Asian American studies

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Asian American Studies is an academic discipline which critically examines the history, experiences, culture, and policies relevant to Asian Americans. It is closely related to other Ethnic Studies disciplines, such as African American Studies, Middle Eastern studies (including Jewish studies and Arab studies), Latino/a Studies, and Native American Studies.


Asian American Studies appeared as a field of intellectual inquiry in the late 1960s[1] as a result of strikes by the Third World Liberation Front, a group of students of color at San Francisco State University and at the University of California, Berkeley, which demanded that college classroom instruction include the histories of people of color in the United States told from their perspectives. The demand for Ethnic Studies was a critical response to the Eurocentric bias in university curriculum. [2] As a result, a College of Ethnic Studies (the only such "college" at any American university at the time) became established at San Francisco State University with American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Africana Studies, and Latino/a Studies as its four units,[3] and four ethnic studies programs became established at the University of California, Berkeley. The Association for Asian American Studies, a professional organization designed to promote teaching and research in the field, was established in 1979.[4]

Topics in Asian American Studies[edit]

Drawing from numerous disciplines such as sociology, history, literature, political science, and gender studies, Asian American Studies scholars consider a variety of perspectives and employ diverse analytical tools in their work. Unlike "Asian" Studies which focuses on the history, culture, religion, etc. of Asian people living in Asia, Asian American Studies is interested in the history, culture, experiences, of Asians living in the United States.

Academic programs in Asian American Studies provide students with the opportunity to examine the history of Asian-Americans, which includes topics such as immigration and race-based exclusion policies.[5]

Asian American Studies provides an academic avenue for addressing issues of racial oppression, capitalism at home, and imperialism abroad.[6]

The discourse also includes studies on how second-generation Asian Americans deal with adjustment and assimilation, especially on their Americanization and aggressive pursuit of higher education and prestigious occupations in a society that still discriminates against them.[7]

Asian American Studies focuses on the identities, historical and contemporary experiences of individuals and groups in the United States. Concepts and issues that are crucial to this interdisciplinary curriculum include: Orientalism, diaspora, Asian American masculinity, Asian American femininity, cultural politics, and media representation.[citation needed]

List of notable Asian American Studies scholars[edit]

Major Programs and Departments[edit]

Major Asian American Studies programs in California include those at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Davis, San Francisco State University (SFSU), California State University, Long Beach, California State University, Northridge, California State University, Fullerton, City College of San Francisco, University of Southern California, The Claremont Colleges, and at UCLA.

Outside of California, major programs include University of Washington, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Colorado, Cornell University, Binghamton University, and Columbia University. Other rising programs include Arizona State University, New York University, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Minnesota. Currently, several universities, including University of North Carolina, University of Virginia, Syracuse University, and many others are in the process of developing Asian American Studies departments.

Master of Arts in Asian American Studies programs are available at UCLA and SFSU.

At the time of its founding in 1987, the Asian American Studies Program at Cornell University was the first such program in the Ivy League and on the east coast. Today it has four core faculty members in the humanities and social sciences in a variety of departments and colleges. This cross-college, university-wide position accommodates the extensive teaching and research interests of the Program's faculty and reflects the breadth of the vibrant field of Asian American Studies in general. In the classroom, in scholarship, and through campus and community advocacy, the Program is committed to examining the histories and experiences; identities, social and community formations; politics; and contemporary concerns of people of Asian ancestry in the United States and other parts of the Americas.

On the East Coast, the State University of New York at Stony Brook created an Asian & Asian American Studies Department after a 52 million dollar donation by Charles B. Wang (the founder of Computer Associates). The Charles B. Wang Center is designed as a vital space for multi-disciplinary and multicultural dialogues. The 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m2) building was officially presented to Stony Brook University by Charles B. Wang on October 22, 2002. It was the largest single private gift ever received by the State University of New York 64-campus system. The Wang Center is used for conferences, art exhibits, film festivals, lectures, seminars, and performances. It is open to all Stony Brook students, faculty, and staff as well as the surrounding community.

Queens College, City University of New York, located in the neighborhood of Flushing in New York City, is home to both the Asian American/Asian Research Institute and the Asian/American Center. Both serve as hubs for research into Asian American issues, particularly focusing on the Asian diaspora in the New York area.


  1. ^ Shirley Hune. "Expanding the International Dimension of Asian American Studies". Amerasia Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2 (1989), pp.xix
  2. ^ Fiel, Crystal (March 8, 2009). "Celebration 40 Years: Third World Liberation Front". {m}aganda magazine. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ San Francisco State University: Asian American Studies. <>
  4. ^ "ABOUT | Association for Asian American Studies". Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  5. ^ L. Ling-Chi Wang. "Asian American Studies" American Quarterly Vol. 33, No. 3 (1981), pp. 339-354
  6. ^ L. Ling-Chi Wang. "Asian American Studies" American Quarterly Vol. 33, No. 3 (1981), pp. 339-354
  7. ^ L. Ling-Chi Wang. "Asian American Studies" American Quarterly Vol. 33, No. 3 (1981), pp. 339-354

External links[edit]