Paper 1: Unpacking Stereotypes - Due session 4 - 1250 words
Personal narrative is an important genre in Asian American literature and history. In this class we will read and discuss excerpts from a range of memoirs, life histories, and other personal narratives. Your first assignment is to write a short personal narrative reflecting on your own childhood and adolescent experiences, and your experiences as a student at MIT. Specifically, you should reflect on those experiences that shaped your understanding of the term “Asian American,” and on how this understanding changed (or didn’t change) after you arrived at MIT.
Paper 2: Debating “The Chinese Question” - Due session 12 - 2500 words
In 1883 Wong Chin Foo (1847–1898) invited the infamous “Sandlotter” Denis Kearney (1847–1907) to a public debate on the Chinese Question.* Based upon your reading of the assigned historical primary sources, compare and contrast the viewpoints articulated by Wong Chin Foo and Denis Kearney on the “Chinese Question.”
Readings for the Assignment:
Selection from Seligman, Scott D. The First Chinese American: The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo. Hong Kong University Press_,_ 2013. Pages xxi-xxvi, 111-117,149-153, 319-320, 323-325.
Chinatown Scavenger Hunt - Due session 16
Paper 3 (Draft) - Due session 19 - 2250 words
This paper will be revised and resubmitted. A separate grade will be assigned for each submission.
In 2012, the Pew Research Center issued a report on “The Rise of Asian Americans,” claiming that: “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” This report received much attention in the press, but was sharply criticized by many Asian American organizations and commentators, who contended that the report was inaccurate and one-sided, and that it furthermore perpetuated the model minority myth, contributing to the formation of Asian Americans as an “invisible” or “forgotten minority.” Based on your reading of this report (the original 2012 report and the updated 2013 version) and its critiques, do you believe that the model minority stereotype is, on balance, beneficial or detrimental to Asian Americans?
Final Draft: The Pros and Cons of the Model Minority Stereotype - Due multiple sessions
Thesis Presentations - Due session 23
Students will present on the thesis of their third and final paper.