Gender and Representation of Asian American Women

Course Description


This course explores stereotypes associated with Asian women in colonial, nationalist, state-authoritarian, and global/diasporic narratives about gender and power. Students will read ethnography, cultural studies, and history, and view films to examine the politics and circumstances that create and perpetuate the representation of Asian women as dragon ladies, lotus blossoms, despotic tyrants, desexualized servants, and docile subordinates. Students are introduced to the debates about Orientalism, gender, and power.

No previous knowledge of gender or representation is expected. The readings and movies will offer you the background you need. However, you must do the reading prior to coming to class and attend all lectures and film screenings. Course discussion and writing assignments focus on assigned readings rather than individual library research. Students carry out individual research projects and present their findings in a conference format at the end of the semester and write a five page paper summarizing their findings.

The class meets once per week and follows a seminar format. Students will be expected to attend all class meetings (attendance will be taken), to complete the readings as scheduled on the syllabus, and to come to class prepared to engage in a focused discussion of the issues raised by the readings.

MIT Open Course Gender and Representation of Asian American Women