From Sugar Plantations to "Gangnam Style": Transnational History of Korean Americans



From Sugar Plantations to "Gangnam Style": Transnational History of Korean Americans


Spring, 2017






This course examines the transnational history of Koreans in the United States and beyond beginning in 1903 when the first-wave of Koreans arrived in Hawai'i as sugar plantation laborers. We will examine the history of Korean immigration to the United States in the context of larger global labor migrations. The topics we will consider include racialization of Korean immigrants against the backdrop of Anti-Asian movement in California, Japanese colonization of Korea and its impact on the development of Korean American nationalism, changing dynamics of gender and family relations in Korean American communities, the Korean War and the legacies of U.S. militarism in Korea, the post-1965 "new" wave of Korean immigrants, Asian American movement, Sa-I-Gu (the 1992 Los Angeles Koreatown racial unrest), the myth of model minority, and the birth of "Korean cool" through K-pop. The focus will be on the transnational linkages between Korea and the United States and the connections between U.S. foreign policies and domestic issues that influenced the lives and experiences of Korean Americans. Paying particular attention to personal narratives through Korean American autobiographical and biographical writing, art, novels, and films, we will examine issues of historical imagination, empathy, and agency. This is a blended learning course in which we will try to incorporate different online tools and “flipped classroom” strategies to help us understand, engage with, and collaborate on the course material and assignments.


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Blended Learning Year 3: Transnational History of Korean Americans Document
Timeline Document

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