Rice University's Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL) has awarded a $1000 course development grant to Chao Center's Alex Jong-Seok Lee for his new course, ASIA 202: Race in Modern Asia, to be taught in the Spring 2021 semester. The course answers the central question: how is race produced, perceived, and experienced against the backdrop of imperialism, nationalism, revolution, war, and globalization in the region? However, the Asia "region" is imagined in a transnational context, breaking borders and geographical bounds to include the diaspora and bring "Asia" to our Houston doorstep. Lee explains, "As the current coronavirus pandemic has made evident, what happens in Asia has immediate effects outside its territorial borders. Pronounced animosity (such as harassment and hate crimes) against Asians in the West, including Houston, bears this point out." Lee continues, "Pushed to grapple with applying and translating issues of “local” significance to the less familiar historical and geographic area of Asia, students will enhance their cultural capacity to address the increasingly global and transnational dimensions of immigrant life in Houston."
The class will include several guest speakers and there will be a proposed webinar/seminar on issues of race and racism in transnational Asia at the end of the year featuring undergraduate presentations and a panel of scholars.
The CERCL initiative seeks to promote and advance models and practices of an expansive approach to leadership both on and off the Rice University campus through innovative programming meant to enhance attention and approaches to addressing the socio-cultural, historical and political dimensions of life in Houston.