My Teaching

I have taught courses on a number of topics, including Cold War & Film, Asian American history, Cultures of U.S. Imperialism, Labor & Migration, and Human Rights. My primary aim as an instructor is to cultivate a space where we can work together towards collective intellectual growth in an environment where we can admit what we do not yet know. I aim to help students learn to conduct historical inquiry towards the effort of constructing a well-supported argument. 

I am always happy to meet with students. I am particularly equipped to talk to students about adjusting to college, coming to university from an underrepresented background, conducting archival or oral history research, and working in Ethnic Studies/Philippine Studies. Please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Prior Classes Taught

Human Rights and Ethnic Studies

Human rights is often considered a bulwark against authoritarianism and fascism, our “last utopia,” but others have critiqued human rights as either a new form of imperialism or as an imposition of western values on the rest of the world. These debates demonstrate that human rights is both a powerful way of calling attention to matters of injustice as well as an idea that is itself the subject of critique. How did this come to be? In this class, we will track the increased attention on human rights in the latter half of the 20th century. Together we will explore how organizers, writers, and intellectuals in the tradition of what we broadly call Ethnic Studies have engaged the dilemmas of human rights while trying to work towards a more just world. We will cover how human rights became an important diplomatic tool during the Cold War, exploring the rise of institutions such as the United Nations and Human Rights Watch. However, we will also

 

engage alternative, grassroots histories of human rights. For example, we will discuss how queer writers and writers of color offered their own emancipatory visions of rights. We will look at social movements such as the Third World Liberation Front Strikes of the late 1960s as calls for more expansive notions of rights. Overall, this class will ask us to confront how even the notion of “rights” has a history. It will ask us to consider that the idea that some have “rights” is often accompanied by others’ “rightlessness.” Ultimately, this class will provide a space for us to consider the question that activists have long asked: can rights save us?

Asian American History and Culture Since 1924

This course offers an in-depth survey of Asian American history and culture from the early twentieth century to the present, starting with Congress’s passage of the 1924 Asian Exclusion Act and culminating with an exploration of the experience of Asian Americans in society today. Drawing on an array of primary sources, novels, films, and contemporary scholarship, we examine the historical role Asian Americans have played in shaping our ideas of race, gender, labor, empire, and migration, and we take a critical look at the category Asian American, examining how it has been used to racialize immigrants while also being appropriated by activists as a positive political identity. We examine the allure of the idea of Asian Americans as a model minority, as well as the ways such narratives oversimplify Asian America and contribute to discrimination against other communities of color. Through our conversations and coursework, we ultimately seek to arrive at an understanding of what Asian America is and why it is important for a deeper understanding of American history.

Migration and Labor in U.S. History

This course will explore the connections between histories of migration and labor throughout the 19th and 20th century United States. We will explore how race, gender, and empire inform our understanding of work and mobility.

 

Our aim for the course will be to grapple with just a few of the major historiographical issues in migration and labor. We will emphasize depth over topical coverage. The sources selected for this class are intended to give us a glimpse into approaches to labor and migration history that focus primarily on the intersection of personal, lived experiences with structures that confine the range of possibility for working people.

 

At the nexus of migration and labor lay some of our most significant contemporary concerns. In many parts of the United States, the ability to organize as a labor union is becoming increasingly difficult. At the very same time, anti-immigrant discourse and attempts at migration bans are consistently espoused by many including the current administration. Together, we will attempt to connect these contemporary issues with a much longer history. Though we will focus on the specificity of these histories, they may still inform how we talk and think about migration and labor today. As such, the overall hope for this class is to develop an understanding of how to examine the long roots of immigrant and labor discourses in the United States and to collaboratively explore possibilities of examining such issues going forward.

Asian American History to 1924

This course will focus on Asian American history from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Our aim will be to engage the longer history of Asian migration and labor in the United States. As such, we will focus on topics prior to the Immigration Act of 1924 (also sometimes known as the Asian Exclusion Act). We will explore how empire, capital, and labor informs the transnational movements of ideas, commodities, and people. Topics we will discuss include coolie labor, immigration exclusion, and U.S. empire. Readings and discussions will aim to think through how ideas of race, gender, and sexuality operate and change over time within these histories. Our readings will focus on monographs on Asian American history combined with primary sources.

Cultures of U.S. Imperialism

American media headlines, from across the political spectrum, often express anxiety over the downfall of America, or more specifically, the American “Empire” as a 2018 headline in The New Republic asked, “Are We Witnessing the Fall of the American Empire?” But what does it mean to consider the United States as an empire? How is culture deployed for the ends of empire? How does empire undergird military, economic, and humanitarian intervention? How do individuals and groups make claims for rights in the shadow of empire? In this course, we will analyze various facets of U.S. imperialism in the 20th century, with specific attention to cultural forms of power and instances of armed conflict, as well as anti-imperial dissent. By engaging with a wide variety of materials – historical monographs, fiction, films, oral histories, government documents, and pop culture artifacts – we will develop an interdisciplinary approach to the study of empire.

Film and the Cold War in U.S. History

We will focus on U.S. popular films produced during the Cold War to gain insight into circulating cultural understandings of the time period. The course will be organized around questions such as how popular culture productions characterized the United States and the world as well as how these films produced and reproduced conceptions of race, gender, and nation. We will also investigate how these films were related to and reflected understandings of United States foreign policy. Course readings, lectures, and discussions will be focused on developing an understanding of the international dimensions of the Cold War and the place of cultural productions, such as film, in history and historical narration.