Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies major is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of historical and contemporary experiences of Asian-ancestry groups in local, national and global contexts. Although attention is focused on Asians in the US, the program situates the experiences, contributions, issues and concerns of Asian American communities within their larger transnational and diasporic contexts.

Connections among Asian communities in the US and around the world are explored in terms of the entangled histories and circuits of migration and the interconnected space through which people, capital, ideas, influences, and activism flow between Asia and the US and among Asian diasporic communities.

Honors Program

The Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program provides a program leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with honors. A student must have senior standing; a 3.5 GPA overall; and 3.5 GPA in the major. To complete the degree with honors, the student will be required to undertake a 6 unit research project (ASAMST H195A and ASAMST H195B) and will be graded according to standards determined by the faculty adviser as being of honors quality.

Minor Program

The Department offers a minor in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies. For further information regarding how to declare the minor, please see the program's website.

Other Majors and Minors offered by the Department of Ethnic Studies

Chicano/Latino Studies (Major and Minor)
Ethnic Studies (Group Major and Group Minor)
Native American Studies (Major and Minor)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Major Requirements

ASAMST 20AIntroduction to the History of Asians in the United States4
ASAMST 20ACAsian American Communities and Race Relations4
or ASAMST 20C Cultural Politics and Practices in Asian American Communities
Select two courses from the following:8
A History of Race and Ethnicity in Western North America, 1598-Present [4]
Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies An Introduction [4]
Introduction to Ethnic Studies [4]
A Comparative Survey of Racial and Ethnic Groups in the U.S [4]
A Comparative Survey of Protest Movements Since the 60's [4]

Upper Division Major Requirements

ASAMST 131Asian Diaspora(s) from an Asian American Perspective4
ETH STD 101ASocial Science Methods in Ethnic Studies4
or ETH STD 101B Humanities Methods in Ethnic Studies
ASAMST 197Field Study in Asian American Communities (4 units total required)1-3
Select one of the following history courses:
Chinese American History [4]
Japanese American History [4]
Filipino American History [4]
Southeast Asian Migration and Community Formation [4]
South Asian American Historical and Contemporary Issues [4]
Muslims in America [4]
Select one of the following community studies courses:
Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asian Refugees in the U.S [4]
Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness [4]
Law in the Asian American Community [4]
ASAMST 143ACAsian American Health3
Religions of Asian America [4]
Politics, Public Policy, and Asian American Communities [4]
Asian Americans and Education [4]
Gender and Generation in Asian American Families [4]
Asian American Women: Theory and Experience [4]
ASAMST 165
Course Not Available [4]
Select one of the following cultural studies courses:
Topics in Asian Popular Culture [4]
Asian Americans in Film and Video [4]
Asian American Literature [4]
Creative Writing [4]
Contemporary Narratives on the Philippines and the United States [3]
Genre in Asian American Literature [4]
ASAMST 177
Course Not Available [3]
Chinese American Literature [4]
Korean American Literature [4]
Select two additional electives 1
1

Electives can be satisfied with related courses from outside departments (i.e., Asian Studies, East Asian Languages & Cultures, History, South & Southeast Asian Studies), Asian language courses, EAP courses from an Asian university, additional courses from the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies curriculum, or related coursework from other UC campuses.

Minor Requirements

Students who have a strong interest in an area of study outside their major often decide to complete a minor program. These programs have set requirements and are noted officially on the transcript in the memoranda section, but are not noted on diplomas.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements below must be taken for graded credit.
  2. A minimum of three of the upper division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
  4. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven-Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.
  5. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  6. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which you plan to graduate. If you cannot finish all courses required for the minor by that time, please see a College of Letters & Science adviser.
  7. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling. (For further information regarding the unit ceiling, please see the College Requirements tab.)

Requirements

Upper Division
Select five of the following:
Chinese American History [4]
Japanese American History [4]
Korean American History [4]
Filipino American History [4]
Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asian Refugees in the U.S [4]
Southeast Asian Migration and Community Formation [4]
South Asian American Historical and Contemporary Issues [4]
Muslims in America [4]
Asian Diaspora(s) from an Asian American Perspective [4]
Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness [4]
Topics in Asian Popular Culture [4]
Law in the Asian American Community [4]
Asian American Health [3]
Religions of Asian America [4]
Politics, Public Policy, and Asian American Communities [4]
Asian Americans and Education [4]
Gender and Generation in Asian American Families [4]
Asian American Women: Theory and Experience [4]
ASAMST 165
Course Not Available
Asian Americans in Film and Video [4]
Asian American Literature [4]
Creative Writing [4]
Contemporary Narratives on the Philippines and the United States [3]
Genre in Asian American Literature [4]
ASAMST 177
Course Not Available
Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature and Culture [4]
Chinese American Literature [4]
Korean American Literature [4]
Seminar on Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies [4]
ASAMST 190AC
Course Not Available

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

Undergraduates are expected to obtain the following skills by the time they graduate. These skills belong to five different general areas: historical knowledge, empirical knowledge and quantitative methods, interpretation and qualitative analysis, theory and critique, and community service. They are:

