Asian American Studies Minor

The minor in Asian American Studies is designed to enrich critical understanding about both individual experiences and collective histories of Asian Americans in regional, national, and transnational contexts. As an inter- and multi-disciplinary program, it underlines transnational contexts and comparative perspectives for the study of Asian American experiences. Through promoting knowledge and understanding of a wide range of Asian American individuals and groups in teaching and research, the minor aims to provide new classroom opportunities for undergraduate students to explore Asian American experiences. It intends to enhance communication and collaboration among various cultural, ethnic, and racial groups; and facilitate intellectual exchanges and broaden academic inquiries on the subjects of migration, ethnicity and race across different disciplines and programs at Washington University, including American Culture Studies; East Asian Studies and South Asian Studies; African and African-American Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and American Indian Studies.

The minor in Asian American Studies can nicely complement a major in American Culture Studies; East Asian Studies; East Asian Languages and Cultures; English; History; International and Area Studies; Sociology and other fields. Because the questions that animate Asian American Studies span disciplinary boundaries, the minor will inspire students to draw on the methods and insights of multiple disciplines to engage complex, real-world problems that necessitate interdisciplinary thinking. Situated in the larger context of the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion, the minor in Asian American Studies is an integral part of diversity and inclusion initiatives at Washington University for nurturing a culturally and academically stimulating environment.


Total units required: 18 (at least 12 units must be at the 300 level or above)


  • 3 credits from Introductory Courses
  • 3 credits from Asian American Focus Courses
  • 6 credits from Multiethnic and Transnational Courses
  • 6 credits from Context Courses


  • In general, students should complete one introductory course prior to pursuing Asian American Focus Courses and Multiethnic and Transnational Courses.
  • All advanced units must be unique to the Asian American Studies minor (i.e., not counted toward any other major or minor).
  • All courses counting for the Asian American Studies minor must be taken for a letter grade, and students must receive a grade of C+ or higher.
  • Students may use a study abroad course on any subject in Asian Studies to fulfill the "Asian Studies" category requirement. Such courses must be approved by the study abroad advisor for the Asian-American studies minor.

Upcoming Events

Asian American Speaker Series

Chinese Adoptee Identity, Community, and Activism
co-sponsored by Asian American Studies Minor, China Care Club, East Asian Studies

Saturday, November 7, 2020 | 3:45 - 5:00pm CST
Andrea Louie, Professor of Anthropology, Michigan State University
Grace Shu Gerloff, PhD student, Michigan State University

This event is on Zoom; please register for the event:

As Chinese American adoptees come of age, they continue to form identities that build upon, but also may depart from the ways they saw themselves growing up. Though they were born in China, Chinese adoptees are part of  broader Asian American communities and are therefore tied to complex histories that determine how they are viewed as racial and cultural minorities in the U.S. Drawing on our research interests and personal experiences, we will discuss the development of Chinese adoptee identities in the context of these processes, particularly in relation to social justice movements that extend beyond the Asian American community such as the Black Lives Matter movement. We examine how adoptees may grow to understand themselves as people of color within a U.S. racial system that treats race as a fixed, binary framework within which Asians are often positioned outside of or in between. 


Grace Shu Gerloff (she/her) is a second-year doctoral student in sociocultural anthropology at Michigan State University. She was adopted from China in 1997 and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently, she is interested in exploring the ways Chinese-American adoptees who grew up in predominantly white environments navigate their racial identities within the context of movements for racial justice and activism/organizing efforts.  

Andrea Louie (she/her) is a Professor of Anthropology and is founding director of the Asian Pacific American Studies Program at Michigan State University.  She has conducted research exploring how ideas constructed around “Chineseness” as a racial and cultural identity have been reworked as transnational processes and bring Chinese from different parts of the world into contact with one another.  She is author of Chineseness Across Borders: Re-negotiating Chinese Identities in China and the U.S. (Duke University Press, 2004) and How Chinese Are You? Adopted Chinese Youth and their Families Negotiate Identity and Culture (New York University Press, 2015).  She has conducted research with her MSU colleagues on international Chinese students at MSU, funded by a Spencer Foundation Small Grant. With funding from a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, she is currently working on a book focusing on her maternal grandmother’s selection as U.S. Mother of the Year in 1952, tentatively titled Chinese American Mothering Across Generations: Toy Len Goon and the Creation and Recirculation of the Model Minority Myth.

Past Events

Lunar New Year Festival - Saturday, February 8, 2020 | Edison Theatre | 2p

Professor Tina Chen - Monday, November 18, 2019 | Goldberg Formal Lounge | 4p

Taiwanese Students Organization Film Screening "Long Time No Sea" - Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | Simon 001
Reception: 6-7p (Free food) | Movie: 7-9p | Q & A: 9-9:30p

China Care Advocacy Event "Sparks & Rec" - Sunday, November 17, 2019 | Risa Commons | 6-8p
Free food from Wei Hong

Learn more
East Asian Languages and Cultures


Introductory Courses

Choose one from this list; 3 credits, any level:

