Program in Asian American Studies


  • Director

    • Anne A. Cheng
  • Associate Director

    • Rachael Z. DeLue
    • Aisha Beliso-De Jesus, acting associate director
  • Associated Faculty

    • Anne A. Cheng
    • Erin Huang
    • Christina H. Lee
    • Beth Lew-Williams
    • Paul Nadal
    • Kinohi Nishikawa

Program Information

The Program in Asian American Studies, administered by the Program in American Studies, provides students with the opportunity to gain an interdisciplinary perspective 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.

In addition, the Program in Asian American Studies’ structure facilitates productive engagement with the fields of American studies and Latino studies and encourages comparative and intersectional work with the Program in African American Studies, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and other relevant fields of study that help to contextualize Asian American histories and cultures within the diversity of experiences in the U.S.

Admission to 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 Undergraduate Administrator of the Program in American Studies before the end of their first year of enrollment, to review their plans for fulfilling the certificate requirements.

Program of Study

Students may earn a certificate in Asian American studies by successfully completing the following requirements, consisting of five courses:

  1. AMS 101: America Then and Now
  2. Three courses in Asian American Studies, 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.
  3. A capstone seminar in American Studies, preferably taken in the senior year.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate in Asian American studies upon graduation.


ASA 201 Introduction to Asian American Studies Spring SA

This course surveys critical themes in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American studies, including perspectives from history, literature, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. It develops an account of Asian racialization beyond the black-white binary in the context of US war and empire in Asia and the Pacific Islands, settler colonialism, globalization, migration, and popular culture. Who or what is an "Asian American"? How have conceptions of Asian America changed over time? How do cultural forms such as literature and film add to an understanding of Asian American identity as a historically dynamic process and social relation? Instructed by: P. Nadal

ASA 225 'Too Cute!': Race, Style, and Asiamania (also
ENG 225
GSS 224
) Fall SA

What does a minor and shallow category like "cuteness" have to do with the abject histories of race and gender? This course offers an introduction to key terms in Asian American Studies through the lens of the seemingly insatiable American appetite for "Asian cuteness." How do we reconcile this desire with the long history of anti-Asian sentiments in this country? Why aren't other races "cute"? We will explore cuteness as racial and gendered embodiment, commodity, globalization, aesthetics, affect, and politics. Above all, we explore the implications of understanding race as a style. Instructed by: A. Cheng

ASA 310 Multiethnic American Short Stories: Tales We Tell Ourselves (See AMS 310)

ASA 328 South Asian American Literature and Film (See SAS 328)

ASA 370 Asian American History (See HIS 270)

ASA 404 Advanced Seminar in American Studies (See AMS 404)

ASA 444 Global Novel (See ENG 444)