  1. Historical Knowledge
    • Familiarity with the history of modern Western civilization, including European expansion, conquest, and enslavement.
    • Specific knowledge of the modern history of at least three different ethno-racial groups.
    • Acquaintance with debates in historiography, particularly as they relate to the use of history in relation to the understanding of people of color.
    • For students who specialize in history, proper use of primary and secondary historical sources, as well as the writing of scholarly historical work.
  2. Empirical Knowledge and Quantitative Methods
    • Familiarity with different methods of gathering empirical data about human communities (anthropological, sociological, etc.,).
    • Knowledge of critical debates about the use and implications of traditional methods of gathering empirical data to obtain knowledge about communities of color.
    • Identification of proper methods to conduct research, and awareness of the limits and possibilities of such methods.
    • Creative use, delimitation, and expansion of methods of empirical and quantitative study based on the nature of the problems and questions addressed in the research as well as the object of study.
  3. Interpretation and Qualitative Analysis
    • Acquaintance with major methods and debates in the humanities.
    • Familiarity with the art, film, literature, or music of at least three different ethno-racial groups.
    • Identification of proper methods to conduct research about the creative products of human communities, and ethno-racial communities in particular.
    • Creative use, delimitation, and expansion of methods of qualitative analysis based on the nature of the problems and questions addressed in the research as well as the object of study.
  4. Theory and Critique
    • Familiarity with major theories of race and ethnicity, and their intersections and constitutive relations with class, gender, and sexuality.
    • Acquaintance with theories of space and place, including indigeneity, Diaspora, migration, and nation, as well as their use in determining the unit of analysis.
    • Use of comparison and contrast for evaluating and producing theory as well as for critical analysis.
    • Creative use of philosophies and theories that are relevant to the understanding and critical analysis of the social contexts, interpersonal dynamics, and multiple creative productions of ethno-racial communities.
  5. Service Learning
    • Further refinement and enrichment of the above listed skills in settings where the students interact with communities of color and/or their productions.

Advising

Departmental Major Advising

We strive to deliver personalized advising services of the highest quality. We seek to continuously educate ourselves on developments in our field and to evaluate, improve, and streamline our services to support students in obtaining the best education and experience possible.

Advising Staff and Advising Hours

Dewey St. Germaine: Monday through Friday, 9:30 to11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m., or by appointment
530 Barrows Hall
deweystg@berkeley.edu
510-643-6420

Laura Jimenez-Olvera: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9:30 to11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m., and Friday, 1:30 to 5 p.m., or by appointment
532 Barrows Hall
lauraj@berkeley.edu
510-642-0243

Mailing Address

Department of Ethnic Studies
506 Barrows Hall #2570
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-2570

Academic Opportunities

Berkeley Connect in Ethnic Studies

Berkeley Connect in Ethnic Studies matches interested students with ethnic studies graduate student mentors in a one semester, 1 unit program that includes individual advising, small group discussions, special events and excursions. Through this program, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the majors offered through the Department of Ethnic Studies. For further information, please see the Berkeley Connect website.

Study Abroad

The Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies program encourages all undergraduate majors to consider study abroad opportunities. Whether you are interested in fulfilling major and/or general education requirements, taking courses related to a future career, improving or learning language skills, or simply living and studying in a country that is of interest to you, we will work with you to make it happen. For information about Study Abroad programs, please see the Berkeley Study Abroad website.

Prizes and Awards

The Department of Ethnic Studies offers the Dr. Carlos Munoz Jr. Scholar/Activist Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded each semester and recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and activism in their community on and off campus.

Courses

Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Carolyn Chen, Associate Professor. Religion, Race, Ethnicity, Immigration.

Catherine Ceniza Choy, Professor. Asian American history, Filipino American studies, immigration history, adoption studies, nursing history.
Research Profile

+ Michael Omi, Associate Professor. Racial politics, racial theory, racial stratification, racial and ethnic categories and the US Census, racist and anti-racist social movements.
Research Profile

Lok Siu, Associate Professor. Transnationalism; Migration; Cultural Citizenship; Un/Belonging; Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Formation; Asians in the Americas; Cultural Politics of Food; Ethnography.

Khatharya Um, Associate Professor. Education, memory, Southeast Asian Studies, Asian American histories and communities, Southeast Asian diaspora, refugees, international migration, transnational and diaspora studies, genocide studies.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Hatem A. Bazian, Lecturer. Near Eastern studies.
Research Profile

Christopher Chua, Lecturer.

Harvey C. Dong, Lecturer.

Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Lecturer.

Anna P. Leong, Lecturer.

Hannah B. Michell, Lecturer.

Fae M. Ng, Lecturer.

Young Shin, Lecturer.

Jane K. Singh, Lecturer.

Jere Takahashi, Lecturer Emeritus.

Winston Tseng, Lecturer.

Keiko Yamanaka, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor Emeritus. Labor, citizenship, undocumented students, caring work, settler colonialism, skin color bias.
Research Profile

Elaine H. Kim, Professor Emeritus. Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies.
Research Profile

L. Ling-Chi Wang, Professor Emeritus.

Sau-Ling Cynthia Wong, Professor Emeritus. Ethnicity, sexuality, telecommunications, Asian Americans, demographic transformation, fragmentation, globalization, transportation, internet technology, international conference, construction of gender.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Ethnic Studies

506 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-643-0796

Fax: 510-642-6456

ethnicst@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Shari Huhndorf, PhD

506 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-643-0796

huhndorf@berkeley.edu

Student Affairs Officer

Laura Jimenez-Olvera

532 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-0243

lauraj@berkeley.edu

Student Affairs Officer

Dewey St. Germaine

530 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-643-6420

deweystg@berkeley.edu

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