Contemporary Asian America: An Introduction

Asian Americans are a highly visible population with the latest census figures indicating that Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing groups in the country. Though a dominant representation of Asian Americans in popular culture is that they are “model minorities,” it is, in fact, a very diverse community. Many are indeed very successful professionals across a wide variety of fields from the sciences to the arts. Many others are engaged in small-business ownership. And yet, there are many Asian Americans who rely on public welfare programs, are employed in low-status and low-wage jobs. Regardless of Asian Americans’ socio-economic status, many will deal with the negative consequences of racial stereotypes. Some, and this has become even more visible since the COVID-19 pandemic, may even be victims of hate crimes.
This course, geared primarily towards K-12 educators who are interested in gaining better insight into their Asian American students’ lives in all of their complexity. Thus, the course will focus on the following topics: Americans’ history of immigration and settlement, Asian American identities, Asian American families and intimate relationships, Asian Americans’ educational and relatedly, economic achievement, and interethnic/interracial relations (including the long history of anti-Asian hate). The course approaches these topics from a sociological perspective and thus examines how Asian American life is shaped simultaneously by the economy, politics and culture. In addition, sociologists pay attention to how structures of inequality like racism, sexism, classism and heterosexism within societies like the United States impact different communities and will also be examined here.
Course Code
508219