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The 'Other' Americans:
Representation and Reality in Asian America

Asian American history is American history. It is simply not possible to understand why the United States looks the way it does today without understanding the roles American interactions with Asian nations and people have played in the development of US society. Despite being key figures in immigration, trade, and foreign policies and domestic contests around race, class, gender, and sexuality, Asians in America are continuously (un)seen as the Other Americans. This course will explore the history and mediated representations of Asians in the US to understand how US society has constructed Asians in America, and how Asian Americans have sought to speak for themselves. By analyzing primary sources, films, television, and digital media - as well as producing their own media based on historical materials - students will critically engage with US history as both historians and media producers to examine the complex ways Asian Americans have shaped America itself. 

Co-Instructors: Arissa Oh, Anthony Tran

Student Podcasts



The Other Side of Paradise

This episode is a documentary feature on the impacts of the Honouliuli internment camp on the Japanese-American community in Hawai’i during World War II.


Ashley Xu, Chloe Bowman, Lily von Rosenvinge, Ann Pinera

00:00 / 12:16


Let’s Call Her “Susie”

This episode is a documentary feature that delves into the stories and experiences of Japanese War Brides immigrating to the United States following the end of World War II.



Bridget Baker, Christine Chen, Bethelhem Kebede, Emma Oliver

00:00 / 14:30


History You Forgot About

This episode is a documentary feature that describes the process of Asian immigrants passing through Angel Island, following the journey of Dep and Joy Chan. 



Alexia Anglade, Anya Pulluru, & Willa Melander

00:00 / 12:50


The Economics behind Hate

This episode is a documentary feature that centers around how the 1980s worldwide recession and the economic movement called ‘Buy American’ led to hate directed towards Asian Americans.


Alexander Amaral, Brendan Burke, Mohammad Khan, Kamran Behbehani 

00:00 / 14:47


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This episode is a fictional account of four significant actors in Asian American cinema who meet up for Heaven’s fictional screening of Earth’s 95th annual Academy Awards. Through their discussion, each character reflects on the unique impact they had on Asian representation in Hollywood as well as how it has evolved since the peak of their careers.


Christian Heng, Selina Lin, Stephanie Wong, Jacob Ye

00:00 / 15:24


Two Sisters and a Secret

This episode, inspired by the stories of Sessue Hayakawa and Tsuru Aoki, tells the fictional story of two Japanese sisters, Kiyo and Michiko Miyazaki, who worked as actors during the Silent Film Era in the 1910s. 


Ella Chang, Tsering Choedhar, Samantha de Kanter, Alyssa Wilson

00:00 / 14:03




Drawing on the true life story of Phoung Tran, an LA-based chef, this episode is a fictional account of an eight-year-old boy named Naam, following his journey from Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon to a refugee camp in New Orleans and his longing for traditional Vietnamese comfort food.  


Maya Sadarangani, Zoe Mack, Lesly Piñeda and Weiqi He

00:00 / 15:00


Shikata Ga Nai /
It Cannot Be Helped

This episode is a documentary feature that details the life history of Japanase American activist Aiko Yoshinaga, who was interned in the Manzanar Concentration Camp, and her role in the Japanese American redress movement.


Amen Amare, Jakhi Martin, Patrick Murphy, Niccolo Mantovani

00:00 / 11:44



The Story of Rudy Tokiwa

The 442nd Infantry Regiment was a group of Nisei men, who were assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 1, 1943,  two years prior to the president signing Executive Order 9066. This documentary feature highlights the story of Rudy Tokiwa, the youngest member of the Regiment.


Nellie DeStefano, Clare Strasser, Charlotte Andress, Owen Chanthaboun

00:00 / 10:38


Paper and Prejudice

This episode is a fictional account of the journey of Yao Lin, a Chinese immigrants from Toisan who entered the United States as a "paper son" of his family friends, the Wu family. It features a conversation between the Wu parents and Yao's rehearsal of the coaching paper given by their son, Kevin Wu. 


Ian Lee, Matt Lee, Angelina Li, Aris Vu

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00:00 / 13:00


What's Larger than a Chicken Egg?

