Ethnic Studies 110: 3 Units


Professor: James Sobredo, Ph.D.
Lecture/Discussion: ETHN 110_34044. T.Thr.. 10:30 – 11:45 am, AMD 219

Office Hours: Amador Hall 563A, Hours. Tues.12:00 – 1:20 pm and 3-4:40 pm
    *Every 2nd Fri. of MONTH =
Friday, 10:00 am - 1 pm (no office hours on Tues.)
Telephone: (916) 278-7566 & Web Address:




*DROPPING Prof. Sobredo’s ETHN or any class at Sac State:
The Professor is NOT responsible for ADDING or DROPPING you
from this course or any other course. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to file the appropriate paper work with the Registrar’s Office to add or drop Dr. Sobredo’s ETHN or any other class.
* For more INFO on dropping individual classes, see:


Course Description



ETHN 110. The Asian American Experience.  Survey of the experiences of various Asian groups in the U.S. from the mid-nineteenth century to present. The historical forces affecting the immigration and settlement patterns of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, Asian Indians and Southeast Asians (Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians) will be compared and contrasted. Students will analyze the problems resulting from limited access to the social, political, and economic institutions of U.S. society. 3 units.

the GE Area D2: Major Social Issues of the Contemporary Era (3 units).
No prerequisites.


Asian Americans have been immigrating to the United States and forming permanent settlements since the mid-1800s. Their experience and contributions, however, have been minimized and generally received very little attention in history books. Moreover, whenever mentioned, Asians have been stereotypically constructed as either "cheap" labor who were a threat to white workers or as successful "model minorities."

This course will provide an introduction to the history of Asians in America. Beginning in the mid-1800s and extending to the present, we shall examine the immigration and settlement histories of Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Asian Indians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians. Their immigration experience and settlement in America will be analyzed and interpreted within the context of historical, social, economic, and political forces. In the course of our study, we shall compare and contrast their immigration experience and settlement patterns vis-ą-vis other Asian Americans. We shall also critically examine how their labor market status, race, class, and sex/gender relations affected the evolution and formation of Asian American communities.

 The General Education objectives of this course to:


1.             Examine domestic issues confronting/dividing Americans today.

2.             Specifically identify issues within the above topic areas which will be covered in the course.

3.             Focus on social issues.

4.             Examine various sides of each issue and critically evaluates strengths/weaknesses of supporting/refuting arguments and presents scholarly analysis of possible alternative solutions.

5.             Impart knowledge of current information/materials.

6.             Include social science research methods, theories, and concepts appropriate to analysis of each issue.

7.             Develop an understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of the human community.

8.             Presents the contributions and perspectives of women; persons from various ethnic, socio-economic, and religious groups, gays and lesbians; and persons with disabilities. [At least two of these groups should be included in the course.]




The objectives of this specific course are to:

1.             Understand the social, political, and economic issues confronting Asian Americans in the United States (GE objectives 1-5, 7-8).

2.             Show the differences between various Asian American groups (GE objectives 7-8).

3.             Learn how many social issues forge a commonality of experience among Asian Americans and other racial/ethnic groups (GE objectives 1-5, 7-8).

4.             Improve analytical and critical thinking skills (GE objectives 4-6).

5.             Strengthen research skills (GE objectives 4-6).

6.             Enhance writing skills needed to express your comprehension of course materials in a clear, intelligent, and coherent fashion (GE objectives 4-6).

By the end of the class, students will be able to:

1.             Describe the major historical events of Asian American immigration and settlement patterns in the U.S. (mid-1800s to the present).

2.             Analyze and interpret the social, political and economic context within which these immigrations and settlements have occurred.

3.             Compare and contrast the immigration experience and settlement of Asians in America.

4.             Compare and contrast the unique immigration experience and settlement of Asian American women.

5.             Utilize and apply social science theory through the research and writing of Asian American history.


In order to pass the class, students must complete all the midterms, the majority of the essay writing assignments, and oral history projects. Students are also expected to attend all the class lectures, arrive to class on time, participate in class activities and discussions, and are responsible for all the readings and lectures. ETHN110 students are required to have a CSUS e-mail account (free too all CSUS students) and participate in all the class activities and discussions. 


No special materials needed other than the course textbook, notebook for notes, internet/computer access, your CSUS e-mail account, and your listening and thinking skills.






