Course: HIS 270
Instructor: Beth Lew-Williams
F 2019

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

The course presents the history of Asian Americans beginning from the 19th century to today. As the narrative for Asian American history is quite complex, it addresses various perspectives, including but not limited to South East Asians, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and more. The course delves into the political, economic, or cultural contexts in which Asian Americans migrated to the United States. It then explores how Asian Americans developed their identity in the United States, and how this demographic has coexisted and interacted with the racial landscape of America.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

The course has two lectures by Professor Lew-Williams, and it also has a weekly precept in which students break down the readings and lectures with a preceptor. Students should take notes from the lectures as these are to be used during the take home midterm and final essays. Furthermore, they should come prepared, having done the readings, to precept as participation is graded. Precepts often are quite interesting as they surface fascinating discussions between students, many of whom are Asian Americans themselves.

Learning For and From Assignments

Definitely take notes during lectures and annotate the readings. What may be helpful is also summarizing major examples from readings as those can be used during your take home exams. History courses at Princeton emphasize a thorough comprehensive analysis through time, so you want to take really great notes, in particular paying attention to certain trends. There is also an oral history component of the class that is part of your grade. You will need to interview someone or use a podcast from an archive – it’s fairly fun, but do consult the professor and preceptor on your topic for the following write-up. Major skills required in this class would be historical analysis and writing.

External Resources

Professor Lew-Williams offers office hours in Café Viv where she buys you ice cream or a coffee drink to talk about the class! It’s super chill and happens weekly. I definitely encourage students to use this time to pick at her mind or just discuss with other students in a relaxing environment. There’s no pressure during these meetinsg, and it’s a lot of fun! In terms of additional help, if you didn’t do well on essays you can always consult your preceptor for additional help.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

This is a fairly straightforward history class and involves a good amount of notetaking and writing. It’s helpful if you have taken a bit of history at Princeton so you know what to expect of a history class. However, in general, this class is often taken as an elective by most students, and it’s quite reasonable.
Asian American History

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