Courses for Spring 2024

Title Instructors Location Time Description Cross listings Fulfills Registration notes Syllabus Syllabus URL
ASAM 0116-401 American Race: A Philadelphia Story (SNF Paideia Program Course) Fernando Chang-Muy
Fariha Khan
This course proposes an examination of race with a three-pronged approach: one that broadly links the study of race in the United States with a multi-disciplinary approach; situates specific conversations within the immediate location of Philadelphia; and examines the international human rights context of race with Greece as a case study.
The broad historical examination advances key concepts of race and racialization, explores key theoretical methodologies, and highlights major scholarly works. Students will engage with the study of race through Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Urban Studies, South Asia Studies, Latin American & Latinx Studies, and through international human rights law. Readings and methodologies will introduce students to critical issues in education, in literature, in sociology, and with methods in oral history, archival work, and ethnography. Most importantly, this extensive approach highlights the impact of race across multiple communities including Black Americans, immigrant populations, Asian Americans, and international communities that are marginalized to emphasize connections, relationships, and shared solidarity. Students are intellectually pushed to see the linkages and the impacts of racism across and among all Americans and from a thematic and legal perspective. As each theme is introduced a direct example from Philadelphia will be discussed.
The combination of the national discourse on race, with an intimate perspective from the City of Philadelphia and travel to Greece, engages students both intellectually and civically. The course will be led by Fariha Khan and Fernando Chang-Muy along with local activists with varied disciplinary backgrounds from local community organizations. Each guest lecturer not only brings specific disciplinary expertise, but also varied community engagement experience.
This course is a Penn Global Seminar, which includes a travel component. An application is required. For more information and to apply, visit: The course is also supported by the SNF Paideia Program, the Asian American Studies Program and Africana, Latin American & Latinx Studies, Sociology, South Asia Studies, and Urban Studies.
AFRC0116401, LALS0116401, SAST0116401, SOCI0116401, URBS0116401 Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 1166-401 A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered Hardeep Dhillon COHN 402 MW 1:45 PM-3:14 PM Many Americans widely accept the notion that the United States is a nation of immigrants despite the fact that immigration and border control has been a central feature of this nation’s past. This course explores the United States’ development of immigration and border enforcement during the twentieth century through an intersectional lens. It roots the structures of modern immigration and border enforcement in Native dispossession and histories of slavery, and interrogates how Asian, Black, and Latinx immigration has shaped and expanded immigration controls on, within, and beyond US territorial borders. In addition to historicizing the rise and expansion of major institutions of immigration control such as the US Border Patrol and Bureau of Naturalization, we explore how immigration controls were enforced on the ground and impacted the lives of everyday people. HIST1166401, LALS1166401
ASAM 1210-401 Topics in Asian American Literature and Culture Bakirathi Mani BENN 201 TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM This seminar explores Asian American literature and culture intensively; specific course topics will vary from year to year. See the English Department's website at for a description of the current offerings. ENGL1272401 Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 1400-401 Asian American Gender and Sexualities Rupa Pillai COHN 203 TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM This course explores the intersection of gender, sexuality, and race in Asian America. Through interdisciplinary and cultural texts, students will consider how Asian American gender and sexualities are constructed in relation to racism while learning theories on and methods to study gender, sex, and race. We will discuss masculinities, femininities, race-conscious feminisms, LGBTQ+ identities, interracial and intraracial relationships, and kinship structures. GSWS1400401, SAST1400401 Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 1500-401 Asian Americans In Contemporary Society Tiffany J Huang MCNB 410 MW 3:30 PM-4:59 PM This course will explore Asian America through sociological frameworks and research. At the outset, we will establish a strong theoretical foundation by studying key sociological theories related to race and ethnicity, assimilation, and racial stratification. Additionally, we will briefly review key turning points in Asian American history. Throughout the semester, we will explore a broad range of contemporary topics, such as racial and ethnic identities (including multiracial identities); racialized desire and interracial relationships; controlling media images and subversive representations; transracial adoption; affirmative action; anti-Asian racism; and the role of the "model minority" myth in contemporary U.S. politics. Above all, this class will critically evaluate the viability of an Asian American panethnic identity while also exploring important axes of heterogeneity (e.g., class, gender, and sexuality) within the broader Asian American category. SOCI1140401 Society Sector
Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 1515-401 Gender, Work, and Family in Global Asias Weirong Guo BENN 141 MW 1:45 PM-3:14 PM In the context of an increasingly globalized world, this course explores the complex interconnections between gender, labor practices, family structures, and broader socio-cultural dynamics within and across Asian societies. Drawing on perspectives from sociology and gender studies, this course offers a comprehensive examination of how global forces shape individual experiences and societal structures in contemporary Asia and beyond. The course is divided into six thematic sections: In the first section, we will learn and critically analyze the key concepts, perspectives, theories, and debates in the literature on gender, work, family, and globalization. This foundational understanding will frame our explorations throughout the course. The second section delves into the rise of globalized beauty standards and the hidden economies of sex work in transnational Asia. The third section focuses on the globalized care chains in which domestic care work is outsourced to underprivileged populations. In the fourth section, we will investigate how intimacy is commodified and shaped by transnational and socio-economic forces. The last two sections look at untraditional, transnational families and their children, examining how parenting styles, immigration decisions, and division of labor are influenced by race/ethnicity, class, and gender. EALC0411401, SOCI2934401