  • First Year Seminar: Easy Riders, Migrant Laborers: American Mobility in Literature and Film (E Lit 160) (unpredictable)
  • Ocean, Island, Ghetto, Globe: An Introduction to Asian American Literature and Its Spatial Politics (E Lit 313) (annually)
  • Freedom, Citizenship and the Making of American Life (History 163) (annually)
  • First Year Seminar: The Meaning of Pakistan: History, Culture, Art (History 2157) (every 1 or 2 years)
  • First Year Seminar: Chinatown: Migration, Identity and Space (IAS 135) (annually)
  • First Year Seminar: Beyond the Melting Pot: Life in Immigrant America (SOC 2710) (unpredictable)

Asian American Focus Courses

Choose one from this list; 3 credits, any level:

  • Doctors and Terrorists: The Fictions of South Asian America (AAS 200) (every 2 years)
  • Topics in Asian American Studies: Intro to Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies (AMCS 250) (annually)
  • Ocean, Island, Ghetto, Globe: An Introduction to Asian American Literature and Its Spatial Politics (E Lit 313) (annually)
  • Topics in English Literature: Asian American Fictions: Space, Place, and the Makings of Asian America (E Lit 313) (annually)
  • Topics in American Literature: Imagining Multi-Racial Coalitions (E Lit 423) (every 1 or 2 years)
  • "Model Minority": The Asian American Experience (IAS 3512) (annually)
  • Techno-Orientalism: Race, Media & Society (AAS 450) (annually)

Multiethnic and Transnational Courses

Choose any two from these two lists; 6 credits, any level:

(1) Asian Americans in a Multiethnic/Multiracial Perspective

  • Sophomore Seminar: American Dreams, American Nightmares: US Ethnic Literatures of Post-War Disillusionment (E Lit 250)
  • Topics in English Literature: Growing Up “Different”: The Bildungsroman in a Diversifying America (E Lit 317) (annually)
  • The Multiethnic Graphic Novel in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century American Popular Culture (E Lit 3524) (unpredictable)
  • Children of Immigrants: Identity and Acculturation (IAS 4036) (annually)
  • Topics in Literature: Queer Youth: LGBTQ Narratives of Coming-of-Age and Coming Out in North America (E Lit 4621)

(2) Global Asia and Asian Diasporas in a Transnational Perspective

  • Finding China: From Sojourners to Settlers in the Chinese Diaspora and Chinese American Literature (Comp Lit 375) (unpredictable)
  • Topics in Comparative Literature I: The Trope of "China" in the Imagination of the Chinese Diaspora (Comp Lit 375) (unpredictable)
  • Writing from the Periphery: The Question of Chineseness (Comp Lit 449) (unpredictable)
  • Chinese Diasporas: A Social History of Global Migration (History 3165) (every 2 years)
  • Imperialism and Sexuality: India, South Asia and the World (WI) (History 39SC) (every 1 or 2 years)

Context Courses

Choose one from each category; 6 credits total, any level:

(1) Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity

  • Rainbow Radicalisms!: Ethnic Nationalism(s), the 1960s and the Politics of the New Left (AFAS 4121) (unpredictable)
  • The Immigrant Experience (AMCS 202) (every 1 to 2 years)
  • Race & Ethnic Relations in the United States (AMCS 3296) (annually)
  • Neighborhoods, Schools and Social Inequality (Educ 4289) (unpredictable)
  • Histories of Intelligence: Topics in Science and Society (IPH 3451) (unpredictable)
  • Visualizing Segregation: A History of St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans (InterD 306M) (unpredictable)
  • Immigration Law (W74 Law 630D) (every 1 to 2 years)
  • Race and Ethnicity in American Politics (PolSci 3031) (unpredictable)
  • The Roots of Ferguson: Understanding Racial Inequality in the Contemporary US (SOC 2010) (every 1 to 2 years)
  • Social Inequality in America (SOC 2110) (unpredictable)
  • The Social Construction of Race (SOC 3212) (unpredictable)
  • Sociology of Immigration (SOC 3710) (unpredictable)

(2) Asian Studies

  • Contemporary Chinese Culture and Society (Anthro 3055) (unpredictable)
  • Introduction to Asian Art (ArtArch 111) (unpredictable)
  • Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art (ArtArch 3426) (unpredictable)
  • The Three Emperors: Redefining Chinese Art in the Golden Age (ArtArch 4489) (unpredictable)
  • Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature (Chinese 342) (annually)
  • Topics in East Asian Studies: US-China Relations, from 1800 to the Present (East Asia 3263) (every 2 years)
  • First Year Seminar: The Meaning of Pakistan: History, Culture, Art (History 2157) (every 1 or 2 years)
  • Globalization and Its Discontents (History 270) (unpredictable)
  • Early Modern China (History 3162) (every 1 or 2 years)
  • Modern China: 1890s to the Present (History 316CHist 3100) (annually)
  • Japan Since 1868 (History 320C) (every 1 or 2 years)
  • Nineteenth-Century China: Violence and Transformation (History 331) (every 2 years)
  • Advanced Seminar: Incredible India! (History 49SC) (unpredictable)
  • First Year Seminar: The Vietnam Wars (IAS 111) (unpredictable)
  • From McDonald's to K-Pop: New Movements in East Asia (IAS 3822) (annually)
  • The Modern Voice in Japanese Literature (Japan 333C) (annually)
  • Topics in Politics: Modern South Asian Politics (Pol Sci 3292) (unpredictable)

Select Past Events