Contemporary Issues of Asian Americans (ASA2)
We are in unprecedented times with the Covid-19 global pandemic compounded with social upheavals. This remote course links these issues with contemporary concerns of Asian Americans with focus on higher education and resistance against injustice inside and outside of academia. We will engage in topics ranging from age-old debates of Asian Americans as “model minorities” excelling in school (and other myths) to the continuation of overt and subversive repression and exclusion of this same population in the academy. We also examine the crisis of the university that spills into other parts of society including the rise in corporatization, militarism, Big Pharma, racialized dispossessions, the Prison Industrial Complex, police violence, surveillance state, anti-immigration, misappropriation of politically correct (PC) culture, media manipulation (cancel culture, censorship, propaganda), Queer/LGBTQIA+ identity, the fall out of the global pandemic (including the rise in anti-Asian violence) and continued Black and Asian coalitions, and even divisions. Ultimately, we will reveal the truth of Social Engineering behind the creation of these types of conflicts and other artificial divides. We reveal how Asian Americans are sometimes either complicit or recognize these issues and choose to fight against the increasing signs of hostility that threaten the very fabric of academic freedom and inclusion inside and outside of the university. In lieu of midterms and finals, you will be producing a Social Awareness Public Service Announcement (SAPSA) video discussing a pressing issue for Asian Americans. GE credit: ACGH, DD, OL, SS, WC, WE.
Asian Diasporas, Transnationalism, and Globalism (ASA 114)
The last century has had more movements of people across lands and national borders than in any previous centuries. Global forces such as technological advances in travel and communication and finance has facilitated the rapid flows of people, cultures and currencies globally. These flows have spawned new diasporic communities and interesting transnational practices. This course will be a survey of diverse Asian diasporic communities and the experiences of its members in the United States and internationally with special focus on the impact of the diaspora on their country of origin. Themes of inquiry will include: community building, cyberspace, gender and sexuality, labor, transnational practices, effects of globalization, political organizing, homeland politics, intra-ethnic strife, neoliberalism, the transpacific, humanitarian projects, citizenship, and nationalism. The major class project this quarter involves working in teams as ‘consultants/advisors’ for nation states to establish better relations with their diasporic populations. There will be no midterms and finals.
Multiracial Asian American Issues (ASA 115)
America’s endless wars run by the military industrial complex have had grave consequences for the countries they occupied. One of the legacies is the population of Amerasian off-springs from unions between “American” soldiers and the local women. This is especially apparent in Asian countries like Viet Nam, South Korea, and the Philippines. This course will delve into the history and contemporary condition of these groups with particular focus on Vietnamese Amerasians, including the exploration of a non-profit organization, TimLai.org, that serves to document the lives of Vietnamese Amerasians and (re)unify them with their families. Weekly themes include: Mixed Race History in the US, Asia and Beyond; Amerasian Activism and the Arts; Mixed Race History in the US, Asia and Beyond; and Legislations, Criminals, Deviants, and Outcasts. In lieu of midterms and finals, you will be producing a group Social Awareness Public Service Announcement (SAPSA) video discussing a pressing Amerasian issue. GE credit: ACGH, DD, OL, SS, WC, WE.
Fashionology in Asia and Beyond (ASA 141)
Clothing is a very visible and integral part of our daily lives and allows for self-expression in diverse ways. Garments continue to be a multi-billion dollar global industry with individuals working on all levels – from designing couture to working in sweatshops to being online fashion influencers. Fashion and clothing production has also spawned hybrid transnational creations, complex global commodity networks, and fast fashion. This course will explore the historical, cultural and sociopolitical development of fashion internationally with focus on Asia and the Asian Diasporas. We will examine issues through specific aspects of material culture – textiles, clothing, and fashion; plus art, including – collecting, institutionalization, and manufacturing. And we ask: what is happening to fashion during Covid-19 and what will be its fate in the future? Overarching themes include: gender, Orientalism, globalism, transnationalism, nationalism, capitalism, consumerism, identity formation, technology, urbanization, commodification, social media, commercialization, (re)appropriation, sustainability, mimicking, trend-making, tradition, protest, and aesthetics. In lieu of a mid-term and final, the class will create a virtual exhibit on fashion. GE satisfaction: AH, DD, OL, SS, VL, WC, ACGH, WE
Southeast Asian American Experience (ASA 150E)
Indochina, composing of Laos, Cambodia, and Viet Nam, was a colonial construction and later site for liberation that brought together peoples from different cultures but connected through history of struggles. The U.S. involvement in the “Viet Nam War” further bound the three countries, this time, according to popular narratives from the west, as pawns of the superpowers during the Cold War. Subsequently they were linked as a unit consisting of refugees and immigrants in the U.S., and currently as transnational diasporic subjects. Over 45 years after the end of the so-called “Viet Nam War,” there is a serious struggle to (re)narrate the history of the war and its legacy. This class starts from a critical point of understanding that individuals and communities from these countries represent complex and diverse populations. There are shared similar experiences but many view their history very differently. Their connection to the “Viet Nam War” also varies greatly adding to the complexities of representation and identity formation. Beyond the ethnic groups and communities, there is also a wide range of people, such as Black soldiers, Euro American U.S. veterans, Asian American anti-war protestors, and Chicano activists, for example, that also have their special connection to the “Viet Nam War” experience, legacy, era, and imagination. We explore the “Viet Nam War” as concept to offer a more wide reaching yet inclusive and comparative perspective. We also seek to challenge the popular narratives abound and present counter narratives.
