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HISTORY 253P: Before the Model Minority: South Asians in the US (CSRE 153R)

The model minority myth has been used to create a wedge between Asian and Black people in the United States, and masks the histories and lives of itinerant South Asian traders, laborers, and farmers. Beginning in the 1860s, South Asians (mostly male, and often undocumented) traveled to major ports in the US, such as New York City, New Orleans, and the California coast, where they found working-class jobs and married Puerto Rican, African American, Creole, and Mexican women. Some South Asians were double migrants, first brought to British colonies in the Caribbean and South America through indentured servitude, and later migrated to the United States. Their life stories expand to the racial history of the United States by looking beyond a Black/white binary. nnBy juxtaposing immigrant stories with exclusionary US immigration laws, the course touches upon major themes of migration, capitalism, surveillance, race and racism, multiracial couples and communities, resistance, intersectional more »
The model minority myth has been used to create a wedge between Asian and Black people in the United States, and masks the histories and lives of itinerant South Asian traders, laborers, and farmers. Beginning in the 1860s, South Asians (mostly male, and often undocumented) traveled to major ports in the US, such as New York City, New Orleans, and the California coast, where they found working-class jobs and married Puerto Rican, African American, Creole, and Mexican women. Some South Asians were double migrants, first brought to British colonies in the Caribbean and South America through indentured servitude, and later migrated to the United States. Their life stories expand to the racial history of the United States by looking beyond a Black/white binary. nnBy juxtaposing immigrant stories with exclusionary US immigration laws, the course touches upon major themes of migration, capitalism, surveillance, race and racism, multiracial couples and communities, resistance, intersectional activism, borderlands and cities in the US, and the formation of national identity. During the quarter, we will seek to connect experiences in the past with contemporary issues of political culture in the United States to engage with the continuing challenge of locating and attaining self-definition, justice, and social progress in a fraught and divided world.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Akhter, M. (PI)
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