Asian American Studies

Scope and Objectives

The Department of Asian American Studies, founded in 2004, promotes the study of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans across a number of fields and disciplines.

Following the tradition of civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, the department values the social relevance of academy-based knowledge production, as well as the connection between academia, the Asian and Pacific Islander community, and other disadvantaged social groups. Faculty members in the department are likewise committed to offering a broad, inclusive, and flexible curriculum designed to meet maximum student needs, with emphasis on close mentorship, collaborative teaching, and engaged scholarship.

The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, an undergraduate Asian American Studies minor, a Master of Arts degree, and two concurrent degree programs (Asian American Studies MA/Public Health MPH with the Fielding School of Public Health Community Health Sciences Department and Asian American Studies MA/Social Welfare MSW with the Luskin School of Public Affairs Social Welfare Department). The Asian American Studies educational program performs the following missions: conducts teaching that enables students to learn, think, and practice in a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment; equips students with theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as analytical and communicative skills that reflect the excellence of the faculty; and prepares students either for advanced graduate studies or for life after college as artists, citizens, entrepreneurs, political leaders, and professionals.

As an interdisciplinary field, the Asian American Studies curriculum examines the contemporary realities, diverse experiences, and histories of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The topical range of such examination includes community work and development, cultural production (including digital media and creative expression), gender, and generational dynamics, immigration and diaspora, political participation, social activism, and transnational encounters.

The teaching and research methods used by faculty members in the department are interdisciplinary and comparative in nature, with a healthy mix of quantitative, qualitative, interpretive, and applied approaches. These methods develop out of dynamic cross-fertilization among faculty expertise that registers both major intellectual shifts in the field and notable trends from disparate disciplines, professional practices, and epistemological traditions.