ASAM 1520-301 Asian American Activism Robert V Buscher WILL 24 W 5:15 PM-8:14 PM Providing a broad introduction to the history of activism in the United States, this course Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 2093-401 Psyche, Trauma, Culture Emily K Ng MUSE 329 T 1:45 PM-4:44 PM What shapes our psychic lives today? How are histories of pain and creative possibility transmitted, ruptured, and transformed? The language of mental health and trauma have become more present in recent years. These vocabularies have made room for conversations about forms of violence that may have been difficult to put into words before. In the United States, this includes the insidious effects of racialization, indigenous dispossession, and other forms of exclusion, extraction, and misrecognition. Yet, the rise of mental health discourses also poses new conundrums, as self-care is increasingly promoted in times of collective crisis, and trauma becomes a basis on which to seek rights, recognition, and resources. This course draws on the works of anthropologists, psychoanalysts, and decolonial thinkers to explore tensions between trauma, culture, and the psyche. We begin with common encounters that inform and disrupt our lives, examine historical and contemporary concepts of trauma, and close with questions of what lives on. ANTH2093401 Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 2200-401 Asian American Literature Seminar David L Eng BENN 140 T 12:00 PM-2:59 PM This course is an advanced-level seminar on Asian American culture and politics. See the English Department's website at for a description of the current offerings. ENGL2270401 Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 2610-401 The Asian Caribbean Rupa Pillai EDUC 007 TR 3:30 PM-4:59 PM Although Asians have lived in the Americas for centuries, the Asian American community and experience tends to be defined by the post-1965 wave of immigration to the United States. In an effort to correct this narrative this course will explore the histories, experiences, and contributions of some of the forgotten Asians of the Americas. In particular, we will focus on the earlier labor migrations of Chinese and South Asian individuals to the Caribbean and the United States. The experiences of these individuals, who built railroads, cut sugarcane, and replaced African slave labor, complicate our understandings of race today. By examining the legal and social debates surrounding their labor in the 19th century and exploring how their experiences are forgotten and their descendants are rendered invisible today, we will complicate what is Asian America and consider how this history shapes immigration policies today. GSWS2610401, LALS2601401, SAST2610401 Cultural Diviserity in the U.S.
ASAM 3100-401 American Expansion in the Pacific Eiichiro Azuma MEYH B13 MW 3:30 PM-4:59 PM This course examines America's expansion into the Pacific with a focus on the colonization of Hawai'i and the Philippines. The class deals with various issues, including the meaning of "frontier," imperialism, development of capitalist economies and trade relations in the region, diplomacy and militarism, migration and racism, and colonial histories of the US West, the Pacific Islands, and East Asia. HIST1785401
ASAM 3211-401 Modern Chinese Poetry in a Global Context Chloe Estep DRLB 3C8 M 1:45 PM-4:44 PM The tumultuous political and economic history of modern China has been mirrored in and shaped by equally fundamental revolutions in language and poetic expression. In this course, we will take Chinese poetry as a crucible in which we can observe the interacting forces of literary history and social change. From diplomats who saw poetry as a medium for cultural translation between China and the world, to revolutionaries who enlisted poetry in the project of social transformation, we will examine the lives and works of some of China’s most prominent poets and ask, what can we learn about modern China from reading their poetry? In asking this question, we will also reckon with the strengths and limitations of using poetry as an historical source. In addition to poems, the course will include fiction, essays, photographs, and films by both Chinese and non-Chinese artists that place our poets in a broader context. We will pay close attention to how these poets represent China’s place in the world, as well as the role of language in social change. Topics of discussion include: national identity, revolution, translation, gender, the body, ethnicity, and technology.
Familiarity with Chinese or related cultural context is beneficial, but not required.
This course introduces students to Chinese poetry in English translation. Students will leave the course with an in-depth understanding of the main figures, themes, and techniques of Chinese poetry, and will be introduced to some of the major developments in the history of China. Through a focus on primary texts, students will develop the vocabulary and analytical skills to appreciate and analyze poetry in translation and will gain confidence as writers thinking about literary texts.
COML3211401, COML7211401, EALC3211401, EALC7211401 Cross Cultural Analysis
ASAM 3356-401 Asian American Nonfiction Workshop Weike Wang CPCW 105 M 10:15 AM-1:14 PM Contemporary literature has seen a recent rise of Asian American nonfiction writing, particularly in the form of essays and memoirs. Asian American writers are reshaping the form of the immigration story and the personal narrative, and are adding their voices to the pressing topics of political activism, STEM, and mental health. This course will include readings by authors such as Hsu, Hong, Nunez, Chang, Fan, Wang, Jacob, and Kalanithi, amongs others. For memoir and personal pieces, we will discuss how these writers transform their own material through craft, structure, and perspective. For essays, we will discuss how writers use research (and, yes, craft!) to present difficult and/or technical information in an engaging way. Students will write and workshop their own pieces of nonfiction (8-12 pages), with a choice of memoir or essay. No prior experience is necessary except for an eagerness to engage with the material and an open-mindedness during workshop discussions. ENGL3356401