Race and Ethnicity in East Asia

Few social categories affect our lived experience more than race and ethnicity. The purpose of this class is to apply an historical lens to these categories as they developed in China, Japan, and Korea from 1800 to the present, drawing as well upon the experience of Southeast Asia for comparison. At its core, this class will approach race and ethnicity not as a priori concepts, but as historically contingent categories that emerge, evolve, and, most importantly, have the capacity to transform reality. The course will investigate ethnicity and race from multiple perspectives—from the local and regional, to the national and global—as well as how they intersected with other subjectivities, such as gender, class, and national identities. Furthermore, we will pay attention to the ways in which discourses of race and ethnicity circulated regionally between the countries of East Asia, and globally between East Asia and the Euro-American world.