Fall 2020

Model Minorities: Jewish and Asian Americans

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-345  |  Anthropology and Sociology, as SOCI-345

Moodle site: Course


Wendy H. Bergoffen (Section 01)
Franklin S. Odo (Section 01)


(Offered as AMST 345 and SOCI 345) The United States has long struggled with challenges created by the need to absorb ethnic and racial minorities. In the face of seemingly intractable problems, one solution has been to designate a “model minority,” which then appears to divert attention from the society at large. Earlier in the twentieth century, Jewish Americans played this role; today, Asian Americans are the focus. This course examines specific instances in which Jewish Americans and Asian Americans both embraced and rejected the model minority stereotype. Course units will also examine the underside of the model minority stereotype, quotas imposed to limit access to education and employment as well as social and legal actions taken in response to such restrictions. The course will feature a range of materials, including plays, fiction, journalism, and visual works. Students will read scholarship in the fields of American Studies, Sociology, History, and Critical Race Studies.  Class will meet via Zoom.  Students will collaborate on projects outside of class sessions and share this work on the course Google Drive.  The course will include a number of guest speakers.

Fall semester. Limited to 15 students. McCloy Visiting Professor Odo and Senior Lecturer Bergoffen.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to American Studies and Sociology majors


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Race, Online Only


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022