AMST 372 - Race and Public History
This seminar focuses on two major events in nineteenth century American history: the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the U.S.-inspired overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893. We examine attitudes and actions leading to these momentous events, their impact on the target populations and American society, as well as subsequent efforts to obtain apologies from the U.S. government. Amazingly, these efforts succeeded in 2011-12 and 1993, respectively. The Congress has issued apologies only five times in its entire history–the three others were for slavery, treatment of Native Americans and forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. Throughout, we analyze the memory-making involved, largely through the lens of public history venues such as museums, documentaries, historic landmarks, websites, and others. Some familiarity with Asian American history will be assumed.
Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. John J. McCloy Visiting Professor Odo.