Masculinity Session 2: Historical Context and Origins

The role of immigration policies and practices in the construction of Asian American masculinity


Read before class:

Shek, Y. S. (2006). Asian American masculinity: A review of the literature. Journal of Men’s Studies, 14(3), 379-391.


Asian masculinity has not always been stereotyped as passive and lacking. Consider the below depictions of Asian immigrants as “yellow peril” from the 1800s.


Sharp, G. (2014, June 20). Old “yellow peril” anti-Chinese propaganda. The Society Pages. Retrieved from


heathen chinese yellow peril chinese family


  • How do these images portray Asian (specifically, Chinese) men and masculinity? Analyze images closely and discuss among peers or write independently.


Read blog post at, which discusses immigration policies and the context for the above images.

  • What role did government-sanctioned policies have on the construction of Asian American masculine identity?



Arab American National Museum. (2011, March 9). Professor Kurashige on the yellow peril & model minority stereotypes of Asians in the U.S. Retrieved from

Discussion questions:

  • How does the trope of yellow peril depict Asian American masculinity?
  • How does the model minority myth depict Asian American masculinity?

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