Review Comment

[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

November 19, 2009

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

In regards to the review below, I feel like I need to clarify a few things. If you firmly believe that Asians in America are NOT a marginalized, oppressed group of people and that institutionalized racism does not exist, then there's not really much room for you in an ethnic studies class. I'm not saying that you shouldn't take the course, because I definitely had some of those assumptions that were completely shattered by the end of the semester, but if you refuse to keep an open mind then the readings and lectures, no matter how clear and cogently argued, are not going to change your mind. Chalking the impetus for this class to "martyrdom complexes" is a pretty obvious example of that.

The class is clearly structured and outlined, and Professor Okihiro openly encourages debate and critical analysis of the texts that we read. That said, you have to back your shit up. For example, if you want to argue that Asians in America DO statistically earn more than any other race including whites, you can't ignore the fact that that statistic is based upon MEAN income and not MEDIAN income. (Median income being widely accepted as a more accurate statistic in terms of determining general trends in income.) No, the citing of statistics is not inherently "conservative," but the manipulation of those statistics can be. This class (and ethnic studies in general) is about understanding those nuances.

Anyway, I want to say a few words about Professor Okihiro himself. The man was born at a time when Japanese were still legally denied US citizenship and actually grew up on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii. Don't write him off because he might come off as sort of goofy or quiet, he's lived a lot of this history and is arguably the preeminent critical scholar in the field. His theory of social formations is extremely new and gamechanging and it's an incredible privilege to take classes centering around that theory, particularly when so many other institutions haven't yet caught on. He can also come across as sort of intimidating and aloof, but when it comes down to it, if you have genuine concerns about your work or the field, he's an incredible resource and is always willing to help.

Workload:

Relatively light for a humanities class. There are weekly reflections on the readings and the midterm and exam IDs and essay topics are given in advance. Take advantage of the light workload to really analyze the readings.

November 16, 2009

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Content:

Professor Okihiro has strong opinions, and his lectures consist of conveying those opinions while occasionally citing some interesting facts and/or historical events. He will rarely demarcate where his opinions begin and facts end. If you plan to sleep through a humanities class and want a decent grade, this class will probably work out okay for you; if you actually care about content keep reading.

If you sincerely believe that Asians in America and Asian-Americans have been and are currently an abused and repressed minority by an overbearing white evil, then you will love this class.

If you like rational discussion based on observable facts and the real world, look elsewhere.

If you like open class-based discussion that gives weight to logical arguments, or in fact, any arguments at all that are not seconding the Professor's stated opinion, look elsewhere.

In my experience you will be surrounded by Asians or Asian Americans with heritage representing the global diaspora in this course, yet they will for the most part fail to realize that their criticisms of society and America in general are colored by preconceived notions or martyrdom complexes which encouraged their taking this course in the first place. Hopefully you will not be one of them. Or are you?

Workload:

Weekly one page papers discussing reading, and simple midterm and final exams based on reading and lectures.

Of course, if you just nod your head and recite what you've been told about how hard it is on people who identify as Asian or Asian American in America, and how it's a stereotype that they do well economically and in school or even like rice (shut up about your conservative whacko racist "math" and "statistics" and "per capita consumption") you don't have to do any real preparation.

January 08, 2004

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

He's a really nice and laid back guy. His knowledge of Asian American history is tremendous. He basically only teaches one day a week while the other day, the TA leads a discussion. The class can get quite touchy feely as people talk about themselves and try to pass if off as if every other person of Asian American descent had the same experience. Much of the material we read is not discussed. There are also weekly videos to be watched and those are not discussed at all which is a shame since many of the videos triggered a lot of thought and questions for the students who watched them.

Workload:

A lot of assigned reading and occassional pop quiz. Two 10 page papers which aren't graded too harshly by the TA. No midterm and no final so make sure to do well on the papers/

February 11, 2002

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

great class ! amusing guy. plays music during lecture days and just student generated talking on discussion days. no exams ! so you really don't need to pay that much attention ! lots of guest speakers ! good stuff ! two papers, discussion, weekly responses to readings and weekly films is not too tough ! the class is interesting, the readings are pretty okay too !

Workload:

two papers, weekly responses to readings, and weekly films (NO EXAMS !)

January 23, 2002

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

two 10 page papers, one a research paper. Tons of reading, but the TA for my class never got it together and put some of it online as promised. Posting to an e bulletin board....ah the agonies of being a 21st century student.

December 17, 2001

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

This was a very bizzare class. Once a week Professor Okihiro lectured, and the other day was a discussion led by the TA. Interesting ideas covered, but the class was very disorganized. Often I would get emails from the TA saying that the weeks readings would not be available. The class was interesting however, and required very little work, including no exams to study for. Worth taking, just dont expect this to be on of your best classes ever.

Workload:

Weekly bulletin board responses to the reading. Two 8-10page papers. Thats it.

July 26, 2001

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
[W1010] Introduction to Asian American Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Although I expected more of a historical grounding to this couse, the more cultural and diverse material certainly did not disappoint. From gender to sexuality to the migration of Asians to the United States, Professor Okihiro provided a good base to continue Asian American Studies. Classes are laid-back; one class during the week is lecture style while the next class is spent in dicussion. However, Professor Okihiro does not simply leave his lecture to his own speaking. Instead, he encourages participation to create some sort of mini-discussion during his lectures. This part of the course certainly makes it worthwhile. Given the positive reasons to take the course, there are also drawbacks to it. One down side is that the TA will read your papers. This practice speaks to the professor's general approach toward the course. While he encourages everyone to approach him, and his is easily accessible and very much approachable, his preparation for the course seemss lacking. He can, at times, ramble and appear as if he makes minimal preparations for the course. And, since there are so many guest lecturers and the TA also leads dicussions, you don't get to hear him all that much. Finally, if you really want more complex ideas on ethnic studies related concepts, you won't find it here. Overall, this course is great but only as an introductory level class.

Workload:

2 8-10 pages papers and weekly reflections of two very brief paragraphs on the week's reading and thoughts on discussion. Brevity is emphasized. Reading load is definitely managable and not really necessary for success in the class.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Gary Okihiro 2011 Spring / 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Gary Okihiro 2010 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Gary Okihiro 2009 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Gary Okihiro 2008 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Sandhya Shukla 2006 Fall MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Sandhya Shukla 2004 Fall MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Gary Okihiro 2002 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASAM / ASAM ASAM ASAM W1010: Intro to Asian Amer Studies Gary Okihiro 2001 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1