2 Midterm Exams

200 pts

2 Midterms (100 pts each): T or F, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blanks, and short essay (500 words).

Oral History Project

50 pts

Oral History interview, narrative, & photos.

(a)   Oral History Narrative [20 pts]: 1,200 words (minimum), single-spaces (do a word count on your computer and write down the number of words). *Due: Last day of class, IN CLASS at beginning of class time.

(b)   Transcript [20 pts]: 5 full pages of transcript, single-spaced, typed—see online example. *Due: Last day of class, IN CLASS at beginning of class time.

(c)    Photos [10 pts]: provide 5 photos (color photo copies) with appropriate captions & explanations (who, what, where, when, why/how). *Due: Last day of class, IN CLASS at beginning of class time.

NOTE: If the person you are interviewing cannot sign a consent form or provide photos, then choose another interviewee.

In-Class Discussion, Short Assignments & Participation

50 pts

50 pts. CLASS DISCUSSIONS & IN-CLASS WRITING ASSIGNMENTS. 50 pts. Students will be evaluated on their small group discussion sessions, in-class writing assignments & participation.



300 pts



GRADING SCALE   300 pts Total

300-282 points.... A, 281-270...A-, 269-260... B+, 259-250...B, 249-240... 

B-, 239-230...C+, 229-220...C, 219-210...C-, 209-179...D, 178 and below... "E" [not passing] 


HOW I GRADE: The Multiple-choice, T/F, Fill-in-the-blanks parts of the EXAM have only ONE answer and are graded accordingly as correct or incorrect.  For the ESSAY part, I assign a letter grade to your essay, which is then converted to the corresponding number grade.


*Note there is a 1,500-word GE writing component (graded formal writing) required for this upper-division GE class: Two exams (500 words x 2 = 1,000 words total), Oral History narrative (1,500 words) and Transcript (5 pages). Thus, the writing component of this class exceeds the GE writing requirements.


*Computer literacy & database research component: Use the Library database to find and download the assigned journal article and newspaper readings: *See Reference Librarian if you need more assistance.


I use the grading standards set by the Sac State Policy on Letter grades. For more information see:

Sac State POLICY on Letter Grades:



What it means as applied to your work (definition).




Exemplary achievement of the course objectives. In addition to being clearly and significantly above the requirements, work exhibited is of an independent, creative, contributory nature.



Superior achievement of the course objectives. The performance is clearly and significantly above the satisfactory fulfillment of course requirements.




Satisfactory achievement of the course objectives. The student is now prepared for advanced work or study.




Unsatisfactory achievement of course objectives, yet achievement of a


sufficient proportion of the objectives so that it is not necessary to repeat the


course unless required to do so by the academic department.


Unsatisfactory achievement of course objectives to an extent that the student


must repeat the course to receive credit.


Evangeline Canonizado Buell, Twenty-Five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride: Growing Up in a Filipino Immigrant Family (San Francisco: T’Boli Publishing, 2006)

Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1943)

Mary Paik Lee, Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America

(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1990)

Andew X.Pham, Catfish and Mandala (New York: Picador, 1999)

Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans

(NY: Penguin, 1989)

*Selected Articles (Library Reserve and/or Available Online) for class discussions.


15 weeks

1.       Introduction.  Introduction to Concepts of Race, Ethnicity & Class Inequality
Readings: Jose Antonio Vargas, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” (NY Times, 22 June 2011)

2.       Southeast Asian immigration, Part 1.
READINGS: Pham, Catfish, Prologue - p. 171

3.       Southeast Asian immigration, Part 2.
*READINGS:  Pham, Catfish, pp.171-342;
"Orphans of History, Steve Magagnini" Sacramento Bee Special Report, reprinted at The Authentic Voice.