For this quarter we also want to connect the current climate and series of events such as Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, Anti-Asian Hate Crimes, and questions of US “democracy” and “exceptionalism.” We explore the impact of the Viet Nam War that (in)directly affect these events including issues such as: censorship, question of “democracy”, hypocrisy of protests, environmental racism (pipelines, dioxins, clean water and vaccines), xenophobia, covert operations, and nationalism/patriotism.
Though we will explore Cambodian and Laotian deep involvement in the war, emphasis will be on Viet Nam’s role in the conflicts. In lieu of midterms and a final, students will engage in weekly assignments serving to connect class materials with practice. This course will be run synchronously by remote via Zoom. GE credit: ACGH, DD, OL, SS, WC, WE.
Spirit Realm (ASA 189B)
We are living through an unprecedented time where a global pandemic, Coronavirus, has created a shift in our physical and spiritual lives. Spirit Realm is mostly tied to the belief that our world is shared with forces and energies we cannot readily identify or explain but may have access to for answers. Spirit Realm Studies engages in the growing recognition of indigenous practices (particularly from Asia) to understand and address the complex and challenging issues in our known realm and beyond. Our class specifically looks at the Spirit Realm and its (dis)connection from/to the medical fields (physical and mental). One form of Spirit Realm practice is to break away from what is considered normal healing to look at alternative options that are not commonly discussed in academic settings nor acknowledged in healthcare services. We ask why have these indigenous beliefs been kept out of academia and mostly ostracized in the medical fields. We also explore some universal truths that are weaved through the diverse belief systems and healing practices. Aside from presenting indigenous understandings, we also introduce how science has come to study and interpret the spirit realm. Lastly, students will engage in weekly spirit realm practicums in lieu of midterms and finals. Class will start on the hour for a 10 minutes group meditation before lecture begins. This course will be run synchronously by remote via Zoom. GE satisfactions: AH, DD, OL, SS, ACGH, WE.
National Aesthetics (ASA 189F)
National Aesthetics posits that one way to create a prosperous nation is to have a clear image or branding of the nation that the government and people support, then have this image tied directly to a national production or industry to create exports to reflect this new national identity. This theory targets developing countries or countries in dire need of an image revamp internationally. For this course, we will examine the challenges and successes of development using the National Aesthetics framework. We will review classical historical models of nation-building projects such as: France in the last 19th century; Denmark during and post WWII; Japan post WWII; Botswana and Costa Rica starting in the 1980s, and even more modern manifestations such as seen in South Korea in the 1990s, and China in the new millennium. Additionally, given the impact of Covid-19 on the world economy, we will tackle challenging questions, such as: What can a pandemic proof economy look like? We will focus on Viet Nam as a contemporary case study to determine its possible National Aesthetics. For this course we will not have a midterm and final, but rather students will work in teams on creating a startup business proposal (of a product) to pitch to “investors” that will promote the image of their nation of choice.
Freshmen Seminar: School of Hard Knocks – Demystifying Academia for Student Success
Do you wish there was a template for success in college? Well, this course can start you on that road. We will put you on a path for success and even happiness by demystifying academia and offering practical, applicable advice for a well-rounded college experience, including how to study effectively and get in control of your finances. You will be given answers to questions you may not have even thought of, such as spiritual and mental wellness, and these answers will open your eyes to university life and beyond. With over ten years of undergraduate and graduate personal experience along with nearly 20 years as a professor at UC Davis, Professor Valverde has worked with thousands of students to create this thorough and thoughtful course for college success. This course will also have guest speakers who are leading experts in their fields and professions. They will provide innovative and inspiring perspectives regarding finance, wellness, research, career planning and more.