, short stories, graphic narrative, and film, and may include work by Ocean Vuong, Mira Jacobs, Gish Jen, Charles Yu, and Adrian Tomine, as well as Lulu Wangs 2019 film The Farewell. This seminar will feature both analytical and creative components, and students will be encouraged to produce both kinds of responses to the material.

Instructors: Shimon Tanaka | SEM | Tues, Thurs 3:00PM - 4:20PM | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-EDP


ASNAMST 261: Introduction to Asian American History (AMSTUD 261W, HISTORY 261E)

This course provides an introduction to the field of Asian American history. Tracing this history between the arrival of the first wave of Asian immigrants to the US in the mid-nineteenth century and the present, we foreground the voices and personal histories of seemingly everyday Asian Americans. In the process, the course disrupts totalizing national historical narratives that center the US nation-state and its political leaders as the primary agents of historical change.
Instructors: Y Faye Wang | COL | Mon, Wed 1:30PM - 2:50PM | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI, WAY-EDP


ASNAMST 268: Tackling Asian-American Health Challenges (MED 268)

Why do certain diseases like hepatitis B affect Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs) disproportionately? How can public policy advance health equity among ethnic groups? Weekly lectures examine health challenges endemic to the API community, recognizing underreported health issues in a prevalent ethnic demographic. Students will emerge with an understanding of topics including stigmas attached to traditional medicine, prevalent diseases in APIs, API health politics, and cultural/linguistic barriers that health professionals encounter. Guest speakers include professionals from the Ravenswood Family Health Center, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, Hep B Free, the Stanford School of Medicine, etc.

Instructors: Bryant Lin, Latha Palaniappan | LEC | Wed 5:30PM - 7:20PM | Units: 1 | UG Reqs: None


ASNAMST 284: Material Metonymy: Ceramics and Asian America (AMSTUD 284, ARTHIST 284, ARTHIST 484)

This course explores the rich history and contemporary state of ceramic production by Asian American/diasporic makers. It is also about the way history, culture, and emotion are carried by process, technique, and materials. Taught by an art historian and a physicist/ceramist, the course will privilege close examination of works of art at the Cantor Arts Center, and will also include artist studio visits, discussions with curators and conservators, demonstrations of and experimentation with technical processes of studio ceramics. This course is designed for students with interests in making, art history, engineering, intellectual history, and Asian American studies. Limited enrollment with applications due on Wed 8 March 2023; to receive application instructions please email the course instructors.
Instructors: Marci Kwon, Hideo Mabuchi | SEM | Wed 9:30AM - 12:20PM | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: None

For More Information

Learn more about the requirements for a major or minor in Asian American Studies and see the list of thematic courses in Explore Courses.