That noodle place had become hot after it had been reviewed in the New York Times. It had been praised for being authentic while accommodating the Western palate. But the menu priced out anyone who actually lived or worked in Chinatown.

Ed Lin, This Is A Bust

Photo credit Flickr user Artem

“Asian Americans in New York City: Literature and Film”

A National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for School Teachers


Jennifer Hayashida and Chi-hui Yang

Hunter College, The City University of New York

New York City

July 5-17, 2015

Chan is Missing, Dir. Wayne Wang (1982)
Chan is Missing, Dir. Wayne Wang (1982)

A Summer Seminar for K-12 Educators

Drawing on contemporary Asian American film, video and literature, this interdisciplinary seminar for K-12 teachers will provide participants with a twenty-first century perspective on Asian American cultural production and communities in New York City. Against the backdrop of generation-shifting conversations around immigration reform, demographic change, and the ascendancy of Asian American writers and filmmakers, the seminar will examine Asian American communities and the arts in new and critical ways, and in so doing locate teaching tools which harness the complexity, diversity and dynamism of this rapidly growing population. All materials will examine these questions through the lens of New York City – that multicultural urban social laboratory which has for centuries acted as the crucible from which American identity has been shaped and challenged.

The two-week seminar will meet Monday through Friday for morning, afternoon, and occasional evening sessions, with readings, lectures and seminar discussion interwoven with relevant field visits.

Learn More Schedule Info for Participants

The Betrayal, Dirs. Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath (2009)

The Betrayal, Dirs. Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath (2009)


  • Bushra Rehman and Writing about Where You’re From

    By on July 8, 2015

    Bushra Rehman visited our seminar to engage us in her writings, as well as to get us all free writing and sharing about where we’re from. The discussion that ensued got us thinking about the ways that we shape places and in turn, places shape our identities.

    Asian Americans in New York: Literature and Film
  • Sample Resource Site & Map

    By on June 21, 2015

    One of the requirements for this seminar is that participants work on a project to share the educational resources developed through the seminar with the broader public. We will be developing web-based resource maps and topical educational resource sites throughout the seminar. To provide a sense of what we will be...

    Asian Americans in New York: Literature and Film
  • Chinatown Walking Tour

    By on June 21, 2015

    To help everyone else get excited, check out this walking tour of Manhattan Chinatown that someone (else) created. It only covers a small portion of Chinatown, but might be a good starting point for folks who are new to New York City.

    Asian Americans in New York: Literature and Film
  • Updated Reading List

    By on May 7, 2015

    We updated the reading list to match the updated syllabus that was just posted. It includes all of the readings that participants should complete prior to arrival, a list of all of the films we will screen during the seminar, and an additional list of suggested supplemental readings that can be...

    Asian Americans in New York: Literature and Film
  • Syllabus Revision!

    By on May 7, 2015

    We just posted a revised syllabus/schedule for the summer seminar. There was lots of tweaking based on the availability of guest speakers and the cross-section of materials we wanted to share with participants. The syllabus also contains links to some of the readings, and will be kept up-to-date with all of...

    Asian Americans in New York: Literature and Film
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Applying to the Seminar

The application submission deadline has now passed. Notification of acceptance will be done via email on March 30, 2015.

Courtesy of Sibling Rivalry PressCutie and the Boxer, Dir. Zachary Heinzerling (2013)


First, please review the eligibility criteria for participation in NEH Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers: http://www.neh.gov/files/divisions/education/eligibility/school_teacher_eligibility_criteria.pdf.

Our anticipated audience for this summer seminar is primarily middle and high school English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Art instructors with a pedagogical interest in ethnic literature/film and contemporary issues around multiculturalism, racial diversity, immigration, citizenship, and national identity, as well as people who are involved in curriculum development around these lines.

We are particularly eager to welcome participants from states with limited or very concentrated Asian American populations, as well as those whose student populations may reflect these demographic shifts in ways that the curriculum simply cannot yet keep up with. In short, we will consider both teachers who work with immigrant (not necessarily Asian) and/or indigenous student populations, as well as those who don’t.

We suggest potential applicants from all levels and disciplines make their case for inclusion in the seminar. In the application essay, we encourage applicants to discuss the specific questions which are raised for them around Asian American culture and communities in their home state, and the kinds of challenges and opportunities which they are faced with. We intend to create a cohort with great regional diversity, and one which can learn from within, and across America, as it well as from the social laboratory of New York City.

Selection Criteria

A selection committee will read and evaluate all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a number of alternates. Seminar selection committees typically consist of the seminar director, a school teacher who is usually a participant in a previous NEH seminar, and a colleague of the director. Institute selection committees typically consist of three to five members, usually drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an
applicant will benefit professionally and personally. Committee members consider several factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay. These factors include:

1. effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
2. intellectual interests, in general and as they relate to the work of the project;
3. special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;
4. commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the project;
5. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant’s teaching.

Recent participants are eligible to apply, but project selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years (2012, 2013, 2014). When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, several additional factors are considered.

Preference is given to applicants who have not previously participated in an NEH
Summer Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop, or who significantly
contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.

Application Materials

A complete application consists of three copies of the following collated items:

  1. The completed application cover sheet
  2. A résumé or brief biography
  3. Contact information for two professional references
  4. An application essay

Additional information about the application materials is found on the application page.

Key Dates

Application Deadline: March 2, 2015
Notification: Applicants will be notified of their acceptance via email on March 30, 2015
Offer Acceptance Deadline: Accepted applicants will have until Friday, April 3, 2015 to decline or accept the offer.

Additional Information

Some frequently asked questions are addressed on the FAQ page.

An individual may apply to up to two projects (NEH Summer Seminars, Institutes or Landmarks Workshops), but may participate in only one. Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop), you may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY STATEMENT: Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to NEH Equal Opportunity Officer, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202/606-8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).

Who We Are

Project co-directors throughout the two weeks of the seminar will be Jennifer Hayashida and Chi-hui Yang. Each director possesses significant expertise in the fields of Asian American literary and film/video production, respectively, and each draws on a wide network of local writers, film/video makers, and community advocates in enhancing the scope and content of the summer seminar. Between 2000 and 2010, Yang served as Director of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and currently he is an educator and curator whose projects include programming for Comcast’s “Cinema Asian America” as well as the Museum of Modern Art’s annual Documentary Fortnight. Jennifer Hayashida has served as Director of the Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College since 2008, and has successfully transformed the AASP into an educational hub for New York City’s Asian American community advocates, scholars, writers, artists, and filmmakers. Asian America, NY’s program manager is Melissa Phruksachart, a PhD candidate in the English Department at the Graduate Center, CUNY and adjunct professor at Hunter and Baruch Colleges, and its webmaster is Keith Miyake, a geography doctoral candidate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Guest Speakers

Questions? Contact Us!

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    Courtesy of Sibling Rivalry PressCorona, Bushra Rehman (2013) (Courtesy of Sibling Rivalry Press)

    Contact details

    Email: asianamericanyc@gmail.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asianamericanyc

    Phone: 1.212.772.5660

    Asian American Studies Program
    Hunter College, The City University of New York
    695 Park Avenue, 1338 Hunter West
    New York, NY 10065

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