2023-2024 Catalog

FYS 1 Transpacific Movements and Activisms: Asian and Asian American Connections Across the Pacific

Imperial violence and capitalist economic restructuring historically drove Asians to migrate to the United States. Once here, people of Asian descent engaged in transformative political activism and constructed new cultural identities and alliances to meet the challenges of diasporic and immigrant life. This course will examine the cultural and political geographies of trans-Pacific migration and identities from the 19th century to the present. From Har Dayal, Sun Yatsen, and Qiu Jin in the early 20th century to the 1960s Third World Liberation Front, the I Wo Kuen Red Guards in San Francisco working with the Black Panthers, and beyond, political activists have been crisscrossing the Pacific, building and rebuilding networks of resistance to colonialism, marginalization, and exploitation. The course draws heavily on the rich history and cultural diversity of Los Angeles and Southern California, which has been a center of Asian and Asian American movements—migratory, political, and cultural—for over a century. Students will examine a variety of primary sources, including literature, political manifestos, and films, and engage deeply with the cultural and spatial geographies of these histories. Field trips to local religious sites and neighborhoods, paired with visits from local scholars, journalists, and filmmakers, will bring these histories to life and illustrate their legacies shaping the present. Along with regular writing assignments, students will collaborate on a final project mapping transpacific migration histories and social justice alliances in LA.

This course is part of the Humanities for Just Communities (HJC) curriculum. Open only to first year frosh.


4 units


CTSJ 105, SOC 105, SPAN 105