JN CHIEN
TEACHING

Introduction to Asian American Studies
Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures
Migration and Detention in Global Asian/America 
This introductory undergraduate course is designed to familiarize students with key debates in the fields of Asian American studies through its relationship to American Studies and Ethnic Studies. Rather than give a comprehensive or chronological survey of the fields, this course attempts to sample from the field in order to give students access to some important conversations, some relevant historical arcs and some pressing politically urgent questions. The texts have been chosen, therefore, for their contributions to an ongoing understanding of the global understanding of “Asian America” “Asia” and “Asian/American” within dynamic systems and processes of race, migration, subjectivity, property and knowledge. 

Our readings will provide us with the tools and theories to resist the seductions of developmental narratives of the citizen-subject and we will look for alternative accounts of history, subjectivity, politics and the social. Throughout we will situate “Asian America” as a regulating concept rather than as an idealization and we will consider the meaning of this concept within a global economy. 


(Image: Surname Viet Given Name Nam dir. Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1989)
This graduate seminar is designed to dig deep into key critical and cultural texts in Asian diasporic visual culture, major debates in diasporic cultural theory, as well as the relationship between the diaspora and Asian American studies. The texts have been chosen for their contributions to an ongoing understanding of what diaspora means, and the tensions that it has continued to generate in popular conceptions of “Asian America” “diaspora” and “Asian/American.” In particular, we will test the critical capacity of the category of “Asian diaspora” as it describes migration, displacement, and connections amongst and beyond various Asian people who may or may not have histories of conflict and connection independent of Euro-American empire.

We will explore not just the representational (how are “Asians” depicted) or the identarian (cultural producers who have Asian heritage) and how often the two are expected to coincide, but also instances of non-appearance and erasure—as violence or as resistance. We will also explore the production, circulation, and consumption of visual texts within Asian diasporic political economic networks, e.g. how the imagined “China market” has shaped Hollywood, art markets, and vice versa.

(Image: Varicella Zoster, Shirley Tse, 2017)

This upper-division undergraduate course is designed to both introduce a range of discourses about what constitutes labor and forced migration/immigration how these are refracted through state discourses of legality and “fakeness” (eg. “economic migrants” and “fake refugees”). The texts in this course take a critical view of not only the dominant global Euro-American humanitiarian regime encompassing the EU, U.S., Canada, and Australia, but also the complicity or failures of many of the governments in South/East Asia to ensure the safety and well-being of their own citizens. We will explore multiple sides of what is often represented as simply a narrative of arrival in the West, exploring the experiences and struggles  of migrants holistically under global militarism, imperialism, and ongoing settler colonialism.

We will explore not only the various categories through which states categorize human movement but also the way in which bodies and subjectivities are shaped, formed, and deformed by state technologies such as borders, legal apparatuses, policing and incarceration, and security technologies such as body scanners. 

(Image: Erasure, Dinh Q. Lê, 2011)