Jen Giang Icasiano, Instructor of Asian American Studies at City College of San Francisco



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ASAM 40, The Chinese American Community (Fully Online, on CANVAS)

Course Description:

This course will cover the context of immigration and resettlement of Chinese Americans from the first wave until present day.  We begin with early settlement from the lure of the gold mountain to the initial formation of ethnic enclaves.  The Chinese American community has evolved with each immigration period and has faced various ranges of inclusion and exclusion.  This course will cover early immigration (1800’s-1924), community (re)formation, war relations, and the communities that (re)formed post 1965. To understand Chinese in America, we must also examine gender, class, and racial formation in the context of both the immediate and greater communities.   


Learning Outcomes:

1. Evaluate the experience of the Chinese American community from the past to the present, by assessing the factors that      create the social, economic, and cultural changes over time.

2. Describe the Chinese contributions to the development of the multi-ethnic and pluralistic society in America.

3. Analyze the impacts of public policy on the Chinese American communities through history and today’s society.  


IGETC fulfillment:

Asian American 40 meets CCSF graduation requirements Area D: Social and Behavioral Sciences Requirement and Area H1 (Ethnic Studies). Asian American 40 is transferable to both CSU and UC and fulfills IGETC AREA 4: Social and Behavioral Sciences requirements under 4C-Ethnic Studies.


Course Layout

MODULES: Weekly layout

From the home page, links to the modules are on the bottom and the left side of the page (navigation panel).  Use either one to navigate to the week’s work.  Once you have gotten to the present week’s module, you can simply start on the assignments page and click the next button on the bottom right to go through the week’s readings and assignments.  At the end of the module, you will read a summary of the week’s work.

The course material is released on a weekly basis.  The first item to be read would be the weekly “Assignments” sheet.  This will outline the lectures, readings (both linked on the course page as well as from your required textbook), and tasks to be completed by the end of the week. 

Every week's assigned readings will be paired with a lecture.  If you cannot download the ppt or word documents, you can access the pdf file.  (NOTE: Each lecture (ppt) or reading (doc) has a replica in PDF, in essence, they are doubled, so be sure to choose one to read).  After completion of the assigned readings and lecture, you are to complete the assignments. 


The course content will be released every Monday and the assignments are due by the following Sunday by 11:55pm.  This gives you a week to complete the readings, assignments, and forum postings.  After the week has closed, assignments will not be accepted. 


In my face-to-face classes, when an assignment is due the following week, I do not accept late work.  Understandably, in the online world, there would be a higher chance of technical difficulties, so my suggestion is that you complete your readings and attempt to complete the assignment early.  If there are extenuating circumstances (life happens), I will then make exceptions on a case -by -case basis, but understand the practice is that after the week has closed, there will be no late submission of work. Keep in mind that “case-by-case” would be handled individually and will not be able to accept repeat offenders.  Please be sure to notify me via email as soon as complications arise.


Reading assignments

Course lectures and forums will be based upon the readings.  Reading assignments are illustrated on the “Assignments” page list at the top of each week.  Additional readings (outside of the required textbooks) are posted in the course as word documents or pdf files. 



Choy, Philip. San Francisco Chinatown. California: City Lights Books, 2012. Print.

Kwong, Peter The New Chinatown. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1996. Print.

Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. Print.


Additional Articles

Any readings that are not from the two required textbooks will be available for download through our course site. 



Chang, Gordon, Him Mark Lai, and Judy Yung eds. Chinese American Voices: From the gold rush to the present. California: University of California Press, 2006. Print

Hsu, Madeline Y.  Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and migration between the United States and South China, 1882-1943.  Stanford University Press, 2000. Print

Lee, Erika. At America’s Gates: Chinese immigration during the exclusion era, 1882-1943.  University of North Carolina Press, 2003.  Print

Louie, Miriam C.Y.  Sweatshop Warriors.  South End Press, 2001. Print

Pfaelzer, Jean.  Driven Out. University of California Press, 2008. Print

Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. Print

Zia, Helen.  Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. Print

*Please note, this course is being offered online only we will not meet face to face at any point in the semester.



Students seeking disability related accommodations are encouraged to register with Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS). The DSPS office is located in the Rosenberg library, Room 323, and can be reached at (415) 452-5481.  DSPS counseling services can be arranged at all campuses by appointment.

Contact information:
Mailing: 50 Phelan Ave LB4, San Francisco, CA 94112    
Office: 50 Phelan Ave, Batmale Hall 378, San Francisco, CA 94112