Foundations of Asian American Studies with Ida Yalzadeh

This is for all the Asian & Asian American identifying folks who want to think more about the history of their communities in the United States.

Photo of instructor Yalzadeh smiling at the camera on a street.

Course Logistics

Instructor: Ida Yalzadeh
Dates: July 14, 2022–August 11, 2022
Times: Thursdays, 7:30pm–9:30pm EST
Enrollment: 15 students
Enrollment Closes: July 7, 2022, 11:59PM PST

Course Description

This is for all the Asian & Asian American identifying folks who want to think more about the history of their communities in the United States. It’s about coming together as a collective, thinking about the flows and friction of people, labor, capital, and ideas that got us to where we are. It’s about recognizing the history of our communities and how we can integrate them into our visions of the future.

Perhaps you weren’t able to take an Asian American Studies course during college—maybe because you just weren’t interested at the time, or you had other things on your plate that you needed to prioritize. Perhaps you didn’t go to college at all, and a course like this was entirely inaccessible to you. This course is meant to introduce folks to the major themes of the field of Asian American Studies, while also providing a history of Asian America based on migration, labor, and race.

This is a 5-week synchronous course that will be held once a week for 2 hours over Zoom. Folks will only be required to purchase one text—Erika Lee’s The Making of Asian America—which will serve as the main backbone of the course.

By the end of the course, participants will have a sense of:

  • The broad strokes of Asian American studies, how it developed, and its foundational topics
  • The general history of Asian America
  • How to think about Asian American history as it relates to race, gender, and sexuality

Who is this class for?

  • People who identify as Asian or Asian American
  • Asian and Asian American writers or creatives interested in bringing more research and history into their craft
  • Folks who want to be part of a curious community of learners and thinkers

All participants will also receive 2 reading lists by the end of the course:

  1. Recommended reading based on each week’s themes
  2. Recommended reading based on the specific interests of participants (a bespoke reading list)

Class Cap & Limitations to Enrollment

The class has a capacity of 15 students, as this is a discussion-based course. Three full scholarships are available to folks where paying the enrollment fee is a financial burden. If you are interested in scholarships, a short application can be found in the enrollment google form.

Platforms used in the course

Google Drive

Participants will receive all readings (apart from The Making of Asian America) over Google Drive. Recordings of the sessions over Zoom will also be found through a password-protected Vimeo link.


As part of this offering from The Reading, all participants will receive an invite to a private channel on The Reading’s Discord server to continue fostering community outside of our class sessions.


All class sessions will be held on Zoom.

About the Instructor

Ida Yalzadeh is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for Studies of American History. She got her PhD in American Studies from Brown University, and has previously taught at Northwestern. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Ida works on Iranian diasporic communities in the context of histories of race and empire in the United States. Her interdisciplinary research interests are at the intersection of Asian American studies, visual culture studies, and diplomatic history. She teaches courses on activism & social movements, race & empire, and media representations.

Course Registration

Fee: $315

Enrollment is now closed.