© NYU Photo Bureau: Meyer
S P O T L I G H T O N G A L L AT I N C O U R S E S
“I chose Yellow Peril because I heard great things about the teacher and the course, but also because I felt largely ignorant of the complexities of the discrimination against and fear of Asians. The more I learned, the more it seemed I did not know, which is I guess how it often goes. The discrimination happening now against people of color has complex roots that stretch down far into Western history.” —Anna Danashevskya Beckerman (BA ’16), pictured center
YELLOW PERIL Professor Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen has been teaching at Gallatin since 1996, bringing with him an understanding of the multiple presents, pasts, and futures of New York City. He is also a curator, public historian, collections builder, and dumpster diver of tossed fragments of the past. The founding director of NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) Studies Program and Institute and co-founder of the Museum of Chinese in America, Tchen is the author of New York Before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999) and Yellow Peril! An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear (Verso, 2014), which he edited with Dylan Yeats, and which grew out of his teaching the eponymous course at Gallatin. Hannah Sng Baek (CAS BA ’16) and Anna Danashevskya Beckerman (BA ’16) took Yellow Peril in the spring of 2014.
The Making of the Course “One of my undergrads, Dylan Yeats, got involved in bringing in the Kishi Collection, one of the largest collections of Asian Americana,” says Professor Tchen. “We raised funds by mounting an educational exhibition with a focus on the yellow peril texts and images therein. From this, we realized that a book with archival and scholarly focus on this subject was needed. The spring 2014 class was the first time we got to actually use the book with the seminar. We’ve now started the YP! Project online which will take the best work of the students to inspire more research in other parts of the US and in the British settler states where xenophobia took the forms of exclusion laws, border surveillance, and concentration camps.”
“A prominent figure in his field and local archival activism, Professor Tchen respects his students as peers, as potential contributors to the world’s collective knowledge, and he rests that potential ultimately in his students’ hands.” —Hannah Sng Baek (CAS BA ’16), pictured right
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N Y U G A L L AT I N
Published on Oct 30, 2014
Published on Oct 30, 2014
Read the latest on student funding opportunities, a feature on three Gallatin courses, and meet our new Director of Advising.