US-Asia Relations

BIS 397: US-Asia Relations

Worksheet # 1: Orientalism and Colonial America

Answer the following questions. Do not exceed front and back of single sheet of paper.
Goals: 1) Recognize and analyze arguments and evidence in scholarly articles. 2) Deepen understanding of early American contacts with Asia

Edward Said, Orientalism

  1. In your own words, what is “Orientalism”? You can use a short quotation if needed.







  1. According to Said, how does “Orientalism” help us better understand U.S.-Asia relations? What does it explain that other analysts have missed?






Jack Tchen, New York Before Chinatown

  1. Why, according to the Tchen reading, did the founding fathers of America care so much about Asia? Were they “Orientalist”?





  1. Tchen talks a lot about Chinese art and porcelains, the China trade, and the influence of Confucius on Americans. Which one do you find most interesting?Why?








Said and Tchen

  1. Identify two kinds of evidence that either author uses to make their argument which you find interesting. Why did you pick them? What do you think about how the author uses this evidence? Do you think the author was fair or unfair? List page numbers where the evidence appears.














  1. Identify at least two concepts or quotes from the readings that you would like explained in class and why.