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Yellow Peril

Semester and Year SP 2011
Course Number IDSEM-UG1412
Section 001
Instructor Jack Tchen
Days Wed
Time 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement SOC, GLOBAL


Permission of the instructor required (jack.tchen@nyu.edu). Same as V18.0380002.


Fears of “yellow peril” (and brown “Turban tides”) run deep in the present and past of U.S. political and commercial culture. Its imagery and stories are just beneath the surface of everyday discourse and always latent—readily triggered by an incident, real or fabricated. SARS fears, charges of Chinese “pirating” U.S. cultural properties, the racial profiling of “Arab-looking” peoples, and Asians “taking over” U.S. higher education all illustrate contemporary forms of Asian “peril.” Americans are woefully unaware of this scapegoating tradition and its history, and consequently remain particularly vulnerable to its ideological and affective power. Seminar students will learn historical research skills and collaboratively document historical and contemporary case studies. We’ll explore what can and must be done to counter these fallacies and practices.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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