University of Wisconsin–Madison

Sequencing Assignments for a Final Project and Presentation in Asian American Studies

Professor Morris Young, Asian American Studies

In this series of assignments, Professor Morris Young offers students an opportunity to draft a final written project over time and present the project in an oral form.

Asian/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Project

(Proposal Due: March 22; 1st Draft Due: April 5; Final Project Due: May 5)

Over the last month of class we will begin to transform the reading and discussion we’ve been having about Asian American literature and culture into programming for APIA Heritage Month. One reason to do so is to deepen your understanding of the issues we have been studying. Another reason to do so is to make Asian American literature and culture more visible to the larger community which may have little awareness of Asian Americans as a group. I have scheduled 3 class periods for presentations. You will develop an activity or lesson plan depending on what you want to do and what you want to accomplish. You will be responsible for making a presentation on the date you sign-up for.

I think the best way to decide what you want to do is to organize your presentation around an idea or issue that you want to focus on that has been expressed in the literature we have been reading. This could be an issue such as “racism experienced by Asian Americans” or a specific event/experience like “Japanese American internment camps” or exploration of particular groups (especially those groups who are less familiar or have not been covered as much in class).

You can then determine what the best approach/medium is for both communicating information and facilitating discussion about the idea/issue. Activities or lessons can range from planning displays about Asian American culture, bringing in a speaker, planning an Asian American film/video series, designing and teaching lessons about selected Asian American issues or texts, planning a reading of Asian American literature, designing an informational website, or other activities that you think are appropriate and useful in celebrating APA Heritage Month.

Since this is a project for a literature class, you need to use a literary text we’ve examined in class. You may use additional texts or materials but you must develop your project out of some issue/question/idea that was sparked by something read for class. The goal of this project is to use literature to teach a wider audience about an issue you find interesting/important.

Writing Fellows Consultation: You will also be required to meet with a Writing Fellow who has been assigned to our class. A Writing Fellow consultation will provide you with the opportunity to receive feedback on your written work for this project at the draft stage. You will also have the opportunity to incorporate feedback that you receive during your poster presentation into the final version of your project which is due on May 5.

The final project includes the following:

  1. A brief proposal (250-300 words) describing your topic and general ideas about how you will approach this final project. Key to this proposal and project is to make a connection to the literature we’ve read. How does the literature express or address the issue/topic you are discussing? Due March 22.
  2. A first draft of the written project (3-5 pp.) that includes an introduction and an activity/lesson plan (see below). This first draft will be reviewed and commented on by a Writing Fellow who will also arrange a consultation with you.

Due April 5.

  1. A presentation, which will be done as “poster” sessions. To allow you to revise and incorporate feedback from class, your final version of the activity/lesson is due on May 5—keep in mind that this provides students who present earlier with more time to revise.
  2. A final draft of the written project (5-10 pp. not including other material such as sample handouts, illustrations/graphics, etc.). Your final written project should include the following sections:
    1. An introduction that describes the subject and its context for your project. This is where you describe the particular issue, event, figure, etc. that you are examining and provide background information about this subject whether historical, social, political, or other contexts that are important to your discussion.
    2. An activity/lesson plan. In the “lesson plan” you should describe what your goals are and what activities you are going to do to achieve those goals. The more detailed the better. Discuss what materials you are using (e.g., which literature, video, etc.). If you are planning a display or some other type of activity, you should take into account both logistics as well as content. That is, what is the subject and content of your activity and how do you want to accomplish this activity? In this section make sure you provide the following:
      1. Purpose: Describe why you are doing this particular activity and why you think this is an appropriate activity. Based on what we’ve read and discussed in class, provide some background and context for this particular activity. For example, what is some of the important information that you want to communicate? Why is this important?
      2. Goal: Think about your goals for this activity. What do you want to accomplish by doing this activity? If you’re talking with a group, what do you want them to get out of this activity? If you’re preparing an exhibit, what do you want people who view this exhibit to understand? In all cases, what do you want people to learn? What do you want them to take away after the activity?
      3. Methods: Describe how you’re going to go about doing this activity. Think of this as a lesson plan. You’ll need to think about who your audience is, what you want them to learn, and how to make this activity effective. For example, is a lecture going to be the best way to communicate information? Does this depend on age group? How do you talk about Japanese American internment to middle-school kids? To mostly white students in the Midwest? What kinds of activities can you do to help the people come to some awareness on their own? How do you talk about these kinds of issues without putting people off? Without reducing and simplifying the real pain and injustice of certain experiences? Without reinforcing already existing stereotypes?
    3.  Finally, you should write an analysis and reflection. Your analysis should focus on the content of your project; that is, think about this particular Asian American issue/subject and the questions it raises for you. For the reflection think about whether your lesson was successful? Why did it or didn’t it work? What would you do differently? What do you think others got out of the activity? Think about the semester as a whole. How has this activity worked to broaden your understanding of the issues in Asian American culture?