4.       Early migrations & Chinese immigration and settlement
*READINGS:  Takaki, pp. 31-42, Chpt. 3

5.       Civil Rights Movement & the 1965 Immigration Act
*READINGS: Takaki, Chpt. 11, “Strangers at the Gates Again”;
"The Immigration Act of 1965," Edward M. Kennedy,
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 367, The New Immigration. (Sep., 1966), pp. 137-149 --available at CSUS Library database.*See Reference Librarian for assistance; “A Legacy of the Unforeseen,” Carolyn Lochhead, SF Chronicle, 7 May 2006

6.       Japanese Americans: Issei
*READINGS: Takaki, pp. 42-53, Chpt.5

* * * Mid-term I (6th week): Tuesday, 2 October 2012) * * *

7.       The Korean American Experience
*READINGS: Takaki, Chpt. 7, Lee, Quiet Odyssey (begin)

8.       Asian Women and Community Formation in America
READINGS: Lee, Quiet Odyssey (finish)

9.       South Asians in America
*READINGS: Takaki, Chpt. 8;
" Indian Americans: Seeking a voice,” SF Chronicle, 10 August 1997

10.  Filipinos in America
*READINGS: Bulosan, America is in the Heart (begin); Takaki, Chpt. 9

11.  World War II and the Asian American Community
*READINGS: Evangeline Canonizado Buell, Twenty-Five Chickens (begin); Takaki, Chpt. 10;
Ken Burns, “The War” (

12.  World War II & Reconstructing Asians
*READINGS: Bulosan, America is in the Heart (finish); Takaki, Chpt. 10;
READINGS: Evangeline Canonizado Buell, Twenty-Five Chickens (finish by Midterm-II)

* * * Mid-term II (12th Week): Thursday, 15 November 2012) * * *

13.  Post-World War II Communities

"Return to Little Tokyo," AsianWeek, 10-16 May 1996
"Japantown rounds out a Century," SF Chronicle, 14 January 2006


14.  Contemporary Asian American communities
*READINGS: Evangeline Canonizado Buell, Twenty-Five Chickens (finish)
"Chinese Beverly Hills,"
AsianWeek, May 1996;
"Reflections on the I-Hotel,"
AsianWeek, 13 June 2001

15.  Global Migrations, Transnationals & the “New Global Economy”
*READINGS: "Doctors Leaving Philippines," SF Chronicle, 5 November 2003

7 Oct. 2012 (11 am – 4 pm), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco): Filipino American History Celebration
20 Oct. 2012 (TBA), United Latinos political forum, CSUS University Union.

CLASS ENDS: 11 May 2011

* * * ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS DUE in class * * *




1.             Only medical and family emergencies will be considered as legitimate excuse by the instructor. Unless prior arrangement has been made with the class instructor, the professor does not accept late assignments.

2.             The professor does not tolerate disruptive class behavior. For example, it is disruptive to come in fashionably late, hold private conversations, let your cell phone ring or have a cell phone conversation in class (turn off your cell phone, beeper, or put it on silent).

3.             Inappropriate classroom behavior: It is disruptive to have a private conversation with other students, to walk in “fashionably” late to class (let me know ahead of time if you’re going to be late and go to the back of the class and quietly find a seat). It is disruptive to the instructor if you fall asleep in class (this particular instructor spends many long hours preparing for his class lessons)—let me know ahead of time if you work nights/evenings or have children and other pressing responsibilities.

4.             Professional Ethics. Students are expected to behave and conduct themselves in a polite and professional manner. The course instructor is to be addressed as “Dr. Sobredo” or “Professor Sobredo.”

5.             Plagiarism. The professor does not tolerate academic dishonesty--consult the CSUS Student Handbook ( for policies governing student conduct and responsibilities. It is the student’s responsibility to understand what plagiarism is and how to provide the appropriate and correct citation of ideas and sources that are not their own. An “F” grade will be given to any student who plagiarizes by (a) passing another person’s idea or work as theirs or (b) failing to provide to provide the appropriate citation for original theories/concepts, quotes or research data—I will also write a letter about the incident to the Dean of Student Affairs.

6.             Unless prior arrangements has been made with the professor, late work will be assessed a 20 percent reduction in grade.

7.             The instructor does not give "make-up" quizzes, exams or grade on a curve. 

9.             Do not call or email the instructor regarding homework assignments. All homework assignments are available online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7). Should any mistakes occur regarding online postings of assignments, the instructor will make the appropriate changes and adjustments.

10.                EXTRA CREDIT: The professor will allow students no more than 1 (ONE) extra credit assignments (short paper, 2 pages minimum)—submit your work with your MIDTERM or on LAST DAY OF CLASS. [*Exceptions: no extra credit work is accepted during the shortened online and summer sessions.]

11.                Your final grade will reflect your ability to follow these classroom policies, to follow and complete class assignments, and to follow professional ethics.