Fall 2023 - GA 101 D100

Introduction to Global Asia (3)

Class Number: 3560

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.



Introduces students to the interconnected, border-crossing worlds of Asian and Asian diasporic people through discussion of scholarship, films, short stories, essays, oral histories, and visual art. Surveys key topics in the study of globalizing processes, such as migration, trade, imperialism, decolonization, globalization, and environmental change. Students with credit for ASC 101 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


This course is a global and interdisciplinary investigation of Asia. The course will make use of movies, museum visits and other field trips to explain the content.

The course will focus on five themes, exploring how they impact our understanding of Asia within the region, across the world and, within the local context of British Columbia. We will explore these themes using a mix of readings, film and guest lectures. The first theme will explore where and how Asia ‘appears’ in world history. The second theme is of labor and racism. We will discuss the global context of the anti-Asian riots of 1907, thinking about why places like Vancouver and Bellingham saw riots emerge, coordinated by labor unions at the exact same time. We will also trace the presence of Asians as military labor or soldiers in the World Wars. For the third theme we will analyse individual histories of travelers and migrants from across Asia who travelled the world and wrote about it. Some of these individuals, like the famous trade unionist Roy Mah, were right here in BC, others, like the Indian revolutionary M.N. Roy wrote significant chunks of their memoirs sitting in places like Mexico. What is “Asian” about them? The fourth theme touches on identity, culture and sexuality, and the fifth moves into the context of contemporary Asian representations and what they tell us about how young people are trying to respond to the issues they face in their everyday lives. As part of this discussion, you will be encouraged to reflect on what the term Global Asia means for your life. In this last theme we will also hear from an artist who focuses on visual storytelling as a means to tell stories of segments of the Asian community in Vancouver.


By the end of this course students will

  • understand how the position of Asia in the world shifts depending on the context and who is telling the story.
  • have the skills to write short academic essays that are appropriately referenced.
  • be able to apply course materials to the construction of museum exhibits, stories and utilizing role playing to critique how stories of Asia are told in public space.


  • Attendance and Participation 20%
  • Reading Review 15%
  • Film Review 15%
  • Group presentation (Interview with a historical figure) 20%
  • Final Research Essay 30%



There is no textbook for this course. All readings will be circulated on canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.