This episode is a documentary feature about the Balnut egg, a traditonal fermented delicacy from the Philippines. The food was first introduced to the Philippines by Chinese in the sixteenth century, and continues to be a recognized part of Filipino cuisine today. In the United States, the food has contributed to the trend of “othering” Asian-American communities.


Megan Lin, Esther Cho, Emily Abrams

00:00 / 13:05


The Forsaken Fighter:
Bruce Lee

This episode is a documentary feature focusing on Bruce Lee, who transcended the film industry as he became a cultural icon whose work was admired invariably.


Billy Petrik, Lynnae Snyder, Brandon Wong

00:00 / 14:43



Fresh off the Bat

This episode is a fictional account of a Chinese baseball team called Celestials, who were challenged to a final game by the Oakland Baseball team in 1881 in San Francisco. Based on the history of the Chinese 

Educational Mission founded in 1872, it captures how young Chinese boys in the Mission navigated racial tensions and grapple with their identity and loyalties as Chinese youth who grew up in America.


Isabel Reichert, Collin Gibney, Kristen Kim, Ethan Foreman

00:00 / 15:32


Paranoid Nationalist and Asian Americans: Manzanar

This episode is a fictional account of the nine-year-old Jack Maker as he struggles to comprehend the hysteria of the mass imprisonment of Japanese Americans in 1942. His father, Charles also grips with the fact that he cannot give the full reality to his native son as he has to deal with the personal battle of having to work in this camp with those who were former colleagues, neighbors, and even friends. 


Gabriel Valadez, Chris Risio, Maosuf Togmah

00:00 / 13:27



Surviving Stories

This is a fictional account of the migration history of Francisco, a Filipino soldier, and Chosuke, an Okinawan soldier. Several years after World War II, Francisco and Chosuke both ended up in California through their service in the United States Navy. Coincidentally sitting at the same table for dinner, Francisco and Chosuke meet and begin talking about their lives. 


Hana Vogeley, Emmelyn Pastor, Elliot Abong, Cassidy Ishii

00:00 / 10:43


There is Blood on Those Grapes

This episode is a fictional account based on the events of the Delano grape strike and the Filipino farmworkers who initiated it. It follows Francisco Evangelista, a grape farmer, who participates in the strike as he grows disillusioned with the American Dream but finds strength in community.



Katrina FuentesEmily Hiltunen, Sigmund Liu  

00:00 / 14:25



Crossing Oceans:
Angel Island's Secret Stories

This episode is a fictional account of Mika Mitano, a

Japanese picture bride, and Shi Cheng, a Chinese paper son. Through journaling, the two immigrants document their respective journeys to America and eventual arrivals at Angel Island in 1915. They acknowledge the burdens they faced during interrogations and interactions with immigration authorities.


Maya O’Gorman, Abby Rapuano, Jamie Bowers, Vinny Petruzziello

00:00 / 12:58


I am Chinese

This episode illustrates the effect of the attacks on Pearl Harbor on Chinese and Japanese Americans. It features two characters, a Chinese man Jeremey and his wife Emma, who are taking over the floral business of a Japanese American who was sent to an internment camp. Jeremy, while gaining empathy for Japanese Americans, begins to wear an “I Am Chinese” badge for business survival, juxtaposing his actions and his beliefs.


Sara Robert, Shea Dillon, Zane Madi, Claire Hurren

00:00 / 14:02



Chain Nail

This episode is a semi-humorous fictional account of the origin of the Vietnamese nail industry in the United States. It follows Kim Phuong, a refugee and wife of a high-ranking Vietnamese government official, who arrives in the U.S. after the Fall of Saigon. Phuong meets fellow refugees and American actress, Tippi Hendren, who introduces them to the nail industry. With the circumstances against the refugees, Phuong countlessly struggles to support her family. Eventually, Phuong finds her footing and works towards a prosperous future in this new country.


Jamie Liang, Sophia Vo, Catherine Vu, Vivian Wong

00:00 / 12:29
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